3 Pitfalls of Corporate Gift Giving

3 Pitfalls of Corporate Gift Giving

Have you received a business gift that ended up in the back of the drawer or, even worse, in the bin? Given a corporate gift you were certain would bring results, only to end up with silence?

Bright Sparks have put together our take on the 3 biggest mistakes in promotional gift giving.

1. Cultural Disconnect

Knowledge of the recipient or lack thereof is the #1 mistake made when gifting.

In a world where people are spending more waking hours at work than at home with their families, more companies are focused on cultivating a culture that reflects who their people are, their values, and their goals. With everyone on board, company culture sets workplace etiquette and creates an environment the whole team can be proud of. This is what many companies identify as their "X-factor".


If you don't have a sound understanding of your client's culture then how can you gift something that speaks to what they value?

Who is receiving your corporate gifts: Auckland -based client, overseas supplier, or referral from your mate down the road? With each situation and each recipient comes a unique set of expectations and values to consider.

If your client is a stationary company, it will hardly go down well if you give them a case of promotional pens. NZ wide, clients may have different expectations when it comes to corporate gifts. Auckland clients will likely have a different ideal gift to someone based in Invercargill. There is no “one gift to rule them all” so select your gifts on a case by case basis. 

Even the most common gift or seemingly safe option can fall flat. Take Alcohol; you are making the assumption your client consumes alcohol and the dual assumption that they enjoy the wine, beer or spirit you have chosen for them.

Can you afford to get this decision wrong and risk causing offence? Before getting out the company credit card, take some time to research your client's culture and find out what makes them tick.

2. Quantity over Quality

Does your gift represent the essence of your company? 

Remember the age old saying “quality over quantity”. Your business will be judged on the gift you present in terms of functionality, style, durability, and quality.

If your gift is disappointing to your client or evokes a negative emotion this negatively influencesthe client’s view of your company. Have you misunderstood your client’s needs? Have you offended them? Have you given a gift for a female when your client is a male? 

Think about personalization rather than giving a generic gift. Why not make it unique to your client with individually personalised promotional pens? NZ themed gifts are a great option for international travellers. For one of our clients, we incorporated their logo and a koru design to represent their organisationand incorporate some Kiwiana.

Quality also means that you understand what ‘quality’ means to your customer.

Ask yourself these questions:Are they focused on sustainable eco-friendly products? Is their positioning high end or low cost? Who’s their ideal customer?

The quality of your gift needs to match the qualities of the client.

3. Making it all about you

Giving a gift is not about you - that's right. Your focus needs to be on your client, not on flashing your own company in their face. Yes, you want your customer to remember who they received their gift from but if your branding is too obtrusive clients are less likely to display their gift or put it to practical use.

Practice subtlety, a useful gift from you does more for your brand than a useless gift with your name on it.

Remember you are thanking your client and gifting to them as an acknowledgement of them. Don't make it about you!