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TCMPi3 things corporations absolutely must consider before choosing their next gift.


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We’ve all seen it over and over again. A company decides to thank its (fill in the blank: staff, customers, providers, Town Council members) for their (another blank: hard work, business, service, unyielding support). They need (a gift, several gifts, lots of gifts).

They turn to (their trusted gift supplier, the first name in their Google search, someone they heard about from someone or other). And after an in-depth discussion (usually about money and delivery) what do they decide to give?

Whoa! What’s this another calendar? And gee it has the giver’s logo on it. Or maybe it’s…a coffee mug! Will the generosity never cease?

Why giving a bad gift is worse than giving no gift at all.

There certainly is a place for promotional items as giveaways. But when it comes to true gift giving, companies have to do more. Giving an inappropriate gift can actually do more harm than good. Giving the wrong gift creates as much negative emotion as giving the right gift creates positive emotion.

Here are three things to help companies choose the right gift.

1. Who’s the “who” and what’s the “why” behind the gift?

There are all kinds of people companies may want to gift and there are all kinds of reasons why those people deserve recognition.

  • Staff members may have worked extra hard, achieved extraordinary success, or even stuck by the company for years through the ups and downs of the business.
  • Board Members can either be the bane of a company’s existence or its most stalwart supporters. Regardless, Directors fill a useful role and giving thoughtful, original gifts can speak volumes about a company’s regard for them.
  • Clients and customers come in every possible description. From the stalwart, bread-and-butter account to the new-to-the-business start-up, showing appreciation for their business requires careful consideration as well as heart-felt sincerity.

2. What are the politics and what is the culture surrounding the gift giving?

The idea behind gift giving is to make someone (or several some ones) happy, not to cause discontent.

  • If there are a number of people receiving a gift, companies must choose between the one-for-all or the one-and-only type gift. They must be prepared to tread a fine line between the appearance of gratitude and the suggestion of favoritism.
  • Giving a significant gift can meet with gracious acceptance or suspicion of ulterior motives. Givers must be careful about the perceived value of the gift, the timing of the gift and cultural differences that may cause good intentions to backfire.

3. What’s the cost…and what’s the value?

Of course budgets must be considered. However, selecting a gift of little perceived value can cause more harm than good. The fact is, choosing the wrong gift at the “right” price is just a waste of money.

  • Check with gift providers with a wide selection of brand name items. Just the brand name alone can lift the perceived value of a gift with little or no increased cost.
  • Work with a provider who can think outside the box. Innovative companies can stretch budget dollars beyond what many givers thought possible.

When it’s time to consider giving a token of appreciation, for whatever reason, it’s time to give careful thought to what will truly impress the recipient. Thoughtfully thinking through who’s going to receive the gift and why, the political situation surrounding the gift giving, and the cost versus the value of the gift will lead to gift giving success.

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