Corporate Gift Etiquette – Beyond the Basics, Or What I’ve Learned This Holiday Season

The holiday season of 2020, I had a unique for marketing executive experience. For nearly a month in December I assisted Gift Baskets Overseas’ corporate team in handling business gifts all over the world. We, marketers, usually do not have such access to the direct communications with our B2B customers. So, that was a very valuable source of insight. What surprised me the most, was how the topics that relate to etiquette surfaced time and again in so many conversations with clients. How to make your company’s gift to a customer or a partner a success without breaching corporate gift etiquette? That’s the topic of today’s blog.

Corporate Gift Etiquette - Beyond the Basics

Corporate Gift Etiquette – Beyond the Basics

When observing communications between Gift Baskets Overseas’ corporate gift experts and executives responsible for loyalty and gift sending programs within various organizations, those are the not so obvious considerations that stood out to me:

  1. Geo-political situation in a region where company sends gifts
  2. Religious beliefs both of a sender and a recipient of the gift
  3. Information disclosure about the sender
  4. Sending gifts that are native to the country of sender
  5. Responsible and sustainable practices in shipping and delivery of a gift

Today, let’s talk about those corporate etiquette topics in more detail.

Whether the geo-political situation can affect gift selection and acceptance

Late in 2020, a war conflict erupted between two countries far away from both EU and the United States. A customer from the United Kingdom was sending a corporate gift to North America. Seemingly, there is no connection. Or is it? Apparently, yes. A recipient was of an immigrant background with their family coming from one of the conflicting countries. And the gift basket that sender selected contained a product from a brand that… No, it didn’t originate from the other country in that conflict. But, its owner is from the third party country that vocally supported the opponent. As a result, our client went above and beyond to make sure that a product of that brand wouldn’t be in gift contents.

To be honest, the situation was quite an eye-opener for me. Does it sound difficult? Maybe. Can such facts influence how your partner or colleague perceive a gift that you send? Perhaps. So taking into account what the situation in the world is and if this can somehow affect the recipient is important.

Can researching the religious beliefs of gift recipient be a part of corporate gift etiquette?

An email came in early in the morning. It was from a customer who wanted to urgently change their gift contents. As it turned out, a basket already out for delivery in India contained wine. Actually, that was happening in a state where alcohol delivery is fully legit! But our customer have learned about their recipient’s religious beliefs that forbid consuming alcohol.

Luckily, we were able to fix the problem. Thoughtful gift is often so much more than just expensive product and a greeting card!

Why it’s important to disclose sender’s company and name

This leads me to the next point. Why disclosing gift sender’s information is important? This holiday season, we encountered a situation when a gift recipient in Japan refused to accept a gift. It was ordered for them from the United States, but the card didn’t have a name of the sender on it simply wishing them all the best and thanking for their business. Unfortunately, accepting gifts from unknown businesses goes against the firm’s corporate code of conduct.

A few companies restrict their employee’s ability to accept gifts when the name and company of sender are not clearly stated. So, it is better to save them trouble and sign the card properly. Actually, Gift Baskets Overseas’ corporate representative will ask you for a greeting card text and signature if you forget about it!

Why country of origin of a gift can be important

That’s an observation that actually corresponds well with the point #1 that I listed above. Country of origin of a gift can matter. For example, one of our customers sending multiple hampers around the world insisted that all of the wines were from Spain. Their company’s headquarter is in Spain, and they wanted to share local flavor with their recipients.

Can you think of anything similar in this regard? Maybe a brand or some kind of a product that you select for a gift can say a meaningful and inspiring thing to a recipient. It’s nice no to lose such an opportunity to be memorable!

Is sustainability part of the corporate etiquette?

And yet again a theme of responsible gift giving came into limelight this year. How important is that when pandemic affected so many businesses and people, the entire nations and countries! So, can you be sure that your gift program is sustainable?

Gift Baskets Overseas operates internationally through a network of local offices. We prepare and deliver each gift that you order with us locally. It doesn’t cross the border, it doesn’t go through the avia delivery. Hence, we reduce transportation mileage and carbon footprint of every delivery. Also, by using local brands and partnerships, we help small “mom and pop shops” in countries of delivery get more business even in challenging times. We do our best to provide eco-friendly packaging options. So, if sustainability is part of your requirements to the supplier, we definitely will be glad to help.

Corporate gift etiquette - what to do next?

So, what’s next?

Now that you had been with me through several corporate gift specialist’s shifts and know more about corporate gift etiquette, what can we do next? Let’s explore business gifts available for delivery all over the world! Don’t have delivery addresses for your recipients? Consider our Address Request Service. Or, use Corporate Gift Wizard to request the best options for your program.

May all your gifts be a huge success!