How to give a corporate gift that someone really wants

RedBalloon For Business

Not all presents are created equal. Follow our guide on how to ‘get it right’; to surprise and delight with your generosity.

At RedBalloon, we’ve been in the gifting game for a long time, and we’re constantly asked one thing over and over: What do people really want, as a gift? It’s a tricky one. Of course, everyone is different, with opposing tastes and priorities. But there are ways to try and identify what might make the perfect present.

Love it or loathe it? It’s all in the choosing.

Receiving a gift can evoke a wide range of emotions – running the gamut from “This is the best present ever – I love it!” to something being cast aside in an instant. If you’re thinking of giving someone a voucher as a corporate gift, the first rule is to think of that person and what it is they may like. Yes, it seems obvious, but it does take more effort to find something that feels personal and thoughtful. It’s the sort of effort a lot of people don’t make, which is why we end up with so many superfluous mugs, candles, caps etc. You want to wow people, not bore them or – worse – make them feel cheated or resentful.

Think about your intended recipient. Are they sporty? Into the arts? Or the sort of person who simply loves to try the latest and greatest restaurants? What have they talked about recently?

Linked to thoughtfulness is sentiment. Gifts that make people feel wonderful within themselves – and that show you care – create a wave of goodwill. And goodwill in the workplace is gold. All sorts of positive things can stem from it. Productivity. Gratitude. A willingness to ‘go the extra mile’. And perhaps most importantly, staff morale.

Why we believe in Stories over Stuff.

We’ve touched on this many times, but the truth is, experiences will pretty much always trump ‘things’. Who wants more mass-produced plastic rubbish that ultimately goes into landfill? The memory of a wonderful day or weekend lives on forever. You can’t quantify it, or place a monetary value on it, but rest assured it is valued. The imprint of an incredible experience becomes a part of a person and their individual story – and to be able to do that, simply by giving them the gift of an experience, is powerful indeed.

We’ve had so many people feed back to us about their incredible RedBalloon experiences, and the overriding message is that the memories created by the gifts, end up being the real gift.

Do your homework to get the right outcome.

So how can you find out what people really want?

If you’re not committed to a surprise gift-giving, you could always ask them directly. Allowing people to pick their own gifts is very empowering. Have, say, a shortlist of five or 10 available experiences and let people choose their favourite – satisfaction guaranteed!

Alternatively, subtle enquiry can help you decide the right present-giving direction to go in. If you don’t have time to ask people individually, engage the help of someone who knows the score. Often receptionists, HR or the work social club committee can give great insight.

And remember, gifts certainly don’t have to be expensive to amuse and delight. For evidence of this, we only need look to the late Queen, who it’s said loved nothing more than receiving jokey presents from her nearest and dearest each Christmas Eve. (In 2013 Prince Harry reportedly gave her a shower cap saying “Ain’t Life a B*tch. One can only imagine her mirth!)

What’s something worth? It’s not always obvious.

It’s important to remember that a gift’s value and its worth are two entirely distinct things. Something may have a high dollar value, but it will mean absolutely nothing to the recipient if it’s something they don’t want. Money isn’t everything. In our increasingly time-poor society, sometimes the gift of time can be very much appreciated – whether that be time out for oneself, or time spent with friends or family. Giving a harried working mum some me-time so she can ‘re-fill her cup’… or a hardworking Dad a fishing session on a boat so he can enjoy quality bonding with his kids… these are precious things which are appreciated at a much deeper level than any material item can provide.

Genuine versus Junk.

It’s astonishing just how much worthless crud continues to be given out to employees, year in and year out. Branded corporate merch is the worst offender here. A survey of over 1,000 Americans conducted by corporate gifting company Snappy found a shocking amount of workers (84%) said they received a gift they didn’t want from their company.

As we continue to arc toward sustainability, it becomes increasingly incumbent upon Australian corporations not to feed into an outdated and environmentally unsound model of gift-giving. Think about it as like going to the showgrounds: would you rather walk home with the oversized stuffed toy, or look at the glittering cityscape from the Ferris wheel?

It can be hard to get gift-giving right; but if you stick to making something genuine, making it memorable and most importantly making sure it’s targeted to the individual recipient, you can’t go far wrong.

Need some help with choosing the perfect present? Talk to the team!

Get in touch

Here are some thought-starters for ‘just-right’, personally targeted corporate gifts:

-For newlyweds or couples: A destination photo shoot or weekend getaway

-For adventurous souls: A helicopter flight or classic car hire

-For combating stress: A private yoga lesson or massage and facial

-For outdoorsy types: A SUP or Fliteboard lesson

-For time with grandparents: An alpaca farm or zoo visit

-For something quirky: An Indian taxi ride

-For something decadent: A picnic or wine tasting

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