Corporate Gifting 101: What it is and How it Works

If you’re wondering what corporate gifting means, or why it matters, you’ve come to the right place. Or maybe you’ve heard about specialized gifting companies but are unsure how the process works. Read on and all will become crystal clear, and you’ll find tips and examples of good corporate gifts, plus advice on how to choose memorable gifts that make an impact – all in Corporate Gifting 101. If you reach the end of the overview and still need inspiration, we break down four recent trends in corporate gifting.

Corporate Gifting 101 eBook Cover

What is Corporate Gifting

Corporate gifting used to mean mass-ordering branded stress balls or handing out stacks of XXL shirts at an event or for employee appreciation. It was a “one size fits all” approach, where the one size only fit a few, and the impersonal nature of gifting meant lowest-common-denominator items that few recipients actually wanted.

Fortunately, that’s a thing of the past. Corporate gifting on a grand scale is now flexible, allowing personalized gifts that were simply difficult or impossible for groups before—like letting recipients choose name brand sneakers in their own size, color, and preferred style, or customized football jerseys with their favorite team and player.

When done right, corporate gifting is a simple yet powerful way to build and maintain relationships with the people who matter most to your business.

Why is Corporate Gifting Important?

Relationships, relationships, relationships. Whether you’re using corporate gifts for outreach, loyalty, employee appreciation, or brand recognition, the real value of giving thoughtful gifts is the way they can build, refresh, or deepen connections with people. And it doesn’t stop with the gift. Modern corporate gifting platforms prompt recipients to send thank-you notes, which quickly turns a one-way gift into an open conversation—allowing you to nurture relationships and keep your brand top-of-mind with the people who matter. 

What is a Corporate Gifting Platform

Let’s say you’re in charge of getting holiday gifts for 1,000 employees. You’re now saddled with not only choosing a gift that will somehow connect with every person, but ordering, storing, packing and shipping each one of those items. Where do you begin?

A corporate gifting platform solves these problems, allowing you to easily select from a curated catalog of gift ideas at your price point. You’ll manage the experience from either a freestanding interface or one that’s integrated into existing software like a CRM.

Modern platforms like GiftNow even allow for recipients to input their own shipping info and modify gifts before they ship—allowing for less logistical overhead and gifts that can hit the mark every single time. The corporate gifting platform handles the heavy lifting of fulfillment, ensuring each gift arrives at the right doorstep. You can even set up the entire years’ worth of employee birthday gifts at one time. It’s a flexible tool that makes it easier for a business to send gifts and nurture relationships at scale.

What is a Good Corporate Gift? Tips and Examples

A good corporate gift makes the recipient feel seen and understood. So how do you make it meaningful when you’re giving to 100, or even 1,000? Here are some pro tips.

Avoid Branded Gifts

It might seem like a great way to stay in recipients’ minds but adding your logo to a jacket actually makes it more likely to end up in a closet. Remember: the goal is to treat people like people—not simply customers or just an employee—and people want things they’ll actually use.

Give Gifts with High “Pain of Paying”

That’s the recommendation of behavioral economist Dan Ariely. This means choosing something they want, but would feel guilty about if they bought it for themselves.

Corporate gifting is also much bigger than holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Business gifts can also celebrate milestones or reconfigurations of employee teams. They can be used to say thank you, or act as an appeasement tool.

To take it further, here are three creative examples of different types of corporate gift ideas:

  1. Boost your remote team’s morale with “lunch on us” by sending DoorDash or Uber Eats gift cards.
  2. Reward VIPs at your physical events with strategically-placed QR codes for a mass-gifting activation.
  3. Hosting a virtual conference? Gamify it. Invite attendees to visit X number of booths and have a conversation at each one, then unlock a gift.

How Much Should I Spend on Corporate Gifting?

While $50 is a very popular amount for corporate gifts, budgets that fall within higher ranges from $75 – 200 per gift open up a wide breadth of product options and can be very popular with both senders and recipients.

Note that it’s tricky to get a physical product to doorsteps for $25 or less once you bake in taxes and shipping. So if your budget dictates the low side, consider gifting a choice of gift cards, since there’s no value lost to tax and shipping. Just remember there are trade-offs when it comes to gift cards, as they sometimes have a lower perceived value than a gift that costs the same amount. Fortunately, a good corporate gifting platform that allows for personalization of the message and delivery, can help to raise that perceived value.

When deciding how much to spend on corporate gifts, remember to figure in the program management fee set by the gifting company, which is typically a percentage of the gift total. And keep in mind many corporate gifting companies have additional fees.

Corporate Gift Ideas

Pleasing everyone with the same gift is a tall order. When you want to show appreciation to employees or customers, but you don’t know them that well, offer a choice.

Many corporate gifting platforms allow you to send different gift options, so recipients end up with a gift they’ll love. Some even allow you to give unconventional gifts—like the option to donate to charity or to select an experience instead of a product.

Themes can also provide a framework for your gift offerings, for example:

  • Health and wellness (yoga mats, weights)
  • Relaxation (oil diffuser, guided meditation book)
  • Family game night (Jenga Giant, cornhole)
  • Movie night (movie rental, pizza and snacks).

You may also use the gifting occasion to express a message or signal corporate values.

How to Make a Corporate Gift Selection

Most gifting platforms will have partnerships with a broad range of vendors—giving you the option to select popular items from well-known brands, or something more niche. They’ll provide a catalog of different gift ideas in your price range. From there, you’ll choose a first lineup of gift offerings (GiftNow users typically feature about seven gifts in a carousel)—just make sure to also select backups in case those initial choices go out of stock.

Remember: While it’s good to appeal to a broad audience, you may want to offer some more obscure and unique items. It’s a great way to surprise and delight recipients and make them feel seen—especially if you include gifts that match hobbies, like spices for home cooks, or golf accessories for avid golfers.

4 Trends in Corporate Gifting

Some gifts will never go out of style. Air fryers and blankets ranked among the most popular gifts even before the pandemic—and only gained popularity as people were more stuck at home. Other categories seem to remain in vogue, like home, tech, and wellness gifts.

Here are some trends we’ve seen over the last year in corporate gifting:

Work-from-Home Care Packages

Corporate gifting went through a pandemic boom as companies reached out to dispersed remote teams, so it’s no surprise that WFH gifts soared.

Seasonal Gifts

Many corporate gifters choose to gift seasonal items, like furry throws in winter or beach towels in summer.

Diversity and Inclusion Gifts

This year saw a surge in gifts that support diverse makers and businesses, with many companies choosing to gift exclusively from BIPOC- or women-owned brands. 

Standout Items

Aside from air fryers and blankets, Google Home speakers, Apple Airtag, and the Sphero BOLT coding robot were among the most popular items selected in GiftNow corporate gifting campaigns this year.

Get Gifting

Ready to create a unique gifting experience? Start browsing retailers now for gifts ranging from dress shirts to movie tickets to equestrian accessories, and discover the wealth of possibilities. 

If you’d like a PDF of Corporate Gifting 101, please click here.

Kevin Payne is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing for GiftNow

LinkedIn Logo Follow us on LinkedIn

All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners.
Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.

1 thought

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.