Business Gifts

The giving of business gifts is big business.

Photo credit: oh.lcms.org

The choice of a gift can convey power, sophistication, knowledge, and interest. It can enhance or harm a corporate image. Unfortunately, however, in most business gift giving any matching of the gift to the actual desires of the recipient is, at best, approximate. Glassware covered with huge logos, shiny trays of unknown metals, samples of product, petite daily planners, and calendars that give you a different view of water tanks or cement trucks each month are difficult to accept with genuine pleasure.

From gifts for the chairman of the board to multiple incentive and logo gifts, the selecting and giving of business gifts is a difficult job which seems to be delegated to someone else whenever possible.

According to numerous studies, most companies give business gifts:  1. To express appreciation and  2. To develop business by building good will. Many companies give only at holiday time; others also give gifts on special occasions. The more public relations-oriented businesses recognize that an ongoing gift program is a significant aspect of communication as well as an advertising, branding, and marketing tool.

Try to select something that is both appropriate for the intended receiver and relevant to your company. A gift that ties in with your business, product, or sponsored event can be a most effective gift. Bantam Books has given Tiffany’s crystal rooster, sheet cakes decorated like book covers, specially designed gold and silver book marks, and a quilt made up of visual elements from a famous author’s books. A Houston company produced a beautiful coffee table book of photographs of the city. Only very close examination revealed that the unifying feature was the company headquarters tower; it appeared, however minutely, in each shot. You can also show a lot of thought by tying the gift into your business or tie your business into an exciting product, i.e. an excellent bottle of wine or champagne bearing your logo, maybe with crystal goblets. Remember the right  gift can be a wonderful marketing tool; the wrong one will send the wrong message.


As multiple gifts must satisfy the needs of many different types of people, this category of gifts is often the most perplexing. Some companies have managed to solve this is in creative ways: from Washington state sending huge boxes of decorative holiday greens and candles early in the season; from Maine coast starting a tradition of sending a fresh lobster feast for a date  and place which the recipient selects; starting a tradition of sending a different angel or ornament or coffee table book each year.

Individual customers and clients especially appreciate any gift that reflects your interest in them as individuals. Examples include an appropriate membership or subscription; a antique map of their city, region, or country; something relating to their sports interest; something that adds to the recipient’s special collection or hobby; tickets for a special event; a favorite food; a donation in his/her name to a favorite charity, or a desk footstool for the manager who keeps his feet on his desk.

Certain important occasions in the lives of major clients should be acknowledged with a tasteful gift. Although gifts can be an added expense, they can also be an excellent investment. The birth of a baby, a client’s marriage (or his/her child’s),  a hospitalized customer, or a retiring friend all merit your attention.

People will definitely remember those gifts that show them you know what they do and remember what they care about.


Most gifts for employees fall neatly into the categories of service awards, incentives, holiday or retirement. Those that do not fall into these categories usually require only your thoughtfulness and good judgment to be successful. Some management may consider a special holiday party, dinner or outing as a gift (a much better gift sometimes if families are invited); some give money to a charity or distribute gifts of food to the needy in the employees’ names; others give each employee the same gift—usually of food. Some executives prefer to give a small personal token to each employee in addition to the regular company gift. This is a thoughtful gesture that can make a significant impact on all employees and will be received with pride. And best of all—a personal note of thank you—with or without the gift.

A boss’s gift to his/her assistant should reflect the length of time the employee has worked for this boss, the amount of responsibility the person has, whether the employee also does personal favors , and—to some extent—the boss’s position or importance within the company.  When managers share a secretary or an assistant, a group gift is usually the best solution.


–Learn and abide by your company’s gift policy and culture and learn the culture and policies of the recipient’s business.  Some companies do not allow employees to accept gift; others specify a minimum amount. A little research can make the gift selection process much easier.

–If your company policy does not allow you to accept gifts or places a limit on acceptable gifts, don’t be afraid to say so politely. Some companies have a conflict-of-interest agreement that includes gift policies.

–When possible and appropriate, give a gift that is useful or practical.

–Remember that wrapping, presentation and thoughtful personal message are of great importance.

–Select gender-neutral gifts.

–Consider a non-material gift, such as volunteering your time for the other person’s or company’s cause or helping with their charity event. These gifts say something special about the giver and are more memorable.


–Ever send an inexpensive gift with a large logo.

–Send a gift while in contract negotiations.

–Give a “too-personal” or suggestive business gift, such as lingerie.

–Send a gift to someone you have never done business with or to a former client (might look like bribe).

–Give a gift in lieu of a salary increase or promotion—especially if either was deserved.

–Misspell someone’s name or give the wrong title.

–Send a lavish or extravagant business gift.

Listen HERE to Dawn discuss  Offices Parties on Success EXpress magazine and program

One response

  1. On va dire que ce n’est pas faux …

    May 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm

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