Corporate gift giving is a great practice employed by successful companies who want to show gratitude and consideration to their clients. When chosen carefully, corporate gifts not only impress clients, but also increase loyalty and help build a great reputation. However, corporate gift giving can be tricky and even when you have best interests at heart and you can end up in an awkward situation if you don’t follow some ground rules. Here are the do’s and don’ts you should know about:

 

Do – plan in advance

Don’t wait until the last minute to think of some gift ideas and order them, especially around the holidays. You’ll probably need to order in bulk or send out some printing orders and at busy times the risk of delays is too big to ignore. Make sure you think of the card design a few months in advance and place the order for corporate gifts early, because sending Christmas gifts after Christmas makes you come across and unprofessional and disorganized. For inspiration, see here how you can customise corporate gifts. 

 

Do – use branded merchandise strategically

Branded merchandise can be included in a corporate gift basket, as long as you try to maintain a balance between branded and unbranded gifts. Don’t include only branded products in the gift basket, because you don’t want the gift to be perceived as a purely promotional effort. You will come across as self-centred and the client might even feel insulted. In general, you should only include one or two branded items in the package and those should be fillers, not the main part of the gift.

 

Do – invest in quality

Corporate gifts are representative of your company values. If you send your clients gifts that are broken, ugly, offensive or low-quality, you are risking your reputation. If you don’t have the budget to send high quality, thoughtful gifts, then don’t send anything at all and stick to a well-written thank you email or gift card.

 

Don’t – gift food

A gourmet gift basket sounds like a safe gift idea that anyone would love, until you consider allergies, personal food preferences, expiry dates, packaging and shipping. The recipient of the gourmet gift could be vegan or allergic to one of the ingredients or the food can be mishandled during shipping and could arrive at the destination all ruined.  

 

Don’t – gift culturally charged items

No matter how expensive or luxurious your gift might look, ask yourself: can it be offensive for someone who does not share the same culture as me? If you don’t have any information about your client’s spiritual, cultural or social beliefs, then it’s best not to risk and send a gift that could be seen as offensive.

 

Don’t – forget to personalise

Last, but not least, keep in mind that a corporate gift doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive in order to be appreciated. Sometimes, a small, symbolic gift, personalised gift speaks louder than a costly, but generic one. For example, you can write and sign the accompanying card instead of printing it or you can print the client’s name on the packaging.