25 Tips for Giving Corporate Gifts that Impress
Gifts are meant to be given from the heart and corporate gift giving is no different. Gifts humanize business while creating and building relationships. However, it’s all too easy to think “what’s in it for me” when we give a gift to a customer or client instead of “how can I make it special for them.” A carefuly-chosen gift can strengthen your relationship while making the wrong choice and do the opposite.
There are many occasions to give a corporate gift but surprising someone when a gift is least expected and for no special reason is one of the best ways to start or build a business relationship.
Customers and clients don’t want to feel like a number on a spreadsheet. They want to feel valued, appreciated, and like they’re one of your VIPs. Use thoughtful corporate gifting to create that experience — you could send a gift to acknowledge your client’s anniversary with your business or to congratulate them when they win an award or achieve a business milestone.
You can encourage prospects to become customers by sending them a gift to schedule a meeting or to thank them for meeting with you. This can be a great way to start an awesome client relationship and show prospects that you’re the company to do business with.
When we think corporate gifts, our thoughts turn to thank yous or holiday gifts given to enforce our branding to a customer or client. But don’t neglect your partners and employees as well. They are your most valuable asset. Keep them in mind when they receive a promotion, retire, have a new baby, get a new pet or buy a new house, get married, or join your company as a new employee. If they are relocating from a different area, relocation can be a difficult process. A “welcome to our company or town or state gift” can make the move easier and endear you to them. Making an employee feel welcomed or valued is one of the first and best ways to ensure you enjoy a long, happy working relationship together.
Consider the Tax Implications
Sometimes, sending corporate gifts can be tax deductible. It all depends on the value and type of gift.
The IRS states that organizations can deduct gifts of up to $25 for each individual per tax year. This applies to gifts that are considered either direct (given to an employee) or indirect (given to the family of an employee or to a client).
This means if you send your employee a $100 basket as a gift to celebrate a personal milestone, $25 of that is tax deductible. Incidental expenses, like engraving, can be deducted beyond this $25 figure — but only if they don’t add significant value to the item. You should keep records of any corporate gifts you send, along with the business purpose for sending the gift and provide that information to your accountant at tax time.
Choosing the Perfect Corporate Gift
Choosing the perfect gift for the recipient and the occasion doesn’t have to be hard. During our 30 years of assisting our customers, choose appropriate gifts, we have come up with some tips that should be helpful to you as well.
- Creativity is necessary when the budget is low. An inexpensive gift can be given an elegant touch with gift wrap, a spectacular bow, or even an unusual box or container.
- Taking the time to personalize a gift based on their professional interests and affiliations, the products they use, or personal interests such as pets, sports, or hobbies, can create a strong connection that resonates and pays returns for years to come. A woodworking fanatic may like a gift certificate to a hardware store while a football fan may be enthralled with a tailgate gift basket.
- Think quality, quality, quality. Stay away from gifts that look cheap. Inexpensive gifts can be quality gifts.
- Give a useful item, something practical and that everyone can use. Surround the useful item with shareable gourmet food. Think quality over quantity. For example, pair a cheeseboard with crackers and jam or a travel backpack with jerky and trail mix or coffee tumbler with high-quality coffee beans.
- Unless you know the person really appreciates a quality wine, avoid alcohol. This used to be the “gift to give” but is now considered inappropriate by many. There are those who don’t drink and also those who shouldn’t drink. If you do give an alcoholic gift, include it in a gift basket with gourmet foodsA gift that is functional, but that the recipients may not buy for themselves, is always appreciated.
- If giving to an international client, be aware of gift protocols and taboos for their particular culture.
- When choosing a gift think of perceived value, not actual value. Unless you send the receipt (which would be incredibly tacky), they’ll never know how much or how little you spent. If you buy a gift from one of the discount stores, such as Costco or Sam’s Club, you run the risk of the recipient seeing the same gift the next time they visit that store and discovering how much you spent for it.
- Even though you may not know the customer very well, make the gift personal by writing a note to go with it. The fact that you took the time to sit down and write can mean a lot.
- When choosing large-volume corporate gifts, consider a gift that reflects your company’s spirit and brand. But be sensitive about using your company logo on all your gifts–particularly those which will be used in the home. Would you entertain with coasters or cups that had a company’s logo imprinted on them? Maple Ridge Farms ,which is rated as the #1 supplier of corporate gifts every year, uses very tasteful imprints of your company logo on the product or ribbon.
- Chocolates make great gifts but, once they’re eaten, they’re gone and the box is usually discarded. If giving chocolates, consider combining them with a gift that will be kept such as a crystal bowl.
- Just as chocolates are forgotten as soon as they are eaten, so are gift cards forgotten as soon as they are spent. If giving a gift card, combine it with something else that will be memorable.
- If the gifts are for employees, give gifts that they will enjoy on their off time rather than work related gifts. A picnic basket, game, or even a gift basket that reflects their personal interest are some suggestions.
- Gag gifts are tacky.
- If your budget is too low for even a small gift, send a gorgeous card that you selected along with a personal note telling the recipient how much he/she is appreciated.
- A gift that represents your own unique region of the country is usually appreciated.
- This shouldn’t have to be said, but avoid any gifts that are political, sexual, or religious in nature.
- Don’t just think holidays. Create occasions for gift giving that are unexpected. Some reasons to give a gift include congratulations, celebrations, motivation, promotion, thank you, cheer up, and apologies.
- If your company has a predictable gift that you want to give, transform it into an exciting gift. For example, a silver picture frame could include a message just from you inserted in the frame. Or a coffee mug could include some gourmet coffee and cookies. A glass candy jar could be filled with gourmet candies or cookies.
- Take time to gift wrap a gift. This conveys the message that you care.
- Think about the recipient’s taste and style, rather than yours, when choosing a gift. Perhaps you’re country-western while the recipient is sophisticated. Choose a gift that would appeal to him or her.
- Avoid overly expensive or ostentatious gifts. They seem to shout that “I want to buy your business.”
- Some corporations and government agencies have limits on the value of a gift that is given to their employees. Others may not allow gifts at all. Check these policies to avoid embarrassments.
- Corporate gifts are business tools to strengthen relationships. Make sure that the gift reflects positively on you and your company.
- Keep a few carefully-chosen gifts on hand so that you can show your appreciation on the spur of the moment.
- Most important of all is to be sincere when you give a gift. Enjoy the spirit of giving.
If you are looking for corporate gifts to send to your customers and clients, check out Maple Ridge Farms. They have been voted as the #1 Corporate Gift Company by promotional distributors for many years. We have been a leading distributor for them for many years and our corporate customers and clients love their gifts. We even have recipients contact us and ask where they can buy some of the products used in the gifts.
Another great corporate gift company that we represent in Fairytale Brownies. Lots of themed brownie gift boxes in many price ranges and the best thing of all is that you don’t have to pay a set-up charge to add your logo to their gifts.
With 30 years experience providing quality corporate gifts to our customers, we know how to help you make a great impression without your having to say a word.