Unforgettable impressions: What do your corporate gifts say about your brand?
When curated carefully, corporate gifts can establish emotional connections and deliver impactful results. But it’s not as straightforward as giving to receive. Corporate gifting is an art form.
Corporate gifting is experiencing a substantial boom. After a pandemic-induced spike in 2020, corporate gifting has pivoted from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential channel for attracting customers and engaging employees. Corporate gifting budgets have increased exponentially, and this upwards trajectory shows no signs of slowing down.
As more companies invest in gifting, they need to think carefully about how their strategy supports their goals and reflects their values. Corporate gifting isn’t as straightforward as simply giving in order to receive. It’s an art form.
The art of corporate gifting
Marketers have long believed that emotional relevance is key to connecting with customers and fostering loyalty. This conviction has inspired a storied history of heartstring-tugging adverts, loveable brand characters and catchy jingles. Brands know that by building emotional bonds, they can create connections with customers that withstand the bad times and flourish during the good.
When curated carefully, corporate gifts can not only help companies establish emotional connections with customers, but deliver impactful results, too. A well-chosen gift can convey appreciation, increase engagement and boost acquisition and retention – directly impacting a company’s bottom line.
So which corporate gifts are the most effective in creating connections and delivering impact?
To find out, we surveyed 1,000 members of the British public – across all age groups – to discover which corporate gifts they prefer, and which make them feel most connected to the companies that gifted them.
Our survey revealed four key insights:
- People experience emotional responses when they receive corporate gifts – either as an acquisition incentive or employee reward.
- Corporate gifts significantly impact how people feel about the company that gifted them – for better or worse.
- As well as influencing opinion, corporate gifting can drive people to take action and spend money.
- People are conscious of suppliers’ sustainability and working practices, and want to feel good about the gifts they receive.
would feel ‘truly delighted’ or ‘genuinely appreciated’ if they received an M&S Gift Card as part of a promotional incentive
say that receiving a gift card for a premium brand would positively impact their opinion of the company that gifted them
agree that the gifts offered by companies impact their purchasing decisions
would prefer to receive a gift card from a retailer with a good reputation for sustainability and ethical working practices
Memorable gifts deliver meaningful impact
To be truly effective, corporate gifts need to build lasting connections through emotion. Of course, emotion is an intangible concept, so how can companies ensure their corporate gifts engender an emotional response – and therefore deliver lasting impact?
The gifts we remember most are likely to be those with emotion behind them. Think about the most memorable gift you’ve ever received. It could be a reprint of your favourite childhood book. Or a handwritten note passed to you on a particularly sad morning. Whatever it is, the common driving factor in making it memorable is how it made you feel.
You may have a personal gift in mind, but our survey found that the same psychological rules apply to corporate gifting.
62.5% of people agree that receiving a gift card for a premium retailer would feel more like a ‘treat’ than receiving cash or a discount code – and 91.3% of respondents say they’d be more likely to remember receiving a gift card vs. money off a future purchase.
Why? Because receiving a premium gift card feels special, unique and unexpected – the three characteristics needed to build emotional connections. And it’s these memorable moments that companies are striving to create with their customers and colleagues, because they work far harder – and last far longer – than any rational benefit or financial discount could.
When asked about receiving an M&S Gift Card from their employer, 77.7% of respondents say they’d feel ‘truly valued’ or ‘thoughtfully rewarded’. Using M&S Gift Cards as part of your employee engagement initiative will ensure staff feel genuinely appreciated, helping to increase long-term motivation, engagement and productivity.
“77.7% of respondents say that they’d feel ‘truly valued’ or ‘genuinely appreciated’ if they received an M&S Gift Card from their employer.”
Unforgettable experiences start with acquisition
When it comes to customer acquisition initiatives, choosing memorable corporate gifts is even more important. Our research found that first impressions can significantly impact customer behaviour, so making an unforgettable impression at acquisition – the first touchpoint in the customer experience – is really important.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (95.3%) agree that if they had a positive first experience with a company, they’d be more likely to choose them again – and 73.1% say it would make them much more likely to.
Incentivising purchase with an unexpected ‘treat’ – such as a premium gift card – feels surprisingly thoughtful and genuinely special, helping to build the positive emotional connections your brand needs to boost loyalty and lifetime value.
When asked about receiving an M&S Gift Card as part of a promotional incentive, 80.1% of people say they’d feel ‘truly delighted’ or ‘genuinely appreciated’. This insight shows that using an M&S Gift Card as part of an acquisition incentive would garner the emotional response you need to build bonds – and boost your bottom line.
“80.1% of respondents say they’d feel ‘truly delighted’ or ‘genuinely appreciated’ if they received an M&S Gift Card as part of a promotional incentive.”
Gifts that feel good to give and good to receive
Making a good impression isn’t just about creating emotional connections. The gifting suppliers you partner with say a lot about your company, too.
Corporate gifts are a tangible representation of what your company stands for. Giving sustainable, ethical gifts shows that you care about the environment, working conditions and society at large, and can reflect positively on your own brand. This well-documented social-psychological phenomenon is called the halo effect – a tactic that can be used to not only improve your company’s reputation, but help drive revenue, too.
Our survey results demonstrate how well-chosen corporate gifts can create a halo effect of positive perception across your entire brand. 64.1% of people agree that if a company offered a gift card from a brand with strong sustainability values and ethical working practices, it would positively impact their opinion of the company.
70% of people say they’d prefer to receive a gift card from a retailer with a good reputation for sustainability and ethical working practices. This preference is even more pronounced in the younger generations. 83.3% of 18-24 year olds and 83.6% of 25-34 year olds say they’d prefer to receive a gift card from a brand with a good reputation for sustainability, compared to 58.2% of people aged 65+.
Younger people also tend to be more susceptible to acquisition initiatives. 73.2% of 18-24 year olds and 80.1% of 25-34 year olds agree that incentives influence their purchasing decisions, compared to just 51.7% of people aged 65+.
Choosing a gifting supplier that embodies sustainability values could help brands acquire customers from a younger demographic – who intrinsically have a higher lifetime value – and improve their overall perception in the market, all while ensuring that all recipients feel good about the gifts they receive.
“83.3% of 18-24 year olds and 83.6% of 25-34s say they’d prefer to receive a gift card from a retailer with a good reputation for sustainability values and ethical working practices.”
Elevate your brand by association
Partnering with a gifting supplier with a great reputation for quality, trust and customer service can also elevate your brand by association. But despite knowing this, many companies still partner with low-quality suppliers – creating associations that can negatively impact customer perception.
Our survey found that 71% of people agree that if a company offered a gift card from a trusted, premium retailer it would positively impact their opinion of the company that gifted them. And when asked about M&S in particular, 80.7% say that receiving an M&S Gift Card would make them feel more positively about the company that gifted them. Partnering with M&S Corporate Gifts evokes quality, trust and prestige – associations that become aligned with the gifter’s brand.
“80.7% say that receiving an M&S Gift Card would make them feel more positively about the company that gifted them.”
According to Forbes, everything you do as a brand – including corporate gifting – plays a role in shaping customer experience (CX). And those that invest in CX can expect to generate higher revenue, achieve better customer satisfaction and reduce turnover rates. As the redeeming experience is an extension of your own customer experience, choosing a gifting partner that delivers high-quality service is vitally important – to both your reputation and revenue.
Over half of our survey respondents say that the gifting and redeeming experience with an M&S Gift Card is more enjoyable than the same experience with an Amazon voucher. When companies give an M&S Gift Card, they’re unlocking a world of premium products and truly enjoyable shopping experiences – both of which contribute to a company’s overall customer experience.
Don’t fall in line. Rise to the fore.
It’s no secret that the cost of acquisition is increasing. Companies across the country need to work harder and spend more than ever to stay competitive.
Meanwhile, customer expectations are also rising. People are wise to commonly played marketing tactics and increasingly expect personalised experiences at every touchpoint. So how can companies use corporate gifting to meet these growing demands?
64% of people agree that the gifts offered by companies impact their purchasing decisions, presenting an opportunity for brands to rise to the fore with attention-grabbing – and impactful – acquisition initiatives.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (95.3%) agree that a positive first experience with a brand would make them more likely to become a returning customer. And 70.7% of people agree that receiving an M&S Gift Card would positively impact their purchasing decision.
This data is telling a powerful story. When companies make their acquisition initiatives stand out with unforgettable corporate gifts, they’re more likely to acquire more customers, make a good impression and increase repeat orders.
“70.7% of people agree that they’d be more likely to make a purchase if a company was offering an M&S Gift Card as an incentive.”
It’s the same story with employee engagement initiatives. As stated above, 77.7% of respondents say that they would feel ‘truly valued’ or ‘thoughtfully rewarded’ if they received an M&S Gift Card from their employer. When companies give their initiatives the ‘wow factor’ with extra-special corporate gifts, their team is more likely to be motivated, engaged and productive.
Unforgettable gifts. Never-ending impact.
Our survey found that offering surprisingly thoughtful corporate gifts can help brands build positive emotional connections and leave memorable first impressions.
M&S Corporate Gifts are unforgettable. They create positive, emotional connections that recipients remember for longer and continue to associate with their brand. The impact is far from short-lived. It’s never ending. So whether you’re incentivising purchase or rewarding employees, treat your recipients to something extra-special with M&S Corporate Gifts.
As well as creating positive connections, M&S Corporate Gifts can help you create a halo effect of positive perception across your entire brand. M&S is synonymous with quality and prestige – associations you can align with your own brand through corporate gifting.
An M&S Gift Card unlocks an expansive range of premium products and beloved brands, such as Clinique, FatFace, Moët & Chandon and Jaeger. Treat them to shopping experiences your recipients will truly enjoy – while fondly remembering the brand that gifted them.
Unlock enjoyable experiences and positive associations with M&S Corporate Gifts.
Discover the never-ending impact of gifting with M&S Corporate Gifts.