Don't Sabotage Your Gift Giving

Business gifts can have a positive effect on our business relationships but only if they are carefully chosen and given in the right way and at the right time. But it's easy to have a negative affect instead if we choose the wrong gift.

When you give a gift to someone, you want to express gratitude for the relationship. Think about it-- wouldn't you rather tug at the heartstrings than be forgotten like last year's fruitcake?

To make a gift truly impactful, it needs to forge a genuine emotional connection.  Whether it's making them smile, laugh, or shed a tear of joy -- your present should leave a mark!  Remember that gifts that sir emotions are the real showstoppers while bland ones can end up in the trash can.

Now, let's address the all-important question, what exactly is a "business gift," and when should you unleash the surprise?

Gifts given for anything related to your business are considered business gifts.  They could  be gifts meant to show appreciation, to apologize for something you have done or neglected to do or gifts to influence someone to buy from you or use your services.

The Christmas holidays is when most business gifts are given but giving a gift when everyone else is thinking about it reduces your ability to create the emotional bond you desire. Your gift, no matter how carefully chosen, may just be lost in the many gifts that the person you hope to impress receives.   Instead, give gifts just because -- year-round -- to surprise and delight those you want to deepen relationships with.

Do the unexpected and you will get much more of an emotional response.  A positive emotional response ensures that people remember you, deepening your relationship.

When planning your corporate gifting program,  don't just think customers and clients.

Employee Appreciaiton Gift - Barbecue kitWelcoming a new employee or even to motivate your current employees and show appreciation for their hard work are other reasons to give business  gifts.  Companies that start employee and customer gift programs tend to maintain the program year after year. Why? Because it works. However, sending the same gift annually can get stale. Try to choose a different gift each time.

Here are some suggestions of what to avoid so that you create the effect you intended.

Gifts that are too expensive or too cheap

Both too expensive and too cheap gifts can have a negative effect on the recipient.  The secret is to find a happy middle.

Choosing a gift that is too cheap is the first mistake you should avoid. This may sound contridictory but there is a time when you may want to choose a cheap gift.    Using your creativity to make "pop-by" gifts to drop by or mail for the purpose of keeping your business front of mind don't have to cost much.  Creativity is more important than cost in this case.  Something as simple as a donut in a clear cello bag or gift box with a gift tag that proclaims "We DONUT what we would do without customers like you!" can create a great impression without spending much.

But when giving a gift to your clients, business partners, or even employees for the purpose of making a good impression or showing appreciation, you don't want to give a gift that will just be tossed in a drawer or trash can never to be seen again.

Forget the notion that higher price always results in deeper appreciation. However humble, a carefully chosen gift that reflects the recipient’s personality and interests is impressive enough.  Choose a gift that is practical and the person will be pleased to receive but don't spend so much on the gift that it will make the recipient feel uncomfortable. Remember that Impressive doesn't have to be expensive."

Gifts that are too personal

While personalized gifts are perfect for your family members,  be careful not to cross the line between professional and personal.

Nothing says you are trying too hard than getting a gift that is too personal. Also, if you don't know someone that well, you could make a mistake and choose something that will only negatively affect your relationship with them.  Pay attention to things like religion and sexual orientation and everything else that can be considered a sensitive area. This also applies to things like alcohol or meat. Inappropriate gifts can offend your business partners, customers and employees deeply, and this is the last thing you want to achieve with a business gift.

Be careful with humorous and Gag gifts.

Although it is always good to think outside the box and create unique business gifts, drawing the line at gag gifts is probably a good idea. It is true that everyone loves a good joke, but not everyone will take it the same way.

Giving an informal and witty gift could indeed be fun and something your employees would talk about for a long time. However, it can have a completely opposite effect as you may end up offending someone unintentionally. Therefore, make sure to avoid gag gifts and make sure you know that the person on the receiving end will appreciate your humerous gift.

Pay attention to cultural and religious beliefs

The history of giving gifts is a pretty long one, and you can find gift giving traditions in every culture and religion. Therefore, even when giving gifts to your clients or coworkers, make sure to be sensitive to their religious or cultural beliefs.

Don't assume everyone celebrates Christmas. So unless you are sure, it is better to be generic and is also another good reason to surprise them with a gift at other times of the year.  But if you do know they celebrate another holiday such as Hanukkah, why not use the opportunity to send a gift for a holiday they do celebrate, but you don't?  This will show that you are aware of and respectable of their beliefs and cultures.

Giving an Inappropriate Food or Beverage Gift

Regardless of whether it is a bottle of wine for someone who does not drink, or a box of chocolates to someone who is a diabetic, choosing the wrong gift will not gain anything for you.

Giving alcohol is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when choosing a business gift unless you are sure that the recipient will appreciate it.  There are those who do not drink alcohol for a variety of reasons and this type of gift could easily offend them.  For those who you know would appreciate and be impressed by a bottle of excellent wine, however, we have an assortment of gift baskets with wine to choose from.

A gourmet food gift basket is usually an ideal gift for most people and most occasions.  But consider what food limitations, the recipient may have.  A dessert gift basket is never suitable for someone who is diabetic just as a cookie gift basket would not be appreciated by a gluten intolerant recipient.

Business gifts shouldn’t look like a marketing piece.

Maple Ridge Meat and Cheese BoardWhen your logo is across every item in the gift box or basket, you are making the recipient feel less valued and like you are only sending a gift as a marketing item. Save those merchandise that screams your brand for promotional events. Rather, keep your logos small and focus more on the message of your corporate gift. If you will include your logo on any gift item, ensure that you opt for high-quality and useful items that the recipient will appreciate having.

For example, we recommend adding your logo to the ribbon or on the outside of the gift box itself.  If you are adding your logo to the gift products, keep it subtle.  Maple Ridge Farms are experts at this by imprinting your logo on ribbon and packaging but also on the cutting board for this gourmet meat and cheese gift.

Don't Neglect the Presentation

A badly wrapped gift box decreases the perceived value of the gift inside. Whereas a beautifully wrapped present sends a message that there’s something of value inside and builds a memorable experience for your recipient when unboxing.

And, most important of all,  when you receive a business gift, make sure that you thank the sender as soon as possible with a personal handwritten note instead of a text message or email.

We hope our article helped you choose a perfect business gift and avoid a potential disaster. Sending gifts is a great way to connect with a person. You don't have to spend tons of money to think of something creative and personalized, but it does take time to pinpoint a gift that creates an emotional connection. And that's time well spent.  We are always happy to share our experience and knowledge in order to help you make a great impression without saying a word, regardless if it is for a business or personal occasion.

If you have some ideas about business gifts to avoid and you would like to share them, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s the worst business gift you’ve ever received?  Or what’s the best?  We’d love to hear about it!  Let us know in the comments below.



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