What kind of corporate gifts are appropriate?

Gifts to your friends are filled with inside jokes and affectionate jibes at their character. Buying a “Grow Your Own Girlfriend” for your little brother or cute socks with hearts on them for a close personal friend is the norm with gift buying, and it is not unheard of – in fact, common – to purchase gifts that are very personal and often inappropriate in order to get a good laugh and improve the bond that you and the recipient have for each other.

Within corporate gifts, you are no longer representing your friendship with someone else. Instead, the gift represents your business. That is why there are several things you need to do to make sure your gift is appropriate.

Tips for Ensuring Corporate Gift Appropriateness

ˇ        When in Doubt, The Answer is No

If you are not sure if a gift is appropriate, it probably is not. Within corporate gifts, the gift always must reflect well on your company. Though you may be “pretty sure” the gift is appropriate, the risk is not worth the reward. There should always be a more appropriate gift available. Even if you are confident the gift is “likely” appropriate, if you are not 100% sure, assume it is not.

ˇ        Familiarity is Meaningless

There will be times that you know the recipient of the gift very well. Perhaps the two of you have become friends during your time conversing with each other, even spending time together on weekends and in off hours. That familiarity does not matter with corporate gifts. Remember – even though you are the one purchasing the gift, the gift comes from the company, not from you. Even if you are 100% positive that the individual receiving the gift will appreciate something that may not be appropriate, that individual is going to have people that know about the gift they have received, and that will reflect poorly on your company.

ˇ        Product Should Be Acceptable for All Genders

Though you may know the gender of the gift’s recipients, you should only get gifts that all genders can appreciate. There are some “Stereotypical” gifts that are gender-free. For example, a package of soaps is a great gift for all genders, despite the inaccurate belief that it is a better gift for women. But perfumes or traditionally masculine products should be avoided, as a gift that is only for a specific gender is considered an inappropriate gift.

Ensuring Gift Appropriateness

If you are still unsure if a gift is appropriate, your best bet is to ask someone above you at your office. By receiving an executive’s approval for your gift, you are both ensuring that the gift is appropriate as well as getting a “get out of jail free” card if the gift is misconstrued. And if you are afraid to ask your boss whether or not the gift is appropriate, it can be safely assumed that it is not. You always want to reflect well on your brand, and only by getting an appropriate corporate gift can you ensure that is possible.