Business Gifting: when it all goes wrong?

Where presents are concerned, the saying goes “it’s the thought that counts”.

This is never truer than with corporate gifting.

When your company wants to promote its brand or incentivise customers or staff, it’s definitely better not to bother, rather than send something that actually dents your reputation!

In a nutshell, this is not about cost. Even the simplest gesture can make a difference. Just make sure the gesture is the right one.

Seriously cheesy or just plain awful

Passive marketing is as important as your strategic and active marketing activities. Your brand is judged using everything from the livery on your company vehicles to the signage in your car park. If you distributed a corporate gift that is impersonal, shoddy or totally inappropriate, what message does it send out?

Pens that don’t work or that leak, fluffy toys to put on computers when everyone uses super-slim technology, engraved glasses that have nothing at all to do with what you sell…the list goes on. These items are cheap as chips to buy in bulk. But they also tell your target audiences that you’re a bit of a cheapskate and you are just “going through the motions”.

Perhaps worse still is an expensive corporate gift that your customers would love, that’s completely ruined by massive branding that makes it too tacky. For example, clothing with a small embroidered logo could be great, but having a huge decal on the back can ensure no one wants to wear it, not even you!

Vouchers or products as gifts

Strategic gifting that involves a voucher for a discount on your own products also needs to be managed well. It must represent a considerable saving or added value. If it’s considered insignificant or a badly disguised attempt to increase sales, you can turn off customers.

The same applies if you send out samples of your own product as a gift. For example, if you make washing products and send out a gift pack of sachets containing your range of brands, at least make sure they are sufficient to provide a true product experience.

It’s not always true that the best things come in small packages.

Offensive business gifting

It may sound common sense, but it’s shocking how many times companies don’t think about religion, cultural sensitivity or gender when business gifting.

For example, if you have Muslim customers, alcohol or bottle openers will be less than welcome. Sending anyone gift hampers containing meat products runs the risk of offending not just vegetarians and vegans, but also Jewish and Muslim recipients if the products cross religious boundaries.

And no matter how much it makes you giggle, toilet humour and sexual “banter” is always a big red light in corporate gifting!

Packaging counts

Whether you are sending one corporate gift, or a thousand and one, the way you present it also matters.

A cool gadget or piece of clothing in a plain jiffy bag can devalue the first impression. Gift boxes can be worth the investment.

Make sure that you include a brief description of why you are sending the gift too.

This is a balancing act. You don’t want the recipient opening the gift and instantly forgetting where it came from. Nor do you want to irritate people with reams of marketing materials.

It all comes down to considering a corporate gift that creates a warm feeling, is personal to the recipient but also positions and promotes your brand well. Simple!

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