Corporate Gifting Guidelines

Giving a Corporate Gift to key clients, suppliers or your staff at Christmas really does constitute best business practice. Not only does it strengthen existing relationships and loyalties through a basic act of showing appreciation, but also it creates a PR opportunity that can leave a very favourable impression on your company in the eyes of potential customers, potential employees and those who work in your industry as a whole.

Every company, regardless of its size, turnover or core business, should have a well thought out plan of promotional corporate gift giving. The act of promotional corporate gift giving itself is somewhat of an art, not a science yet there are a few basic guidelines that can help you maximize the impact of your corporate gift giving and avoid the major pitfalls.

Below is a list of some Do’s and Don’ts of promotional corporate gift giving this Christmas. Follow these rules and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Do’s

1. Establish an Objective: The most common time for corporate gift giving is during the holiday season. So the usual objective is to “give a holiday gift”. But this doesn’t have to be the only time that you give a corporate gift. For example, you could thank a loyal client for continued business or start an incentive program with employees to increase more sales. By choosing an objective you will be able to narrow down gift choices and choose something that truly reflects your intentions.

2. Go for Quality: The gift is a representation of your company, so it is imperative that any business gift you send must reflect the image of your company. Giving a gift of obviously low value or quality can actually end up doing more harm than good.

3. Invest in presentation: Almost as important as the gift you give is the presentation and packaging of the present. After all it is the first thing your intended recipient(s) will see and they do say first impressions count. There is no point spending a generous amount on the gift only for the effect to be instantly ruined by poorly done or cheap packaging. The point of Corporate Gift Giving is to make as positive impact as possible. You won’t do this if you cut corners or costs on presentation.

4. Deliver your gift personally: If you are able to you should, where possible, personally deliver the gifts to the intended recipient. This is especially true when giving Christmas gifts to staff who will really appreciate a very personal gesture like this, particular if they know how busy the workload of the management is. A personally delivered gift is also an excellent way to keep your key clients and suppliers happy. They are no fools and will realize that the gift is from the management not the secretary or a junior assistant. Therefore if you as the management can take the time to personally deliver it, your company will be seen in even more of a favourable light. More to the point, if the recipient has some spare time they might even take the opportunity to discuss a few items of business with you right there and then.

Don’ts

1. Avoid choosing popular generic gifts: The likes of pens, stubbie holders, mugs etc are far too popular to choose as a corporate gift. They also scream of a lack of imagination. If you do choose any of these kinds of items there is a strong possibility that your intended recipient may not take too kindly to it. Not least because they may well already have a stockpile of these items, given to them by other companies over the years.

2. Don’t forget the ‘workers’: Although it is tempting to restrict your corporate gift giving to ‘decision makers’ like management and senior executives it is important to be mindful of the feelings and contributions of the workers. Particularly if they are involved in the day-to-day management of your business. You could actually do a lot of damage to morale if you, for example, are seen to reward the management but not the workers with a corporate gift. To be on the safe side even if you decide not to give a gift to all the workers individually it is definitely worth, at the very least, getting themselves something they can all share.

3. Don’t expect something in return: The purpose of giving a corporate gift should be to recognize and reward the contributions of others to the current level of success of your business. You should never expect something in return. Not least because it could be that the company you are giving a gift too might not be enjoying the same level of success.

4. Don’t give people of the same level gifts of a widely different value: A really big no, no. You should never, under any circumstances give people who work in the same pay or job status bracket gifts that differ widely in value. It can cause major resentment if one person gifts a small gift whilst their colleague gets something of much greater value. Word gets around so be consistent. This is especially the case when giving corporate gifts to clients.

5. Make sure the recipient will be there: There is no point making the great gesture of giving a corporate gift if the intended recipient only receives it after they have come back from their Christmas Break. Find out prior to giving or dispatching the gift whether the intended recipient will be in the office. It is the simplest of details but one that could really let down what it is you are trying to achieve.

6. Most importantly. Don’t wait until the last minute: Organizing your gifts early makes the whole experience enjoyable and worry free, giving you more time to appreciate the giving process.

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by Diane Drysdale