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Any business that is looking for a way to expand its reach will find plenty of advice on the topic. Selling your brand is a step that you come to pretty early on, and there are various ways of doing it; some of which cost money, others may be free. For many businesses, one of the most straightforward approaches is to give gifts to customers and prospective customers. It’s a common sense way to go – but if you want to get the best out of this modus operandi, it pays to take some smart decisions.


Corporate gift-giving is something that has been going on for decades, and can be as simple as a free bookmark in every order, or as opulent as rewarding a high-value customer with holidays, cars and jewelry. Whichever way you go about it, though, it is important to realize that with free gifts, as with any other form of publicity, you need to implement some quality control and exercise smart decision-making. You need, in short, to stick to the rules of corporate gifting.


It should be something with continuing value


A corporate gift can make for a very solid return on investment, and equally can end up being tossed into a drawer and never seen again, and this dichotomy is not explained away by what you, the gifter, has spent on the gift. For example, a branded polo shirt might never be worn and end up at the bottom of a wardrobe because there’s rarely a good time to wear it. Automobile air fresheners and other practical gifts may cost less, but are more likely to be used because people won’t think to buy them for themselves – and hence the customer will see your brand every time they get in their car. It’s a gift that keeps on giving – to you.


It shouldn’t be overly expensive


Unless you are a private bank that only allows billionaires to become customers, there is an upper limit to what you can spend on corporate gifting. It’s not so much that spending a lot of money makes you look a little desperate (although it can), but more that you have to be thinking in terms of return on investment. If you give away a high-value item like a fountain pen or similar each time you welcome a new customer, you’ll end up losing money on those customers who never make an order or only make one little purchase. Also, spending a lot on small gifts is a poor idea when smaller items can more easily be lost.


It should be non-controversial


When it comes to choosing gifts, a little bit of humor can go a long way, but a poorly-chosen gift can go too far. A little bit of irreverence can boost your brand for the right reasons, but be conscious of the message you are sending. While some people will say that offense is too easily taken in this day and age, the bottom line is … well, your bottom line. Giving a bottle of champagne to customers who don’t drink for cultural reasons can lead to your brand being boycotted. It’s really not worth going “near the knuckle” when giving gifts, so keep them practical and you won’t go far wrong.