Corporate gifts can make recipients feel appreciated and strengthen relationships — and are especially effective when the gifts are memorable and provide greater connection to social values.
Giving corporate gifts to incentive winners and other high-profile attendees and speakers is a time-honored tradition for a good reason — as Jenny McGee points out on the Cultivate blog, “gifting makes people feel good.” And it influences behaviors as well. According to a study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, giving a gift to someone increases feel-good chemicals like serotonin and increases cognitive performance, cooperation, empathy and social bonds on both a behavioral and a neural level — and it does the same for the giver as the recipient. As McGee notes, a gift given by others is also seen as more valuable than if recipients bought the gift for themselves. In short, gift-giving on a corporate level makes the recipient feel appreciated, which can help enhance engagement and loyalty, as well as lead to increased sales. There’s a reason why corporate gifting is a $125 billion market.
Choose the Right Corporate Gift
But it must be the right gift, which can be complicated. In fact, according to the Business Gift Satisfaction Survey conducted by Seattle-based gifting company Knack, more than half of the 1,000-plus respondents said that “gifts can impact their opinion of a business partner both positively and negatively,” so it pays to choose with care. For example, the survey found that C-suite execs prefer gifts that tell a story and create deeper personal connections between the giver and the recipient.
The gift also should correspond to the recipient’s place in the business hierarchy and the nature of the relationship. And presentation also matters — a well-packaged gift signals that there is something of value within, the study found. And, while it’s tempting to stamp a logo on everything to keep your organization top of mind after the event, that trend is on the wane, the study found. The reason? A logo’d item makes it more about the giver, not how the giver feels about the recipient. Gift cards also generally are too impersonal and run-of-the-mill to make much of a lasting impression, the study found.
Make It Memorable
To making a lasting impression that will enhance the relationship, the gift should be memorable. According to a 2020 study by gifting company Packed with a Purpose, 68% of people who have received a “memorable” business gift say it strengthened their relationship with the business that gave it. One way to increase memorability is to ensure the gift is personalized, either with a personal message — which is highly recommended for any type of gift — and by putting the recipient’s name or initials on it.
If you want to make an even stronger connection through corporate gifting, make sure the gift also has an intrinsic “value attribute,” such as being handmade, artisanal, locally sourced, sustainable, or attached to a social movement that means something to the recipient, the study found. A gift that is tied to a philanthropic cause can up the value for recipients even more. According to the Packed with a Purpose study, more than half said they would be “even more delighted” by a gift that comes with a positive social impact. While charitable donations in their name alone are nice, a gift tied to a charitable donation is twice as memorable, according to the Packed with a Purpose study.
With so much riding on finding just the right gift, many decide to outsource their gifting programs to companies that specialize in corporate gifting. Most of these companies can provide a range of gifts so you can be sure to hit the mark for each individual recipient.