“It’s better to give than to receive.” While this may come across as a cliché, there is real truth behind it – and the old adage applies to more than just your personal life. Corporate gifting can reap benefits whether it’s from an employee or client standpoint.
In this blog post, we’ll explore gift giving on a corporate level, including the benefits; who you should give gifts to and when; and finally, some practical examples of gifts.
Giving has plenty of moral payoffs. You, as a gift giver, get to experience the gratitude and joy you provide the gift recipient when they open the gift – and you can sleep better at night knowing that you made someone’s day or contributed to their happiness. But let’s talk about the bottom line and the benefits corporate gifting can have on your business and client relations.
Gifts from the corporate level create an endowment effect in the gift recipient. This refers to a principle in behavioral psychology that describes the tendency of people to value an object that they own more than they would value the same object if they didn’t own it. (1) Their valuation of the gift creates a positive brand association with the company or person that sent them the gift. Even a simple gift like a mug has been shown to create brand loyalty and forge stronger connections between a business and client, employee, or prospect.
Aside from strengthening those bonds, gifts have the power to motivate employees and boost work satisfaction. Gifts make employees, clients, and prospects feel valued and recognized for their work, resulting in positive reactions from them and a desire to continue their good work.
Corporate gifting is also a great way to market your brand. Just as you would brand promotional products to give out to customers, branded products sent to those in your network also have tremendous visibility. In such a scenario, not only are the branded products that you’ve gifted your contacts – like mugs, pens, and wallets – on display, but those that know their affiliation with your company will be especially impressed to see that those contacts are willing to represent your brand voluntarily in a public setting.
Who Should Get Gifts and When?
As a business owner, you may be wondering who you’re supposed to be giving gifts to. The short answer is anyone whose business or work you appreciate and want to see more of.
Let’s start with employees. The people on the ground making your business run day to day want to be acknowledged for their efforts. Yes, you pay their salary, but 75 percent of employees cite reasons other than money as the main motivator for leaving previous positions.(2) Clearly, they are looking for something more from their employer, and that sense of recognition and appreciation may be what keeps your best workers on board.
Clients should also be a target in your corporate gifting strategy. You may want to spend a little more on your most high-profile clients or those that bring in the most business for you, but gifts are a great way to show any client that you appreciate them and you want to continue your business relationship. Giving gifts to clients at opportune times can remind them of what they like about your company, and even build an emotional connection with them.
Prospects are also a good group to consider when crafting your corporate gifting strategy. The right gift at the right time can motivate prospects to make that purchase, sign up for that service, or trust you with their business. You’re keeping your business at the top of mind for the potential client, and if you can make the gift personal to them, you’re showing them your company will take the time to learn about what’s important to them. One study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans prefer to receive a heartfelt, personalized gift over a generic store-bought one.(3) So make the gift something they care about!
Gifting isn’t just reserved for holidays either. There’s never a wrong time to give a gift! According to Packed with Purpose, the most popular business gift-giving occasions in 2020 were for holidays (51%), customer appreciation (34%), and employee recruiting, appreciation, or milestones (27%).(4) When you only give gifts for the holidays, it may lead some recipients to believe that you are only doing it out of a sense of obligation. When you give an employee, client, or prospect a gift in the middle of the year just to say thank you, or because you remembered their birthday, the unexpected nature of the gift makes it even more impactful.
Realistically, you’re likely to spend more on gifts for your top producing sales professionals, longest tenured employees, or highest dollar prospects, but you can select meaningful gifts at lower costs as well to show anyone your appreciation.
An important aspect of a corporate gift is that it demonstrates usefulness. Gourmet chocolates or a nice wine will obviously have immediate use, whereas a personalized mug, jacket, or tumbler will have sustained use over time.
Experience gifts can also be great, like tickets to a sporting event or wine tastings. These types of higher-level gifts may be reserved for those most important to your bottom line, but can also show you are in tune with their hobbies and interests and remind them of what’s great about your working relationship.
Whatever you decide on for your corporate gifts, adding a personal note is always a good idea. Even if the gift isn’t custom or personalized, make sure your words are. It can be hard in a large business with hundreds or thousands of employees but, if possible, a thoughtful note can elevate the gift to another level. Instead of just “Happy Holidays,” consider referencing goals the employee has achieved or appreciation for specific deals you’ve made with the client. You want the recipient to get the message that you truly care about them, not that you had a generic card stamped with your signature to send to everyone.
Corporate gifting is a vital part of employee retention, prospect recruitment, and client relations. Taking the time to send thoughtful gifts can change the attitude of a workplace or make you a preferred partner for your contacts. Whether it’s for the holiday season, employee appreciation, or to celebrate a milestone, gifts from your company show that you care and are committed to making those around you feel valued.