Corporate Gift Giving That Makes A Splash

Corporate gift giving has taken off, with the percentage of businesses engaging in the practice nearly doubling in recent years. More than half of these gifts go to employee recognition. Many other businesses devote a large chunk of their corporate gift budgets to items given out at promotional events.

Corporate Gifts by the Numbers

According to research, the most recent data shows that corporate gift giving jumped from 5.6 percent to 10 percent in 2013 over in just one year. Similarly, the number of businesses not giving gifts dropped dramatically during the same time period, from 9.5 percent to 4.7 percent over the same time period. The finance, service, manufacturing and professional industries constituted a large chunk of the sectors that were most likely to give corporate gifts.

More than a quarter of all businesses spent between $25 and $49 on most gifts. The next most common average cost was less than $25. Surprisingly, the third most common average price for a gift was between $100 and $199, with fourth and fifth places reserved for businesses that spent between $50 and $99. Businesses gave gift cards more than anything else, and they were most likely to purchase their gifts directly from the manufacturer.

Personalization: A New Trend in Corporate Gift Giving?

From coffee mugs to plaques, the article “Corporate Gifts? Consider These Tastes of Distinction” discusses the sadly predictable nature of corporate gift giving. The solution however, may be in personalization. The article recommends putting a premium on both personalization and functionality – that’s to say, buy a gift that is specifically for that individual, and is something that specific individual could actually use. Resist the urge to just throw your logo onto an object, and instead, consider a personalized, useful gift – like edibles.

A case of steaks tops the list for most appreciated gift, according to the article. There are also subscriptions for wine, cheese, honey, chocolate – and just about every other consumable gift. Through social media, it is easy enough to find out what the recipient is into. Make it just for him or her, and make it something they’ll actually love by favoring edibles over merchandise.

Why Corporate Gift Giving?

According to one expert, corporate gift giving “can help establish or enhance critical relationships and become a cost-effective means of recognizing activities that benefit the business.”

Some businesses avoid gift giving because – unlike ads or social campaigns – it is hard to quantify the return on investment that comes from giving gifts to partners or employees. It is also important to differentiate between gifts and incentives. Incentives are pre-determined and are given following benchmarks like meeting a quota, closing X amount of sales or going this many days without an accident in a manufacturing plant. Gifts, on the other hand, are not designed to motivate the recipient.

Gifts should be lively, but appropriate – and they should be given at an appropriate time. Take care in how you give the gift. Presentation often means as much as the gift itself and, of course, go beyond gift cards and get something personal.

Whether it is to recognize an employee’s exemplary work or years of committed service, to congratulate a client or welcome a new partner, corporate gift giving is a trend that is quickly gaining mainstream traction. As audiences become more sophisticated, the boilerplate gifts that were acceptable just a few years ago now appear cliched and obvious. Tailor the gift to the individual, consider cuisine or fine alcohol, make an effort to understand the recipient’s preferences and always present the gift in a warm, heartfelt manner – they will appreciate and remember that as much as they will the gift.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers corporate culture and small business management.

Andrew Lisa

Andrew Lisa is a freelance technology writer. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

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