Corporate Gifting: a complete guide
Updated: Jun 2
Curious about corporate gifting? You’re in the right place. Find out all you need to know in our complete guide.
Read on for answers to questions like, what corporate gifting is, why it’s important, if it’s legal, what makes a perfect corporate gift, and more.
What is corporate gifting?
Corporate gifting is sending a gift from your business. It could be to a client, employee, prospect, or supplier. When it’s from your business, it’s a corporate gift.
Companies send corporate gifts for all kinds of reasons. It could be to say thank you for helping the firm in some way, to welcome a new employee, or create a great first impression with a client. Or it might be part of your marketing or PR strategy to gain editorial coverage or win influencers.
Other reasons to send corporate gifts include:
Birthdays and company anniversaries
Christmas and New Year
Staff onboarding, leaving or gaining professional qualifications
To mark milestones for employees and clients
To promote your business externally at conferences and events.
Whatever your reason, corporate gifting shows the people who matter to your business how much you value them.
Why send corporate gifts?
Sending corporate gifts is a great way to show you appreciate the people who help your business grow. But gifting should not be ad hoc or lacking in consistency and thought.
Corporate gifting should be a part of your overall business strategy. Here’s why:
Attract new customers
Sending a well-thought-out, personalised gift to prospects can make you stand out. A branded gift or product they use time and again can help keep your company front of mind too. Then, when they need your services, you’ll be top of their list.
Build client relationships
You provide top-notch service, outstanding advice, or a product that’s second to none. Your customer service is 5-star rated. Your clients are impressed. But how do you inspire loyalty and keep them coming back?
Corporate gifting can help you with retention by building client relationships. A timely, considered gift will boost goodwill and show your customers they’re not just a column on a spreadsheet. You’ll see an upturn in brand perception as well as your ROI.
Engage and inspire your team
Without your employees, where would you be? Your people are your business. When you’ve found the right staff you want to keep them — employee turnover is costly, let’s face it. Thoughtful corporate gifts will keep your team engaged and boost morale.
Happy employees are more likely to keep doing their jobs and doing them well. A well-timed gift can incentivise your team to meet targets and increase productivity. And that’s great for your bottom line.
Are corporate gifts legal?
Yes. Corporate gifts are legal. The 2010 Bribery Act was brought in to take a tough stance on corruption not to stop businesses from giving gifts. But you should only give corporate gifts if there is a legitimate purpose and they are reasonable and proportionate.
There are three factors to consider when corporate gift giving:
A corporate gift should not be sent to influence a business decision or gain a business advantage, at the time of tender, or during a dispute. It could be considered a bribe.
And while there’s no specific limit to what’s acceptable in terms of the cost of the gift, use your common sense. A modest hamper of goodies around Christmas won’t raise eyebrows. A holiday in the Bahamas most definitely will.
So how do you make sure you keep on the right side of the law?
Corporate gifting policy
A business could be found guilty of bribery for not having the correct procedures in place. At Bow, we recommend you have a clear gifting policy for your business. It should include guidelines on what gifts are acceptable (both to send and receive) and a limit on their value. Distribute it to all staff and make sure every gift is recorded along with its purpose.
Before you send a corporate gift, check to make sure the company or individual can accept them. Some businesses have a policy not to accept gifts. It’ll save you some embarrassment (and money) if you find out first.
Are corporate gifts taxable in the UK?
In the UK tax rules for corporate gifts vary. It depends on the type of gift, who it’s for and why you’re giving it.
Tax on gifts to employees
You don’t have to pay tax on employee gifts as long as you meet certain conditions:
The gift does not cost over £50. (If it does cost more, then the entire amount is taxable, not just the difference.)
If the gift is to a group, the average cost per head must not cost over £50.
The gift is not a voucher or cash.
Head to the government’s employee benefits web page for exactly what’s allowed and what’s not.
Tax on gifts to clients
As a general rule, gifts to customers aren’t usually tax-deductible. They’re seen as entertaining costs. There are, however, certain exceptions.
As long as the gift cost is under £50 and it’s clearly branded with your company logo it should be tax-deductible. But you can’t give food, drink, tobacco or a voucher. Your branding should be on the gift itself, not just the packaging. And you can’t spend over £50 on advertising gifts for any one client during a financial year.
Gifts as part of a sale
If a gift is part of a sale it may qualify for a tax deduction. What’s more, there are no restrictions on price or the inclusion of food and drink. For example, if you offered clients a gift for purchasing a certain number of products, it would qualify as a discount and therefore a business expense.
Gifts to charity
A gift is an allowable business expense when made to a charity or designated educational establishment.
For the ins and outs of tax relief and VAT on business gifts, read the government’s business promotions web page.
What makes a good corporate gift?
Ever opened a gift and thought, “so that’s what they think of me — not a lot”. We all remember the terrible gifts we’ve received but we never forget the great ones. So what makes a good corporate gift?
Here are some top tips for creating a gift that stands out for the right reasons. Along with common corporate gifting mistakes to avoid.
Personalise your gift — corporate gifts that generate a higher ROI are personalised to the recipient. Tuck a note inside every gift at the very least. Some products can also include the recipient's name as well as the company logo or marketing message.
Don’t overbrand — splashing your logo across every item in your gift box makes a present feel less like a thank you and more like marketing. A client may feel awkward walking into a meeting with your logo front and centre on their notebook or planner. Add your logo, certainly. But do it subtly. Add it to the packaging and one item in the gift box. Or add it to the inside of a planner or notebook, not the front.
Tell a story — a gift that feels like leftover conference swag wrapped in a bow comes across as thoughtless. Think carefully about your gift’s purpose and the message behind it. Is it for an upcoming event? A welcome gift? A thank you at Christmas? Every gift should reflect your company's values and the importance you place on your client or employee.
Add a snack — adding a snack your recipient can eat straightaway is always a winner. Who doesn’t enjoy an unexpected treat? When your recipients share a photo of their gift on social media, you’ll inevitably see the cookies, chocolate, or sweets are already gone.
Include a keepsake — Long after the snack’s been eaten and the packaging binned you want something to keep you top of mind. Make it useful and practical— a water bottle, wireless charger or ear pods, for example — and ensure it’s great quality so it lasts. Then, every time they reach for it, they’re reminded of you.
Don’t just send corporate gifts in December — Christmas isn’t the only time to send gifts. And it’s not necessarily the best, either. Around the festive season, your clients may be inundated. Send it in the New Year and beat those January blues instead. Or over the spring and summer so they know you appreciate them all year round.
For gift ideas and inspiration check out BOW Gifts’ brochure.
How to send corporate gifts
After designing, producing and delivering thousands of corporate gifts worldwide, BOW Gifts knows how to make sure the people who matter most remain loyal to your business. Whether you’re sending gifts to employees or clients or need swag for trade shows or conferences, we make corporate gift-giving easy.
Unlike other corporate gifting services, BOW provides the full package — from concept to completion. We’ll help you create a gifting strategy that really works. And gets you the results you want.