Guest Column - November/December 2013

Building Business Relationships

By Paul Gordon


The holidays are the perfect time to show appreciation for clients, employees, customers and those who make your business run smoothly. Yet, corporate gift-giving has never been trickier as a majority of corporate compliance departments for many industries have strict guidelines and regulations. It is time to move away from the negative connotations brought up by the phrase "corporate gifting" and view your gifting strategy as "corporate relationship building."

In order to understand the myriad of rules and regulations surrounding corporate gift-giving and develop the most effective gifting strategy for your organization, now is the time to partner with an incentive provider that can help navigate these complicated, yet poorly misunderstood guidelines. A meaningful gift that not only offers lasting value but is something the recipient will continue to use will leave the right impression and keep your brand resonating long after they open their gift. By giving careful thought to the value of your gift and the perception the recipient will be left with, you can customize a plan that will recognize your recipients and stand out in their minds by incorporating luxury merchandise and a stellar presentation.

Know Your Audience

In today's business environment, some companies take shortcuts or a one-size-fits-all approach on gifting and fail to consider the emotional connection between their recipients and their gifts. The right gift elicits an emotional attachment that will be remembered for years to come. Several generations are now in the workforce, and what appeals to a baby boomer will not hold the same value for a millennial. Each demographic segment has different perspectives on the world and different perceptions of luxury.

We all know that when it comes to holiday shopping, it's not easy to find the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions for popular business and thank-you gifts that will generate a positive experience from all recipients:

  • Focus on the client: Regardless of the perceived opportunity, self-promotional items should not be considered for corporate gift-giving, as they do little to improve personal business relationships and may decrease the value of the gift in the recipient's eyes. If your client is a music aficionado, then a great gift is a pair of innovative Beats by Dr Dre over-the ear headphones to enhance their music listening experience.
  • Stay on trend: People love their electronic gadgets. Accessories for these items—chargers, cases, covers—make a big impact, help people do their jobs more efficiently and are easy on the gift-giver's budget. And because they're always with a recipient, so is your brand and thank-you sentiment. The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation is a useful gift every road warrior needs to keep their smartphones, tablets and e-readers fully charged.
  • Go with a name: People recognize name brands and associate them with high quality. Gifting with a well-known name-brand item increases your gift's perceived value and elevates your brand's value. Elegant wine glasses from Mikasa or a crystal decanter from Villeroy & Boch provide a luxury option that is appropriate for both genders.

A Tailored Approach

For companies looking for a unique way to add an experiential component as part of their gifting strategy, Brand Fitting Events offer a memorable experience plus a luxury gift that your gift recipients can take home the same day. A brand specialist can set up a "pop up shop" at your recipient's holiday party, sales meeting or even in the office to mirror a retail personal shopping experience. Your client will receive individualized attention to select the right product that is custom-fitted to their exact size. For example, a Klipsch Audio Staff Professional will find a headphone that naturally fits the shape of an individual's ears, demonstrate the superior noise-isolation and sound quality, connect the headphones to their favorite mobile devices, and properly fit your recipient with the perfect headband to provide a custom comfortable fit. A Brand Fitting Event will impress your recipients with thoughtful gifts in an incredibly impactful way.

Presentation Is Key

Think outside the standard gift box by adding professional gift wrapping and a unique presentation that will truly convey your overall appreciation and leave the recipient with a lasting impression. Professional gift wrapping provides a nice finishing touch, while tastefully branding gifts with your company logo makes the gift and the gift giver more memorable. Purchase an array of Brownie Points gift baskets or gourmet confections, select your packaging and ribbon color, have it imprinted with your company logo and add a personalized gift card. This type of flawless presentation reinforces your brand and keeps your company top of mind throughout the year.

With several generations in the workforce, a wide array of gifting guidelines and high retail pricing, navigating the world of gift-giving can be challenging. Showing thanks and appreciation to your valued recipients with a personalized gift or experiential brand gifting event will help build your relationship. By driving a memorable experience, you'll create positive lasting memories for your recipient and your company, making it a win for both sides. A carefully thought out corporate gifting relationship-building strategy guided by an incentive expert will leave a long-lasting and positive impression with your employees, clients and customers that will propel your business relationships forward.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Gordon is Vice President of Sales at Rymax Marketing Services, a full-service loyalty marketing provider and leader in rewards and incentives. For more information, visit www.rymaxinc.com.