Mastering the Art of Gifting for the Ultimate Brand Loyalty in 2024

December 13, 2023
Mastering the Art of Gifting for the Ultimate Brand Loyalty in 2024

In today's competitive market, customer loyalty and client retention are crucial for the success of your brand. While there are heaps of strategies and tools that companies use to achieve these goals and stay top of mind, one of the best tools for customer loyalty and client retention is gifting. 

From gift cards to coffee to wine, gifts run the gamut from small, kind gestures to big honkin’ mile markers. They can pique attention and close deals, proving effective from the top of the funnel all the way through the bottom. And after a deal has been signed and sealed, gifts are evergreen incentives that stoke loyalty, reduce customer churn, and stick your brand to the tippy top of every recipient’s mind. 

In a nutshell, a well-thought-out gift can leave a lasting impression and strengthen the bond between a company and its customers or clients. Ready to explore how to master the art of gifting and use it as the best tool for customer loyalty and client retention. So, let's dive in and learn how to put your brand top of mind in 2024 with the power of gifting.

The Power of Thoughtful (and Perfectly Timed) Gifting

When it comes to building brand loyalty and customer satisfaction, thoughtful and perfectly timed gifting can be a game-changer. In today's fast-paced business world, where competition is fierce, it's essential to find ways to stand out and make a lasting impression on your customers or clients. This is where the power of gifting comes into play.

By offering a well-thought-out gift at just the right moment, you can create a memorable experience that strengthens the bond between your brand and your customers. Seventy-five percent of Americans are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they feel like the brand gets them on a personal level. And for nearly 60% of people in the US, once that loyalty is obtained, the brand will have it for life. 

Whether it's a personalized gift that shows you truly understand a client’s needs or a surprise gift that exceeds their expectations, the impact can be profound (especially for your bottom line). According to a 2022 survey, more than 90% of shoppers agreed that any type of loyalty or incentive program should provide them with more rewards or benefits, suggesting that your typical discount or coupon isn’t always cutting the mustard.

“Consumers appreciate instant wins, big prizes, and attractive discounts. All that drives sign-ups and encourages purchases, so businesses reap the rewards of having a larger and more faithful customer base, a stronger brand connection, and increased engagement,” per this survey of 1500 folks in the US. So while marketing classics like seasonal coupons or points-based discounts have a time and place, consumers are craving more. They want to give loyalty to companies that reciprocate that loyalty to its customers. 

Gifting serves as a powerful loyalty tool, as it fosters a sense of genuine appreciation and gratitude. When customers feel valued, they are more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand, promoting it to others and ultimately increasing brand recognition.

So, don't underestimate the power of thoughtful and perfectly timed gifting. Incorporating this strategy into your customer success approach can yield remarkable results in terms of brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

Tying Your Company to Customer Gifts

When it comes to gifting, it's important to ensure that the gifts you give align with your brand and its values. Tying gifts to your brand not only reinforces your brand identity but also strengthens the connection between your customers and your business. The goal is to instill an image of your company every time they see or use the gift you gave.

To effectively tie gifts to your brand, consider the following factors:

1. Brand Personality

Think about the personality of your brand. Is it playful and whimsical or professional and sophisticated? The gifts you choose should reflect this personality and resonate with your target audience. If your customer base is chock-full of older CEOs, maybe bypass the branded whoopee cushions and opt for the surprise watch or fountain pen. 

2. Brand Colors and Logo

Incorporate your brand colors and logo into the gifts you give whenever possible. This not only adds a personal touch but also reinforces your brand in the minds of your customers. Make it impossible to forget your brand every time they see your specific shade of blue or logo. 

3. Brand Values

Identify the core values of your brand and choose gifts that align with those values. For example, if sustainability is an important value for your brand and your clients, consider giving eco-friendly gifts that demonstrate your commitment to the environment.

Nudging people to recall your company doesn’t necessarily always boil down to blatantly branded coffee mugs or T-shirts. The association can be subtle, and when it comes to gifts, it truly is the thought that counts and will stick with recipients the longest. By tying gifts to your brand, you not only show appreciation for your customers but also reinforce their loyalty to your brand. So, make sure to put thought into the gifts you give and make them an extension of your brand identity.

How to Use Gifts to Increase Customer Loyalty, Client Retention, and Your Company’s “Surprise and Delight” Factor

Now that we understand the power of gifting and how to tie it to our brand, let's explore how we can utilize gifting to increase sweet, sweet customer loyalty. Gifting can be a strategic tool to strengthen the bond between your brand and your clients, fostering a sense of appreciation and gratitude. Plus, it can deliver a huge boon to your brand’s surprise-and-delight factor. 

What’s “surprise and delight”? This buzzword has been featured in many best-of marketing tactics lists the past few years, and there’s good reason for it. To surprise and delight your customers boils down to rewarding people when they least expect it. It seems so simple, yet it’s a powerhouse strategy that fosters good vibes, high praise in referrals, brand differentiation, and, best of all in regards to the topic of this blog post, satisfied, loyal customers. 

When done right, gifting can create a lasting impression and make clients feel valued and special — especially if they didn’t have to do anything to earn it. It's not just about the gift itself, but the thought and effort behind it that really matters. By personalizing the gift and tailoring it to the client's interests or needs, you show that you truly understand and care about them.

Additionally, gifting can also be a way to incentivize client loyalty. Think about offering exclusive gifts or rewards to long-term clients, you can create a sense of exclusivity and make them feel like a valued part of your brand community. Imagine the custom Volkswagen Beetles Oprah surprised her audience with. While that’s an extreme example of surprise and delight, it’s a gift that surely stoked lifelong fans.

So, when thinking about how to increase client loyalty, don't underestimate the power of gifting. It can be a simple yet impactful way to show your clients that you appreciate their business and strengthen the relationship between your brand and its clients.

Implementing a Gifting Strategy

Now that we've explored the power of gifting and how to tie it to your brand, let's chat about how to put a gifting strategy in motion that will truly impress your customers. The keys to a successful gifting strategy are personalization and ease. The more personal the gift, the bigger place your brand will hold in the recipient’s mind. And the easier it is for people to redeem gifts, the better (nothing can sour a corporate gift quicker than an impossible redemption process). 

Take the time to understand your customers' preferences and interests, and tailor your gifts accordingly. You can gather this information through surveys, customer feedback, support chats, or simply by building strong relationships with your customers. Pay attention to vocal customers and fans across your social media communities — get close to passionate people and you’ll surely find yourself flush with gift ideas for your clients. 

And while a gift that resonates packs a punch, consider every personalized touchpoint like the gift message. 

Next, think about how you’re sending gifts. Having accurate addresses for recipients is increasingly difficult, especially as people are more mobile and working for anywhere more frequently. If you truly want to surprise and delight people, bugging them for an address could ruin the surprise aspect. And consider that some people may appreciate the gesture but may not feel comfortable with your company using their home address for any purpose outside of a transaction.

Because of these factors, consider tapping into modern gifting tools that make customer gifting easy (and less creepy) for both you and your recipients. Zest’s gifting technology makes it possible for you to send memorable gifts to people via a text, direct message, email, QR code, or any other method you can really think of. By surprising people with an e-gift, they get to choose their gift and enter their preferred shipping address, effectively dodging any invasive feelings sending a gift directly to their house could evoke. 

Another important aspect of implementing a gifting strategy is consistency. Set a budget for gifts and stick to it, ensuring that you can consistently show your appreciation to your customers throughout the year. Whether it's on birthdays, anniversaries, or during the holiday season, make sure your customers feel valued and remembered. You can also set budgets for gifts when clients hit different stages in their journey. A cold outreach gift should be small and nice, while a 10-year anniversary gift for one of your best clients should really knock their socks off.

Finally, consider integrating gifting into your customer success process. Train your customer success managers to identify opportunities for gifting and make it a standard part of their interactions with customers. By implementing a thoughtful and consistent gifting strategy, you can strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers and ensure that your brand stays top of mind in 2024.

Dealing with the Logistics of Sending Gifts

When it comes to gifting, one of the biggest challenges for customer success managers is dealing with the logistics of sending gifts. It can be a time-consuming and cumbersome process, especially if you have a large customer base or if your customers are spread out across different locations.

To make the logistics of sending gifts easier (and avoid getting lost in a swag closet or sea of boxes, wrapping paper, and products), there are a few strategies you can consider. One option is to work with a gifting service or platform that specializes in corporate gifting. These services can handle all the logistics for you, from selecting the gifts to packaging, personaliing, and shipping them to your customers. This can save you time and effort, allowing you to focus on other important tasks.

Another option is to automate the gifting process as much as possible. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track important dates and milestones for your customers, such as their birthdays or the anniversary of their partnership with your company. Set up automated reminders and notifications to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to send a gift, or tap into your gifting tech to trigger a gift send at these critical stages.

Additionally, consider using drop-shipping services. These services allow you to select a gift online and have it shipped directly to the recipient, eliminating the need for you to handle and ship the gifts yourself. This can be a convenient and efficient way to send gifts to your customers, especially if they are located in different parts of the world.

By streamlining the logistics of sending gifts, you can make the process more efficient and ensure that your customers receive their gifts in a timely manner. This can help you maintain strong relationships with your customers and show them that you value their business. So, take the time to explore different options and find the logistics solution that works best for your company.

Embracing Technology in Gifting, Brand Awareness, and Client Loyalty in 2024

In today's digital age, embracing technology is essential for businesses looking to simultaneously enhance their gifting strategies and brand awareness. Technology offers numerous opportunities to connect with customers on a more personal level and make the gifting experience even more special, not to mention, your customers expect companies to meet them in the digital era.

For example, you can leverage customer data and analytics to gain insights into your customers' preferences, enabling you to select gifts that truly resonate with them. Additionally, you can use email marketing automation to send personalized gifts based on previous purchases, interests, and interactions. 

Social media platforms also provide a great avenue to engage with your customers and showcase your gifting efforts, whether through user-generated content or live unboxing videos. Influencer gifting is a growing industry, and the right gifting tool demystifies and streamlines the entire process. 

Using best-in-class tech smoothes out the gifting experience but also helps create a buzz around your brand and fosters a sense of excitement and anticipation. By utilizing the power of technology, you can take your gifting strategy to new heights and ensure that your brand remains top of mind for all of your clients and customers in 2024.

Liz Lorge
Liz Lorge
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