Home Thinking Aloud The Critical Shift In Corporate Gifting

The Critical Shift In Corporate Gifting


by Joe Dornoff, President and Managing Partner of BakeMeAWish.com

The past decade has brought on a major change with corporate gifting, how companies perceive gifts, and the types of gifts their employees, vendors and clients enjoy. The proliferation of data through social media has helped refine superior methods to approach relationship management and how corporate gifting fits into this new paradigm.

Here are five things companies need to consider with corporate gifting in 2023:

1. Relationship Building.

Gifting is about managing your relationships with customers, vendors, and employees.  Most commonly, companies wait until the holidays or a special milestone to give a gift and they need to do more than just that. If you’ve made the commitment to be an expert relationship manager, then you need to realize the opportunities to honor the most important moments in their life. This is how we create strong bonds: birthdays, new babies, anniversaries, sympathy gifts or even just because they need a pick-me-up. There is no better way to instill a positive connection to your recipient than acknowledging them and letting them know they are on your mind year-round.

2. Shared Experiential Gifts vs. Hard Goods.

The experience of receiving a gift has become perfunctory with an abundance of water bottles and logo’d swag that will never be used. These are the types of cold and out-of-touch gifts that don’t build relationships. Conversely, when you offer someone an experience, they never forget that you remembered them.

Food gifts hit the top of the list for experiential gifts that allow the recipient to both delight over the process of opening the gift, but also allows them to share with family and friends, extending the shared experience to others. Experiential food gifting is a magnificent way to actually grow your relationships with life events in mind. Cakes make great birthday gifts and warm the soul. Gorgeous gift baskets and gift towers have always been a mainstay for holidays, sympathy or just because. They’re all a thrill to receive and the treats never last long enough, but the memory of you sending such a wonderful gift will resonate for years to come.

3. E-Certificates.

The pandemic brought a major shift to the workforce — how are we to know where our vendors or employees are these days? Most of the time it’s remote or hybrid. Forward thnking companies have created gift certificate programs to allow them to email gifts to their clients, vendors, and employees. Recipients enjoy selecting their own gift in a branded portal, having it arrive when they want, and putting in their own delivery address— this way, clients know it was received.

4. Just Say No To Gift Cards.

This is a trend that has flown the coop. If you’re managing relationships, then this is quite possibly the worst way to give a gift. Ten years ago, everyone was giving them, but now, we all appreciate gifts that have a little effort put into them. Nothing says, “I don’t know you and I don’t really care,” more than a gift card.

5. Collect Data and Segment.

When working with a big list of clients, I highly suggest segmenting based on preferences. Get to know your recipients and create a journal of likes and dislikes. For example, what flavors are their favorite? Do they have a family to share your gift with? Are there VIPs on your list that deserve a bigger gift? The more information you know about your recipient, the more you can hone in on the perfect gift to send them and at the perfect time.

Good relationship management will help people to be endeared to your brand! In order to do that, stop being one-sided with your gifting strategy: It’s not what you want, it’s about what your employees, vendors, and clients want and what’s going on in their life.


Joe Dornoff

Joe Dornoff is President and Managing Partner of Bake Me A Wish! (BMAW). With BMAW, Joe helped realize a fresh idea for a company that delivered birthday cakes nationwide. On a shoe-string, Joe launched Bakemewish.com and over the past 14 years has grown the company to be named by Newsweek magazine as the highest-ranked online bakery provider for consumers.