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The Art of Corporate Gift Giving to Clients

Gift giving seems fairly straightforward on the surface:

  • Pick out something special
  • Give it to someone special
  • Good feelings abound

However, as anyone who’s ever tried to select a gift for a hard-to-please individual knows, the gift-choosing part is much easier said than done. Factor in the concept of giving a gift to a client and the challenges involved grow exponentially…but so do the opportunities. If you get it right, that is.

Wondering where to begin when it comes to corporate gift giving to clients? Read on for the scoop.

Corporate gift giving

Bite-sized relationship builders.

Why Give Corporate Gifts?

If your business is like most, you’re probably working with a tight budget. Unfortunately, many companies dismiss the idea of corporate gifts for clients because they mistakenly believe they can’t afford them. The reality? Failing to acknowledge all of the benefits of a well-implemented corporate giving program is what’s truly going to cost you.

Still not convinced that you should be giving clients gifts as part of your overall business objectives? Here are four reasons that just might change your mindset.

1. Gifts Can Help You Build and Strengthen Relationships.

Whether both parties are aware of it or not, relationships are at the heart of every business transaction. And in today’s era of the notoriously fickle client, not only is it more important than ever to have a good relationship with clients, but it’s equally important to continue to cultivate your relationship along the way.

Client loyalty is hard to come by, and it’s even harder to retain. From expressing gratitude to demonstrating respect, corporate gifts are a simple way to safeguard and strengthen your relationships with clients.

Corporate gift giving

Catch your client’s attention with luxurious lobster claws.

2. They Can Help You Boost Your Brand.

A strong corporate giving program isn’t merely transactional in nature. A particularly interesting, useful or appropriate gift does more than merely demonstrate your feelings to a client, but also conveys a message about your company and its priorities.

In this sense, investing in corporate gifts is an investment in your reputation. As every businessperson well knows, your reputation is everything.

3. Everyone Else is Doing It.

Preschoolers quickly learn that the “Everyone else is doing it, so I should, too,” excuse is not an acceptable reason on its own to do something. The business world, however, represents a very different scenario.

With more and more businesses realizing the value of giving corporate gifts to clients, that takeaway is clear for businesses not yet on board with the trend: Start giving, or risk falling behind. In other words, everyone else is doing it, so you should, too.

4. It’s the Right Thing To Do.

Corporate gifts say “Thank you,” “We value your business,” and “We hope to continue working with you.” Is there ever a good reason not to share these messages with others? Of course not. In fact, as your mother likely taught you, expressing these sentiments is the right thing to do.

With corporate accountability on the rise, doing the right thing is more important than ever. In honoring client relationships with corporate gifts, you’re making a worthy and lasting impression.

(There are some cases, however, when corporate gifts are distinctly not the right thing to do, such as when companies have policies forbidding employees to accept them or during bidding. Learning more about each client’s corporate gift giving policies can help you avoid making an awkward and avoidable misstep.)

Now that you know why giving corporate gifts to clients is so important, this begs the question: Why isn’t corporate gift giving part of your comprehensive business strategies? By building corporate gifting into your budget during planning, you’ll ensure that you have the funds you need to honor clients and client relationships in mutually fulfilling ways.

Choosing Corporate Gifts

Understanding the value of corporate gifts is only part of the big picture. Equally important? Choosing the right ones. Here’s what you need to know.

The Personal Imperative

One word rises above the rest when it comes to smart corporate gift giving strategies: Personalization. Gone are the days of impersonal, one-size-fits-all gifts. While businesses and clients may come face to face with clients less often than in years past, this only reinforces the need to embrace personalization however and whenever you can.

We’re not talking about having a client’s name inscribed on a pen, either, but rather about seeking out gifts which truly speak to the recipient’s preferences, likes, and tastes.

A Go-To Corporate Gift

Speaking of tastes…While the business world has changed immensely over the past 20 years, one thing has remained the same when it comes to corporate gifts: the tremendous popularity of gourmet food and gifts.

Corporate gift giving

The look good, taste good, and do good when it comes to building your business.

While it’s true that food consistently makes the cut when it comes to recommended corporate gifts, not just any food will do. Spoiling clients with particularly meaningful food gifts or with specialty items which they might not otherwise purchase for themselves is an effective way to not only thank them but to demonstrate the extent to which your relationship with the client matters to you and your business.

This is why many forward-thinking companies are moving away from traditional gift baskets and in the direction of more unique and specialty selections. From regional favorites to artisanal offerings, the breadth and depth of choices curated by today’s mail order food companies make it easier than ever to “WOW” clients with the best food gifts online — selected by you just for them. Whether you’re sending fresh Maine lobster to a far-from-home New Englander or an assortment of visually stunning macaroons to a favorite Francophile, there’s no shortage of ways to please palates and personalities.

Other reasons why food is so frequently cited as a top choice when it comes to corporate food gifts? It’s useful, shareable, and absolutely delicious — all valued attributes in society today.

Buying Corporate Gifts

A half a century ago, higher-ups would send their secretaries off on shopping missions to find the perfect gifts for clients. But how perfect was that tie or bottle of liquor? Today, an ill-fated trip to the mall doesn’t have to be part of the equation. Rather, there are many different ways to shop — from tried and true methods like catalog shopping to the world of online commerce.

In fact, the rise of internet shopping has completely transformed the landscape of gift shopping, opening doors to exciting new products which might otherwise be inaccessible. Not only that but ordering online also means your purchases will be shipped straight to the doors of recipients — an appealing incentive for shoppers who may not have the time or inclination to take on hand-delivering the gift or making alternate shipping arrangements.

One last thing to keep in mind? While the holidays are the most obvious time for giving, they’re far from the only time to consider corporate gifts. In fact, a different time of year may not only be the right time to give a gift — for example, immediately following the closing of a big deal — but it may also ensure that your gift will stand out more. After all, people expect gifts in December, so a gift at an alternate time will be both unexpected and extra-appreciated.

While a mindfully executed corporate gift giving program can take some time and effort to devise, implement, and execute, experts agree that doing so is well worth your while. Not only will your clients appreciate the gesture, but they’re likely to return the favor — and then some — with their ongoing business. So what are you waiting for? Shop gifts and much more to start connecting with clients today.