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Corporate and promotional gifts Choose wisely – it matters

We have all been to a function or event where, upon arriving or leaving, you are presented with a goody-bag. The first thing you do is to rifle through the bag to see what you have scored by attending. There is bound to be the mandatory literature telling you about the company or companies sponsoring the event – that’s going to file 13 at the first opportunity you get. Almost unconsciously you rate or grade the gifts received and by extension the event itself by the quality of what you receive.

Think back to all the functions you can remember and almost without fail the importance of the event – in your memory – will be determined by the quality of the gift you received. I remember attending press conferences at an international trade show in Dusseldorf many years ago (2000) and the one that sticks in my mind is the one where I received a child’s standing push scooter. At that time, they were relatively new on the market and cost more than R1000 in South Africa, if you could find them. The company, which gave the gift to the more than 200 industry journalists in attendance, no longer exists but the memory of the event is fixed in my mind. Achieving that level of memorability is something that you cannot buy – directly anyway.

Corporate gifts not only act as a physical and lasting reminder of the event but of the company which presented the gift, therefore, your choice of what gift to give is very important and can mean the difference between making it on the memorability scale or falling way short. However, the gift must transcend mere expensive, it must also be relevant and timeous. They must speak to the audience who will be attending your event. Consider the difference between gifting a plastic cup at an environmental conservation event compared to giving a re-usable bamboo straw. One speaks to the attendees while the other completely disregards the overriding purpose.

So, looking at gifts what should you keep in mind? Be mindful of the theme or underlying tone of the event and who will be attending it. What is your level of engagement, that is, are you the headline sponsor or merely a partner? There is no need to spend a fortune as a partner but as the headline sponsor you need to do a bit more.

But what gifts are popular right now – and by that we mean in the short term because gifts lose their popularity quite quickly. The focus at the moment is on environmental friendliness or sustainability, which means that anything which speaks to that will be popular. Think of recycled or re-usable coffee cups. These can have the logo of the company presenting the gift, maybe the name and date of the event, but they can also be personalised making it a real keepsake. You could even consider timing your event for early in the morning and presenting the cup with gourmet coffee in the mug. That will not only set the tone for the event but will also cement it in your guests hearts and minds.

Health and wellness is another area which is achieving increasing levels of importance. Gifts of this nature are suitable for every type of event and are equally applicable to men and women. They can be used for clients and staff alike and can even be used as part of an incentive package for staff. These types of gifts are always well-received because if the recipient does not want to use it themselves, they will immediately know someone at home who will appreciate it.

Technology is one thing that always makes a good gift. This can be as simple as a memory stick. It doesn’t matter how many memory sticks you receive, you are always happy to have another one. Novelty memory sticks can tie in with the theme of the event or for the more lavish event, credit card style or large capacity memory sticks are a winner. It can also be as something more extravagant such as a mobile phone peripheral. Items such as powerbanks, chargers, bluetooth speakers and headphones are always welcome gifts. Linked to this are the multi-function devices such as multi-tools, stylus pens and memory stick flashlights, among many others.

Possibly the most important element to remember when selecting gifts for an event or simply as hand-outs to clients is to try to think a little outside the box. If a memory stick is all your budget will allow, then make it something which the client will want to keep and which they will use. A memory stick which sits in a draw and is seen every once in a while has far less impact than one which can be doubles as a keyring, for example, and is always within reach. One other point to consider, is your brand prominent and permanently marked on the item. There is little benefit to be gained from a corporate gift where the logo is easily removed and in time the recipient forgets where it came from, even though they use it on a daily basis.

Corporate gifts are a lasting link to your customers, so make sure that you put the right amount of thought into the choices you make. They speak volumes about you, your company and your brand. Make sure that it stays top-of-mind.

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