Corporate Gift Ideas for Clients and Employees

November 16, 2020

Corporate Gift Ideas for Clients and Employees

Selecting the best corporate gifts for clients or employees can be stressful. 

  • What are the best gift ideas for clients? Or employees?
  • What’s an appropriate Christmas gift?
  • How much should you spend on a business gift?
  • Should you give a gift with your logo and company name on it?
  • Do you have the correct shipping addresses for all your clients?
  • What if they don’t like the gift? 

These are just a handful of questions to consider when looking for ideas to help you buy the best corporate gifts.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through what to do and what to avoid, as well as share some gift ideas for Christmas, but all could work year round. In other words, we're here to help alleviate the stress!

How to Buy the Best Corporate Gifts 

If you are anything like us, you’ve probably received an awkward gift or two before.  Maybe it was from your vendor, who means well, but insists on buying you the same coffee mug every year at Christmas even though your preference is water. Or, the client who unknowingly sent you a giant holiday cookie basket three days after you started a new diet (umm, healthy eating plan!).

While you can’t control how your clients or employees will react to the gifts you send them, here are some gift-giving ideas that can stack the odds in your favor at Christmas or year round! 

1. Personalize the gift 

People love their name, especially when spelled correctly. (ahem) If you are going to send a gift, consider including each person’s name or initials. This would be great on custom journals or insulated bottles or tumblers. Put the gift over the top with a handwritten thank you note.

Pro Tip: While this costs extra - both in time and money, it can make a big impact on how your clients and employees perceive the gift. 

2. Know your budget

It is not about how much money you spend. In fact, spending a ton of money on each gift can actually backfire. However, you do want to spend an appropriate amount for a business gift, no matter the season.

It also helps to keep things in perspective. If the lifetime value of a client is $500, don’t buy them a $600 espresso machine. On the other hand, a $5 pen is not a good option for a client who spends $25,000 annually with your company.

3. Know the recipients

Remember: you are buying gifts for clients or employees, not your significant other, family members or best friends. While you probably know better than to send your client a cat onesie, a Kermit the Frog Chia Pet, or a Bob Ross bobblehead doll (unless you know they are a Bob Ross fan), there are plenty of  gifts that could be awkward if given in the wrong context. For example, sending a custom luggage set to a client who is afraid of flying.

If you don’t know your customers that well, it is best to stick with safe, middle of the road gifts. Journals have always been popular, but now, they are through the roof popular. Why? Team WFH. Working from home means you need a place to keep notes handy. Or a special place to journal, part of the self care trend.

Blanket throws, insulated drinkware and self care kits are trending. Why? Obviously the pandemic has set the tone. There are many options this year that can be shipped to homes (as well as businesses!) in custom boxes. Tell us your budget and we'll share options!

4. Think twice before sending food gifts  

Fruit baskets, wine and cheese platters, holiday cookies, and bottles of wine are often seen as tried and true gifts. 

We’d argue that food and beverage gifts aren’t the safe options that many people think they are. There are lots of ways that food and beverage gifts can backfire, including:

  • What if you send a gourmet pecan pie to a client who has a severe nut allergy? 
  • Or, sending a giant box of chocolate-chip cookies or other assorted baked goods to a client a few days after they started a new diet. 
  • And, sending a crate of regional craft beers to a client who doesn’t drink because they are a recovering alcoholic  

If you do go with a food gift, choose wisely. Make sure there's something other than goodies that can be used after the last morsel is gone. We are loving this very cool gift set filled with cookies that has a cookie crumb clean-up tool. Fun and useful! This will be used by clients or your employees long after the sweet treats are gone. 

5. Extra points for gift presentation

A $10 gift can look like a $100 gift if it’s presented in an elegant box with a thoughtful note. Many of our customers love giving this tumbler that is packaged in a cylindrical box. 

In addition, you can also stand out by sending gifts outside of the holiday season. For example, Thanksgiving in the U.S. It is a great time to send gifts. Another good time is the beginning of the year. Unexpected gifts can really make a standout impression. Consider sending 'just because' thank you gifts any time of year to really get the attention of the recipients!

6. Follow corporate guidelines

Many large companies have gift policies in place. For example if you have clients, who work for professional associations such as law firms, banks or political organizations, many have caps on what kinds of gifts they are allowed to accept. Some can’t accept any gifts.

It is a good idea to brush up on these policies before you buy gifts. (Insider tip: we think at least a few of these get ignored. We've heard of very few gifts refused sent by our clients! This is one category where food gifts are a great idea!)

7. Sending branded v. unbranded gifts 

Will having your company logo on the gift make people think twice about using the item in their daily lives?

If the answer is no, then sending branded gifts can work well. You just need to make sure they are high-quality, thoughtful, and useful.

In some cases, unbranded gifts to clients can work way better. If the item you are giving is unexpected, appealing and/or valuable enough to produce a strong connection, then your client will use the gift and associate it positively with you and your brand although there's not a logo in sight. Every year, we get customers ordering holiday gifts for their customers and specifically telling us 'no logo.'

In sum, these are seven things to consider before you send out your corporate gifts to clients or employees.

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If you are looking for help picking the perfect gifts for all of the clients and vendors on your thank you list, we can help. Feel free to email us here or give us a call at 888-553-9569.