Corporate gifting is an art that, when done well, can strengthen relationships, foster goodwill, and leave a lasting impression on clients, employees, and business partners. However, there is a fine line between a thoughtful and impactful gift and one that falls flat or, even worse, becomes a source of embarrassment or offense. In this blog, we will explore the common pitfalls and missteps when it comes to corporate gifting, shedding light on how easy it is to get it wrong. From inappropriate choices to gifting without the personal touch, join us as we navigate the treacherous terrain of corporate gifting gone awry and learn valuable lessons on what not to do.
1. Companies don’t always brand the gift.
And yet, branding helps to create a lasting impression. By including your logo, company name, or even a unique design, you are increasing brand recognition and visibility. The recipient, as well as anyone else who sees the gift, will associate it with your brand, which can lead to increased brand awareness and potential new customers or clients.
Furthermore, branded gifts can serve as a powerful marketing tool. When the recipient uses or displays the gift, it acts as a constant reminder of who you are. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and even referrals as others notice and enquire about the branded gift.
Branding a gift also reduces the possibility that the gift is re-gifted to someone else. You want the target recipient to enjoy the gift themselves. Regifting isn’t always a negative reflection of a gift. It might simply mean the recipient feels it would be better suited to someone else. We cover more of how you can avoid mismatched gifts below.
To put it succinctly, putting branding on a gift can be a fantastic way to make a memorable impression, strengthen your brand, and foster positive relationships with clients, customers, or employees.
2. Companies do the same as everyone else – boring!!
Doing the same as everyone else equals forgettable, which is the polar-opposite of what you are trying to achieve when you send a corporate gift.
You want the recipient of your gift to feel valued, so they understand how important the working relationship is to you. It’s a gesture of gratitude and ideally you would like to gain an emotional connection, a gift that they are delighted to receive. Sending bland gifts is a transaction, not an emotional experience. By emotional, we don’t mean they need to shed a tear! Rather that it makes them smile, even laugh if it’s funny, but certainly makes them feel appreciated and valued as that is the greatest gift of all.
A memorable gift creates a strong emotional connection between the giver and the recipient. It shows that the giver has put thought, effort, and consideration into selecting something special for the recipient. This emotional connection strengthens the bond between the two parties and can lead to a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
And, all of the above develop positive brand association. A memorable gift can be extremely positive. When a company gives a memorable gift to its clients, partners, or employees, it creates a favourable impression of the brand. This can lead to increased loyalty, brand recognition, and even new potential business opportunities.
In short, the memorability of a gift contributes to the overall satisfaction and relationship-building aspects of gift-giving. It helps create positive and lasting memories that can have numerous personal, emotional, and with corporate gifts, professional benefits, which after all, is the aim of the game.
3. Not knowing your recipients likes or dislikes.
Paying attention, pays!!
Bespoke gifting is so powerful. Showing a client you care by paying attention to their details. Anyone in a customer facing role naturally builds relationships. The more interactions we have the more we learn about our customers and that helps us to know how best to deal with them. With enough time, and enough interest, we get to know their likes and dislikes too.
If you have a CRM that you can list preferences in, use it. Keep it up to date. Your knowledge is power and sets you apart from competition. Your information allows you to create powerful communications, e.g. wishing them a happy birthday. Corporate gifts don’t always have to be physical. Giving your clients the warm feeling of being valued by simply picking up the phone or sending a well-timed email can be invaluable, especially when there is no obvious sales focus or motive attached.
If you want to send impactful gifts to newer customers, why not ask them what they like as part of the gifting process. E.g. Say ‘We would love to send you a gift. Here are some ideas we had in mind, please pick your favourite’. Do not be too specific as the build-up of anticipation is what you are after!! And of course, the gift will be absolutely spot on.
4. You send gifts to the office.
Lots of gifts sent to the office are received by the office manager, otherwise often known as the ‘gate keeper’. If you want your gift to land with the person you intended it to, on the day you intended, make sure you give them an option to have it delivered to their preferred location. This is even more important now that remote working is so prevalent.
Delivering personally is great, but if you have a lot of clients or very remote clients, that is not practical. Instead, make sure you work with a partner that has really good courier network and courier communication options, so you know the gift has been sent and when it has been delivered.
5. Companies send gifts at the wrong time of year.
Everyone gifts at Christmas, yawn!
Gift fatigue is a thing and people receiving lots of gifts from suppliers may have got a bit tired of them by late December.
Think back to the gifts you have received, you enjoy the first gift arriving 1st December, much more than the 10th gift you opened on Christmas day, and that’s because it was unexpected.
Also, it is very important to remember that a gift at Christmastime is not necessarily appropriate for all your giftees.
Also, ask yourself, Is December a time when your customer is considering their strategy? Know your customer’s calendar. Do you know that your most important client has an offsite strategy day every September? Perhaps a well-timed thoughtful gift in late August might just put you in the front of your client’s mind just at the right time.
It’s worth noting that January is a popular month for company strategy, yet a remarkably rare month to receive a gift. Perhaps Happy New Year gifts could be more impactful than Merry Christmas ones. And what a way to start the year. Your brand up there at week one.
By being mindful of the potential effects of gift fatigue and adjusting your approach to gift-giving, you can ensure that the act of giving remains enjoyable, meaningful, and sustainable for everyone involved.
6. There’s no follow-up.
According to a study conducted by a psychologist named Robert Zajonc, known as the "mere exposure effect," people tend to develop a preference for things or individuals they are exposed to more frequently. This concept can be applied to relationships as well, suggesting that familiarity and repeated interactions can contribute to the development of meaningful connections.
However, it is important to note that the mere number of interactions is not the sole determinant of meaningful relationships. The quality and depth of those interactions are equally crucial. Building trust, empathy, and understanding through meaningful conversations, active listening, shared experiences, and mutual support are essential elements in forming strong and meaningful relationships.
Sending a gift, provides lots of opportunities to interact. The most powerful is probably calling to find out if they enjoyed their gift. If the gift has landed well, you have a customer who is grateful and feels valued and appreciated by you. That should be a warm conversation where relationships start to grow stronger and deeper. Don’t forget to follow up to check a gift has arrived. This is not a sales call; it is a moment of bonding between you and your client.
7. Gifts don’t align with your company’s values.
When gifts are aligned with your strategy, they can help reinforce your brand identity or convey a specific message. For example, if your strategy revolves around sustainability, offering eco-friendly or reusable gifts can showcase your commitment to the environment. For example, if you preach sustainability, don’t send a plastic piece of unrecyclable junk.
Gifts that align with your strategy can create a positive association in the recipient's mind because you are authentically you. They can help reinforce the values or qualities (often shared with your clients) that you want to be associated with your brand or relationship. This can contribute to long-term loyalty and positive impressions.
On the flip side, gifts that don’t align with your company values can confuse customers, weaken relationships and convey insincerity.
8. Send gifts that only appeal to one sense.
By appealing to all senses, a gift creates a multi-sensory experience that engages the recipient on various levels. This multi-dimensional approach enhances the memorability of the gift and leaves a lasting impression. Whether it's through visual appeal, touch, sound, taste, or smell, a gift that stimulates all senses stands out and becomes more memorable in the recipient's mind.
Sight: Visual appeal plays a crucial role in making a gift memorable. When a gift is visually appealing, it catches the recipient's attention and leaves a lasting impression. Vibrant colours, unique designs, or aesthetically pleasing packaging can enhance the overall appeal. Also, your logo showcased.
Touch: The tactile experience of a gift can greatly enhance its memorability. When a gift has a pleasant texture or is made of high-quality materials, it adds a sensory dimension that engages the recipient's sense of touch. This tactile stimulation can create a deeper connection.
Sound: Gifts that produce sound or are associated with a specific sound can trigger powerful emotional responses. For example, music-related gifts or crunchy packaging that make pleasant sounds can evoke positive memories or associations. The inclusion of sound can make the gift more memorable and emotionally impactful.
Taste: Edible gifts or items associated with taste can leave a lasting impression on the recipient. When a gift appeals to the sense of taste, it creates an enjoyable experience. There’s a reason we like to eat meals with our loved ones. Sharing food is an age old strong human habit that helps us bond.
Smell: The sense of smell is closely linked to memory and emotions. When a gift has a pleasant scent or is associated with a specific aroma, it can evoke nostalgic or positive feelings. The olfactory experience adds depth to the gift and makes it more memorable.
In conclusion, getting corporate gifting wrong can have detrimental effects on relationships and professional reputation. It is crucial to avoid generic and impersonal gifts, as well as choosing items that are unrelated to the recipient's preferences and interests. Inappropriate, offensive, or ill-thought-out gifts should be strictly avoided to prevent any negative consequences. Additionally, timing plays a significant role, and gifting during sensitive moments or holidays that may not align with the recipient's beliefs or values should be carefully considered. By being mindful, thoughtful, and considerate in corporate gifting, one can ensure a positive impact and strengthen professional relationships rather than weakening them.
Spend that corporate gifting budget wisely. If you would like to learn more about SpiritSmith, our approach and how you can maximise the impact of your corporate gifts, please contact Pippa on firstname.lastname@example.org.