As a retired manager in a multi-country company, I have found that buying the right corporate gift for employee reward programs, customers or for corporate celebrations in general, can become a challenging task. Giving it is worse since you have the intention to gain business ties, connect with clients, and send your message of giving thanks. Although there are no definitive rules, knowing the following corporate gift buying basics will increase your chances of attaining your goals.
Ask this: "What particular office item does he or she lack?" Any person would appreciate when he or she receives something that sparks his or her interest. For example, your boss or your business partner loves cigars. Think of something that he or she can use together with his or her cigar. It can be a cigar lighter, leather cigar case, or a box of cigar from the best brand you can find. For someone who likes to collect watches, you can consider a leather watch case or another watch to add his or her collection.
Avoid gender discrimination. Obviously, you will choose your gift according to gender but make sure that you treat each of them equally. Do not buy a $50-gift for men and a $10 gift for women. Keep it equal. Better yet, choose an item that will suit both men and women and give it to all.
Corporate gift packaging is important. This can make it or break it when it comes to the first impression to the receiver. An appropriate packaging will send a message to the recipient that she or he is important to you. A gift with poor packaging on the other hand will tell the recipient that the item inside is not that important, or worse, the recipient may think that she or he is not important. So regardless of the price of the gift inside, it is inevitable that a corporate gift should be packed appropriately.
Make sure you check company policies on corporate gifts to employees and clients or customers. Some companies prohibit gift giving at all; some have dollar limits on the gift item; while other don't have limits at all. By checking your company's policies on this matter you will know how much you have to spend on a particular gift item to avoid your gift being sent back to you. If the gift if for a client, it pays to find out their policy as well. It will be a short call that saves you a lot of potential hassle.
If you are giving gifts to selected few, be discreet. If in case you only plan to give gifts to a chosen few like your assistant, few clerks, and the receptionists, do not tell everyone about your plan. Keep it silent and hand your gifts when no one else who can see; it may be out of the office. You can be charged with favoritism if you are not careful enough.
Buying a corporate gift can sometimes become a daunting task, but with experience, common sense and by following corporate gift buying essentials will increase your chances of a successful and rewarding experience for all parties.