Picture this… It’s December 21st and you arrive at the office to discover an unexpected package sitting on your desk.
Upon further inspection, you realize it’s a holiday gift from a company vendor!
You start to open it, half-grinning with anticipation as you slowly unwrap… a neon-colored, company-branded t-shirt– and, it’s the wrong size.
Your smile fades, and you tell yourself, “Well… I won’t really use this,” before shaking your head and tossing it in the trash.
This disappointed reaction is shared by the majority of clients on the receiving end of corporate America’s current favorite way to show appreciation: Swag.
Why Is Swag Gifting On The Rise?
Due to perceived efficiency and brand exposure, the trend of sending company-branded tote bags, hats, and pens has taken off in recent years.
With the end of Q4 only weeks away, the holiday season makes it a prime time for companies to break out the branded merchandise. In fact, nearly half (48%) of all companies that plan on giving holiday gifts claim they would include their featured logo, a tally that has increased year over year.
For the most part, these gifts become offered up office-wide, buried in a closet, or thrown away.
So, if clients don’t really want to receive these swag items, why do we keep sending them?
Every year, U.S. companies spend $25 billion collectively on corporate swag to promote their brands. But according to INC., nearly 1 in every 3 people immediately discard company swag. It’s clear that these gifts don’t resonate positively with recipients, and aren’t helping companies reach their objectives.
Sending Swag Won’t Help Your Business
In addition to wasting your company’s budget without providing any identifiable results, sending swag can even hurt your professional relationships. Since swag gifts are often unoriginal and un-personalized, they reflect a poor understanding of recipients and can hurt the overall customer experience.
So why haven’t we closed the drawer on swag gifts indefinitely? Gifting generic swag seems simple, and taking a more tactical and thoughtful approach by personalizing our client gifts appears daunting.
In reality, few individuals have mastered the art of giving thoughtfully, and only 32% of business gifters strongly agree that they feel confident selecting and giving gifts to business partners and clients.
However, by taking a considerate, recipient-first approach, you will provide free value to your customers by giving them gifts they’ll actually enjoy receiving. Moreover, you’ll nurture those relationships, which will ultimately yield positive ROI and make your business stronger.
How To Swap Out Swag And Easily Enact Thoughtful Gifting
Here at Thnks, we’ve witnessed the genuine smiles, warmed hearts, and multitude of deals closed when business gifting is done right, and we know the thoughtful route results in long-term gains!
So, to help you ditch the swag and simplify thoughtfulness this holiday season, our team has curated four top tips to give thoughtfully:
- Send an Experience. A study from the University of Pennsylvania at Wharton found that experiences as gifts are not just perceived as thoughtful at the time they are given, but also produce greater improvements in relationships than material gifts! With a higher budget, sporting events, concerts, and Broadway or comedy shows can be great gifts to send. Less expensive but equally effective experiences include movie tickets, tours, escape rooms, and workout classes – we’ve even seen clients receive guitar lessons – and love it!
- Personalize the Gift. Ask yourself, “What do you know about your customers on a personal level?” Think about their family, pets, hobbies, passions, where they grew up, and who they know, and try to identify something that you have in common. Finding unique and thoughtful gifts is always easier if you’re able to link them with similarities or interests that you both share.
- Personalize the Message. The same goes for a personalized message: Include your recipient’s name and reference something that you both recently talked about or have learned about them from the relationship you’ve established. If you’re still in the beginning stages of building the relationship, remember that business gifting doesn’t have to be just for the holidays – you can grow the relationship further and send a gift at a later date.
- Send Something They’ll Actually Use. Think about if your recipient would buy the gift you’re about to send on their own – is it a useful gift? “Valuable” for the recipient doesn’t have to be synonymous with expensive: umbrellas, phone chargers, or water bottles are great gift options that get put to use rather than sent to the trash can.
Thoughtful Gifting Doesn’t Have To Come Just Once A Year
While the holiday season is a great time to incorporate thoughtful gifting, showing genuine gratitude for your customers and their business knows no calendar!
There’s always a chance to brighten a client’s day with a small gesture of appreciation. What’s more, it’s not only professionally and personally rewarding – it can be just as easy as sending swag.
Searching for a quick and effective way to acknowledge your clients this holiday season? Thnks can help you curate, schedule, and fulfill all of your holiday and business gifting needs — allowing you to save time and strengthen your professional relationships. Request a demo to learn more!