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 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

How to buy a Diwali gift for your teams and clients this year…

Every country awaits the beginning of a festive season. In western countries it is usually around Christmas and you’ll see a buzz of activity in all retail stores, lifestyle stores, both online and offline, around that time of the year. In India, the celebration of Ganesha’s birthday (the famous Elephant head God) marks the beginning of the festive season. It also marks the onset of families and communities coming together to celebrate these festivals through some lip smacking cooking, new clothing and a whole lot of gifts.

The corporate communities have caught up with this very well in the last decade, making the corporate gifting industry go dizzy to feverish levels, by demanding for new and innovative products. Today with over millions of gifting options in the market, how do you know which one is the right one for you? Having been a main stream player in this field for over two decades, I’m excited to share my two cents on simple ways to find the right gift.

Think gift – not product
Start your search by looking for a gift – Remember that little red box gift wrapped with a ribbon, you got as a child? And you were squealing with joy and beaming smiles when you got to open it. Now hold on to that thought…that’s exactly how your recipient needs to feel when he gets your gift. The purpose of a gift is to make the recipient feel special, loved and significant. When go from this perspective, your search gets better and you start thinking more about how the person will feel when you give him / her a Bluetooth speaker, an AI enabled device, a picture frame or a box of chocolates. Try it!

Tip – Make sure you wrap the gift well and add a name tag on it! People love to see their name on a gift. Makes them feel special 🙂

Think emotion – only emotion
I know this one always faces a huge resistance. For a moment get into the recipient’s shoes and imagine getting a gift. What would it mean to touch your heart, to surprise you with the unexpected? No matter which corporate company it is and who the receiving teams are – at a basic level, your gift touches a person’s heart or it does not. It is from one person to another when you break it all down.

Tip – Inside the gift box, place a personal hand written note with genuine words of gratitude and appreciation. Happy emotions guaranteed!

Think value – not budget
Buying a gift is never about a budget – it is always about value. Even if you are the most calculative procurement head, I can challenge you to this one. When you think only budget and settle for a cheaper, sub-standard gift, in terms of performance, brand or features, I can assure you that gift is never going to be used by the recipient. It will land up in the hands-me-down list almost instantly and this rips off your chance of Return on Investment. If the recipient does not use it, your brand recall becomes non-existent.

On the other hand when you think of how the gift is going to add value to the recipient, there is a larger chance of the gift being appreciated, used and therefore serves as a great tool to grow your brand.

Tip – say no to Vouchers! Spend some time and look for that gift! Or call an expert!

Helping people and mother earth feel special is what we do, all day long! And that’s why we love what we do.

Leena Munot
Entrepreneur I Blogger


​​5 reasons why you should buy gifts ‘Made in India’ this Diwali!

With Ganesh Chaturthi marking the beginning of a trail of festivals in India, it is also the time of the year when companies look for appropriate gifts to thank their teams, clients and associates. It is also that time of the year that all Indian gifting companies wait for. Being a two decade old player in this market, there are quite a few trends we’ve seen. From the time of pressure cookers and other kitchen appliances being given as gifts to the current time of digital products, the Indian corporate gifting business has weathered many seasons.

In the middle of these trends a decade ago, Chinese products started to kill our local industries by bringing in cheaper products and with some good quality thrown in. Corporate buyers were now at a great place to choose from a huge variety of gifts available at throw away prices. This jolt made our Indian manufacturers wake up and push their quality higher to compete with the Chinese products. Today, our products have improved and we even have cases of our corporate gift houses in India exporting their products to China! (strange…but 100% true, ask us!)

This Diwali we urge you to buy Indian gifts for 5 reasons:

Keep the local industries alive – When you buy local, you help keep our industries alive and if you just look enough, you will be surprised with the number of corporate gift manufacturers who are doing avant-garde work in their respective areas. Be it artisan chocolates, handicrafts with great packaging, desktop accessories, office accessories and more.

Understand that ethical profits are fair – An average customer bargains on price and tries to get a bigger portion of the price battle. A good customer understands profit is not a bad word and works towards arriving at a win-win deal knowing that it is fair for the supplier to make ethical profits. Let’s face it, if you are not making a profit, you are not running a business!

Quick turnaround time – Depending on Chinese products to arrive here in time, can be a dicey situation because of the volumes, custom clearances and situation at the ports. Many large clients have burnt their fingers with delayed deliveries, sub standard quality and compromised warranties on these products. And there is little that can be done to stop that. When you buy an Indian product, geographical advantage helps ensure quick turnaround times and it allows a much required personal interaction with the suppliers.

Be proud to gift an Indian product
It is up to each one of us to encourage, support and create an environment where not only do local businesses thrive but also where you carry pride in gifting a product that is Made in India.
Made in India – the label – fills us with pride and joy!

Flaunt Indian art and culture
Gifting Indian products gives you an added advantage of using our rich folk art, craft and design sensibilities to enhance any product and make it look stunningly Indian and very innovative. Now this is an advantage that we have over any other country in the whole world, why wouldn’t you use it?

So this season, before you indulge in the plethora of gifting ideas out there, be conscious about choosing an Indian product for the above reasons and more. Share with us more reasons why you feel we should buy local! Our editors are waiting to hear from you.

Happy shopping!

Leena Munot
The Giving Tree