The Minefield of Corporate Gifting

gift boxes on a table

How to get your corporate gifting right.

Type ‘corporate gifts’ in to Google and you’ll see some real rubbish come up. And that speaks volumes. If your gift is generic and you’ve put little or no thought or personalisation into your choice of present at this time of year, it could back-fire, big time.

Christmas does offer the perfect time of year to say thank-you to your clients; for their business and loyalty. Done well, it can serve two core roles of strengthening your relationship and marketing your brand. But done badly, it can create awkwardness, embarrassment or have a negative impact on the perception of your business.

If you’re a small company, with a reasonable-sized client base, you can afford to think about the individual so you don’t have to think of a one-size fits all solution. A carefully picked, thoughtful token aligned to their interests or reminiscing on a joke you shared together, shows a client that not only do you listen, but more importantly that you care about them as an individual. We say it a lot, but personalisation goes a long way to showing someone that they are appreciated.

When selecting your gift, you also need to think about what it says about you, your business and your brand. Your aim is something unique and memorable to avoid your gesture simply getting thrown into the staff raffle! Select something that reflects yours or the brand’s personality so you’re re-affirming in your client’s mind what it is that you stand for and why they employ and like working with you. Paying care and attention on wrapping can be crucial for this; branded colours, personal messages and fun tags can transform something off the shelf into something entertaining, personal and on brand.

But before you head off, cash in hand to go shopping there are some important things for you to consider:

What’s your objective?

Don’t just send a gift because it’s Christmas, make the gesture work hard for you. Do you want to secure their business for another year? Do you want them to know about a new product you’ve launched? Is it more about brand awareness? The answer to these questions will direct you on what’s appropriate.

Know how much to spend

How much you choose to spend will largely be down to your business’s finances, the importance of your client and your objectives. If you’re struggling to afford much, don’t underestimate the impact of a well-thought through token or handwritten card. I’ve even had the kids baking before now!

But don’t go overboard. Lavish gift giving can be embarrassing and some companies do not allow their employees to receive gifts over a certain limit or even at all. Do your research.

Be sensitive to religious beliefs

Don’t assume all your clients celebrate Christmas as it can lead to very awkward conversations. For these clients, consider other ways to show your appreciation at different times of year like anniversaries or project completions – see our blog on the importance of saying Thank-You.

Include everyone, where you can

Cherry-picking recipients or worse, forgetting someone, can quickly turn a heartfelt gesture into a sour moment. To help avoid this try to keep a running list throughout the year and check it carefully before sending anything out.

Time it right

Make sure you order in time. While most retailers take orders right up to Christmas week, with online deliveries, you will have to take into account delivery times and Christmas post delays. And the more bespoke you go, the more notice you will need to give for traders to source and ensure they can get it in in time.

Stuck for inspiration? Here are some of our favourites:

Food to share around the office always goes down well at this time of year and is particularly good if you want to thank a larger team.

  • The Fabulous Baker Boys Muffin Mail – choose from 12 different flavours or opt for the ‘Lucky Dip’ and take advantage of the greeting card to write a personal message.
  • For the best brownies we have EVER tasted try The Brownie Post, beautifully packaged half or full dozen boxes of traditional or more daring flavours. Just divine.
  • Krispy Kreme also offer corporate deliveries and we are yet to meet anyone who eyes don’t bulge when a full tray of these arrive. That said, we are ever so slightly in love with their individually boxed versions! Even better you can get a branded wrap for your box, AMAZING! Cue the doughnut puns!
  • For foodie clients who may appreciate something a little more delicate, we recommend The Gluttonous Gardener whose gardening and plant presents can be grown and enjoyed for many years and come beautifully packaged.
  • is a must for anyone looking for something different, quirky and personalised. They have a section dedicated to corporate buyers looking to buy in volume. We love the personalised wine box and sock subscription!
  • Etsy is another great online marketplace to buy unique handmade or vintage items, many offering a personalisation option. You have a global market of distinctive gifts at your fingertips or if, like us, you prefer to support local tradespeople, you can customise your location search.

Shopping local is certainly good for business and for the soul; so when it comes to gifts such as flowers, alcohol and chocolates (which are always appreciated!) there’s often some amazing home-grown businesses that can help you make your selection stand out.

  • If you know your client’s favourite flower (and it’s in season) The Flower Lounge in Didsbury can create something bespoke for your recipient and, helpfully, have some stunning vases to complement them.
  • Reserve Wines and The Epicurean in West Didsbury really know their stuff when it comes to wine and beer. These specialist merchants can help you select based on the preferences of your client and passionately talk you through tasting notes that will help you personalise.
  • Their award winning neighbours; A Taste Of Honey Delicatessen, who create stunning bespoke hampers stuffed with olives, antipasto, cheese and artisan bread, and Cocoa Cabana Chocolatiers, who cater for every budget, from delicate truffle boxes through to chocolate afternoon tea experiences, help make shopping unforgettable…and in our case temptingly local!
  • In fact, experiences can be a lovely way to go as you’re not only gift-giving but potentially setting up your next appointment! Consider the highly-recommended guided tours round Manchester, both informative and fun, especially if you go for the pub tour 😉 For something more out of the ordinary and creative why not try a Love Calligraphy workshop; a great way to inspire conversation and create a shared experience.


It goes without saying that we can help with any part of your gift buying quest. From inspiration to sourcing, personalising to wrapping, we relish a challenge and the chance to get stuck in while we whistle away to Bing! Get in touch.