If we’ve learned one thing from working with our corporate customers, it’s that no one is too important to appreciate a good gift. This includes the C-Suite and upper management of your clients, partners and vendors.
It can be lonely at the top. Your business gift to the big bosses can have a strong correlation to memorability for you personally and your company’s brand.
When we asked people across the country how they felt about receiving business gifts, we were surprised to learn that the higher up in a company the recipient was, the more likely they were to report being satisfied with gifts from business partners. In fact, 95% of the C-Suite were satisfied, and 25% more likely to say their gift was memorable. That’s a big deal. That means that almost everyone at the top appreciates a well-timed expression of gratitude.
So don’t forget the upper-ups in your gifting plans. But how much should you spend? And what are you going to give them? Here are some tips based on our experience working with hundreds of corporate clients and the results of our 2017 Business Gift Satisfaction Survey.
What to Spend on Gifting the Boss
First of all, it’s important to remember that gifts can be deductible business expenses. Unfortunately, the IRS only allows your company to deduct an ungenerous $25 per individual gift. You can spend more than that but you will need to keep your receipts and plan to only deduct the IRS accepted amount from your corporate taxes.
Use your best judgement on how much to spend. In general, we learned from our survey that an average cost of $75 to $100 dollars in an acceptable amount across the United States. That price point increased to $125+ for the East Coast.
What to Give the Boss
What’s more important than cost is making the gift memorable for the recipient. If you’re spending $225 for a hand-blown glass whiskey set that you know the CEO of your client will appreciate, then don’t quibble on the price. Go for impact. After all, the point is that the people who run the company you’re doing business with are receptive to gifts, especially those that are meaningful to them.
Here are a few popular business gift sets for clients who enjoy food, wine and spirits.
Another angle is to give business gifts that reinforce YOUR brand’s values. If they align with your clients’ values, even better. For instance, if your brand stands for sustainability, gifts should be environmentally friendly. The classic corporate gifts like insulated mugs and tote bags can be reinterpreted by assembling a gift box from brands with a values-based twist.
Here are a few products from brands that might align with your company’s values.
MiiR: Vacuum-Insulated Daily Tumbler and Wide Mouth Bottle. Every bottle includes a Give code on the bottom that recipients can register online to play a role in tracking the clean water project that the bottle purchase funds.
Metamorphic Gear products are designed in the Northwest and built in the USA from over 90% upcycled materials, and 1% of every sale helps support ocean cleanup and conservation efforts. They make colorful, creative and indestructible tote bags, dopp kits and dog leashes.
You could also put it all together in a gift like Call of the Wild. This collection is the ideal gift set for someone who loves the outdoors and supports an ever-growing list of causes. It features high-quality products, many made from upcycled and recycled materials, that support a range of environmental, social, and animal welfare causes and organizations.
Giving a gift box with products like these allows you as the giver to tell a story with your gift message — one of the most overlooked parts of the annual business gift. For example, your message to the CEO could say something like, “…because we care about sustainability, this year we’re giving gifts from brands that take care of our environment. Since I know you enjoy the great outdoors, I hope you use this gift in the pursuit of new adventures. Enjoy!”
Truly, there is no limit to what you can give the boss at the companies you rely on to help your business succeed. There’s a strong business case for doing so, and your gift will stand out. And don’t be afraid to give to these VIPs, as the general rules apply. Take the time to give something personally meaningful and the gift will be well-received.