As we head towards the 2019 holidays, it may be a good time to start thinking about your plans for gift giving, both personally and professionally.
You may feel as if holiday time is already so hectic that giving corporate gifts on top of all the other end-of-year business and personal responsibilities is a hassle you don't need. This being said, now is the time to start preparing so you have one less thing to deal with in the throws of the holiday season.
I'd like to offer a couple of things to consider that may come in handy at some point this year or for the holidays in 2019.
- A business gift may be good business.
- Business gifts don't have to just come in December. They can come at any time during the year. (as a matter of fact, you may stand out more with a gift at another time during the year). We have a number of corporate clients that prefer to have gifts arrive before Thanksgiving and after the New Year.
- Though it's certainly not the only time of year when businesses give gifts, the weeks surrounding Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Day are the most popular for giving business-related gifts. Most are given to major clients, though many businesses also give gifts to employees, prospective clients, and long-time customers. It's a great way to cap off the year and reaffirm how much these relationships mean.
Advantages of Corporate Gift Giving
Your business will benefit from prudent, well thought-out gift giving in several ways. Promotional gifts have been used as a form of advertising for generations. Clients and customers remember how you make them feel and chocolate makes people feel great. 95% of all people love chocolate and gifts of chocolate have a 100% open rate.
Giving gifts to employees is good business too, because this is an extra way of telling them that you value the hard work they have put in. Little morale boosters can make a difference in the overall workplace attitude, and the occasional gift lets your team know you couldn't do it without them.
Ethics of Corporate Gift Giving
Of course, nothing is ever easy. (as much as we have good intentions) Before giving a gift to clients, you should find out whether the recipient is bound by policies concerning gifts. Gifts aren't allowed in some industries, like financial services, medicine, and insurance, and in some companies the value of the gift is restricted, and it's important to learn this ahead of time.
You should never give corporate gifts during any bidding process (even if the bidding process spans major holidays), and it's important to avoid gifts that could embarrass the recipient. If in doubt, go with something else. Just to be safe. Lavish gifts can create the appearance of trying to gain favor, and with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, it's smart to avoid this perception.
Keep corporate gifts appropriate to the business relationship. You don't want to give anything too personal, yet you want to give something memorable. Chocolate makes for an appropriate gift in almost all situations and in most cases food gifts are appreciated.
Whether you mail gifts or present them in person depends on geography, of course, and on whether you want to avoid causing any feelings of obligation on the recipient's part (in which case mailing the gift to the recipient's office is more appropriate). Corporate gift giving is fun, but remember, it's also a reflection of your business.