Branding on client gifts – why do it?

When it comes to those special client gifts of thanks and gratitude, ask yourself one simple question:

Are you giving your client a transactional gift, promotional gift, or personal gift? They’re very different and being clear upfront is absolutely critical.

Let’s explain the difference:

  1. transactional gifts – this can be accentuated by the timing of the gift (like immediately after closing a deal). You do / did this, now I’ll do that.
  2. promotional gifts – it’s brand-focused. Here’s a gift all about us… and nothing about you.
  3. personal gifts – it’s client focused. Here’s an authentic, no strings attached, thanks and gratitude gift.

Do you see the difference?

You’re likely wasting $$$ if you don’t initially acknowledge the style of gifting you’re doing for clients. It goes back to the idea of maximising the benefits of personal touches. When we work with corporations selecting premium gifts for their VIP clients, our #1 struggle is keeping the client focussed on selecting gifts that have real meaning and connection for their VIP client, not gifts they happen to really like themselves. It’s sometimes a tough discussion.

Okay, we’ve all been a little guilty of it at some stage because there’s a lot of human appeal with making gifts about ourselves. In fact – it’s a condition called the “name-letter effect” and discovered in the 1980’s by Josef Nuttin. He discovered our tendency to favour the letters of our names over the rest of the alphabet. We’re (most likely) over simplifying it here… but basically, people like the letters in their names better than they like the rest of the alphabet.  Our brains just think our name is one of the nicest words it has heard.

This same theory is applied to our affection for our company brand as well. It happens all the time with real estate settlement gifts. We see firms putting their brand on all sorts of different items or, they gift items that ‘proudly & uniquely represent their brand’. It becomes promotional or transactional and completely impersonal…. so it’s no longer a gift!

Take a moment to think of it from the client’s perspective. How many beautiful gifts to you still truly treasure from clients that have their corporate logo plastered over it?

Our guess is very few, if any.

Let’s be clear – branded promotional items have a place, like when you want to promote / market your business at events, trade shows, DM’s… we totally get it. A branded item can be a nice addtionto show your personality… but don’t expect it to resonate for long. If you’re sending an authentic gift of thanks and gratitude to a VIP who you truly value, corporate branding has absolutley no place.

We also don’t want to confuse personalisation with promotion. Engraving an authentic & personal message onto a gift – that’s brilliant. A beautifully engraved set of lifetime lasting knifes or a hand-made cutting board with a personal message can really hit the mark…. just don’t include your logo. As soon as you do – its a promotion.

One of the biggest mistakes with gifting is not having a client centric focus on the gift itself. When you make this single mistake, your client feels like just one of a million, not one in a million. Keep it all about them and nothing about you. It will be a winning move – trust us.

What corporate gift has really worked for you in the past (either as a recipient or gifter)? We’d love to know your thoughts.

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