Guest Column - November/December 2018

Corporate Gifting in a Unique & Personal Manner

By Sherry Barry

How do we say thank you?" More and more clients are asking companies to help them provide a more personal gift selection experience for their clients and their employees.

I can remember years ago being invited to a seminar, and part of the excitement was a free watch. Not only did I get to keep this excellent product, but I was able to select which one I liked the most. I tried it on. I checked myself out in a mirror. I spent time with my colleagues. It was fun!

To this day, I mostly remember how it felt to choose what I wanted instead of being handed a gift card as a token of their appreciation.

Event gifting has evolved in recent years, so let's look at what event gifting is, as well as how to choose the right partner, select the right product, make it personal, pick the best method and overcome some obstacles that you may encounter. Whew, we have a lot to cover!

What Is Event Gifting?

Event gifting provides an outlet for corporations to reward their employees or customers in a unique and personal manner within an event environment or through a web redemption solution.

To ensure that rewards are more meaningful, companies must offer premium and exclusive gift options, as well as a positive experience to their customers. Historically, items were selected by companies who then gifted the chosen item to the recipient. We are seeing a trend of bringing the recipient into the selection process to make the gift more meaningful, personal and useful.

Choosing the Right Partner

Continued growth and popularity of events has contributed to the availability of more and more premium brands in the space and more companies marketing gifting services.

There are some questions to consider when choosing the right partner for your event gifting needs and to ensure a successful event:

  • Do they understand what you are trying to achieve?
  • Do they carry the premium retail brands that you want to give?
  • Can they work with your event budget?
  • Will they manage it from the beginning to the end?
  • Selecting the Right Product

    Finding a gift for an event can be challenging. Everyone may appreciate the gesture, but the gift they continue to use daily will be the one they remember and will inspire them to return.

    Product choice is very important when planning your next event. At Links, we aim to have our gift offerings reflect what brands are offering at retail. This means communicating with the brands on new product releases and updating our gift packages accordingly. For example, a pair of sunglasses for an event located at a golf course or a pair of headphones for a beach event.

    These are gifts that are sure to be a hit because they can be used right away, and who doesn't need a pair of sunglasses or a new pair of headphones!

    Making It Personal

    Product options allow individuals the opportunity to choose the brand and product that best fits their needs. Meeting planners strive to deliver more than just a unique room drop gift—they want to create excitement and enjoyment for their guests.

    Links Unlimited has built solutions to allow for this personalized selection process, through on-site gift experiences and through customized web sites that allow the users to "shop" for their award given a selection of premium retail products.

    Making It Personal

    The experience method delivers an end-to-end solution that provides your guests a unique and personal gift within your event. Your guests will be able to sample, try on or listen to the gifting product at an on-site branded gifting station. This unique selection process ensures the person walks away with a product they love and a lasting positive impression about the company.

    In addition to the event experience, we have developed a web redemption gifting solution, which is a great option for international events. The web redemption method delivers a fully functioning website that visually allows your guests to select the gift of their choice online. An event URL along with unique redemption codes are given to you that you will distribute to your guests. The landing page will guide your guests on how to redeem the code for their gift. It is that easy.

    Overcoming On-Site Event Gifting Obstacles

    Every event is not the same and there can be major challenges to overcome.

    Many incentive trips are held at resorts outside the United States. International shipping requires dealing with customs, brokers, freight forwarders, duties, taxes and more to make sure the product delivers on time. After the event, any remaining products need to be sent back as well.

    It is important that your partner understands exactly when the gifting experience is going to occur within the customer's event. There is a significant difference in how gifts are distributed during a registration or arrival day versus during a cocktail hour, and they will need to anticipate how and when guests will visit the experience—aka the flow of guests. Then we determine how many reps to send and how many stations to set up.

    Remember, the main takeaway is that guests are looking for a personal experience and options to choose from for the gift they receive. If you can provide both, your event can be considered a success!

    Sherry Barry is the Marketing Manager for Links Unlimited, a Corporate Channel supplier, specifically servicing incentive, loyalty, gift giving and promotional markets. We establish relationships with premium brands to market, warehouse and fulfill orders for their products in these corporate markets. Links maintains a state-of-the-art warehouse facility while providing fulfillment services such as bulk-one-piece dropships, kitting and special packing requests. For more information, visit