Marketing’s Role in Strategic Corporate Gifting

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November 14, 2023 6 min read
by Nat Korol

It’s easy to get lost in the mechanics of marketing, but when it comes to speaking to – and truly connecting with – your ideal clients, a little creativity may be just what you need to set your brand apart. 

During our October 30 Hyphen Live discussion, hosts Nat Korol and Tamar Bresler were joined by their friends Linsay Moran and Sophie O’Reilly of Unwrapit – sustainable corporate gifting and brand experience experts at scale.

The pre–holiday season chat focused on how you can reframe and rethink how you:

  • Marry your corporate gift giving, B2B marketing & customer experience
  • Deliver a WOW moment for your clients with a thoughtful & strategic approach
  • Build client retention through personalization
  • Measure the ROI of gifting

🗝️ Prefer a summary of the live discussion? Here’s what we covered, plus five key takeaways:

While some organizations will leave the planning of their corporate gifting to the last minute, others are eager to take a more mindful approach.

Finding that perfectly personalized gift for a client – one that also aligns with your company values and overall marketing strategy – sounds like a tall order, but it’s exactly what today’s most forward-thinking brands are doing. And it’s easier than you think.

How gifting fits into your B2B marketing strategy

“60% of annual corporate gifts are sent during the holidays, so there isn’t much room for your brand to stand out.”
– Nat Korol, Co-Founder, Hyphen

We know that 97% of recipients appreciate and feel valued when they receive a gift. Pausing to rethink your corporate holiday gifting as a strategic part of your overall marketing plan gives you the opportunity to grow your business and give your brand a boost.

Sustainable corporate digital gifting and brand platforms like Unwrapit serve B2B businesses who want to approach their gifting with a more mindful – and business-minded – approach. They do this by offering experiential, digital, and practical gifts. Best of all, they invite the recipient to select their gift, so you can be sure that it’ll have a positive impact. No more generic gift baskets or unused gift cards.

Be thoughtful and show your clients you care

All holiday gifts are sent with good intentions – to say thanks, show appreciation, tell your clients that you value their business. But is the gift you’re sending really saying those things?  

If you’re thinking about making a pivot in your gifting strategy to have a greater impact, here’s how you can get started:

  • Be intentional 💝
    Start early. This will allow you more time to be mindful in your choices and ensure they are a match with what your organization is trying to achieve.
  • Know your why 🎯
    Take time to uncover the reason behind your gift-giving. The purpose and desired outcomes will point you in the right direction.
  • Be choosey ☝️
    Choose a selection of gifts that align with your company values and reflect your organization’s culture year-round.

“If the process feels overwhelming, go back to why you’re giving. Gifting shouldn’t be an exercise you feel like you have to do.”
– Sophie O’Reilly, Customer Success Specialist, Unwrapit

Does being unintentional hurt your brand?

Ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. But when you take an intentional approach aligned with your values, holiday gifting can be more meaningful for your recipients and impactful for your business. 

Consider all of the hard work you and your colleagues put into living your company values throughout the year. Then, when the holidays roll around, it’s a scramble to send out corporate gifts and they fall flat. This not only delivers an inconsistent brand experience, it can also leave a negative impression. Not only that, your gift may be missed or wasted.

With more organizations today being made up of remote or hybrid teams, it’s hard to know if and when your client will be in the office to receive your physical gift. In some cases, it may never reach them. The traditional holiday gift basket often sits at reception and is picked over long before the intended recipient knows it’s been delivered – if they ever find out at all.

Of course gift baskets aren’t the enemy of intentionality. It’s just that you can do better, even by being intentional about what goes into them. It’s about taking the time to get it right.

“If you’re rushed, and who isn’t at this time of year, remember that you don’t have to send a holiday gift. Gifting can be centered around the new year, birthday, Earth Day, or other occasion.”

– Tamar Bresler, Client Experience Manager, Hyphen 

Sending an off-season corporate gift can have an even greater impact if it’s tied to a meaningful occasion and is thoughtfully chosen. It’s about the medium and the message, and ensuring that they match.

Incorporating sustainability into seasonal gifting

If sustainability is a year-round value your business promotes and practices, it shouldn’t feel like marketing to incentivize and incorporate it during the holiday gifting season. It only makes sense that you’d take the more sustainable route and make mindful decisions at this time.

By offering clients and customers the opportunity to select a gift that speaks to them and by sending it digitally, you lessen the environmental impact of gifting while amping up the impact of the gift itself.

Who should own the responsibility of creating a gifting strategy? 

Depending upon the size and structure of an organization, corporate gifting can be left up to HR, office administrators, customer-facing individuals, or marketing to manage. It may even be a mix of departments, leading to an even more disconnected brand experience for the gift recipients. 

More and more, gifting specialists like Linsay and Sophie at Unwrapit are working with individuals responsible for an organization’s sustainability – those spearheading initiatives with a sustainability focus, while still working through a marketing lens.

Conversations with these clients are exciting in the gifting world as they’re coming from a 30,000-foot view of all areas of the business and their impact on clients, internal stakeholders, and the world around us.

“What I love about the conversations we’re having is that we are looking at gifting from an impact perspective and through a strategic lens, working with different areas of the business to ensure the strategy makes sense and has a greater impact.”

– Linsay Moran, Co-Founder, Unwrapit

Expect a great ROI

A 2018 survey found that over 80% of C-suite executives believe that business generates measurable ROI in addition to intangible benefits through corporate gifting. 

With gifting starting to go online, there is ample opportunity to customize the experience and gather data on the outcomes. When you present personalized gifting options to clients that provide them with flexibility and choice, it’s a way to get to know them better.

A key business benefit of a platform like Unwrapit is its ability to help companies uncover:

  • What your clients/customers want
  • What they aren’t interested in
  • Where your values intersect and where they can be better aligned

Gifting digitally gives your business numbers and statistics to analyze and inform future marketing initiatives, holiday or otherwise. 

That isn’t to say that your gifting should be completely hands off. It’s important to follow up with a personal touchpoint, asking the recipients if they received their gift (even though you’ll know they did) and to get their reaction to it. 

“We often forget about the soft metrics of gifting. Take the time to support your digital campaign with real-time conversation for an even more personal touch.”

– Nat Korol, Co-Founder, Hyphen

Holiday gifting is another brand awareness touchpoint that allows you to remind your clients who you are as a brand and what you stand for. How you want to reach people and the message you choose to relay is important. This can be integrated with and echoed through other initiatives your brand undertakes throughout the year.

“It’s important to give your clients something they want and will use. Look at gifting as an opportunity to make a meaningful connection rather than as an end-of-year obligation.”

– Linsay Moran, Co-Founder, Unwrapit

5 key takeaways for more successful holiday gifting:

#1 Start as soon as you can 📆
If you haven’t already sat down to think about your holiday gifting strategy, now’s the time. For B2C marketing, preparation for the holiday season begins in the summer, but it’s often an eleventh-hour initiative in the B2B world.  

#2 Be intentional 💝

Consider what you want the after-effects of your gifting campaign to be and how they align with your organization’s values throughout the year.

#3 Mindfulness matters 🧘🏻‍♀️
A little bit of upfront thought goes a long way. The what, why, and how behind your gifting strategy gets noticed and matters.

#4 Gifting gathers data 📊

Leveraging a gifting platform to send digital gifts and experiences to clients is an opportunity to learn more about them, which is helpful for your overall business strategy year-round.

#5 Don’t let gifting be a tick-box exercise 🙅✅

Take this as an opportunity to think outside of the box. Your gifting doesn’t have to be directly tied to the holidays. It’s more important to think about how you’ll stand out while still being thoughtful. 

📹 Watch the full recording now on Youtube:

Creating Space for Creativity in B2B Marketing