Some of the most exciting and rewarding moments during an incentive trip are the result of one or more bespoke gifting experiences. Corporate gifting is about more than throwing together a hodgepodge of flashy items and sticking a logo on them. It's about creating moments that make an impact and influence behavior.
The Importance of On-site Gifting
Truly engaging corporate gifting requires an out-of-the-box approach and a meticulous evaluation of options to select the right combination that will most deeply connect with your audience before, during and after their trip. They serve not only as one of many touch points for fostering brand love and loyalty, but also demonstrates to your attendees that you understand who they are and what matters to them. After the trip and travel fade to memory, they’ll have walked away with a tangible and memorable gifting experience that will surely incentivize them to return next year.
Hear from Experiential Gifting Experts
To uncover all the benefits of onsite gifting, we talked to our trusted partners at Boundless to get insight from the resident experts in experiential gift giving. Below is our Q&A on corporate gifting with Nikki Kay, Amber George and Carol Stone.
Cultivating "Brand Love" through gifting
BCD M&E: “Brand Love” is a mantra that both BCD Meetings & Events and Boundless have adopted. For us, “Brand Love” fosters pride in our global brand recognition and provides a sense of who we are: brave, dynamic, professional. What does “Brand Love” mean to you?
Boundless: At Boundless, we take care to differentiate ourselves from the standard promotional marketing agency. While we are certainly passionate about products, we also care about the promotion. We realize that gifts are selected to commemorate or accomplish something special so we place emphasis on prioritizing the rationale behind selecting products and ensuring those products will drive behavior or enhance an event theme.
We call these Brand Love Moments–when the right products, reach the right target audience, at the right time to spark a strong connection with the recipient. Our primary goal isn’t to just sell you a notebook, or a cool tech item, our goal to build a connection between your brand and your people.
BCD M&E: How can a company’s “Brand Love” be represented through a gifting experience?
Boundless: Brand Love is about creating loyalty between a brand and their people. Gifting a product with a company name or logo creates a positive connection or a “tribe loyal mentality”. We believe gifting is an economical way to generate loyalty and a sense of brand pride with a targeted audience. People love gifts! If the “right product” is given, it will spark a connection that commemorates the event for years to come. Gifting provides a tangible memory that not only puts a smile on the recipient’s face but also enhances the company’s overall brand culture.
How to introduce experiential gifting to your stakeholders
BCD M&E: What kind of advice can you share with event planners on how to introduce the idea of a gifting experience and the value of incorporating this enhancement into a program with clients or stakeholders?
Boundless: A gift or commemorative item is a small but important component to the overall event experience. It is a way to show gratitude to attendees while also encouraging brand loyalty and enhancing the attendee journey. Think about the last time you were at the airport, how many branded items did you see? We use branded items in our every day lives, creating a natural celebration and promotion of a company’s brand or marketing campaign.
A great way to introduce gifts into the conversation is by asking questions early in the planning process. Ask if they have considered how integrating gifting moments into the meeting or event can emphasize a point, or drive a desired result. Give examples of how this can be done and get them excited with ideas. As key with so many parts of planning an event, make sure to get to know your audience before developing options.
The Boundless Collection Look Book Library is a great place to send clients for inspiration. These are collections of our favorite product ideas in the form of e-flip books that can be easily shared. It is a great way to inspire the gifting conversation by providing a variety of ideas that we update frequently!
Experiential gifting examples and ideas
BCD M&E: At BCD M&E, our passion is to create moments that elevate, motivate, celebrate, and inspire–and we certainly couldn’t do this without our partners at Boundless. Is there a particular gifting experience that resonated with you in working on a program with BCD M&E?
Boundless: We build brand love by really understanding our clients’ needs and helping them build a promotional strategy that sets them apart and positions their event for success.
We have numerous examples of BCD M&E events that really resonated with clients and but if we had to pick one, the incentive event we supported in Phoenix, AZ is a great example to highlight. Keeping the destination in mind, we knew there would be time for hiking and outdoor activities. Each attendee received a beautiful water-resistant backpack featuring a custom patch with the full color event logo. This was coupled with two water bottles that also featured the destination imagery. In addition, as an on-site experience the attendees were able to select from a variety of Nike items (bags, apparel and shoes). It was a fun event with over 1K attendees and the response was fantastic!
BCD M&E: Are there ways to create a promotional campaign that can be curated over a course of time?
Boundless: Definitely. We’re a team of passionate creatives who can do just about anything-from a simple pen to a fully creative custom campaign. When we understand the overall campaign objectives, we can incorporate a staggered gifting strategy that will leave an impression.
Using pre-event teasers is a great way to excite attendees and create buzz. Giving clues as to what they can expect at the event will leave them eager to see more. When used as part of a communications campaign, it maximizes each touch point. This strategy can evolve once they are onsite with on-theme gifting experiences.
When clients incorporate consistency in their gifts, it will connect with the recipient and illustrate the brand. An example is providing gifts over time that represent a cohesive “collection”. Below is an example from one of our hotel clients. These were given over a series of events and added a personalized element to the overall event gifting strategy.
Below is an example of a campaign where we took common/ordinary products and made them completely custom for an extraordinary effect.
Custom ketchup packet USB drive, Custom cheeseburger Bluetooth speaker, custom French fry tote, printed/chocolate scented T-shirt, in a custom box.
Our bread and butter is using promotional products in unique and custom ways that create “WOW!” moments.
Making gifting an experience for attendees
BCD M&E: What other types of “experiences” does Boundless do best?
Boundless: In addition to the traditional logoed merchandise and corporate gifts, we have unique ways to create a redemption experience for the attendees, online or on-site.
In this type of gifting experience, we provide attendees with the opportunity to look at and interact with products before choosing one to keep. It creates a memorable experience that sparks a connection with your brand in an event environment. We partner with many name brands to create the right mix of options to choose from.
This is something we can execute in person with a full suite of gifts to take away, or with a gifting gallery where the attendee can select from a variety of options that we drop ship directly to their address of choice post event. We also have the ability to create an digital gift gallery which is a very fun way to personalize the gift experience while allowing the attendees time to think about their selection and where they want to receive it.
Incorporating CSR with on-site gifting
BCD M&E: Corporate Responsibility (CSR) or a giving-back component is something we are seeing requested in programs more than ever. Are there certain products Boundless can offer to those sustainable-conscious groups?
Boundless: It is no surprise that many companies would rather purchase from a brand who gives back to the community or our environment. In fact, 60% of consumers specifically look for brands with a sense of purpose. As a socially responsible company, Boundless Collection looks to partner with brands that offer a give-back initiative.
Whether it is a journal that is sustainably produced, a T-shirt that provides a rebate for education or a travel wrap with a mission to protect our oceans, our team can find a gift that ties back to an initiative that is important to our clients.
Here is a link to a look book featuring some of our most popular products that are better for the planet.
On-site gifting trends
BCD M&E: What are some of your favorite gifting trends from 2019? Do you anticipate these same trends prolonging into the new year?
Boundless: Technology is a trend we will see in 2020 and beyond! It’s not just a trend, it’s a way of life! The gifts in this category are broad and quick to evolve which means constant updates. We see it as our job to stay aware of the latest market trends and wade through the vast sea of products for you. Our Favorite Things Technology LookBook highlights the best-selling and hottest items in tech. From audio to mobile to smart home favorites we love sharing the popular gadgets that will surely increase visibility and brand love with your recipients.
BCD M&E: Anything additional worth mentioning to the readers?
Boundless: More than anything, we LOVE what we do, and we LOVE our partnerships. We are a true extension of your team. Think of us as your personal gifting concierge. The more we know about you and your client, the better positioned we are to help you shine even brighter!
Are you inspired to enhance your experiential gifting? Contact the Boundless team to get started!