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TCMPiWhat Do Women Want?

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The Official TCMPi BlogCorporate gifts need not be gender-specific, but it doesn’t hurt

The tradition of giving corporate gifts for special events and for recognition is a long one. And just like every other aspect of women in the work place, the question of gender also impacts corporate gifting programs. In fact, in addition to considering budgets and emotional impact, today companies must consider gender when it comes to selecting appropriate gifts for employees, clients and business partners.

Gender-specific vs. non-gender specific

While many categories of gifts appeal to both men and women (watches, professional luggage), most come in styles that clearly separate the masculine appeal from the feminine. In other words, a fine leather briefcase for a male executive most likely appears very different from one for the female executive.

Even in gifts that seemingly would appeal to both, men and women generally have different preferences. A gift of fruit for a male, for instance, may lean toward apples and pears whereas females generally prefer strawberries, kiwis and grapes.

What women like

Of course not all women are alike and one should never assume that one gift is perfect for all. However, the following are fairly safe bets for most gifts to women.

  1. Brand name “pampering” baskets. Spa-like items such as lotions, creams, and other luxury items are often a big hit. Be cautious, though, to not select products that infer that the recipient is overweight, aging or unattractive. Stick to the “feel good” stuff.
  2. Designer business luggage. Briefcases, laptop cases, iPad sleeves and the like are not only essentials for the busy business person, for women they are accessories. Many women use them instead of purses and they often have more than one of each. If you give gifts every year, consider keeping the luggage line in the selection for several years so recipients can build a collection of matched pieces.
  3. Jewelry. First off, stay away from anything that can be construed as “personal.” No rings at all and earrings are a bit “iffy.” Pendants are by far the safest. In any case, don’t go for “faux” anything; you’ll just come off as cheap. When budgets are an issue, try sterling silver instead of gold and pearls rather than gems.
  4. Electronics. The days of electronics being “man toys” are over. Women today love their iPods, iPads, Kindles, digital Nikons and all sorts of other electronics. And don’t forget headsets; women like to listen to music undisturbed too.
  5. Brand name and designer accessories. From sunglasses to scarves and watches to trench coats, people love well-known and well-respected brand names. According to one study, 85% of all brand name purchases are made by women. Give the women on your gift list a selection of designer items and they’ll love you for it.

When it comes time to select gifts for corporate giving, you’d be wise to consider the similarities and the differences in preferences of men and women. Choosing the right gift or selection of gifts can go a long way toward making the women feel truly appreciated.

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