Corporate gifts are a great way to show your clients that you appreciate them in a genuine and thoughtful way. Done well, they provide an excellent return-on-investment by strengthening relationships that lead to more sustained business.
The guiding principle to corporate gifts is best summarized by an old adage – “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Great corporate gifts make your clients feel that you care about them, that you think of them, and that you value the relationship. That is the legacy of a great gift.
On the one hand, this means you need to put a bit of thought into your corporate gift strategy – which means thinking beyond the typical wall calendars and branded pens. On the other hand, this means that your gift need not break the bank, and actually shouldn’t, as you’ll see in a moment. There are eight key ingredients to a great corporate gift. Follow these, and you’ll be on your way to choosing a corporate gift that sends your clients exactly the right message.
It’s Not About You
A branded gift is actually the gift-giver asking the recipient for a favour: “Could you hang this calendar branded with my company logo on your wall so your clients see it?”
Giving a corporate gift isn’t about you, it’s about your client. The gift should be relevant and useful to them as individuals. It should show them that you value their business and it should show that you put thought into something unique for them. Do this right, and they’ll think of you and your company every time they use or enjoy it.
That said, bear in mind that there are times when branded gifts could be seen as appropriate, however. While most calendars have become more or less obsolete due to online scheduling, you can still gift a pen because it’s a useful item that people continue to use in the office, and it won’t seem off-putting if it’s mixed in with a gift bag of more personalized items. As long as it isn’t the main gift itself and rather a small accoutrement (a little extra, if you will) – and if the branding isn’t overtly in-your-face, it may be a viable inclusion. But do so sparingly.
Adds a Personal Touch
Every aspect of your gift should demonstrate thoughtfulness, from the packaging to the message. Consider unique packaging that will ensure your gift attracts attention before it is even opened. Since corporate gifting is common, you want everything about your gift to stand out against your competition. Brainstorm ways that you can do this. It may be helpful to have other employees share their ideas.
Be sure to include a personalized message – handwritten if possible – to demonstrate that your client is receiving a message and gift that has been carefully tailored to them. This is better than buying one gift in bulk, scripting one uniform message, and sending the same gift to your entire client list. A personal touch to a corporate gift is all the more distinct in an increasingly digital age.
Playing the Long Game
The best gifts come with no strings attached. Resist the urge to plan a sales call right after sending a gift. You don’t want your client to feel you are trying to buy their business. Instead, focus on building goodwill over time so that corporate gifts fit into a broader client engagement strategy.
Take the time to make a non-sales phone call or send an email to wish them happy holidays, congratulate them on a company anniversary, or compliment their new website. This goes a long way towards showing your clients that you care about and genuinely value them, and aren’t merely interested in a quick sale.
A Way to Build Personal Relationships
As much as you can, get to know your clients personally and know what’s going on in their lives. If they’re celebrating a birthday or getting married, that’s a great time to give them a gift. They’ll remember you as someone who listens and has their interests in mind, which leaves an overall good impression. What’s more, when a customer has an extremely good experience with a company, they’re likely to share it with friends and co-workers.
These gifts don’t have to be spectacular and can just be add-ons to the package that they’re already receiving. Think of restaurants that will provide a piece of dessert on a person’s birthday, stores that offer small gifts to people who have subscribed to their newsletters during that person’s birthday month, or bakeries that keep track of their most loyal customers and offer them the occasional free muffin. This is already a committed customer who is receiving a bonus that makes them more likely to return to your place of business because of an excellent experience.
There is Such a Thing as Too Much
You may think a lavish gift to your client tells them you value their business. But they may instead wonder how much profit is built into your pricing to afford such generosity. You don’t want to overdo it when it comes to sending gifts, especially when you’re trying to turn a potential client into a real one. Your prospect may begin to feel pressured if you continue to send things or spend a lot of money on a major gift, which will drive away business since it suggests that your business relationship will be one filled with pressure.
The value of a good gift goes far beyond its dollar value. Thoughtfulness beats expense when it comes to determining the perfect gift. In a sector where clients often exchange gifts, this will also encourage your clients to likewise focus on creativity and thoughtfulness over price when it comes to gift-giving.
One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All
Depending on your sector, your clients, and the gift, it may be perfectly suitable to give all of your clients the same gift. But rather than automatically taking that approach, consider an alternative approach that focuses on your long-term and high-potential anchor clients.
Under this approach, you may be better off putting more thought into a smaller number of gifts for your high-impact clients, rather than sending the same gift to your entire client list, including those who aren’t likely to be repeat customers.
Regardless of which approach you take, make sure your client records are up to date. All your good intentions are wasted if you send the gift to an office your client vacated six months ago, or if you address the gift to an employee who no longer works there. Perform a review of your client list before sending gifts to make sure you have correct spelling, mailing addresses, and names.. You’ll thank yourself throughout the year for incorporating that effort into your corporate gift strategy.
Corporate gift-giving doesn’t end with the client. You should also be thinking about giving gifts to your employees as a sign of appreciation to show them that their work is valued. Employees who feel valued by their employers work harder. There is also a sense of belonging that accompanies acknowledgement and validation from superiors in the workplace.
Branded products are completely appropriate in such instances. Some employees will choose to keep their gifts in the office workplace. However, others will become brand ambassadors by carrying more useful presents into purses or pockets and using them in public or at home where guests can see them (a beautiful leather wallet or sunglasses case, for instance). Apparel with the company logo is another good idea, since it can be worn everywhere to advertise your business.
Workplace morale isn’t the only reason for employee gift-giving. Being known as a good place to work is fantastic for your branding. Customers and other businesses want to work with companies who have great reputations, and future talent looking for employment will apply to your company first, giving you first dibs on the best hires.
You’re Not Alone!
Stumped for gift ideas or how best to use corporate gifts to improve client relations? You’re not alone! Reach out to companies that specialize in client and corporate gifts and gift packaging for ideas that will ensure a successful corporate gift strategy. These experts can not only help you find great gift ideas; they can also help you find the balance between avoiding the dreaded branded pen while also ensuring your company’s brand and message is present in the packaging you choose, the message you include and other peripheral elements that you pair with each personalized gift.
For a truly unique and memorable gift, deliver it in person in a one-of-a-kind, custom-made wooden box from Ekan Concepts. Ours come in a variety of different woods including maple, cherry, pine and walnut, and are suitable for every occasion. Contact us to start building the perfect gift for your corporate clients today, and surprise them tomorrow!