Is corporate gifting outdated?

A colleague was recently talking about his loathing for corporate gifting. In fact, he has a drawer dedicated to irrelevant, novelty corporate gifts that never get to see the light of day – for good reason. His collection of items that he has no use for – or interest in using – consists of branded USB drives, coffee mugs, pens, notepads, key rings, stress balls, and the like. Instead of increasing brand awareness, these ill-considered gifts only ended up irritating him.

Corporate gifting as we know it is outdated, and does more harm than good.

Corporate gifting that isn’t relevant to the recipient will never elicit a positive sentiment towards your brand, nor will it encourage or motivate people to make a purchase. In fact, corporate gifting as we know it, ends up putting the recipient permanently off your brand. If your marketing department insists on some form of corporate gifting, it’s time to change your tactic.

There are two alternatives to the run-of-the-mill branded gift.

Instead of wasting money on traditional corporate gifting (branded ball point pens, key rings, etc.), use this portion of your budget to gift your target market with an experience. Unlike a trinket that will end up forgotten in the dark recesses of a drawer, an event that’s memorable, engaging and relevant is of far more value to both your target market and your brand. By creating an event that elicits positive emotions, you’re gifting your guests with an emotive experience that positions your brand as one they relate to.

Emotive experiences benefit your brand too – in the form of positive brand sentiment, and valuable data.

Besides successfully showcasing your brand as one that values its guests, an engaging event is also an opportunity to gain further insight into the very people you’re trying to market your brand to. When people are delighted by a brand – whether via a world-class event, great customer service or attention to detail in the form of value-added extras – they’re willing to exchange their information. This is because you’ve succeeded in making them feel recognised as an individual, as well as valued for their patronage.

If you’re not ready to part with corporate gifting as part of your marketing strategy just yet, you’ll need to ensure you’re following these two rules:

Rule number one of successful corporate gifting: Use your data. Far too many brands settle for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ corporate gifting option – to their detriment. Whether due to laziness or a lack of data – or both – these brands are essentially wasting their money. Choosing a corporate gift that delights relies on knowing a little bit about the recipient. Once you’ve gathered this data, you’ll be able to choose a gift that’s relevant, personal and interpreted as thoughtful.

Rule number two of successful corporate gifting: If the gift isn’t unique and high quality, don’t gift it.

Finding a supplier of beautiful, unique corporate gifts is difficult, but not impossible. It’s advisable to find a go-to corporate gifting supplier for the times when you do need to find a gift for a customer or employee. One of the corporate gift companies I personally love is Silver Ribbon – who have fresh, new ideas to suit all types of customers and occasions.

In order to ensure that your corporate gifting translates into increased brand advocacy, it’s crucial that you use the right event management tools to gather information about your guests.

How do you find out what gift someone would like to receive? By asking them. It’s as simple as that. If you’re using our RSVP software, you’ll be able to ask your guests this very question – saving you time and money. Find out more about how our event management software assists leading local and international brands in creating relevant, engaging experiences here.

Image Credit: Coffee Cakes

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