Corporate Gift Giving Etiquette

A well–chosen gift builds and enhances business relationships. Make sure your gift communicates the right message and delights the recipient with these expert tips and insights.

Make sure that your choice is appropriate and communicates the right message.

“When we give someone a present, we’re saying: ‘I thought of you’. Gift giving is a crucial part of building relationships.”
Simone S. Styger, Image Consultant at

A business gift can mean many things: it can express appreciation for a job well done, reward loyalty or act as a sales incentive. Done well, gift giving brings pleasure to both the giver and the recipient. As etiquette expert Simone C. Styger* says: “When we give someone a present, we’re saying: ‘I thought of you’. Gift giving is a crucial part of building relationships.”

It’s the Thought that Counts
Gift giving is an art. It requires time, effort and imagination. A corporate gift reflects the value that you place on the relationship and how well you understand the recipient. Think carefully about the exact message you want to communicate and how you can make it special. Gifts are often given at holiday times, but they have extra resonance when they mark an occasion—a milestone or anniversary—that is unique to your business relationship.

Make It Personal
There are some sensitivities to consider. Many companies have regulations around the value of business gifts individuals are allowed to accept, so a lavish gift may not be appropriate—if you need to give something impressive, a team gift might be more suitable. And personalizing a gift enhances its perceived value, so a hand–written note is a must.

Business gifts can make a powerful statement.

Looks Are Important

Beautiful presentation adds to the pleasure of giving and receiving. As Simone C. Styger says: “The packaging is just as important as the content! Learn how to create elegant packages or leave it to the professionals.” Think about practicality as well as aesthetics—a gift should always be easy to carry!

Bear in mind, too, that there are cultural differences around how gifts are given and received—in Japan it’s considered impolite to unwrap a present in front of the giver, while in Singapore it’s customary for the recipient to politely refuse the gift several times before accepting it.

Awareness of local traditions and superstitions will prevent any awkwardness. For example, in China black and white are colors of mourning, and gifts of clocks and handkerchiefs are considered unlucky as they are associated with sad farewells.

Whatever you want to communicate to a customer, business partner or co–worker, a gift from Swarovski will translate the message perfectly.

* Simone C. Styger is founder of THE STYLE CONNECTION, where she works as an image consultant and expert in presentation, etiquette and manners.
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