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A Case Study On Eco-Friendly Corporate Gifting

Abstract

Corporate Gifting has become a part of every large and small organization in the business world today. Research shows that 92% of individuals create a better image of a company when a company supports a social or environmental issue. Organizations want to establish themselves as sustainable and are moving to environment friendly gifting. The Giving Tree is an Indian organization, which offers eco-friendly corporate gifts. This case study on ‘eco-friendly corporate gifting’ highlights the issues that they faced and how they survived through the difficult times. This case study will help the students understand the importance of making the right choice at the right time in order to survive.

Key words: Corporate gifting, eco-friendly, The Giving Tree, Challenges

Eco-Friendly Corporate Gifting

Gifting is one of the most integral parts of India’s culture, heritage and social customs. Our country is one of the most socializing and hospitable countries in this world. Indians are amongst the most passionate when it comes to taking and giving gifts, be it for personal or business occasions. The total size of personal as well as corporate gifting market is about Rs. 2,50,000 crores today. Of this, Rs. 1,20,000 crores is the share of business gifting. This statistic is according to Techno park, India’ leading management consultants. The corporate gifting scenario is growing at the rate of 200% per annum, which is quite huge (Gift Market: Rapidly Growing, n.d.)

Corporate gifts have taken an important place in recent times. It is a weapon in the marketing communication mix. As far as corporate gifts are concerned, they can act as a double-edged sword (Pachter, 1995). They help the company build relationships with their customers and employees, creates goodwill and promotes business (Davies, 1996). The importance of appropriate gifts can be felt by many companies today. It is an important message that shows how much their clients mean to them. The concept of corporate gifts too has shifted from ‘promotional’ to ‘emotional’. Gifts with a personal touch and company’s logo on them form a reminder of the company, which might tip a business decision in your favour (Axtell & Arends, 1990).

In the current state of ecological crisis in the world, both small and large corporations want to prove as being an environmentally friendly company. Exhibiting oneself as green just does not talk about protecting the environment. It is also about branding and having a public image. Something as small as corporate gifts for clients or partners, expresses gratitude while reinforcing the company’s values at the same time (Corporate Gifts Your Clients or Staff Will Love). Top companies in the world jumping in with the most creative and unique gift ideas for businesses to give their clients and employees that demonstrate their eco-friendly ways of thinking. As the trend is growing exponentially now, more useful items with innovative designs are coming in the marketplace (10 New Advances in Eco-Friendly Corporate Gifting (n.d.).

“When a company supports a social or environmental issue, 92 percent of individuals say that they have a more positive image of the company. Giving back through gifting is an effortless way for companies to support charitable causes that are important to their employees and customers without adding a new line item to their budget,” said Laura Hertz, co-founder and chief executive officer of Gifts for Good (Do Better Doing Business: Introducing Gifts for Good – The First Online Corporate Gifting Company That Curates Premium, Posh, and Purposeful Gifts That Give Back, 2017).

Eco-friendly corporate gifts range from handmade candles, to luxe leather totes, and unique wooden headphones. Some other products are wooden organizers, jute bags, bamboo flash drives, recycled daily planners and eco-friendly laptop bags. Some companies that are into eco-friendly corporate gifting are Greengiving, Urban Tribe, Save Globe and Eco Friend.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is one of the most innovative corporate gift houses in India, which offers a wide range of eco-friendly corporate gifts at a very economical and friendly price. It started way back in the year 2002, under the name of Craft Corner. It has now become a big brand in the country for offering customized corporate gifts in Bangalore and in India as a whole. It offers creative, quality and unique business gifts, which caters to all age groups of employees and customers. They make customized gifts like ceramic ware, bags, souvenirs, gift hampers and much more for their corporate clients.

The co-founders, Mala S and Leena Munot are passionate about all things Indian. They are on a mission to make people feel special when they receive a gift made by them. And the duo makes no compromises when it comes to offering the very best of India, innovation and Earth friendliness in all they do. They believe that corporate gifting has come a long way in India and has great scope to touch more lives in the coming decades. In their business vocabulary, competition is replaced with collaboration and they aggressively forge win-win relationships with their suppliers and channel partners.

They started the business on the ideology that Indians are giving people in general and due to our Indian culture, many of us click to celebrate different occasions by giving gifts to our near and dear ones. After being in the business for almost 10 years, they started seeing a decline in the number of sales each year. It came to their notice that the only major sales they made in the entire year were at the time of Diwali and Christmas. They noticed this shift for 3 years and it had them extremely worried, as the profits were clearly not enough to sustain them for the entire year. They had small orders spread across the entire year, which kept them going, but it was not enough for them to run in the long run.

Instead of losing hope they went back to their regular customers to get general feedback as to what image they have set in the minds of people. They narrowed the issues down and realized that what the company was offering wasn’t enough for the customers. Since, the company was only dealing with paper products then, the corporates didn’t want to gift the same thing every year. Another issue that came under notice was that the people saw them as a festive gifting company rather than corporate gifting because of the products they were manufacturing and selling at that point.

Without further ado, the zealous duo started working on the strategies to work around the identified problems. They started outsourcing other products like chocolates, sweets, electronics, accessories etc. to increase the market base for their existing products. And they only associated themselves with authentic and equally passionate dealers to make sure that they provide the customers with what they have promised. The aesthetics and premium quality was ensured even in the products that were being outsourced. This helped them increase the product range, which attracted the customers all around the year. They changed their positioning in the market completely by taking this step. Another huge step that they took here was to showcase the price range along with the product on their website. This is something, which not many dealers do.

Another interesting move made by The Giving Tree was to internally decide on their expansion strategy. In a time where everyone was looking at geographical expansion to grow topline, they decided to go in for product expansion. Not only did they add a whole new range of branded products to their offering, but went a step further and opted to list products that had added utility. They went for choosing multi functional products like fidget spinner with a USB charger, a pen with stylus, torch and writing functionality, all this helped their brand grab more eyeballs in a shorter time frame.

They believe this move fulfilled two key requirements. One was to create a buzz with trending gift ideas and the second was to be in sync with their philosophy, to ensure products that are high quality and with good utility. They make sure that their products get used and do not reach the landfills too soon. Even all their plastic bodied products are at least recyclable more than 5 times over, ensuring their eco friendliness continues to show in every product they offer.

These strategies adopted by them turned out to be a huge success for them as they could see immediate effects. There was an increase in their sales throughout the year. They now have over 15 lac users of their products worldwide and the status of the only company that is eco-conscious even in the processes it uses for production of gifts. They have the largest spread of clients across different industries- from IT to manufacturing and from ITES to education institutions. Their gifts are spreading joy everywhere today. The company seems to have turned all odds in their favour with all their innovation and tactful strategies. They hope to run successfully for a long time to come in the future.

A case study by Aditi Mittal and Tanvi Mundhra as part of their research project, Master of Science in Psychology and Human Resources Development and Management.

Published: December, 2019

Questions

What is the importance of eco-friendly gifting for corporates?
What are the reasons that The Giving Tree was not making adequate profits?
If you were in the co-founder’s place, how would you have done things differently from the very beginning?
What alternative solutions do you suggest for The Giving Tree?
How do you think The Giving Tree now has an edge over its competitors?
References

Axtell, R. C., & Arends, J. J. (1990). Ecology and management of arthropod pests of poultry. Annual Review of Entomology, 35 (101). Retrieved from http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.2/2120

Corporate Gifts Your Clients or Staff Will Love. Business Blogs. Retrieved from https://www.businessblogshub.com/2017/09/gifting-green-eco-friendly-corporate- gifts-your-clients-or-staff-will-love/

Darr, A. (2003). Gifting Practices and Interorganizational Relations: Constructing Obligation Networks in the Electronics Sector. Sociological Forum, 18(1), 31-51. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3648878

Davies, S. (1996). The art of corporate gift giving. Incentive, August.

Do Better Doing Business: Introducing Gifts for Good – The First Online Corporate Gifting Company That Curates Premium, Posh, and Purposeful Gifts That Give Back. (2017). Business Wire. Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171109005906/en/Business- Introducing-Gifts-Good-–-Online-Corporate

Giesler, M., & Dawn Iacobucci served as editor and Eric Arnould served as associate editor for this article. (2006). Consumer Gift Systems. Journal of Consumer Research, 33(2), 283-290. doi:10.1086/506309

Gift Market: Rapidly Growing (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hghindia.com/eng/gifts/ 10 New Advances in Eco Friendly Corporate Gifting (n.d.). Ecorporatesgifts.com. Retrieved from https://www.e-corporategifts.com/10-New-Advances-in-Eco- Friendly-Corporate-Gifting.html

Pachter, B. (1995). Prentice Hall Complete Business Etiquette Handbook, Prentice Hall.

Homepage

Venkatesan, S. (2011). The social life of a “free” gift. American Ethnologist, 38(1), 47-57. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41241499

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