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Business Gifts

2011 September 12

Business gifts can bring a lot of benefits to a company by helping to keep the bond between businesses and their clients strong while keeping the company’s name in the forefront of people’s minds. That being said, a lot of companies spend a lot of time and money on trying to figure out the perfect gift to give to their clients, and it can be a painstaking task to try to find the perfect item that will represent a company well. While gifts are usually given with good intentions, there are a lot of factors to consider to make sure that the message is received as intended.

There are a lot of things to consider when making a decision to place a big purchase for business gifts, especially if a company has international customers and clients. The first rule of thumb when deciding on a corporate gift is to take into consideration the colors or symbols used on the product. What may be acceptable and eye-catching in one part of the world may be offensive in another part. Take, for instance, the color red. Here in the United States, red is an eye catching color and is often used in retail businesses to mark sales and clearance items, markdowns and special offers. Creating a business gift with red lettering or designs is acceptable here, and may even help to get your product noticed. In Japan, however, red lettering is only used for funeral notices. If a company is sending business gifts to its customers in Japan, and they do not think about cultural differences or possibly offensive gestures, this business gift will give off the wrong message and put a company in a bad light.

Companies must also take into consideration the underlying messages that can be sent unintentionally along with their gift. Say, for instance, a salesman decides to send a potted plant or some flowers to a client who he just closed a sale with, who happens to be a woman. Flowers or plants are usually only given to significant others, and often have a separate connotation aligned with a more personal connection. Be sure that gifts such as these are sent along with the understanding that there is nothing more than business between the sender and recipient. Flower and plant color should also be taken into consideration for the same reasons mentioned above, as should the amount of flowers given. In some Asian countries, anything given in multiples of four is considered to be bad luck, much like the number thirteen is in the United States. It would be worth it to do some research before shipping off a well-intentioned business gift!

Giving wine or alcohol as a congratulatory or celebratory gift is commonplace in the United States, and many do not think twice before popping some “bubbly” to commemorate an event. But, if companies are thinking about sending a vintage bottle of wine or an expensive bottle of champagne across the world, they should take some time to consider if it would be well-received in the recipient’s country. For example, in some Islamic countries, some versions of the Koran are interpreted as prohibiting its consumption. A company should also dive into a bit of a deeper note when sending food or drink and be sure that the recipients have no allergies or other restrictions regarding the item.

Business gifts are also given on a more personal note than many other run-of-the-mill promotional items. If a company often gives out branded t-shirts and mugs with their logo displayed on it to the public and chooses to give those same items as “business gifts”, the recipient may be a bit disappointed that the company did not care to think much about their gift, seeing as it had no “personal” touch. Being mindful of how a company will be perceived from its business gifts is helpful because it allows a company to see through the eyes of its recipient. Think about it: would you want to receive a “special gift” that was produced in bulk quantities and that everyone else got for free? Not so special, is it?

No matter what kind of gift a company wants to send, whether it be to an international or domestic customer, it is worth it to take some time and consider all of the details about the gift in order to make sure that what is intended to be a nice gesture is received well. There is nothing worse than offending a client, and with a little bit of work, all companies can make sure that their business gifts are going to put their company in the best light.

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