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    Presents made perfect

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    Gifts are ideal for showing appreciation or rewarding loyalty, but businesses must take care that the delivery enhances the reputation of the company that is offering the gift. Mandy Precious guides us through the essentials.

    Timing – make sure you give yourself time to research, plan and implement your gifting programme. Take into account the delivery date – if it’s a Christmas gift then you need to send it early, before people go off on their festive holidays. Ideally, you should be looking for the gift to arrive at least two weeks before Christmas Day. Many corporate gift suppliers have a ‘last-order’ date for pre-Christmas delivery so formulate your plans and order as much in advance as you can.

    Understand your audience – is the recipient male, female, old or young? This is key to choosing the right reward and ensuring the person for whom the gift is intended really appreciates it. If you have a diverse range of people to cater for, the best idea is to select a gift that is flexible and which gives the recipient the option of choosing their own reward; something that is easily achieved by giving gift vouchers.

    Budget – identify early on how much you will spend per person and the delivery costs associated with the gift. Once again, vouchers come into their own; if you’re buying in volume then many providers offer competitive corporate rates that give you a greater return on your budget.

    Gift choice – make it accessible, desirable and relevant. If you choose wisely you can give the impression that the gift has greater value than its purchase cost. Select an aspirational brand as your supplier so the product holds a greater perceived value for the recipient.

    Make it easy on yourself – whatever gift you select make sure the administration and logistics of delivery don’t over-burden you. Choosing gift vouchers, for example, makes for easy administration, gives better return on investment with competitive rates and they are also exceptionally easy to deliver – often suppliers will offer to deliver direct with a personal message and card.

    Delivery – how will the gift reach the recipient? If you are giving the gift to customers, delivery in person provides a great reason to drop in on people you might not get to see at any other time of the year. The same applies to giving to staff – it’s an opportunity to acknowledge, in person and in public, the contribution they have made to your business over the course of the year.

    Brand values – make sure the gift reflects your own company’s brand values and is on-message. You want it to be remembered for all the right reasons.

    Choose the right reward partner – check whether your current reward provider can help with your gifting campaign. In some instances you can choose to give a voucher for the recipient to spend on anything they like, plus a package can be put together that includes a specially chosen product as a keepsake.

    Be culturally sensitive – not all gifts will be acceptable to all recipients, but most people will feel valued if rewarded appropriately. An inappropriate gift, however, may cause offence and is worse than giving nothing at all.

    Avoid conflicts of interest – don’t create the impression that a gift has been given to secure custom. It should be obvious that the gift is given in the spirit of generosity without any expectation of anything received in return. Any messages that accompany the delivery should reflect that fact.

    Mandy Precious is Sales Manager at The White Company for Business; for details of its corporate gift offer, visit thewhitecompany.com/business-to-business/

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson