What's the difference between promotional and corporate gifts?

Corporate gifts versus Promotional Products

4 minutes


November 5th 2019
Corporate gifts versus Promotional Products 1Veronika Mikec is a full-time student, writer, and future revolutionary.


Believe me, not too long ago, I used to think these two were the same thing. Imagine my surprise once I realized they were complete opposites. Now, while it’s true that both corporate gifts and promotional products are considered useful marketing tools and help a company quickly gain momentum and recognition, they are as different as apples and oranges—despite what many people might think. Although both of them will do wonders for your company (not to mention the countless benefits they both offer), each of them serves its own specific purpose, and for this reason it is incredibly important to differentiate between the two. 

Here’s your guide to the main differences between corporate gifts and promotional products, so you’re better able to decide between the two when the time calls for it.


Corporate Gifts – A Sure Way to Maintain Business Relationships

Being of a more personalised nature, a business gift is meant to express your sincere gratitude to a wider part of your company. While these types of gifts are for the most part intended for business partners and prospective colleagues, they also present a fantastic way of showing your employees how much you value the work they do. Whether it is your accountant, supplier, or even the mailman—a thank-you gift is bound to bring a smile to one’s face, no matter how small their role in your company is. As an added bonus, corporate gifts may lift the spirits and enthusiasm of your workers, and make for a more relaxed, goal-driven workplace.

Usually, a business gift is more personalised, often produced in smaller quantities and higher quality. Most commonly, this type of gift is given out at certain occasions, such as a celebration of a finished project, or an end-of-the-year party. In any case, the most important feature is the personal touch, which shows the recipient you put thought into the present you’ve given them.

When it comes to making a choice about whether or not to put the company’s logo on a corporate gift, plenty of entrepreneurs will decide against it, thinking that doing so may come across as a bit arrogant. Additionally, many will avoid branding the item to make sure it doesn’t get confused with a promotional gift. While the decision is all yours, rest assured that a small logo will not diminish the value of the item, or your genuine intentions.

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Promotional Gifts – Growing Your Company’s Market Recognition

As the name entails, a promotional gift is meant for—you guessed it—promotion of your company. Brand awareness is one of the key elements to growing your business, and although there are many ways of doing that, giving out promotional products is by far one of the least expensive yet most successful approaches. These gifts are meant for anyone and everyone who sees potential in your company, whether that be a client or an associate. It’s the best of both worlds–your business will gain recognition and generate more customers through your clients’ satisfaction. It also makes for the perfect approach to strengthening your relationships with your clients–believe it or not, that contributes to the overall success of your business as well.

Because these items—including but not limited to key chains, laser pointers, umbrellas, mugs—are mass produced, often the quality is not as high as with corporate gifts. But despite that fact, people love them! A practical, everyday item branded with your company’s logo will bring awareness to your business and consequently, reel in more clients. Say you give out a T-shirt or a hat with your logo on it—every time the client wears it out, the apparel will act as an advertising board—except cheaper! Although the items will not be personalized, a freebie is something no one will ever say no to. It’s on you to find the best way to integrate either the company’s logo or its name into the product.


How to Decide Whether to Give out a Business or Promotional Gift?

I’ll be honest, it’s sometimes hard to decide. You both want to promote your business and generate a bigger audience by gifting your clients promotional material, but at the same time you want to come up with the perfect business gift to give thanks to your employees, suppliers, business associates, and more. What’s the solution then?

Well, it all depends on where you, as a company, currently stand. Are you in the beginning phases of your development and are struggling to break into the market? Then surely, ordering your first batch of promotional products is the way to go! On the other hand, if you’ve already got the marketing part of business growth down to a T (although an extra bit of advertising never hurt anybody), then it may be a good idea to start developing and strengthening your business relationships to ensure smooth sailing up the corporate ladder.

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