The art of corporate gifting and why it should be a priority

Long-term relationships, repeat business, positive brand association, word of mouth referrals. All of these are key drivers of any successful business, and all of these can be driven by an effective corporate gifting strategy.

The bottom line impact of corporate gifting may be hard to quantify, but we know that the intangible benefits to your business can be astronomical. It is critical; therefore, to have a thoughtful, well timed and well executed corporate gifting strategy. It need not be exhaustive, and it most certainly should not be a chore.

Of paramount importance also, is to avoid a generic, run of the mill gifting strategy. Not only could a haphazard approach to corporate gifting achieve a detrimental outcome, you almost certainly would have been better off not sending anything at all.

Today we will explore three topics:

Reward & retain
To brand or not to brand
Timing is everything (or is it?)

Reward & retain

Consider the value your largest customers have provided your business. One commonly shared statistic is that only 5% of your customers bring in nearly a third of your total revenue. That being said, how are you rewarding them?

An oft used saying in many contexts and certainly pertinent to this topic is ‘it’s the thought that counts’. Spending on corporate gifting does not necessarily need to be commensurate with a client’s value to your business. The thought that goes into said gifting, however, certainly does.

Corporate gifting is an incredibly important exercise for client retention, and the requisite time and effort must be dedicated to executing it correctly as it would be for other business development activities.

Surprising your client with a well thought out and useful gift will subconsciously make it harder for them to switch brands. Due consideration should be given to how you think your client will feel upon receiving the gift. Is it something you would be thrilled to receive? Would you use the gift? Would you tell others about the gift? If the answer to all of these answers is yes, you’re in the game.

To brand or not to brand

Contrary to popular belief, the use of company branded items as business gifts is under 35%. This figure appears to be trending steadily downward also. The 2019-2020 Business Gift Satisfaction report indicates that recipients of company branded items as gifts are 21% less likely to report feeling ‘appreciated’, 33% less likely to report feeling ‘very satisfied’ and 50% less likely to describe their gift as ‘very memorable’. Eye opening? I thought so too.

A multitude of methods exist to brand without branding the actual gift, and typically these are far more impactful. Here at Kinnon, we create personalised and hand written cards, fully customisable branded packaging and wrapping paper and of course our meticulously monogrammed leather goods with the recipient’s initials.

Another option that is rising in popularity, particularly with luxury gifting, is discreet custom messaging on the inside of the product. Emphasis on discreet here, and this may or may not include a small logo.

The aim of any corporate gift should be that it is thoughtful, functional and will actually be used, and that it will elicit a positive response and brand association each time it is used. This style of gifting campaign achieves these objectives.

Timing is everything (or is it?) 

Christmas and holidays are often the default setting for corporate gifting. There are several potential pitfalls to be mindful of with this strategy, particularly if it is the only gifting campaign you undertake annually.

One school of thought is that the holiday season is ironically the least effective time to give a gift. It is hardest to stand out amongst a crowd, and the same can be said for gift giving. The road less travelled often has the greatest impact, so it is always prudent to consider the surprise and delight method.

Surprises allow your gift and messaging to take the limelight. They also have the important benefit of letting your client know that you were thinking about them because you wanted to, not because you had to. When recipients describe their business gift as memorable, ROI has been shown to increase by up to 40%.

Be grateful and thankful year round. Thoughtfulness combined with frequency is always a winning formula.

In summary

Every interaction with potential or existing clients has an intrinsic value to a business. As we adjust to a prolonged period without face-to-face meetings and handshakes, finding new and innovative ways to connect is more important than ever.

Mark Ferrari, Sales Director, Kinnon