A Guide to Corporate Event Gifting Etiquette

We all love a good freebie, but when it comes to corporate gifting at events, there is certain etiquette to follow and a skill to getting it right.

Over the years, we have seen first-hand the evolution of event giveaways, from personalised stationery through to edible goodies and high-end tech. Whether you want top-notch gifts for a small number of guest speakers and delegates or a higher volume of corporate promotional products for your stand - here are our top tips on corporate gifting etiquette.

Be thoughtful, but not too personal

If you are just after a few gifts for guest speakers and delegates, then this is a good opportunity to get a little more personal with the gifts. However, how you go about this and what gift you decide on is somewhat of an art. If you go too personal, e.g. nab some family photos off of their social profile and frame them – then it could come across as a little too much. However, simply customising stationary, tech or an edible gift with their name would add a nice personal touch.

Consider differing cultures for international guests

Different cultures have differing corporate gifting etiquette, so do your research to ensure that your gift is appropriate for international guests. For example, in Japan the emphasis is on the ritual of gift-giving rather than the gift itself, and the gift should be given towards the end of the event and with both hands. Comparatively in the UK and the US, we are a little easier to please and love a good bit of stationary or tasty treat for the road.

Think creatively and Choose Contextual Gifts

The best gifts are either indulgent or useful and while buying your partner a useful gift on their birthday may be frowned upon – in business you can be as useful and practical as you like. This could be a smart business card holder with their name engraved, a fancy pen, or for higher-volume giveaways a branded desk accessory.

A good tip is to tie your gifts in with the event itself. Think about it - you have put a huge amount of work into your brand values and the marketing message behind the event itself, why wouldn’t you apply some of that wisdom to your gift? If you are running an event for the healthcare sector then a stylish basket of fruit and nuts could be a nice touch. Alternatively, if you are running a digital marketing event, you could give your gifts a technical twist with retro gadgets that keep your guests entertained in their breaks. 

Be subtle and classy with gift branding

It is definitely a good idea to add some branding to your gift, but it doesn’t need to be a huge logo that overpowers the gift and the good will behind the gesture itself. For example, if you are going with a fancy metallic pen then an engraved logo or symbol will suffice. Remember: there is no need to add your website address to everything if your brand search is in order online.

A gift on its own won’t do the trick

Many experienced corporate event speakers or delegates will tell you that they would much rather have a nice chill-out area with fresh coffee and a good lunch or dinner without a long queue than a free gift. Make sure you plan your budget so that the gift doesn’t take away from any luxuries for your guests during the event itself.

Did you find this helpful? Feel free to get in touch with us if you want any further corporate event tips.