Although you may associate gift giving with holidays and birthdays, corporate gifts are an exceptional way to grow your business and cement colleague relationships within your own organization. Giving the right corporate gift will leave a lasting impression and help potential customers or long-standing clients to have a good impression of you and your business in the future. Give the wrong gift, however, and you may have the opposite effect of what you intended. Likewise, if you’re attempting to reward a hard-working employee within your own business, then you need to choose wisely. Gifts that are work oriented or cheesy won’t exactly make your best workers feel appreciated.
To understand how to choose the perfect corporate gift first requires that you understand and apply the differences between a real gift, and an incentive. Whether you are giving to a customer or employee, gifts should be given with no expectation of reciprocation. If you want to give employees something to encourage them to work harder or reach certain goals, then that is an incentive and is not truly a gift. Likely, gifts should be given clients and potential clients with no expectation that they will throw more business your way. Gifts should be thoughtfully chosen and given in the spirit of showing appreciation and making the recipient feel good.
How do you choose a gift that will make an impression? There are numerous options available, but all good gifts should be chosen with a few key things kept in mind.
1. Make it memorable
How many branded mouse pads, pens, and magnets have you had floating around your office? Probably more than you can remember. Do you recall any of the businesses who gave them to you or the person who bestowed the gifts? Not likely. If you’re trying to leave a lasting impression with something useful, thoughtful, and unique… then think outside of the box with a unique corporate gift. You could give your client a branded mug, but it might just get lost in all the other branded mugs he has sitting around already.
2. Make it something they will use daily
On that note, if you can choose a gift that your customer or employee will see every day at the office or even at home, then that will achieve more than something that can be used just once, or sparingly. That Christmas decoration might be beautiful, but once the holidays are over, it will go back into the box until next year. And while everybody loves a basket of muffins, once they’re eaten, there’s no more reminder of your relationship.
3. Personalize it
This should go without saying, but make the gift personal whenever you can. This is especially true when giving corporate gifts to employees or colleagues. It shows that you care and have taken the time to get to know the person receiving the gift, and that says a lot about your business culture. Aside from showing a level of thoughtfulness that a more generic gift simply can’t, there are times when knowing a person’s preferences is even more important. For instance, giving a food basket might be nice, but do you know if the recipient has any food allergies?
4. Use your own judgement
Don’t give anyone something you wouldn’t want to receive yourself. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give them something blue because it’s your favorite color, but it is important to use a little common sense when choosing a gift. If you’re trying to show appreciation, then your gift should reflect that. Giving them something that is obviously generic, cheesy, or cheap will do the opposite of make them feel appreciated for their hard work. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Plenty of wonderful gifts are very affordable. But it does mean you should make an effort to give them something that won’t break after the first day, or that is depicted in tasteful colors. Which brings us to…
Corporate gifts are a wonderful tool for building relationships between businesses and people within an organization. As such, they deserve to be added to your budget. Talk to your CPA to determine what you can spend on corporate gifting, and considering adding a gifting program to your quarterly expenses so you are never tempted to skimp in the gifting department when it comes time to choose a good gift.
6. Don’t make it a commercial
While you want your client, customer, or colleague to think of you when they use or see their gift, it shouldn’t have your company logo plastered all over it. On the same note, you should be careful when ordering a gift from a third-party gifting vendor as well. Some of them have their items covered in logos and other branding visuals for their own business. You want our customers to remember YOUR name, not the name of the company who provided the gift.
7. Don’t be afraid to be different
There are a lot of nice gifts out there. Food, candles, gift certificates, and coffee are all great gifts. But don’t be afraid to think of something that hasn’t likely been done before. You don’t have to feel limited to giving products that are generally accepted as “corporate gifts.” Giving something that he or she hasn’t received numerous times before will only further solidify the fact that you are thoughtful and that you really want to make a connection with the person. Connection and putting thought behind your gift is the most important aspect to giving ANY gift, corporate or otherwise!