Choosing the right corporate gifts to fellow employees, business partners, superiors, and loyal clients and patrons may not be as simple as purchasing personal gifts for family and friends. There are rules and certain corporate policies that you should be mindful of upon selecting the appropriate corporate gift to your chosen recipient. “Gift giving is an ancient trend that has now penetrated the corporate world. Businesses use this tactic in many different ways for many different purposes. For example, promotional gifts are given to prospective customers in events like exhibitions, trade shows and others to spread out the message and loyalty gifts are given to existing and long term customers as well as to hard working employees as a token of appreciation…However, you should follow the guideline to maximize the positive impact of your gifts,” wrote an unnamed online writer of giftsmart.com.sg.
Here are some of the Do’s and Don’t’s that are observed by a responsible and knowledgeable corporate gift giver:
Do: Give healthy food package like organic fruits assembled beautifully on a basket with a transparent plastic and ribbon to your colleagues, customers, or bosses. Such gifts are good as it shows how concerned you are that your gift recipients stick to a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t: Give too much sweets and perishables like cakes, candies, cookies with chocolates especially if the person you are gifting have a diabetic condition. Always find out first if the recipient may find your present more harming than beneficial.
Do: Give travel knick knacks like perhaps figurines, keepsakes, key chains, photo frames etcetera bought from a recent trip overseas. It can be a display item of Eifel tower you got from a gift shop during your trip in Paris or a coin bank shaped like a red London telephone while you were in England or maybe a small geisha doll figure from your travel to Japan. This gift idea is good for people who also like to travel. Know if the certain person you are giving the gift to is fascinated to a certain country or culture and choose which of your knick knacks he/she will appreciate the most. For all you know, the person is a silent travel items collector too.
Don’t: Give religious and cultural items that may offend the receiver. For instance, your boss may be a Jew or a Muslim so giving him or her a rosary or other well-identified religious icons like a cross or a figure of a saint may not something that he or she will appreciate as the person’s own religious group avoid venerating other religious or cultural items. Be very sensitive about this matter because there are people who are very protective of their own faith.
Do: Give gift certificate or gift cheque of a coffee shop, bookstore, boutique, or grocery store. Sometimes certificates and gift cheques are preferred so the person can freely buy the item of his or her choice. This way, it would be less of a burden on your part to pick out an item that the recipient may or may not use anyway.
Don’t: Give cash. It is quite frowned upon in the corporate world to give cold green cash as this may be seen as a way to bribe or use the cash gift to leverage one’s position in the company. While this is not explicitly prohibited, it is simply unprofessional let alone unethical to give anyone cash as a corporate gift—unless you are the CEO of the company who gives the cash as a form of a salary bonus to your employee.
Do: Wrap your corporate gift with an artistic touch. Go splurge on a beautiful wrapper and a colourful ribbon. This gives an element of excitement and heightens the sense of surprise to anyone to receive the gift. Also, do not forget to write a personal note along with the beautifully wrapped gift.
Don’t: Give your gift unwrapped or distastefully and clumsily covered. An unwrapped gift seems to mean you do not care enough to put an effort to wrap the chosen gift and it is like saying “you are not that special anyway and I am just being polite”. The same might be said with gifts that were wrapped without aesthetics and hideously. With that we mean wrapping the gifts with scotch tape visible on the outside, wrapper edges cut oddly, or recycled wrappers with crumples and visible dirt. Make sure you wrap the gift neatly. If the person you are giving the gift to is a superior, we suggest to do away from newspaper wrappings, too, as it silently implies that you seem to be too frugal to buy a decent cover.