eceiving a gift from your employer or your favorite brand is a powerful experience. A thoughtful gift creates a bond and positive associations with the giver, which equals great ROI for employee and client retention.
With the recent shift towards more employees working from home, the U.S. corporate gift market has heated up, hitting $242 billion at the end of 2021. This market is forecasted to pass $300 billion by the end of 2024, according to Coresight Research.
Have you started talking to your clients about their next corporate gifts, especially with the holidays approaching? If you’re a distributor or a printer, now is a great time to explore corporate gifting with your client. We’ll hit the top dos and don’ts of gifting. Plus, you’ll get our top apparel and accessories picks for gifting this season.
First, Avoid These Corporate Gifting Mistakes
Before we tell you what “to do,” here are three things to avoid when you’re advising clients about corporate gifting.
Mistake #1: Avoiding pitching apparel as a corporate gift.
Many clients avoid gifting apparel because of the sizing hassle. However, most of us receive dozens of water bottles and Bluetooth speakers. Apparel gifts are a welcome change of pace. It’s easy to ask recipients for their sizes – from high-end company store platforms to the simplest (and free) survey websites, technology has made it way easier to gather the info you need to pick the perfect style for them.
Mistake #2: Avoiding personalization.
Some marketers think they should give every employee or client the same gift to be “equal.” However, that’s impersonal, and even uninteresting. Consider giving a selection of apparel and accessories. You can even personalize them with names, methods or themes. In fact, the personalized gifts industry has grown 400% over the last five years, indicating a strong trend toward more curated gifting.
Mistake #3: Cheapening out on packaging.
Packaging has a big effect on the gift recipient. If you create an amazing unboxing experience, recipients feel important and even perceive the gift as being higher in value. Encourage your clients to also include a card with a note, that you can even help them design, so the gift feels even more tailored and personalized. Also, think about using sustainable packaging, for those environmentally conscious recipients. They’ll definitely appreciate the extra thought you put into it.
Ask Your Clients the Right Questions
For corporate gifting, show up as the problem-solver, not the “order-taker.” Too often, decorators and distributors fall into that order-taking rut. Instead, ask the right questions to help them choose more meaningful gifts for their employees or clients. For example:
1. What do you want to communicate or commemorate with this gift? Is it appreciation or recognition for a job well done? Thanking them for their business?
Is it a holiday gift? Something else?
2. Who’s receiving the gift?
3. What’s your budget?
Too often, both distributors and clients get caught up in the budget part of the process. By having a conversation with your buyer, you can suggest a thoughtful gift, within their budget, that also achieves their goal. If you only focus on price, you probably won’t choose the right gift. The reality: You can create a more meaningful gifting experience on any budget, when you focus on the gift-giver’s message and the recipients’ experience.
It’s All About the Perceived Value
One of the biggest challenges today's salespeople often face is overcoming price objections, because a customer’s budget is the most common reason stronger sales opportunities fall apart.
You might be talking to a prospect who “thinks” they need to spend a lot with you to score a more meaningful gift, so they opt to keep it cheap and simple. Here’s the thing to remember with gifting though: The gift doesn’t have to actually be something expensive. Instead, choose a gift that has a high perceived value.
Going the extra mile.
The thoughtfulness put into a gift is what makes one gift better than the next. A good, real-world example of this comes from a distributor’s client, who ended up sourcing local non-promo products, beer and snacks — and then combined them with custom drinkware, as well as a J America Tailgate Hooded Sweatshirt (8815) to create an impactful gift. The regional touch really won their local customers over, showing that the extra thought put into the gifts was well worth the effort.
For the cause.
Some of us are old enough to remember George Costanza’s Human Fund, right? Give-back gifts have been popular for a while now because they’re easy and thoughtful. Combining a give-back gift with an actual gift is a unique idea, as long as it completes the story! For example, our entire adidas line will be made from 100% recycled polyester by 2023. So if your client tells you they have a environmentally conscious recipients, suggest that they decorate an adidas piece and gift that alongside a donation for an environmental cause they’ll love!
Don’t forget to maximize your value by offsetting your decoration with the product. For more expensive gifting options, think about minimal, inexpensive decoration techniques. For budget-friendly items, recommend that your client spend a little more on decoration. You can also recommend customized packaging, so it’s more of a memorable unboxing experience!
Top 5 Apparel & Accessories for Corporate Gifts
It’s easy to search the S&S Activewear to put together great corporate gifting ideas at different price points. There are options for every industry and every budget. Here are my top five favorites:
1. The adidas 3-Stripes Jacket (A267) (also available in a ladies’ style, A268) is a great versatile jacket for a lot of different climates, with its soft-shell stretch fabric and durable water-repellent finish. Don’t forget to point out the iconic tonal three-stripe design on the sleeve, or the contrast color adidas performance logo on the back neck.
2. Don’t overlook Independent Trading Co.’s Special Blend Blanket (INDBKTSB). We challenge anyone to find a softer and bigger blanket in the industry! Plus, it comes in solid colors like Nickel, Pacific and Pomegranate, and patterns like Forest Camo and Red Buffalo Plaid.
3. The Quikflip 2-in-1 Hero Hoodie Lite Full-Zip (LAFZH) is a patented hoodie that converts into a functional, lightweight drawstring backpack in seconds. Bundling and kitting are very popular now for corporate gifting. Imagine using this Quikflip style as a bag to hold a full array of gifts, or to bundle with other outdoorsy items like a tumbler, sun tan lotion or a waterproof speaker. That would create a definite buzz!
4. Check out Atlantis Headwear’s Sustainable Rib Knit (RIOB). This cap is a perfect addition to any gifting opportunity. Great colors (like Acid Green) and so soft – and good for the environment, since it’s made from 50/50 recycled polyester and acrylic.
5. Rounding out this list, have you seen the DRI DUCK 46L Weekender Bag (1038)? When most people hear DRI DUCK, they think of outerwear. Not me! I received this two-way top-zippered bag as a gift and use it all summer long when we head to the lake. Perfect size for a weekend getaway and different from everyone else’s bag!
Get Ready for Gifting Season
Companies understand the power of gifting to build better relationships with their employees and customers. Now’s the time to open those conversations with your buyers. Help them get the most out of their marketing dollars by choosing the right gift to communicate their message of appreciation to their giftees. Don’t forget to recommend some of the products you saw here. Share and tag your final products with us at @ssactivewear on Instagram!