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Zeroing on a pitch-perfect gift by weeding out the too-commonness of gifts and uninteresting unboxing experiences, even to your colleague or a family member, is a difficult task. Crafting gifts for CEOs, then, is a Herculean difficulty that lands in a different league. This palpable difficulty springs up majorly from three issues:

  • Executives generally have everything in their possession that you would like to think of as a cutting-edge gift.
  • If the level of interaction with your own/clients’ executives is rudimentary, gauging what gifts would up their adrenaline level is an ever-moving target.
  • The constant fear that average executive gift ideas might get perceived as cheap, daunting your hard-earned reputation - that too irreparably.

Since the very life and breath of gifting is to rightly convey how much you value the gift receivers, both in a letter and spirit, the last thing you want is to land a bad impression on them.

Certainly not if they are decision-makers and command the highest respect in their respective organizations. It’s, indeed, the surest and fastest method to fall perfectly in their bad books. The only way to avoid this cataclysm is to prepare well-researched, non-compromisable ground rules for gifts for CEOs and adhere to them with the tenacity of a spider.

A Comprehensive Guide to Corporate Gifting | Xoxoday
Corporate gifting is a gesture of gifting valuables to clients, employees, or any other co-habitant within the business space.

Corporate Gifts for Executives: The Ground Rules

Thoroughly imbibe the gifting policies of companies

All organizations are not created equally, giving unlimited scope and rein to subjectivity. What seems to be lovingly welcomed in one organization may be severely frowned upon in the other organization. Executive corporate gifts don't come with special insulation.

Some organizations put a value limit on what executives might receive as a gift. Few companies are hellbent on not allowing gifts to specific executives but will accept a gift to the company. Just to stay away from the vicious tentacles of law, you must pay heed to the tax implications of gifts, too.

Zero down on the budget

The Business Gift Satisfaction Survey emphatically proves that knowing what business gifts to give and how much to spend can support – or hurt – business growth.

Almost 57% of respondents were unequivocal in their belief that “gifts can impact their opinion of a business partner both positively and negatively.” 

So focusing on the former is a must to avoid the latter.

Considering the high-seismic power that the executive possesses in elevating your business, as shown in the previous stats, it becomes particularly tricky to decide on the budget.

Operating compulsively on a shoestring budget may force you to fall for generic gifts, an absolute big NO for the ivy-league executives.

A simple mug with your brand name engraved on it is far from ideal high-end executive gifts. CEOs and CXOs don’t want to keep it, as they are inundated with these common gifts -sabotaging your chances of being distinguished in their eyes.

The bottom line then is, if you don’t have the budget for giving quality gifts to executives, you can delay the task. Send gifts only when you have the budget.

Though it’s hard to accurately pinpoint what makes the right budget for executive corporate gifts, Forbes’ suggestion hovers around $140-$160.

The reason is, different organizations bring different dynamics to your company’s sales funnel. It should be microscopically analyzed while weighting returns against every single investment in gifting.

But the thumb rule is whatever price slab you decide on, stick to it across all groups. Spend the same higher-level amount on all your executive team gifts.

Dig deeper in the lives of executives

The prime, ulterior, and only motive behind the corporate gifting is to hijack the attention of the receiver and own a permanent dwelling space in his/her psyche - however tiny it may be. And nothing is more antithetical to this single-minded motive than a generic gift and all too common messages like happy birthday. It deserves only one reaction, particularly from the standpoint of super executives: ignore.

That’s precisely why gifts for CEOs must evolve from reactive customization to proactive personalization.

The door to this holy grail of personalization opens with holistically researching the lives of executives and picking up the right thread to pleasantly personalize not just the gift but the gifting message as well.

You can easily pin down their likes and dislikes by rigorously rummaging through their social media and LinkedIn accounts. See the concerns and points they are raising through their blogs and posts. Someone who is frequently posting about mental peace is an ideal candidate for meditation retreat gifts.

You can craft a hard-to-forget and feel-good personalized message - the prerequisite to any gifting communication- by finding out how the company of a respective executive is doing, are there any recent stellar achievements against its name, has the targeted executive been at the receiving end of any award?

This effective combination of personalized gifts and the personalized message won’t just ensure the unflinching attention of the executives. It will also ensure that they will keep the gift and remember you forever.

10 Best Corporate Gifts for Executives

Once you have stoned the ground rules in the wall, the next step is to analyze the interest levels of targeted executives and cater them with the most appropriate gifts accordingly.

Here is the curated list of best executive corporate gifts that even the well-traveled, shrewdest of the shrewdest executives will cherish at every waking moment of their lives.

1. If executives try new things every time

If executives try new things every time

You may come across executives whose buying habits and life choices are as varied as colors, and you are still inconclusive about the right gift for them. Egift cards, with unique and distinguished unbridled freedom of choice, suit perfectly to such bohemians.

Note that digital gift cards are more than potent enough to stimulate personalization. Plastic is an entity that knows nothing about you, nor can it express your personal gifting sentiments in the most evocative way.

Digital gifting is an antidote to it, as it enables you to upload not mere photos but can also comprehensively capture live videos. It’s then hardly a surprise that Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) found that digital gift card sales shot up by almost 50% during the lockdown.

2. If executives are tech freaks

If executives are tech freaks

In an over-increasingly digitized world, being a tech-native is no more an option. It’s a compulsion - more so for the executives whose nature of work demands multitasking and round-the-clock availability.

Gadgets like smartphones, wireless charging stands, power banks, routers, tablets can help them acing those demands. Electronic vouchers of big hardware honchos, where you can redeem gadgets as per your choice and need, thus, are perfect CEO gift ideas.

3. If executives relish gastronomical delights

If executives relish gastronomical delights

Culinary aficionados are always on the hunt for that heavenly burst of flavors. Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican, German, French, American, Greek, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Dutch, Portuguese, Ethiopian, and Taiwanese - for omnivores like them, nothing falls out of their palate. And if your executives fall in this category, which you can guess from their posts and write-ups, gifting them vouchers of some of the finest restaurants and food chains is what they will savor the most.

Note that executives travel a lot - both domestically and internationally. To craft a real taste bud satisfying gift for CEOs, ensure that restaurants and food chains you are giving vouchers for are operative in multiple states and countries.

4. If executives are cinema and webseries lovers

If executives are cinema and webseries lovers

With OTTs and multiplexes mushrooming with the speed of light and porous geographical boundaries flooding the content market unprecedentedly, the chances are high that your targeted executives are among the countless others who eagerly await the next season of Money Heist. Cash in on that eagerness by gifting them subscription vouchers of the premium content providers.

Since you are delivering luxury executive gifts to CEOs, who might be having access to most of the subscription services and multiplexes, it’s very important to differentiate yourself in their eyes.

One way is to offer the subscription of the highest category (many subscription services have silver, gold, and platinum varieties.) Another way is to see if multiplexes have film clubs and groups where film connoisseurs meet regularly and dissect a film in all possible ways. By including executives in such clubs, you won’t be gifting only multiplex vouchers but the enriching experience of community gatherings too.

5. If executives are drunk on adventure

If executives are drunk on adventure

If your targeted executives are breaking Instagram with myriad photos of kayaking, rowing, caving, parasailing, and flyboarding, sending them on an adventure trip is the right rationale - particularly if they have been away for it for too long due to the ravaging pandemic.

Note that it’s the executives who carve a success path for their respective organizations by giving a ticking clock a miss. With targets and planning accompanying them like Siamese twins, they are likely to feel the burn of daily grinding more than anyone else.

A sudden jolt of adrenaline can refresh their senses, making them mentally ready to get immersed in the presentations once they return from the adventure trip.

6. If executives appreciate self pampering

If executives appreciate self pampering

With the immense workload and pressure that responsibilities impose on executives, CEOs running out of steam and feeling fatigued is a given thing.

That could be the reason why their efforts to feel peace with foot reflexology, organic body polish and wraps, muscle relaxing with almonds, olives, and sesame oils are palpable.

You can further enhance their self-pampering delight by giving them vouchers for spas that offer couples’ spa treatments and packages for spa parties.

With full-body, side-by-side experience using rose petals, champagne, and shimmering aromatic oils, it could be an ideal way for your executives to celebrate Valentine's Day or marriage anniversary with their beloved ones.

7. If executives are not health conscious

If executives are not health conscious

Extensive travel, less sleep, and overconsumption of a high-fat diet make the real brainpower behind the companies, the executives, prone to heart disease, diabetes, and hormone imbalances. That’s one of the major reasons why many companies are seeking health clearance from their top executives.

The Rippe Health Assessment Study found that senior executives have a higher risk of heart disease. Dr. James Rippe, associate professor of cardiology at Tufts University, studied 200 patients, three-fourths of which were Fortune 500 executives. The study found that 73% of them were living a sedentary lifestyle, triggering possibilities of diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions.

Maybe, your targeted executives are not aware of the health risks that masquerade as professional hazards. And even if they know, the paucity of time or lack of impetus might be preventing them from taking a realistic stock of their health and working out daily.

An executive present in the form of a voucher to a fully-equipped gym or a recreational center along with a personal note highlighting the importance of health in a care-oozing language might provide that yet nonpresent impetus.

8. If executives are real wanderers

If executives are real wanderers

Even though your targeted executives would be trotting the globe for client meetings, conferences, training sessions, and prestigious corporate events, that’s too business-esque - robbing them of the true spirit of traveling.

And that might be the reason why they are compensating for it by basking in the sun and sand of Bali beach and snow-clad mountains and dells in Switzerland.

You can further aid their much-needed wanderlust compensation—particularly in these stressful times- by giving them out great and advanced travel vouchers. And if you deliver it by keeping in mind the key days of their lives, you would be able to add that fabled touch of godly personalization most joyously.

Send them these vouchers just before their birthdays or marriage anniversary, of course with a personal note conveying the same, and let them be on a cruise with their beloved ones on the most important days of their lives.

9. If executives are ceaseless learners

If executives are ceaseless learners

Real executives know deep in their hearts that college stops but not the learning. With the ceaseless arrival of new techniques and management tools, you might observe that they are ever-ready to pounce upon every new and good learning opportunity.

Be their pit spot where they can pause and replenish their knowledge repository. With a clear possibility of having subscriptions to the best magazines and online courses at their disposal, identify the niche publications and online courses that are still at arm’s length from them. Once you have listed them out, gift them as executive presents through exclusive vouchers.

10. If executives care about the world

 If executives care about the world

The list of CEOs who go beyond the traditional CSR activities and splurge billions in donations to make this planet more livable is too long. Naturally, their criterion for what makes gifts truly memorable varies drastically from the traditional one.

It can be described as “value attributes,” and a gift that gives back is certainly one such value attribute.

In fact, Forbes unequivocally utters that C-suite executives are more likely to be influenced by social movements and prefer gifts that give back to society.

Clearly, if your targeted executives are socially inclined, give an outlet to that inclination by giving them charity vouchers. Create real happiness in them by letting them choose the cause that is closest to their hearts.

Key Takeaways:

  • It's the CEOs and executives that decide the continuance or discontinuance of business with you. Staying in their good books, thus, is as vital as any other business-critical task. That's precisely why you cannot err in planning gifts for executives.
  • The only way to get it right is to set ground rules by considering company policies, tax implications, and a reasonable budget.
  • Since the main objective of executive gifts is to pleasantly grab CEOs' attention and hover over their consciousness as long as possible, generic messages and gifts are a big NO.
  • To give unique, memorable, and clearly distinguishing gifts to executives, dig deep into their lives and analyze what they like and dislike, and how their respective companies are doing. Mark it, and use it to craft a personalized message along with the most relevant gift.
  • Never forget that executives are abundant with THINGS as gifts. The right approach to elevate your gifts in their eyes is to decorate the plate of gifts with peculiar and one-off kinds of experiences.
Prasad Dhamdhere

Prasad Dhamdhere

A strong believer of Nietzsche's saying: "All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down," I help organizations reach more people through words.