Corporate gifts are tokens generally given to major potential or existing customers or business partners to let them know you value them. It is therefore not offered as a reward or prize in an incentive programme or competition, since a true gift is not something you had to work for (a handy hint in romantic and business relationships alike).

Many businesses may wonder whether Santa Claus strategies work when it comes to marketing. The answer is a definite “yes” – granted it is done correctly. However, the relationship between corporate gifting and its return on investment may not be that straightforward, as it is part of a greater (but very important) relationship-building approach that should in the end yield positive results.

Gift giving is an art and if you do not have a natural (ahem) gift for it, you may want to ponder on some pointers. So, what are the present present presentation practices? (First, take a moment to digest that sentence…)

Picking presents

Corporate gifts could entail anything from stationery, household items and gourmet food baskets to tickets for concerts or sports events and even cars or holidays.

How do you find the perfect present? If you know the intended recipient well enough, something with a personal ring to it will go a long way (e.g. binoculars for a nature fanatic). Otherwise, a generic gift will have to do – a gift catalogue could help you out with ideas. Branding gifts is a great way to do free advertising, but be careful to keep it tasteful and subtle – over-promotion tends to be tacky.

Presenting presents

How you bestow a present may be as important as what you give. If you are going through the trouble of giving gifts, you might as well wrap it appealingly so that the customer will be more likely to remember the experience positively. And provide a handwritten card to go with it – remember – the goal is to build a personal relationship!

How you deliver also matters. Face-to-face delivery may aid in relationship-building. However, mailing to the customer’s office or home (provided that it won’t make you seem like a stalker) may be preferred, as no immediate reaction is expected. Again, make sure you do not blatantly make it into an occasion for promotion (maybe with a photo shoot to have boasting material for social media), as this might turn a generous hand-out into a dead giveaway… in more than one sense.

When to give? Holidays are an obvious and generally safe time to give presents and people are mostly ready to receive them without questioning. However, if you want to stand out, be a bit more creative – give on a strategic date (e.g. on the anniversary of your business’ opening or the initiation date of the relationship between you and the customer). If you want the recipient to feel personally valued, consider gifting on special occasions such as a birthday or the celebration of a major achievement.

Present precautions

Unfortunately, corporate gifting is wrapped in some etiquette and ethical concerns.

First, make sure the gift does not offend (e.g. wine to a teetotaller or Christmas gifts to customers from non-Christian religions). It should also not embarrass the receiver, like when it is inappropriately lavish to the type of relationship or when the presentation creates an uncomfortable situation – for instance when a crowd is around to witness.

It is especially important that a gratuity does not seem like a bribe. Therefore, the type of gift and the timing thereof (e.g. never during a tendering process) are matters that deserve careful consideration. Furthermore, keep in mind that certain businesses and industries have a policy against receiving gifts, so ensure that you do not step over ethical boundaries and put yourself and the planned-on beneficiary in a humiliating position.

Purchasing presents

When placing an order with a corporate gift supplier, there are certain details that you should provide to ensure a prompt and problem-free process. (Although they are probably very keen to help you give great gifts, they are not exactly Santa’s elves who can operate from magic as opposed to proper briefs.)

Inform them of:

  • The quantity of products required
  • Colour and size (where applicable)
  • If you want branding done, make sure they are aware of the size, position and exact colours you prefer. And always provide PDFs with your logo or other artwork in vector format (nope, the one from your email signature won’t do!)

Lastly, allow ample time for an order to be completed so that any possible production or delivery issues can be dealt with before the date you intend to present that present.

Want to start booming your business relationships through corporate gifting? There is no time like the present!

Gawk can supply you with a range of branded gifts. Find out more about our products and services at www.gawk.co.za