50 Tips for Successful Gift Giving

1. Quality, quality, quality.
2. Tailor your gift to the recipient. Don’t buy a gift that you like or a gift you think they need. Pay attention to what the gift recipient likes.
3. For large volume corporate gifts, give a gift that reflects your company’s spirit, culture, and brand. For example, an airline can send the new edition of Atlas Maior 1665 to valued associates and preferred customers to reinforce the message of traveling the world together.
4. Give a gift that is functional but is something that the gift recipient may not necessarily buy for him/herself. For instance, a small art glass bowl can be used for paper clips or condiments!
5. Make it personal – write a note that briefly talks about the gift and why this gift is special.
6. Be very creative when the budget is limited.
7. Think spicy! The hot colors this year are chili and turmeric.
8. Remember perceived value not actual value.
9. A beautifully wrapped gift conveys the message that you care. Presentation is everything – giftwrap with double stick tape and fold corners tightly. The package should be neat and speak volumes about the gift giver. This attention to detail is what separates you from others.
10. Send handmade boutique chocolates whenever you can! It is the perfect corporate or personal gift – the more luxurious, the better!
11. Be confident in giving gifts that are small or lightweight. Size does not matter!
12. Be aware of international gift protocols. For example, clocks are taboo in China as they signify funerals.
13. Gifts are a reflection of you and your company. Corporate gifts are a business tool to strengthen relationships. Make sure the gifts positively reflect your business.
14. The gift should reflect the recipient’s taste, not necessarily yours. However, you should like and appreciate the gift being given.
15. Be sensitive about using your company logo on the gift, especially a gift for the home. Would you entertain with glasses etched with a large corporate logo?
16. Stay away from the “end zones” – gifts that look cheap or appear extravagant or ostentatious.
17. Check with your gift recipient’s corporate gift policies to avoid any embarrassments. Some companies have strict boundaries.
18. Make gift-giving a year-round habit! Look for reasons to celebrate or extend goodwill (employee years of service, Board of Director meetings, commemorations, end of quarter results, group achievement).
19. Keep gifts in inventory that can be used on occasion – it is much easier to find the perfect gift in your closet than spend time searching the internet or shopping the malls.
20. Avoid perishables in gift baskets – it applies pressure to the gift recipient to either eat the perishables immediately or let things go to waste.
21. Keep small rolls of giftwrap and ribbon on hand – such as silver, gold or copper paper with navy, silver, gold, or burgundy ribbon.
22. Understand the corporate branding and style of your client. Are they more traditional and classic? Contemporary? Innovative and cutting edge? Coordinate the gift to complement the corporate image.
23. For those businesses, such as wealth management services, where personalized service is key, giving personalized stationery in a keepsake box speaks volumes.
24. Drinking glasses were often given as gifts during the Renaissance to commemorate special occasions. Send champagne flutes (at least 6) to celebrate a successful transaction, a revenue milestone, or to acknowledge great team work.
25. Know how to receive a gift graciously. In some cultures, gift giving is ceremonious. Always be sure to send a hand-written thank you note.
26. Avoid gift cards as a primary gift. Although appreciated, these gifts don’t stand out. Gift cards don’t say “you are special and I took time to think about your gift.”
27. I recommend employee gifts that are lifestyle gifts rather than work gifts. A picnic set, beverage pitcher and glasses, or MP3 player all suggest taking time off to relax and unwind.
28. Tacky gifts are tacky. Gag gifts are almost as tacky.
29. No gift is better than a bad gift. Tight budget? Send a beautiful card with a note of appreciation.
30. The best gifts are those that are memorable. A memorable gift is a well thought out gift that is interesting, beautifully packaged, has a special story and a warm-hearted greeting.
31. Break away from predictable gifts. A clock given as a retirement gift sends the message that time is running out! Instead, research the recipient’s interests and create a gift that is more personal.
32. High style and great design are a must!
33. Design a suite of gifts where each year a gift coordinates with a gift given the year before, yet can stand alone. A perfect suite of gifts would be those for entertaining at home – napkins, napkin rings, place mats, serving pieces.
34. Destination gifts should reflect both the destination and the recipient. A horn tray, a wooden cheese board, or a silver belt buckle are ideal for rugged sites such as Jackson Hole or Santa Fe.
35. Small luxurious gifts, such as a sterling silver monogrammed charm or a leather wallet are gifts one may not necessarily purchase for him/herself.
36. A gift is a powerful one-on-one marketing tool. The anticipation of opening the gift and the element of surprise captures one’s attention – use this moment wisely to convey a positive image of your brand.
37. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t receive a note or a phone call acknowledging your gift. At the next appropriate time, casually mention the gift you sent and take notice of the recipient’s reply. Their lack of acknowledgment may have been an innocent oversight, or it may signify something more.
38. Top five gifts to keep on hand: signed art glass trays (for home or office), boxes of gourmet chocolates (mind the expiration date), art glass coasters (set of 4), company logo hat/t-shirt/tote in a stunning gift box, signed wooden business card box, and small signed bowls (ceramic, glass or metal for home or office).
39. Gifts should be unisex – best to have the same gift for men and women.
40. Avoid gifts that are political, sexual, or religious in nature.
41. Recipient’s name should be on the envelope and each greeting should be personalized.
42. Find symbolism in your gift. For example, giving an art glass conch shell conveys an appreciation for leadership, as conchs are natural sea-born leaders.
43. A gift doesn’t necessarily have to be a material item. Calling a client and thanking them sincerely for their business shows thoughtfulness.
44. Surprise, delight, and gratitude are three ideal emotions a corporate gift should evoke. This response affirms that the gift giving was done with taste and style.
45. Create occasions for gift giving that are unexpected. Budget gifts for the entire year, not just for holidays. Some reasons to give: Congratulate, Celebrate, Motivate, Promote, Thank, Cheer, and Apologize.
46. Be sensitive to gifts relating to alcohol, including barware. Check corporate policies for restrictions in giving alcoholic beverages. If possible, position barware as all-purpose beverage glasses.
47. Change a predictable gift, such as a silver frame, into an exciting gift with a custom message inserted in the frame.
48. Food baskets should be packaged in a way that enhances the aesthetics of the gift, as well as contain foods that taste great. Remember quality over quantity.
49. Gain a better understanding of how a mailed gift will arrive to the recipient by mailing a “test gift” to yourself. This will provide you with insight into how to best package your gift for mailing.
50. Be sincere with your gift giving. Enjoy it!