Could your corporate gifting be described as magical? How much thought do you put into it? Are your gifts carefully selected to reflect your brand and your values, while at the same time successfully delighting your clients and your staff? It’s a delicate balance that takes a little effort to achieve.
Here's our top tips for embracing the art of gift giving and creating a memorable, magical moment of the experience.
Don’t be cheap
Firstly, please don’t use Christmas as an excuse to clear your stocks of branded promotional gear, so step away from the thumb drives, cheapo pens and stubby holders. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune – your gift just needs to let the recipient know that you’ve really put some thought into the gift, which makes them feel special.
If clients and staff feel they’ve just been doled out something ill-considered and generic, your gift could actually do more harm than good, and you’d have been better off not sending anything.
Be mindful of extravagance
The flipside of being cheap is appearing overly extravagant, which may cause discomfort and embarrassment. While you may think a luxurious gift tells your client how much you value their business, they may instead, wonder whether you are overcharging to be able to afford such generosity. Again, it’s about thoughtful gifting - and creating a warm and joyful feeling is the object of the exercise. Remember, thoughtfulness always trumps expense. Spending on corporate gifting does not necessarily need to be commensurate with a client’s value to your business, but the thought that goes into your gifts definitely does.
To brand or not to brand?
That really is a great question. Over-branding can easily detract from your gift and be perceived as a brazen attempt to keep your company top of mind with your client. It’s a nice idea to brand the gift box, gift card (though always with a personal message, preferably handwritten). If you do choose to brand an element of your gift, keep it very subtle and discreet.
Showing gratitude is a powerful way to demonstrate to your clients or staff that you genuinely appreciate them. Don’t undermine the intent by viewing the act as an advertising opportunity. Corporate gifting done well can be a game changer for making business relationship magic.
Gifting to corporate employees
We’re not talking about your own employees here, but your point of contact, who happens to be part of a large corporation. Many such corporations have strict policies around gifting, which may be limited monetarily, or do not allow gifts that are not directly related to business. You need to familiarise yourself with the policies of each company you deal with to avoid causing any unintentional problems for your client.
Pay attention to the experience
Don’t just think about the gift – also consider how it will be delivered. If your clients are local, do you have the time to hand deliver? Nothing like keeping that face-to-face relationship alive. What about the packaging and the whole unboxing experience? This is something that triggers the senses and creates an emotional response to your gift. Done well, this will enhance the impact and value of the gift itself. You may even want to place a personal note inside the box (as well as the gift card) – something that recalls a shared experience, and perhaps relates to your choice of gift.
Surprising your client with a well thought out and useful gift will subconsciously make it harder for them to switch brands. It pays to consider how you think your client will feel upon receiving your gift. What you are doing here is creating stories that people will want to share, building your reputation as a caring and thoughtful business operator.
Show your staff they are valued
Employees look forward to getting presents from their bosses. If you have the time to choose personal gifts for your team, it will make them feel very special. Another option is to go for Christmas Gift Hampers, which are always very popular, and give you the flexibility of selecting multiple gift items. You can fill the hamper with products like chocolates, gourmet treats, wine, candles, etc. etc. Ordering the same hamper for everyone but adding one or two elements into each that are personal to each team member is an easier way of applying thoughtful gifting to your staff.
Make it memorable
Particularly for your clients, Christmas is the time of year they may be receiving many gifts from their suppliers and partners, so getting creative to give them something that stands out from the rest and creates a lasting impression will serve you well. You can always outsource this creativity to companies like Cadeau and Bliss, who have the experience and the resources to be able to seek out that extra-special something. Focus on understanding your recipient’s likes really well to deliver a gift with true heart.
The financial upside
We’re definitively not accounting experts, so do talk to your accountant, but generally, gifts that are not deemed to be ‘entertainment’ are GST and tax deductible. Do bear in mind Fringe Benefit taxes though for staff. Again – talk to an expert to guide you on this.
We all have budgets we need to work to, so consider strategically how to get the most from your available funds. It might be better use of your giving budget to buy fewer, high-quality gifts, for high-value clients, than giving the same ‘one-fits-all’ gift to your entire client list.
Play the long game
Corporate gifting is about just giving with no other agenda. The giving experience should never feel like you are priming your client for more business. Keep it classy, always! Try not to look at gifting as a once-a-year chore but create a gifting strategy that will keep your clients engaged over time and feeling loved. Again, these don’t need to be big, lavish gifts, but something special to both of you, appropriate to a job you’ve just completed together, celebration of an achievement of theirs, to wish them a happy birthday, or just to say thank you for their support, or a business referral they may have given you. Giving gifts and kindness shows your clients you value them as people and care beyond the quick sale.
Be mindful that at Christmas, your gift is competing with many others – surprising your clients regularly with small, special gifts and messages lets them know you are thinking of them and away from the festive noise will have a greater impact, allowing your gift to take centre stage. Surprise and delight your clients all year round to show your gratitude. Thoughtfulness combined with frequency demonstrates your commitment to them and builds increased goodwill over time.
If you needed another incentive, the aforementioned gifting study revealed, when recipients described their gift as memorable, the return on investment was shown to increase by as much as 40%.
This strategy applies equally well to staff gifting. While your gift may not be competing with others in the same way as client gifts, letting your staff know you appreciate them throughout the year will increase engagement, productivity, and retention. Remembering birthdays, celebrating achievements, rewarding them for completing successful projects, or for bringing in new business, etc. will pay dividends. Many companies now send welcome gifts to new staff, which helps to reduce potential anxiety about their first day and lets your newbie know you are excited to have them as part of your team.
Remember to demonstrate thoughtfulness in every aspect of the gift-giving experience.
Your gift should always be useful, relevant, and memorable for the recipient. It should show them how much you value their business, or contribution, and it should demonstrate that you put thought into finding something unique for them. Done right, they will think of you and your company every time they use or enjoy your gift. Always keep in mind that every interaction with potential or existing clients, as well as your staff, has an intrinsic value to your business – value that’s worth a little investment. Long-term relationships, repeat business, positive brand association, and word of mouth referrals, can all be enhanced by adopting an effective corporate gifting strategy.
Finally, give yourself wholeheartedly to the act of gifting. There is a real joy in gift-giving – especially when you’ve chosen something really special you know the recipient will love and will appreciate the thought you have put into it.
And if you need a little help, you know where to find us…