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Strategic gifting: what is it and how does it work?

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Strategic gifting is a game changer. It raises brand awareness, builds relationships, drives conversions and improves employee and customer retention. But what is it exactly? And how do you create a corporate gifting strategy that gets results?

What is strategic gifting?

In the corporate gifting world, strategic gifting is about having a plan. A plan designed to achieve a long-term goal. Whether that’s to convert prospects to customers, build brand awareness or keep the people who matter most, loyal to your business. Like your customers and staff.

Strategic gifting is gifting with thought and purpose. Without a corporate gifting strategy, you might find the projects you spent time and money on don’t get the results you were hoping for. Gifting with a long-term strategy will help increase these results further.

Why is a corporate gifting strategy important?

In our increasingly digital world, a well-thought-out corporate gifting strategy creates a lasting human connection. Your clients, prospects, suppliers and employees? They’re people. And when you make them feel valued, you’ll see the benefit reflected in your bottom line.

An Adobe survey of B2B firms revealed a 5% increase in customer retention can boost your profits by anything from 25 to 95%. While the high cost of employee turnover doesn’t just damage your bank balance, recent research suggests it can lead to the deterioration of company culture.

Yet, too often corporate gifting is simply a box-ticking exercise. A last-minute rush to get something off to clients and suppliers in time for Christmas or an important date in the company calendar. As a result, little thought goes into it and it usually shows.

When you’re buying in a hurry, your options can be dramatically limited. It can also cost you more if you need a fast-track service.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of gifts that are memorable for all the wrong reasons. But what about the one you remember because they got it right? So right! In fact, just thinking about that brings a smile to your face.

Why is that? It’s simple. That gift showed care, and attention to detail, and made you feel valued. To the giver, you’re clearly not just a number on a spreadsheet or a name on the payroll.

And because they continue to make you feel valued on a regular basis, including on birthdays and Christmas, or to mark an anniversary, your relationship grows stronger. And you stay loyal. Whether it’s to a supplier or an employer.

How strategic gifting works

To show you how strategic gifting gets results, here’s just one of our success stories.

The Covid pandemic reduced everyone around the world to a digital connection. Human interaction of any kind was at a premium. One of BOW Gifts’ valued partners, EGR Global, runs a large international conference. The conference is usually in-person but not on this occasion, nor for two years.

A new solution was critical. One that would provide connection, maintain relationships and make the experience memorable.

BOW Gifts curated, designed, manufactured and produced over 500 corporate boxed gift sets for delegates. Each boasted 10-15 branded and carefully hand-picked products.

These products weren’t ‘just’ a product. Each one told a story and related meaningfully to the event. Each was sponsored by a different company. Yet collectively, they created a unified experience. (Think Sunday lunch, where each guest provides a course or ingredient.)

And what’s more, we managed international delivery to over 20 countries on time.

The gifts were a huge success, and the feedback was incredible. Our client had managed to achieve a physical connection in a locked-down world. Delegates remained loyal and felt valued. They knew this has taken time, care and planning. But at the heart of it was strategy.

When the world around us changes, BOW Gifts can pivot for clients. We showed EGR global how they can plan strategically to execute a project under new — and in this case, never-before — circumstances.

It’s all about relationships. And BOW got this right on point for our client.

How to create a gifting strategy that gets results

So now you know why strategic gifting is important, how do you create an effective gifting strategy for clients, employees and prospects?

Hire a specialist corporate gift company

It’s now becoming more essential for large firms to seek out specialist corporate gift companies. Specialists that will ensure your business’s visions and values are aligned with your gifts and branded products.

You should introduce a specialist corporate gifting company in your early planning stages, if not before.

Here’s why:

  • These specialists are the key communicator between the supply chain and manufacturing process, and the end-user — you. In the gifting industry, an end-user can’t work directly with a manufacturer and vice versa.

  • To make informed decisions during the planning stages, it’s essential to gain as much knowledge on new and existing products, ordering processes and requirements. That way you’ll learn what is and isn’t possible when planning your gifting.

To get the results you want and ensure the whole process is as smooth as possible, here’s what you should cover with a specialist gift company:

Determine your budget

Corporate gifting should be part of your business strategy. So instead of using up your budget surplus at the end of your financial year, set aside funds at the start.

Work out the total, overall annual budget your company can afford, then distribute it between:

  • Customers/clients

  • Suppliers/service providers

  • Employees

  • Events/conferences

  • Company milestones

  • Branded resources across the company

  • Onboarding packs /training and leadership branded resources

You don’t want to play favourites with employees or clients, and those who matter to your business. The tax rules for employee gifts should be factored into your budget. You may also choose to keep below certain thresholds so you can claim tax relief.

However, it’s worth noting that items like branded workwear, office stationery, lanyards and mugs, for example, aren’t classified as ‘gifts’ by HMRC. So you can carry a separate budget for these.

If in doubt, BOW can give you the low-down on what’s classified as a ‘gift’ and what isn’t. And we can source, manufacture, supply and deliver these other items for you too.

When it comes to clients, those who generate the most income are obvious candidates. But don’t forget the customers who may bring in less revenue but send referrals your way. Work out a list of criteria for what qualifies clients for a gift to help you narrow it down. This will help differentiate your spend further. .

Legally, there’s no limit on how much you can spend on business gifts for clients. However, you want to make sure it’s appropriately priced for your industry. Make sure you know the rules around client corporate gifts and budget accordingly.

A good corporate gift specialist will provide you with the tools you need to help create your client list.

List the recipients

Choose who you’ll be sending gifts to and ensure your sales team and account managers have up-to-date addresses and contact details. This will help with the smooth delivery of your gifts when you reach that stage in your project/s.

A spreadsheet is useful here as you’ll need to give destinations and addresses to your corporate gift provider. It’s also a tool that a specialist corporate gift company will issue. It will help you both to allocate your budget more effectively. Especially if you’re sending gifts internationally too.

Check the company’s corporate gift-taking policy

When you’re sending gifts to clients, prospects or suppliers, do check their company policy on receiving corporate gifts. They may only be able to accept gifts up to a certain value. Or in some cases, not at all. This helps a great deal if part of your strategy is to engage with your clients regularly throughout the calendar year.

In some cultures, gift-giving is highly valued. In others, not so much. If you’re intending to send gifts overseas, it’s important to bear this in mind and tailor your strategy accordingly.

Identify the touch-points

Gifts aren’t just for Christmas. There are multiple occasions for brand engagement with clients and employees over the course of a year. And if your company’s hosting or attending conferences and events, these, too, are great opportunities to increase brand awareness.

Tether your gifts to holidays, national days, wellness weeks, and birthdays. You could mark anniversaries for clients and milestones for employees. And what about the onboarding of customers and staff? Those are opportunities for carefully chosen welcome packs too. A good, corporate gifting specialist should identify these touch-points for you.

Get to know your audience

Pay close attention to your gift recipients. Get to know them. Look for clues, ask questions and listen hard.

If you’re sending gifts to employees, what are their hobbies, likes, dislikes, and allergies? Do they have a family? Have they just moved house? Are they outdoor sporty types, film buffs or foodies?

That way you won’t make the mistake of sending a leather-bound notebook to a vegan. Or wheat-based snacks to someone who’s gluten-intolerant.

The same goes for clients and prospects. Find out their personal preferences and adapt your gift idea to suit them.

A gifting specialist can help you discover all this in a fun, interactive way. They’ll make sure your gifts are tailored for the relevant age group too. A gift or product that appeals to a 20-something employee won’t necessarily appeal to someone in their fifties.

Identify your sourcing criteria

You may already have a list of criteria suppliers need to meet. Especially if you’re a larger firm or you’re in the construction industry. If not, you’ll want to identify these and create a checklist for sourcing corporate gifts and branded products.

Once you’ve created your checklist, circulate it to your employees along with your company's corporate gifting policy. This could also include guidelines such as:

  • Branding requirements

  • Cost and sizing limits

  • Product quality criteria

  • Preferred manufacturing processes

  • Packaging materials to be used.

For example, if your company is committed to sustainability and reducing your carbon footprint your gifts should say that about you. If the gift recipient shares your values that’s even more important. Your reputation is priceless so don’t risk it by sending a gift that says otherwise.

Make sure the products you choose represent your company’s vision and values. If products say they’re ‘ethically sourced’, ask for specific detail. Better still, use a corporate gifting company that shares your company values. A specialist provider will ensure your requirements are met in full. And backed up with the necessary documentation and accreditations.

Measure the results

Coming up with a company gifting strategy is one thing. What matters is the results.

With the right tools, you can measure the return on your investment. When you know how your gifting campaigns have performed you can learn from the outcomes and either repeat the process or fine-tune your strategy accordingly.

How Bow Gifts can help

Don’t waste your time and money gifting without a strategy. When there is a strategy behind your gifting it enriches the overall outcome. You’ll get better results and feedback.

It means the products are not 'ad-hoc' or chosen on a whim. They’re carefully thought-out and in line with your company’s vision and values, as well as those of the recipients’.

A good gifting partner will deliver this strategy for your company. And that’s where we can help.

BOW makes strategic gifting simple. We see each of our clients as business partners and our personalised approach reflects that. We understand the psychology behind the gifting process and the relationship between engagement and loyalty. So we get under the hood with our clients and help you create a strategy that works.

What’s more, unlike other corporate gift providers that only provide part of the service, we do it all. From concept to completion, branding and production and tracking to delivery. We can measure results for you and deliver sustainable, bespoke gifts worldwide.

All you have to do is book a call.



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