We’ll cut right to the chase. The most important thing you can take away from this – is to stop making gifts about yourself. From CEOs to Co-Workers, Sales Teams to Marketing Teams, and just about every other business gift out there, the old-school mindset was “give a gift that makes YOU look impressive.”
However, the thought that should come first is: what will make your recipient feel most understood and appreciated?
The New York Times sums this up beautifully with a single quote “When it comes to gift-giving, context is everything.”
This blog aims to give you a short and sweet answer to some of the most pressing questions in the minds of those wanting to make lasting and meaningful connections through gifts. If you want to unlock the secrets behind the psychology of gift-giving, keep on reading.
What is the Psychology Behind Gift-Giving?
Time and time again, psychologists come back to the notion that gift-giving is less about the gift and more about the human connection the gift can provide. Psychology lecturer Daniel Farrelly weighs in, stating, “. . . . the real motivation behind gift-giving is the positivity it creates in us and others, and that is very important to remember.”
That quote is a beautiful summary of a very complex idea. Humans, at their core, crave connection. It doesn’t matter if it is a vendor, an employee, or your customers. When given the option between a company that makes them feel nameless and a company that makes them feel seen and understood, the answer is clear. They’ll go where they feel seen and understood nearly every time.
People want to feel like they matter, and the beautiful thing about gifts is they can, and should be, a physical manifestation of showing them just that. Corporate gifts have a unique opportunity to remind customers about who a company is while showing you’ve been paying attention to the interactions you’ve had along the way.
Giving gifts to key team members, your business partners, VIPS, and yes, even random give-away contests help you build meaningful and lasting connections as a company that cares.
How Important is Gift-Giving in A Relationship
The best relationships involve give and take – we may not think about it – but giving is part of the foundation of who we are as social creatures.
A gift can be your time, your advice, a ride to work, or free daily snacks for the whole office.
Gifts are intrinsically woven into the way we communicate, especially in business. That goes double for any company that works on an international level.
In the business world, giving helps you build, rebuild, and maintain trust and respect. But be careful to walk to the line with grace. The psychology behind gift-giving, especially corporate gift-giving, warns that gifting is as much an art as it is a science.
That is because when giving a gift – there is a sweet spot where the gift is neither a burden nor a disappointment.
Give too much, and a gift can feel like a bribe or an obligation to give back. Give too little, and your gesture can seem empty and, well, thoughtless.
Luckily when it comes to corporate gift-giving, we have HR departments to help us out. When giving gifts (even inside your own company) check to see what HR will allow as a gift. This will help you handily stay out of bribe territory. While you’re there, you might get a few insider tips on what a specific person, or team, might most appreciate.
What Makes Gift-Giving Difficult?
At Gift Baskets Overseas, this question is something that is commonly asked (and solved). Diving into the psychology of gift-giving and becoming aware of how gifts impact how you and your company are seen can make gifts feel impossible.
When, in fact, simply becoming mindful of all of the moving parts will inherently make you better at gift-giving as a whole.
To help you out, we’ve broken down the most difficult parts into an easy-to-follow list.
Deciding Who You Are Sending Gifts To
Like it or not, your budget will never allow you to give gifts to everyone on your list. You can make this easier by working with a Corporate Gift Expert who can help you break down your budget and gift recipient list into year-round gifting.
You’ll be able to reach more people and help your accountant breathe a little easier if you adopt a year-round gifting approach. We recommend the following:
- 1.) Birthday Gifts for key employees and VIPS
- 2.) Milestone or Achievement gifts for teams
- 3.) Anniversary gifts for vendors and business partners
- 4.) A Health Holiday Gift Campaign that helps you reconnect with VIPS and the MVPS on your team
If your budget allows – you can make your gift campaigns go further with e-Gift Certificates.
Sending a gift often means more if you send it to their home address rather than the office. However, collecting all of those addresses can be time-consuming, and holiday travel complicates it further.
We recommend using our Address Request Service to allow your recipients to fill out their addresses. They can even pick the best delivery dates for themselves to speed up the process. All you need is their email address!
As a bonus, you can see who may not be interested. The psychology of gift-giving also helps us empathize with those that may feel uncomfortable with gifts. Giving them the ability to opt-out by not filling out your form may be a relief.
Corporate gifts come with a uniquely large amount of paperwork. Many companies have policies that require vendors to be approved before you can buy things from them. However much paperwork you have to go through, Gift Baskets Overseas has you covered. We are familiar with the vendor onboarding process for many companies and understand how this can streamline the gift-giving process year-round.
How to Respond When Someone Gives a Gift?
It seems only fitting to end on the most challenging point in the psychology of gift-giving – how do you respond to gifts?
In most cases, a simple thank you is enough. But if you’re looking to build a relationship, we challenge you to rise to the occasion and look for your opportunity to send a gift back. Just don’t do it right away. After all, you want to create a chance for dialogue.
Instead, try sending a gift a few weeks later, perhaps as an invite to a meeting.
At the end of the day, gifts are there to bring joy to both the sender and the recipient. The old adage of “it’s the thought that counts” still reigns supreme. Give freely, give often, and give with your recipient in mind and you are sure to be a powerhouse in the world of gift-giving!
Now That You Know More About The Psychology Of Gift-Giving – What Next?
– Use our Employee Rewards and Recognition Service to start an employee reward program.
– Browse through our corporate gifting catalog for employees.
– Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on gifting trends!
A foodie, nerd, book lover, and eager taste tester. I’m a night owl with a need to expand my knowledge of other cultures and places to give myself better perspective.