Giving corporate gifts is a longstanding tradition for businesses across all industries and of all shapes and sizes to help say thank you, show appreciation and engage with potential new customers and improve business relationships.
Companies might give gifts to current customers, new customers and their own staff as part of a corporate gift programme, or a business growth strategy.
Options for gifts include food, personalised items, or tickets to experiences, depending on the business size and budget.
It is a proven method for engaging people with the business and for building goodwill and improved customer relationships.
It can also be used to help provoke prospective customers into taking some kind of action.
Many corporate gifts will come with an action request, like entering a code to redeem money off, or some other related sales offer.
Gifts can be a really useful marketing tool in some circumstances, helping to improve business relationships in the corporate world and increasing that emotional connection with the brand.
The gifting process can help any business stand out and is a great way to express gratitude in a way the business world is not necessarily known for normally.
Or it might just be a corporate Christmas gift sent out as a thank you to all staff and existing customers for their support over the past 12 months.
There are as many reasons for giving the gift, as there are gifts to choose from and gifts can have a substantial benefit when it comes to helping to attract clients and making customers feel valued.
Why corporate gifting is important
Corporate gifting is important to businesses for a number of reasons, but the clear benefit is that receiving a gift creates a connection between the business and the person who receives it.
It can help to create positive connections with the brand in the minds of a potential customer and can help to improve relationships with existing customers by showing appreciation for their loyalty.
When corporate gifts are used as part of a marketing strategy, they can be incredibly effective at building and maintaining good customer relationships.
They are equally as powerful when it comes to staff, and can help improve staff motivation and retention, as long as they send the right message.
Why does corporate gifting work?
Giving and receiving gifts has a strong psychological effect on the recipient.
Think back to when you were last surprised with flowers, or an unexpected present and how that makes you feel.
Receiving a gift makes you value it and helps to grow trust and feelings of reciprocation with the person who gave it to you.
This is why gifts can work really well as part of a marketing approach and a plan to build and enhance customer relationships.
Corporate gifts for potential new customers
When it comes to courting new customers, offering corporate gifts, which then have a call to action, is a proven marketing method.
Offering the right gift can then lead them to take the next step towards trusting your business enough to become a customer.
Corporate gifting is a really important aspect of courting and engaging with potential new customers and converting them into someone who is willing to buy.
Corporate gifts for existing customers
When it comes to current clients, they like to know that their business is of value and to have a reason to continue to stay loyal to a particular brand.
That’s where corporate gifts can be of great use.
A gift given at the right time can bring your brand to the top of their mind and show them just how much you value their custom.
It can help strengthen the connection and relationship and include a call to action for a special offer, just for them.
Corporate gifts for employees
Employees also like to be shown that they are appreciated by the company so corporate gifts can help with any employee retention scheme, by providing a way to thank and recognise staff for their efforts.
It might be that corporate gifts are given to staff at Christmas and special occasions and could also link in with internal awards programmes.
It’s important that employee gifts are good quality and personalised in some way to help boost employee engagement and strengthen relationships.
Examples of staff corporate gifts include:
Personal gifts – for a small company where you know the employees well, corporate gifts could be given to mark personal events including, birth of children, birthdays, completion of a training programme or qualification, moving to a new home, etc.
Company event gifts – these could be given to make company milestones such as years of service, completion of training programmes, promotions etc. and form an important part of an employee gifting approach.
Sending corporate gifts by direct mail
One of the best ways for shipping gifts out, particularly when it comes to customers and prospective clients, is using direct mail and this is where the importance of corporate gifting can really be seen.
The majority of people will look through their post every single day – around 80% of people – so a corporate gift sent by post has a very high chance of being seen, compared with say an e-voucher sent by email, which could end up in the spam filter or missed on a busy day.
Business research into direct mail corporate gift campaigns have shown that customers are much more likely to respond and take action when they receive something through the post, compared with campaigns that don’t send anything, or those that send gift vouchers electronically, or another non physical gift.
Here are some examples of how campaigns can work well for businesses when sending out a corporate gift:
A company which sent out coffee gift cards and fun branded items to potential new customers just before having a scheduled call, saw the successful call rates grow by 20% and their completion rate to turn those calls into customers, also grew by 20%.
A medical company sent out a personalised tumbler and the offer of an Amazon gift card if the prospect took up a sales call.
This approach developed a new pipeline of customers worth more than a million pounds. It proved that sending small items can pay off.
What are the hot new trends when it comes to corporate gifting?
It is expected that the use of corporate gifting market will continue to grow and develop and the use of direct mail to send them is also expected to continue to grow, particularly within the business-to-business industry.
The corporate gifting process is likely to shift to one where combining business gifts with branding programmes to raise company awareness and improve the perception and reputation of brands is likely to become more and more popular.
Corporate gifting initiatives might move out of the marketing department and into areas such as customer services or even HR for the staff gift programme, making it even more important to businesses.
It is expected the industry will grow with improved ways to personalise business gifting as well as creating more sustainable options and more inclusive corporate gift approaches.
Business gifting and the law
If you are planning a corporate gift campaign, it’s important to understand that many employers do have policies when it comes to receiving gifts, to avoid allegations of bribery and corruption.
Companies and particularly public sector organisations, often have policies which will prevent their clients and employees from receiving gifts over a certain value, or under certain circumstances.
So always do your research when planning your corporate gift campaign, so you don’t end up having a load of gifts returned and all that planning, and money gone to waste.
It is clear why corporate gifting is important for any size business, both from an internal staff perspective, and an external customer point of view, but what exactly is a corporate gift and what kind of things should you be sending out?
What do I need to think about before I send a corporate gift?
When planning a corporate gift campaign, you want to make sure that your gift will be noticed, that it will be well received and that it will achieve the outcome that you are looking for, whether thats brand awareness or improved customer loyalty, or a better company culture.
In this sense, you need to make sure that what you send is unique, good quality and at the right level to be well received by your customers and prospects, and importantly, that it resonates with your brand and company values.
Gift items should include the company’s logo where possible to help with the company image, particularly if you are looking to increase sales from existing clients.
Here are some ways to make your corporate gift stand out from the crowd:
1. Personalise your gift
If you are sending out a gift to hundreds of customers at a time, it will be impossible to personalise every single item, but you should at least aim to include a personally addressed note with it.
These can be produced electronically but should at least have the recipient’s name and why you have sent the gift and how to continue your conversation further down the line.
If you are a small company then you could look to personalise your corporate gifts for each individual person, to make them far more meaningful.
This is particularly important when it comes to gifts for staff to show them, they are appreciated.
2. Send gifts one at a time
If you have personal connections with all your customers and prospects then look to use a uniquely individual approach when it comes to corporate gifts, and just send them one based on their own needs and experiences.
For example, you could send personalised gifts when you know they’ve been promoted, or just completed a training course, that way it shows your brand is personally invested in them and what they are doing and will help to build more trust and connection.
3. Sending a gift campaign to many clients
For larger companies, it will be far more practical to use corporate gifting campaigns to send the same gift to all their clients and customers so in this instance, the choice of gift is the most important aspect to help support the marketing effort.
Choose a high-quality gift that is resident to their particular industry and make it functional and useful rather than a token which might be binned.
You want your gift to be something they can use and look at every day, to bring your brand to the forefront.
If you are doing a mass send, then one way to personalise the corporate gifts and make them stand out, is to make your packaging of the gift unusual and exciting, you want it to stand out when it lands on their desk, so avoid regular parcel paper and boring boxes.
4. Include a call to action
Why corporate gifting is important is because the gift should drive the recipient to some kind of action with your company, so you need to make sure your gift includes a relevant call to action.
You need to base this on whether the person is a current client, a client who hasn’t used your company for a long time, or a new prospect as the call to action will be very different for each of these audiences.
You need to work out what call to action will make the gift worth sending in the first place.
A great way to make sure the call-to-action works, is to incorporate it into the gift somehow, so it can be a code hidden inside the box they need to find, for example.
5. When should I send the gift?
One of the things that people often forget to think about is the timing of your gifts and when to send them. You don’t want to send them during the holidays, when they might not be seen and might get lost in the holiday post.
Make sure you plan your corporate gifting strategy so that your gift arrives right on time.
If you are including a call to action with a time limited offer, for example, you need to make sure the gift arrives in plenty of time before the offer closes, or else it will only cause frustration.
6. Should I follow up afterwards?
The whole point of the corporate gift giving campaign is to provoke action from your recipient so it’s really important to follow up with them.
But you don’t want to hound them, or they will soon see your gift as worthless and just a sales tactic.
The best way to follow up is to ask them if they received it, and then only contact them weekly at the most after that to follow up and see if you can build that connection.
Anything more could ruin the goodwill that the gift has created.
Suggestions for unique corporate gifts
So, what should a corporate gift be and how much should you spend?
Well, it all depends on the size and nature of your audience and what budget you have available, but here is a whole range of corporate gift ideas for you to think about:
A branded water bottle – this is a perfect gift for staff who are sat at their desks all day, or for customers who like to cycle or go to the gym regularly
A coffee machine – if you are appealing to a small company, why not get them a new coffee machine that everyone in the office can use
A desk fan that runs from their laptop – to help keep your staff or customers cool while at their desks in the summer
A movie gift card and bag of popcorn – as a treat for staff and customers alike, a great gift if you are working to a small budget
Branded socks – these can be sent as more of a humorous gift, saying how well your companies work together
A team puzzle – this will not only keep the whole team entertained but you can write a note saying it’s all about teamwork, or it’s about appreciating how well you all work together.
Other suggestions for unusual corporate gifts include:
- A cheese and wine hamper
- A voucher for a virtual fitness class
- A jar of luxury cookies
- A box of luxury chocolates
- A gift box of baked treats
- Bottles of wine
- A small desk plant that’s easy to look after
- A recipe box to make their own cookies or chocolates
- A healthy snack box for the team to share in the office
- A seasonal fruit gift basket for everyone to share
- A baking kit of their choice
- A selection of spice jars and rubs
- A luxury food hamper
- A barbecue kit
- A selection of branded cupcakes
- An afternoon tea for the team hamper
- A large puzzle for the whole team to work on
- Subscriptions to a useful service for a year
- Subscriptions to a relevant publication for a year
- A mini head scratcher or back massager
- Gift cards for adventure experiences they can book themselves
- Branded protective phone covers for their work mobile phones
- Branded webcam covers for their laptops
- A mini desk globe or a large office globe
- A mini desk clock for every desk
- A humorous desk sign for every desk
- A desk calendar with inspirational or funny quotes
- Branded golf balls for them to take out on the course
- Branded company clothing for when they are out on the road
- Polaroid camera for that next company event
- Branded socks
- A year’s subscription to Spotify or Netflix or some other useful service
- A book of the month programme for their self-development
- A craft beer hamper
- Membership to a national park or other relevant organisation
- Small gifts to help with destressing, like a stress ball
- A hammock to put your feet in under the desk at work
- A personalised mug – a different one for each person in the team
Hampers are a great way to show appreciation on both a personal and corporate level. Check out the range of corporate hampers from Virginia Hayward for ideas.