Choosing Corporate Gifts for VIPs
Building relationships with senior decision-makers is a business-critical investment, as is attracting and retaining top talent in your own organisation. With COVID-19 placing restrictions on when and how we can get together, businesses are having to find new ways to develop a long-lasting connection with VIPs. Corporate gifts have long been a key part of any VIP relationship strategy, but how do you choose the right gift? And how do you use VIP corporate gifts to deliver the best returns?
Here are a few suggestions to make VIP gifts work for you. I talk about customers most of the way through, but the same rules apply to internal staff.
What’s the point in VIP gifts?
If given in the right way, a corporate gift can make your brand more favourable to the customer, dramatically improve loyalty, and increase revenues per client. How does this work? The Nobel-winning behavioural economist, Daniel Kahneman, suggests that our instinctive reaction is to simplify complex problems with an instinctive gut reaction. When you rent an apartment you are making a big decision, but you will often be swayed by a whole range of emotional factors such as how much you like the area, whether the apartment reminds you of home in some way, the weather on the day, and how much you trust the agent. Many products and services are a complex mix of factors which make direct comparisons between suppliers difficult. Taking even a very simple product, the simplicity of invoicing, the reliability of delivery and trustworthiness of the salesperson can all influence the “perceived cost” of buying.
If you have a strong and positive relationship with the supplier then, other things being equal, you are more likely to buy from them. If you like the salesperson, you are more likely to talk to them and hear about the latest improvements to the service offer and are therefore more likely to increase your use of the product as a result.
VIP gifts are an essential part of that relationship-building. They give you an opportunity to build a personal connection with that important customer. And what is more, if the customer values the gift then they will keep interacting with your brand again and again, raising brand recognition and reducing the barriers to further contact. Over three quarters of senior executives have a positive perception of the company who gave them a branded gift.
What will they value?
Most of us think a lot before we give a gift to a loved one. What sort of things do they like? Will it appeal to their tastes? How will they think of me if I give them this gift?
The power of corporate gifts is their longevity. If you get it right, your branded gift will be used by the recipient for months or even years (the average length of time a customer will keep a branded gift is 6-9 months). So you want to get it right.
VIP gifts tend to be bigger investments than promotional giveaways because the quality level is higher, but price is not the only guide. My 3 top tips for the product choice are:
- Will they use it? If the customer thinks something is good quality and usable then they will keep it and use it. Think about their lifestyles and their problems e.g. frequent travellers and mobile workers have to deal with carrying their office with them and keeping their devices charged.
- Does it match your brand? If you brand is serious and reliable then you want a serious and reliable gift that reinforces your brand. Frivolous and gimmicky gifts will be wrong for your message.
- Is the quality right? Quality needs to be right for your brand and audience. A “good quality” corporate gift is in the eye of the customer. You don’t need a travel adaptor to be made of gold, but just that it is robustly built and has enough fittings for their devices. Always get a sample before you place the order so you can feel the quality.
Make it personal: How to give your giftFirst impressions count! You have chosen the ideal corporate gift, now you need to give it to your customer. Giving the gift in person, with both hands and a smile or bow, is usually best. These days we cannot always do it in person, so the next best will be to pack and post it with care and a personal note. This makes the gift a personal interaction between you and the customer.
The packaging is a really important part of the process. Bespoke branded boxes are relatively low cost and make a huge impact. So the customer feels they are receiving a quality gift before they even open it. As you can see from the BrandHK gift sets below, packaging transforms even simple gifts into something exciting and unique.
Make it a thingWhen I worked in the City of London, my agency used to give the same diary as a corporate gift to VIPs every year. Each was given by hand with a personal note from the senior staff and sales team to the customer. The diaries became “a thing” – a tradition that was valued for its own sake. Every year our customers would check we were going to do the diaries again so they could hold off buying their own. Our clients were loyal, engaged and felt that the annual gift was a highly valued part of the service they received from us.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you give you gift, as long as the quality, branding and usability are right.