Are your gifts – an expense or an investment?

When you buy a gift, regardless of who it is for – your teams, associates or clients, every gift has a purpose to fulfill. At the intrinsic level a gift is meant to make someone feel special and significant. At a deeper level it is a great tool to forge long term relationships with the people you surround yourself with or look forward to be associated with for a longer time in the future. The importance of a simple and thoughtful gift cannot be overridden. However sometimes due to budget demands, lack of time or personal tastes, wrong choices are made and the gift giving process lands us in a lose-lose situation instead of win-win. Let’s look at what some look like. In each situation the curious thing to observe is whether the gift is an expense or a liability.

Hands-me-down – If the gift is not used by the recipient but instead is handed down to someone else, then this is an expense to the giver. When a product with your branding on it, is not used by the right person, the whole purpose of giving the gift is defeated. It gets you no brand recall, in fact, it may get you some negative brownies for choosing an irrelevant, low quality or non useful product as a gift. As you read this, am sure you can think of atleast one such gift you have received in the past!

Wow factor – If the gift creates instant delight, it is an investment – the person will remember how the gift made him feel, and there is a large chance that he will use the gift himself. This leads to continued brand recall, will help build brand loyalty and will leave a positive first and last impression in the recipient’s mind. Remember that simple yet elegant watch you received on completing 2 years with a company, or a hand written note by your team showing you their appreciation with a nice pen….you get the drift?

Voucher fever – When you gift vouchers instead of a product with your branding on it – this is definitely a big expense to the company! You cannot control what the voucher gets used for when the recipient logs into the online store. They may buy household items, pantry products, clothes or gadgets – all of which will not carry any branding, or story. There is no personal touch when you give a voucher. And a gift given without a personal touch is simply an item. Therefore, I’d say it is an expense. This one is my pet peeve when it comes raising a vehement war cry! If you don’t have the time and patience to get that right gift, delegate it to an outside expert, or to a team member who understands the importance of a hand picked gift after all!

Whether a gift would be treated as an expense or an investment – is left to the giver. Make the right choice while you can and make every gifting occasion a treasured one for the recipient. There cannot be a better ROI for sure!




Why gourmet gifts alone are not a good corporate gifting idea

We live in a time of abundant choice that a myriad brands offer in every conceivable area you enter. From healthcare products, to grocery and apparel, and from gadgets and vacation vouchers to gourmet gifts. As a buyer, a corporate company more often than not is overwhelmed with the choices available between suppliers willing to offer the services and an ever growing internal audience and clients that are waiting to consume these goods. A very interesting gourmet line of products have been riding high on the gifting trends this season. From protein bars and flavoured granola to artisan chocolates in unusual flavours.

Having been in the gifting industry for over two decades, what I realize is that, while there is no harm in doing only gourmet gifts, the corporate company must be aware of these things that may be more of a disadvantage to them sometimes. Here are 3 challenges as I see them and alongside I have suggested how we can overcome them.

  1. Zero recall – The only challenge with food items is, after they feel good while eating the chocolates, protein bars or any other edible item you gift them, the whole thing is forgotten within a few days. As a corporate company the aim is to always give gifts that increase brand recall. And this is possible only when you give them a product with your logo on it and one they can hold on to for a long time.
    What you can do – To the gourmet gift, add a product that they can use. It could be a signature pen, a picture frame or any other accessory that can be used long after the food items have been used. You can spend a small amount on the product and more on the food items if you wish. This will ensure continued recall which will help the brand build itself well.
  2. Low return on investment – When you do only gourmet gifts, return on investment is extremely low, since recall is low. When recall is low, your brand does not come to their mind easily, since there is no desktop item or any item they are using which has your branding on it. This leads to low ROI automatically.
    What you can do – A healthy way to get the balance would be to allocate a 60-40 kind of percentage to the gift and the food item. This will ensure you can get a few products in the hamper along with the food items you are gifting. Keeping the gift items in desktop category will give you a huge advantage – because not only will the user see it daily, but also the people who visit his office or desk will get to see the brand, increasing your visibility greatly.
  3. Preferences – While there are plenty of options in gourmet gifting today, people’s tastes are also very varied. Opting for green hibiscus tea, flaxseed and banana granola or chilli 80% dark chocolate sounds very exotic, but may not be flavours everyone will enjoy. This increases the chances of the gift being handed down to someone else or not being used very well.
    What you can do – Opt for some classic food items that are tried, tested and preferred by a larger audience. Assam tea and almond chocolates could be a good example to add in the existing hamper of exotic items, this may give a good balance and willingness to try other flavours will also go up.
  4. Client gifting – Gourmet gifts ideally are a great option for internal gifting to teams. Since they don’t need brand recall for employees all the time as most of them already have a lot of company branded bags and stationery that they use. For external gifting to clients and associates…gifting only gourmet items is a complete no-no. Think about it? What good is your gift if it does not create brand visibility and recall?

If what you read now makes sense, do share with more gourmet gifting companies you know. This will open their minds and doors to think differently and may be even collaborate with other gifting companies to create gifts that have delicious first impressions and classy lasting impressions.

How do you pick the perfect gift for your foreign delegates without wasting time

If you are a corporate company with offices in different countries, or a single country presence office but with international clients, then you may often find yourself in a position where giving the right gift becomes important and you don’t know where to start looking. With over twenty years of catering to corporate companies for their foreign delegate gifting, I noticed that more important than what gift to buy, it is first imperative to understand what will make them want to take the gift back home and not leave it at the hotel before taking their flight out.

Here are 3 simple ideas for foreign delegate gifting:

Keep it light – Usually foreign delegates are travelling to a few more countries before hitting back home, or even if they are heading back to their country, with baggage limits on airlines, you want to ensure you don’t buy them a bulky or fragile item. Look for a gift that is portable, light, compact, easy to pack and unbreakable making it easy for them to take back home.

Gifting is a part of most cultures and is a great way to forge long term relationships

Souvenir gift –– Opt for a souvenir based gift. Something that represents the culture, heritage or that one thing that the country they are visiting is famous for. Eg., the golden gate bridge for San Francisco or the Taj Mahal for India, or the art or architecture of Italy and so on. Use these specialties to be the central theme around your souvenir gift, so it becomes a gentle and beautiful reminder of the country they have visited.

Gift hampers – Usually when on work, these delegates don’t get an opportunity to go out and see the local places or do any shopping. Ideally, they would like to take home some gift for the family too. It also works as a beautiful way to thank the family for allowing the person the time to be away on work, and make up with thoughtful gifts. Taking the cue from this, you may want to go in for Gift Hampers. Hampers are a box full of little, meaningful and useful gifts that the recipient will be delighted to receive and will be excited to share with family when back home. Let’s face it – no matter who you are, what age you are at and which part of life your journey is around – receiving a well thought gift is always a delight and lights up your face with a smile!

While giving gifts is a gesture that is often appreciated, it takes simple ideas and some genuine effort to make sure the appreciation continues when the gift is opened and used well.

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree

3 quick tips to make your business recession proof

With the world economies displaying dynamic conditions most of the time, what can entrepreneurs selling products and services do to ensure they not only stay afloat but also thrive during these rough weather phases. Being one for over 20 years, I’ve come to understand, no matter what the situation is we need to settle bills, pay salaries and manage to take some home too. Here are 3 quick tips about how you can make your business recession proof. These tips have helped us get through 2 recessions and a couple of slowdowns in our business.

Introduce low priced products and services – This encourages a steady trickle of orders, as there is lower resistance to buy when the price is less. This will help keep the cash flow alive, will help you get new clients who are happy to try your work by buying a small product or service. Your sales funnel will continue to get new additions more easily. So you have more number of relationships to nurture in your business.

Up sell to existing clients – Happy clients don’t need to be convinced about how good you are. Simple questions can help you up sell to them and increase your order value by as much as 25%. This requires no extra marketing cost, just some common sense. Eg., if they order a festive gift with you, ask them if they would like it gift wrapped for a nominal price. (Remember McDonalds? When you order for a burger, they’ll ask if you’d like to add fries or coke to the order – so you end up picking one. That is a smart upsell!)

Re-position from features to benefits – No matter how bad the slowdown, people are still looking for ways to solve their problems. A simple tip would be to showcase your product / service on social media or through any other format of marketing – highlighting the benefits of using the product instead of being feature focused. How would this look like? Eg., if you are selling a computer by highlighting its features – you would mention its technical specifications like 8GB RAM, Intel Core 15 processor and so on. Whereas when you sell through benefits you would mention how the system would benefit the user – so you would say how the computer can let you access multiple programs at one time, without hanging up, or how you can download your favourite music and store all your digital books on the high capacity disk – see the shift?

None of these tips require any further investment or big change and that is what I love about them. I would highly encourage you to implement them too. Try it and let us know how much it has helped you and feel free to share more innovative ideas that you may have come up with along the way.

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree





Dos & Don’ts of Gifting this Dassera

Navratri marks the celebration of the victory of peace, courage and knowledge over evil. With the Navaratri festivities on in full swing across the country, it is a great time to meet with family, friends and relatives to enjoy these 9 days of celebrations. Lip smacking delicacies, new clothes, the beautiful decoration of the idols in homes and giving and receiving of gifts keeps everyone super busy at this time of the year.

Here are a quick list of some do’s and don’ts around gifting during the festival.


Choose your return gifts wisely – A good place to start is to look for eco friendly options like plants, seed bombs, microgreens, terrariums, cloth bags, lamps and so on. Remember when you are spending that money, you might as well spend it on something useful.

Time is the best gift – When you invite or visit people this festive season, make sure you give them your time – whether it to chant together, enjoy the festivities with them or simply spend a few hours being of assistance to them.

Opt for healthier sweet options – Instead of the usual sugar filled sweets, opt for healthier options like granola bars, or make sweets using palm sugar, brown sugar or jaggery.


Say no to show pieces – With the increasing awareness to hoard less and use less, going minimal is in fashion finally! No matter what the budget, there are a plethora of options available in the market, both online and offline to ensure you find a gift that is high in utility and functionality.

Say no to cheap plastic boxes – Remember all the odd sized and shaped dabbas you have collected over the years? Chances are the most would have come in at a time like this when everyone is visiting and gift you one more odd shaped plastic dabba. If you are like me, then this box immediately goes to the charity box.

Are there are any innovative ideas you have for adding to our list of dos and don’ts? Leave a comment below.

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree


How choosing the right gift can save the environment! 

How choosing the right gift can save the environment! 

Gifting is a large part of most cultures around the world and this concept lends itself very well to our current times too. While at the most basic level a gift is a communication of one’s gratitude and appreciation, it has grown deeper over the years and is recognized as one of the most powerful ways to forge long term relationships between people, families, communities and has now grown in a big way in the corporate communities across the globe.

With this ever expanding industry, millions of new products line up on shelves and online stores making you spoilt for choice. Unfortunately whilst gifting is on the rise, so is the situation of global warming. One of the elements that add heavily to global warming are our landfills. As a responsible organization or person, you can save our landfills by choosing the right gifts for all your occasions. How?

Here are 3 simple ways to ensure that you keep our landfills

Value over cost: While Warren Buffet uses this as one of his golden rules to invest, I love this perspective when it comes to gifting too. When you choose value over cost you opt for a gift that is useful and is more likely to be appreciated by the recipient.

Branded products: Invest in branded items because they come with the promise of a certain quality, certification, warranties and so on, which overall ensure the product is used for a longer time, is of good quality and therefore stays in circulation for longer.

Utility over occasion: Just to look flashy and have a big box to give don’t opt for a useless gift. Instead spend some time browsing and putting in creative thought before you invest in one. This will for sure change the emotion with which your recipients will view the gift. And your genuine effort will almost always get noticed and appreciated. Gifting is more about the thought than the gift item itself.

With the big gifting season round the corner, these pointers will help you choose the right gift, for the right occasion and will ensure good use by the recipient. As you do this, you begin to invest your money in the right pockets ensuring great Return On Time and Money Invested (ROTMI), making your gifting exercise a win-win for you and the recipient and Mother Earth.

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree

6 point checklist to see if your product is an ideal corporate gift or not!

Want to offer your product as a corporate gift – read this first!

With the corporate gifting market almost doubling every year, there is an increasing hunger among most product makers to enter their product on a corporate gifting catalogue some how. I say some how, because I see blind desperation in their language, their emails and even the way they present themselves. Having been in the corporate gifting industry since 1997, we’ve seen the ups, downs, U-turns, bends and bumps of this journey that is so alluring that even a stationery shop at the end of the road, or housekeeping material supplier is turning into a corporate gifting outfit overnight.

The initial 15 years of the game, we projected ourselves ( as a pure environment friendly corporate gift house. Until 2012, when it became difficult to offer more products to my best clients, due to a paucity of enough new options in earth friendly gifts. No matter how much they loved our work, they were tempted to do gadgets, apparel, bags and other such products as gifts. Like any company, that wants to keep its customers happy, we did what was the most logical thing to do – expanded our offering. Since the last 5 years or so we got into all these standard corporate gifting items to keep our clients happy and to also look like a full blown corporate gift house.

That brought us to the point where every other day we are flooded with mails and calls from people wanting to sell baby food, protein bars, maternity gift sets, manicure sets, premium teas and coffees and so on. While it has given us a great opportunity to see what new products are arriving in the market, it is also overwhelming to see products that are best suited for retail also insisting that they be added to our catalog.

Can you create a product that staggers and disrupts the marketplace by the quality of its individuality, its utility and the problem solving it provides?

No matter what product you make and are keen to enter the corporate gift market, here is a quick checklist that will help you see if your product is a right fit for the corporate gift market or not.

  1. Can you deliver orders as low as 50 nos. to begin with?
    This will help you keep your inventory low, and will give the buyer a good taste of your product and service with a small quantity being ordered. Make sure your backend is robust enough to handle larger orders too.
  2. Can you deliver within a week once the order is placed?
    Understand that the corporate world is highly unorganized when it comes to doing their gifting. It’s almost as if they think a night before the event and then scramble the market for gifts.
  3. Have you worked out reseller margins?
    In this business, unless you don’t have a double digit margin to offer, it does not make commercial sense for anyone to publicize you to their customers for wafer thin margins in return.
  4. Does your product fall under the usual category of corporate gifts?
    If yes, what is your USP? Why should a buyer opt for your product as opposed to existing ones in the market? You can use success stories and testimonials for this one.
  5. Is your product a new innovation or a new idea?
    If yes, then are you ready with a story to sell it? Stories are a great way to sell a new product in the market, because remember, as humans we all resonate more with stories. If not a story, do you have your USP ready? And most importantly, why do you think a corporate company would want to buy your product? What is the demand for something like let’s say maternity gift sets? Assess the need before you take the plunge.
  6. Get real – is this the best segment for your product? 
    If your product is better suited for retail sale – it makes sense to stay away from the corporate gifting segment and dive into an online retail presence, or supply to stores that are a good fit for your product. This allows you to test the market before beefing up your production.

Remember, while the corporate gifting segment is very tempting, it comes with its risks and setbacks. Be aware, consult with a mentor, or have a real conversation with a corporate gift house to understand if your product is a good fit. Make sure you invest your time, energy and money in activities that help your product get more eye balls and sales. And this will happen when you know who is your target audience and what places do they visit often!

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree

3 tips to make your tea time count!

With the rainy season here, the heart naturally leaps towards that hot cup of chai every morning to get out of bed with a zing in your step and during breaks at work to help you feel rejuvenated again and get back to that pile of work waiting to get done. While there are many schools of thought around having tea and its benefits and its downsides, today, I would like to share a different benefit of having tea!

Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.

Here are a few of my favourite tips along with do’s and don’ts

Connection – Make the morning cuppa a connection time!

Don’t – Read the newspaper with your chai! It feeds your fresh mind with news about how the world is getting scammed, crime and the ugly side of politics – let’s face it, newspapers don’t focus on what good is going on in the world – on the front page!

Do – switch the newspaper-chai combo to chai-and-you or chai-and-your spouse combo. In our fast paced life, these few moments  of quiet with self or quality time with your spouse is a great way to begin the day on a positive and reflective note. If you must read at this time, then pick a book that your mind can feed off and feel inspired in the morning!

Reflect – During chai time break at work

Don’t – Have your chai at your desk and continue to work. Or even worse, meet colleagues at chai and gossip or discuss the news (interesting and uplifting conversations are welcome!)

Do – Step away from your desk, get your chai and go out for a walk in nature for a few minutes and reflect on the day gone by, enjoy the warm liquid and feel it refreshing your senses. (try tea without sugar and milk, to feel even more refreshed!). If you don’t have the luxury of green, worry not – you can still take that small stroll around the office, in the corridor, play some music on your head phones and disconnect from work for a few minutes.

Relax – The evening cuppa with your children

Don’t – Carry work or thoughts of work to your home. Park them outside and disconnect from them once you are home. Don’t use your mobile as soon you get home. (easier said than done – but so worth it, it’ll amaze you!)

Do – Connect with your children and ask them how their day has been, listen to their stories and engage in meaningful conversations to understand how they are doing and what they are thinking (listen to them while they are still excited to share, soon, they will grow up and then may not share as much)

There are a million things you could choose to do with your cuppa chai! These are my favourites, do share yours too in the comments below. You never know who may get inspired by your comment and will take it on board and feel happier! And you can indulge in a range of some great teas by clicking here! 

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree





3 tips to get prepared for Monsoon!!!

Come monsoon and you want to have your coffee or chai with an added dash of pakodas while enjoying the rain and some great monsoon music too. It also brings along the hassle of sudden downpours, longer traffic jams and power cuts. Here are 3 quick tips to ensure you experience the fun side of monsoon, by being well prepared.

Stay hydrated
Soon after summer, where your water intake is high, the rainy season can get you dehydrated if you suddenly cut down on your fluid intake. So ensure you continue with you 2 to 3 litres water intake daily. Avoid drinking outside water. Instead opt for your own bottle or sipper. It’s good for the environment and good for you.

Carry your rain gear
Carry a raincoat or an umbrella wherever you go and a good quality water proof backpack that ensures your laptop, phone and other important things are well protected. A bonus tip would be to carry a pair of eye wear to keep you safe while driving (if you are riding a two wheeler)

Remember the power bank!!!
The rains can put you on hold in traffic or at your workplace for longer than usual. Additionally you may also face power cuts. Get monsoon smart and carry a charged power bank on you at all times. This will help you stay connected with family with enough charge on your phone at these times.

Prep up well this monsoon, so whenever the rains hit you, you find yourself enjoying the monsoon, instead of running for cover! Before I end this blog, a quick reminder – sippers, rain coats, umbrellas, waterproof backpacks and powerbanks are all available in various sizes and with varied quality. A cheap backpack will let the rains in, a weak umbrella will fly way with the rain and a bad quality power bank may not retain enough charge to help you. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish – find a good brand that comes with quality guarantee and promised performance. If you need help finding one, you can write to us 🙂 or check out

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree

3 tips to keep yourself hydrated this summer!


With the mercury levels in the country rising each day, summers are getting harsher every year. This trend is expected to continue until and unless something is done on a large scale to cut down global warming. So what can you do at an individual level to contribute to a greener and cooler planet, and keep ourselves hydrated at the same time this summer?

Here are 3 really simple tips for you to stay hydrated this season:

Carry your own bottle of water – With the amount of commuting and travel that has become a part of our daily routine, having a bottle of water close to you is a great way to keep sipping on small amounts throughout the day – to keep your body well hydrated. This also avoids the purchase of bottled water – which costs a lot and adds to the landfills (Did you know, bottled water is not as safe as it looks!)

Infuse lime or mint in the water – Adding a citrus slice or some mint leaves to water is a simple way to jazz up the water flavor and also naturally alkalizes the water making it a healthier option! When it tastes good, it feels good too. Invest in a good infuser bottle to help you with this option.

Drink 3 litres of water per day – Make sure you have atleast 3 litres of water per day (Juices and other liquids do not count). This will ensure replacement of the water lost through sweat and the dehydration caused by an air conditioned environment.  As a bonus tip – bring down your caffeine consumption during the summers to keep yourself feeling lighter and brighter!

If you like what you read, remember to like, comment or share and let’s create a healthier and happier version of ourselves!

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree