The last few years have been difficult for everyone, and 2022 has continued to keep us on our toes, to say the least. The importance of finding ways to connect, relate, and care for each other during times of uncertainty remains as relevant today as it did in 2020, and it’s time to explore exactly how we form and maintain those connections.
Specifically, connections should span both our personal lives and our professional worlds, as they have become interconnected. Instead of the traditional approach, where the business-to-customer relationship is largely transactional, it’s time for brands to do better—to strive to make those interactions more meaningful and memorable.
Why, exactly? Because customers are simply exhausted from the societal changes happening around them. It feels like they can’t catch a break, so during these challenging times, they’re looking for ways to connect, not only with others but also with the brands they interact with.
The lasting power of corporate gifting
The ways we connect with others changed immensely at the start of the pandemic. Face-to-face interactions with colleagues and customers decreased significantly and, for some, were eliminated altogether. For many, this is still the case as organizations adopt hybrid or fully remote work models. These now-cemented shifts in how we work have led to people opening themselves up to new ways of connecting with brands too.
New global research by Sendoso found that, over the last two years, approximately a third of respondents have felt a desire to connect with a company and are more open to a company reaching out to them.
How brands reach out to customers and prospects matters too. Nearly 83% of respondents from the survey said they felt closer to a company that they’ve received gifts from over the last two years.
In other words, those who have used corporate gifting as a strategy to establish connections over the last couple of years are succeeding. Notably, gifting can be more than a nice gesture—it’s an opportunity to communicate your understanding of who the recipient is and how they tie back to your company’s values.
According to an Ipsos Global Trends report, across all 25 countries surveyed, nearly 70% of respondents said they buy from brands they believe reflect their own principles. Showcasing an alignment between values and beliefs can make a big difference during interactions with prospects and customers.
Maintaining connections through life’s ups and downs
In the last couple of years, gifting has served as a lifeboat for many companies as they established new ways to maintain connections with customers. It’s still incredibly relevant today. Stressors and concerns that our communities and colleagues are grappling with haven’t slowed down since 2020—they’re simply taking on new shapes and forms.
Brands now need to focus on not only continuously establishing connections with prospects but also maintaining those connections with customers during times of increasing uncertainty, complexity, and anxiety.
Maintaining connections happens naturally when it’s done with thoughtfulness and authenticity. Sending gifts shouldn’t be a one-and-done interaction. It shouldn’t be a box to check off or an item to cross off a list. Corporate gifting should be relational and intentional, and at its foundation, it should truly be about the customer experience, before the brand.
Leaving a positive impact: The way we gift matters
People are more open to hearing from the brands they interact with, and we’re seeing that what and where you give from have an impact as well.
Specifically, recipients are open to gifts from organizations that support good causes and align with their values. The survey also found that about 67% of respondents would like gifts that support small businesses, 63% would like gifts that support local merchants, and 58% would like gifts from minority-owned businesses.
Gifts that have a positive impact on others, such as items that were sustainably manufactured or that support small, local, or minority-owned businesses, were better appreciated by recipients than branded items or gift cards.
We know that something as small as a gift from a brand can make a big difference in someone’s day, week, or even month during a time when everyone is looking to feel seen, heard, and understood. That’s why it’s more important than ever to find ways to create and sustain professional relationships—and not just to say how much we value our colleagues, customers, and prospects—but to show them that we do.
When done with authenticity, corporate gifting not only can fill a void but can provide a bridge to people looking for new avenues to explore.
Corporate gifting can benefit many teams. Whether you’re in marketing, sales, HR, or CX, learn how Sendoso can help your team unlock the power of building meaningful connections. And if you’d like to try us out, request a demo today!