Guest Column - September/October 2018

Gifting for the Holidays

By Stephanie Sheehan

In the game of life, the months of September and October mean back-to-school, Halloween and a change of foliage. But in the business world, September and October can be a stressful time to think about corporate gifting. And when you sit down to write the dreaded holiday shopping list in December for the gifts you need to purchase for your family and friends, you should be able to breathe a sigh of relief because the harder shopping list-the one you made for your corporate gifts-has long since been completed.

The task of finding the perfect corporate gift is challenging. But the process can be simplified by breaking it down into three main points of consideration:

  • Quantity
  • Budget
  • Audience

If you are gifting for a larger audience, you may want to keep gifts consistent and select an item that has a more universal appeal. The good news is that, despite the size of your audience, you can still be more creative than just giving everyone on your list a gift card or traditional item like a desk clock.

The assortment of items available and appropriate for gifting today are much more fun and exciting. From stationery with an attitude to active wearables to home automation devices, it's easy to find a gift that will engage beyond the holiday season.

As one example, you'll easily recognize from center-aisle displays at large retailers like Bloomingdales. offers a wide selection of items, from notebooks, planners and desk accessories to tumblers, pool floats, barware and more, giving you the flexibility to create a unique bundle depending on your budget. All items have bright prints or phrases to add a smile to the workday like "Forever Busy," "I Don't Work Here" or "But First Coffee."

When it comes to activity trackers, the options within watches are endless, but a truly unique unisex option is Motiv. Motiv is a fitness, heart rate and sleep tracker ring that connects to your phone via app (Android or iOS) and has an impressive battery life of three days. The gift is a sizing kit, which allows you to properly fit your device based on which finger you plan to wear it on and, once selected, you order the actual device online with your custom code at no additional charge. There is no time limit on redemption from the time of purchase.

Google has become a common word to use interchangeably with "search," so it's no surprise that Google would come to dominate the home automation category to assist in your daily life. The Google family offers a variety of products, from personal assistant hubs to smart thermostats, and from smart smoke and carbon monoxide monitors (Nest) to connected security options, including door locks (Yale). Or, to keep it simple, the Home Mini is a perfect option, for, well…everyone. You can stream music, ask questions, use it to provide notifications throughout the day of your calendar appointments, and more. On top of the convenience and ease of use it offers, it also comes at a great price point and can be used at home or in the office.

If you are gifting for a smaller audience, it's much easier to add a personal touch. Select something that ties back to a hobby, conversation or travel experience that the individual you're gifting has had with you. Maybe your colleague recently purchased a home and mentioned new cookware, or perhaps they just took up golfing and would appreciate a laser rangefinder, or what about the employee-on-the-go who could use a great noise-cancelling headphone and a traveling steamer?

If budget allows, we recommend using the opportunity to plan something truly experiential with your audience. Create customized events or experiences that stay with the recipient beyond the holidays. For example, meet-and-greets with brand ambassadors, spokespeople or artists and designers will truly make an impact, as would creating customized bundles that include packaging, messaging and delivery.

One of the most successful events Rymax has hosted was in partnership with Michael Aram, an award-winning American artist and the namesake of the brand that has made its way into homes around the world. The event was hosted at his flagship boutique and design studio in New York, where recipients were able to learn about his collections and inspirations and were personally shopped by the expert artisans on his team. We then hosted the group at the exclusive and historic, members-only National Arts Club in Gramercy Park for a tour and lunch. Talk about a day to remember!

When it comes to application development, take advantage of solutions in tandem with the gifting experience that encourage behavior, whether it be employee wellness goals or customer retention, as examples. We've worked closely with brand partners like Apple to develop these types of solutions, making the device more meaningful and valuable as a gift from the perspective of both the sender and the recipient. As an example, the Apple watch can be gifted to employees and utilized to track wellness goals, which can then translate to a leaderboard and reward members for personal achievements.

Lastly, create unique out-of-the-box experiences for the end-user by bundling products and, in some cases, repackaging or providing further customization, including gift wrap. Examples we've created in the past include themed packages like "travel in style," "home entertaining," "Into the Wild," "Home Spa Retreat" and more. Think about company culture, corporate destination events or parties surrounding the holidays to make your bundle even more special and tie it into the environment.

This year, don't let the idea of corporate gifting overwhelm you. Remember your three main points of consideration-quantity, budget and audience. Align yourself with the right partner who can help you access a selection of in-demand merchandise and navigate you through the process of selecting a corporate gift with lasting influence!

Stephanie Sheehan is Director of Vendor Relations for Rymax Marketing Services, Inc., a full-service loyalty marketing provider in the incentive industry solely focused on creating programs and events to drive ROI through brand name rewards. For more than 20 years organizations partnered with Rymax have seen an increase in employee performance and retention, customer loyalty and overall revenue. For more information, visit