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How To Make Corporate Gifting Count This Holiday Season

As Q4 kicks off, corporate holiday gifting budgets are going into effect, and business leaders are reflecting on how best to express their gratitude for the relationships that drive their growth and reputation. 

As a marketer, I’m keenly aware that these gifting initiatives are golden opportunities for brands to enact their values and, not just proselytize, but creatively demonstrate what it means to be a part of their community. 

I turned to Sofiya Deva, founder of This Same Sky, an ethically sourced artisan goods line, to get her thoughts on how businesses can make the most of their gifting this holiday season.

Sofiya is no stranger to the delicate process of endowing objects with meaning. Not only does she design and source unique pieces like colorful, block printed scarves, hand woven house robes and barkcloth laptop sleeves from small communities of multi-generational artisans from India and Africa, every piece she creates is paired with an intention, or affirmation.

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When I talked to her, she was busy planning a custom order for Adobe for their elite cadre of influencers, known as Adobe Insiders.

Q: How is corporate gifting different this year? Have priorities shifted?

A: As devastating as the pandemic has been, I think it’s also given us all pause, and perspective. I keep hearing from colleagues: “I didn’t realize how much I needed to slow down.”

“This time has helped me realize what’s really important in my life.” “I want to focus more on giving back.”

It only makes sense then that this would carry over to who we shop with, and how. 

This gifting season is special because we’re all raw and reeling, and in most cases, working remotely, and it’s an opportunity to question the status quo, and offer something that doesn’t just check a box, but delivers genuine delight, and makes a difference.

Q: How should brands looking to go down this path begin? Where should they begin?

A: Too often, corporate gifting becomes merely an obligation, or an afterthought. 

I encourage brands to look at it as a creative exercise instead.

When working with brands, we begin with a consultation where we take the time to tease out the right message, mood and spirit of the gift. 

We also factor in who the recipients are, and what the company’s hopes are for the future with them. We then take this crucial context and create a story and gift idea, whose design, supply chain and purpose all align with the larger goals and vision. The end result is a gift that’s one of a kind, personal and unforgettable. 

Q: What if a brand doesn’t have a huge budget for gifting this year?

A: Crafting, and curating, a meaningful gift doesn’t have to be expensive. We can create an experience in so many ways. 

By being thoughtful about how a gift is sourced, whether through an artisan or small business; how it’s made, whether through renewable materials or by hand; and how it’s presented; whether through a handwritten note or process story postcard, we create an emotional connection that has little to do with the price tag. 

Q: Do you think this trend towards ethical corporate gifting is here to stay?

A: Absolutely. As a friend of mine likes to say, the pandemic brought the future here faster. We were already seeing a greater interest in fair trade, artisan and purpose-driven products. This season of crisis has only accelerated that. 

I also think b2b often follows b2c trends, but somewhat more slowly and cautiously. In the b2c space, we’ve seen the success of cause-driven luxury marketplaces like Olivela and social enterprises, like Sudara, and we’re due to see a similar shift in the world of b2b gifting.

I for one am very excited about the possibilities.

Q: Any final tips for brands as they organize gifting efforts?

A: Untold stories are the equivalent of leaving money on the table. Whether it’s a holiday gift, a token of thanks, conference swag, or even simply t-shirts at an internal event, make it count as a touch point. It’s not enough to put your logo on an item. It needs to stand for something, have genuine value, and feel special. 

And when thoughtful curation becomes a brand’s hallmark, engagement, trust and loyalty follow quite naturally.

Source: Forbes – Business

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