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The Dos and Don’ts of Corporate Gifting Etiquette

December 17, 2021

Corporate Gift

Corporate gifting is all the rage. Nearly 50% of businesses plan to increase their corporate gifting frequency, creating a record $242 billion industry in 2021.  It’s easy to see why so many companies choose to spread the love: corporate gifts provide a tangible benefit, with 96% of respondents in a recent CoreSight Research survey noting improvements in their business relationships as a result.  


That said, businesses are spending more and more time deliberating the nuances of the gifting experience. Considerations like branding, gifting frequency, and seasonal timing can turn the act of gift-giving into an anxiety-inducing ordeal. Before you send out that first package, it’s vital that you take the time to ensure your gift’s presentation reflects your company’s intention.


To help make the process easier, we’ve compiled several best practices below to help guide your corporate gifting and called out some of the most common mistakes that gift-givers make. Happy gifting!


DO Ensure Your Gift Reflects the Nature of Your Relationship and Holds Meaning for the Recipient

When considering which gift to send, take a moment to reflect on the nature of the business relationship between your brand and the gift recipient. Anybody can stuff a bag of popcorn into a gift box and call it a day, but tying a gift to your shared experiences and values can turn every unboxing into a memorable event. In our 2020 Business Gifting Report, we found that 78% of Packed with Purpose gift recipients felt that the gift boxes or baskets strengthened their relationship with the sender’s business, facilitating further productivity and strengthening bonds that were already in place.


If you have a connection with a client because you’re aligned in terms of your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values, choose a gift that reflects these values and underscores your commitment to environmental and social change. Think about how your recipient measures value, and select a gift option that complements that value.


DON’T Overbrand Your Gift or Frame Your Gift as a Transaction

If you want your recipient to remember who sent them a thoughtful gift, don’t inundate them with an overwhelming array of brand colors or an oversized logo. Overbranding can make your gift seem insincere or arbitrary, so don’t be afraid to let your company take a backseat to the substance of your chosen gift. Support your shared experiences with a profound, deliberate display of professional appreciation, not an advertisement for your brand.

In fact, overused or clichéd items with no sense of intent behind them, such as gift cards or branded pens, might end up hurting your professional relationship. Trite or otherwise stale items can make your gift seem like an obligation, turning an invaluable relationship-building opportunity into an anticlimactic bore. 


You want your recipient to feel as if they’ve received a one-of-a-kind gift from a close associate, not the leftovers from your company’s swag closet.


DO Send Gifts Throughout Your Business Relationship

Whether prospecting for a new client or celebrating the anniversary of your inaugural collaboration, there’s rarely an inopportune time to surprise your recipient with a thoughtful gift box. A gift can translate into a multitude of sentiments for any occasion. Contract renewals, project checkpoints, or even the end of a business relationship can warrant a curated selection of gratifying goods.


Gifts let your recipients know that they’re always top of mind for you and your team. Consistent and consequential gift-giving allows your company to show its commitment to its business partners, giving these clients a tangible measure of your intent (along with the pleasure of unwrapping a gift chosen just for them).


DON’T Wait Until the Holidays to Send Gifts

If you want your gift to stand out and make a bold statement, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle if your package gets lost in a pile of holiday-themed presents. Don’t wait until Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” starts playing to show your clients and employees how much you care. Sending gifts at unexpected or non-traditional times can infuse your present handoff with an added sense of surprise and personability, giving the recipient breathing room to fully appreciate your sentiment.


Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sending out a box of Christmas cookies or a platter of Valentine’s Day sweets. You might even find a more niche holiday that gives you an opportunity to show your gratitude. Don’t feel pigeonholed in your gifting by sticking to upcoming holidays and seasonal goings-on, though. Spontaneity can stand out more than a tinsel-covered package under the right circumstances, so leverage every opportunity to spread joy, regardless of the date on the calendar.


DO Send a Thoughtful and Personal Message Alongside Your Gifts

After you’ve landed on the perfect gift, don’t forget about one of the most significant aspects of the gift-giving experience: your personal message to the recipient. 


Your gift message is the most valuable real estate in the gifting process, so choose your words wisely. Use the message space to express your sincere gratitude and further personalize the experience, demonstrating to the recipient that you’ve put no small amount of thought into the gift. The right message can accentuate your original intent and clarify your commitment to the recipient, allowing you to get personal in an unobstructed, elegant manner. 


Think about how you can turn “Happy holidays!” into “You are the real MVP.” Thank your recipient for helping your company ring in another successful year by way of their unwavering dedication, invaluable skill set, and collaborative demeanor.


DON’T Leave a Generic Message

Just as a personalized message can expand connections with your recipient, a lackluster or generic message can flatten your package. If you want your gift to stick in your recipient’s memory, write from the heart and speak to the specific aspects of your relationship that prompted you to order a gift in the first place. 


Generic messages undercut all your efforts, leaving the impression that you’ve given this gift to countless others. Don’t miss the chance to create a unique, relationship-building opportunity. To summarize: don’t waste your limited number of characters on a copy-pasted platitude. 


Keeping these best practices in mind can be the difference between just sending a package and giving your recipient an impactful, memorable gift that reminds them of your relationship’s continued value. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or need help actualizing any of the above tips, look no further than corporate gifting concierge services. A Packed with Purpose gift concierge can help you focus your gift-giving efforts and streamline the more complicated aspects of gift giving, such as choosing the right shipping method or compiling delivery addresses.


Connect with a gift concierge now to get started on your gifting journey.