The holiday season is closer than we’d like to admit. This means the holiday shopping rush and corporate gifting for employees and clients has begun.

According to a 2014 study administered by ASI, 43 percent of companies surveyed planned on giving gifts to employees, while one-third of companies were undecided about employee gift giving. Three-quarters of the companies surveyed reported that all employees will receive a gift. Of those gifts, 68 percent were likely to feature the company’s logo.

It’s important to remember organizations need to incorporate gifts that will engage with every demographic. The days of gifting a singular logoed item for everyone is outdated and ineffective. Those types of gifts ultimately make the recipient feel lumped in with everyone, and as if choosing the gift was a chore, rather than a genuinely kind gesture.

Aside from the thoughtfulness, corporate gifting is an effective method of expressing gratitude for client relationships, employees or potentially new business connections.

Of the companies surveyed by ASI, the most popular items to be distributed were food or beverage packages, apparel, cash bonuses and gift cards.

While the gestures are kind, they don’t often elicit a memorable experience. When upper management presents someone with a cash reward, for example, it doesn’t create a memory. When a tangible gift like a Calvin Klein watch is given, whenever the recipient looks at the watch or feels it on their wrist, they will be reminded of how they received it and from which company. This creates a strong connection and motivates loyalty.

With that in mind, sending recipients demographically appropriate gifts demonstrates appreciation and care for the person.

For example, Baby Boomers are in search of practical gifts for the home and are intrigued by brands like Viking, Cuisinart or Mikasa. Generation X employees are attracted to items best for a busy lifestyle, yet maintain more traditional values. They are more likely to choose items from Thule or Voice Caddie. Finally, Millenials tend to be enticed by designer brands like Michael Kors or Gucci. They also are interested in technology-forward options like headphones by Klipsch and wearable cameras like Narrative.

The gifts can also be segmented by seniority within the company. Higher-ranked employees can be gifted the higher-end merchandise, while mid-senior and entry-level employees may be presented with something in the lower price range.

Companies don’t have to be so straightforward and sterile about the gifting process. The way the gift is given doesn’t have to follow a traditional pathway through the mail or landing simply on employees’ or clients’ desks with a polite card.

Consider hosting a “shopping” event where employees/guests have the opportunity to browse the latest and most fashionable merchandise available. If companies provide an experience furnished with multiple brands and the same trending products found in stores, the excitement of the experience alone will create a memory. At the end of the shopping experience, they leave with a product they’re happy with.

Options for corporate gifting don’t have to be boring or follow a formula. Segmented merchandise or an innovative event shows creativity and fosters better relationships with clients, it proves a company’s enthusiasm for employees, and drives company loyalty.

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