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5 ways gifting can inspire your customers and employees

Dec 19, 2022

Written by: Glenn Wagner, VP, Account Development, Customer Engagement
(View Author Bio)

Surprising and delighting customers and employees can elevate your brand. So can the packaging.

Learn 5 ways to use gifting to inspire your customers and employees.

It’s amazing how many packages the average person receives a year. According to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, the average home received 166 packages in 2021. Pitney Bowes also estimates this Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for this index is expected to grow at 5% to 10% a year through 2027. This doesn’t even include packages people receive at work.

BI WORLDWIDE has inspired millions of customers and employees with gifts of appreciation and recognition all over the world. We have decades of experience surprising and delighting people for a wide variety of Fortune 1000 clients. With this abundance of experience and a foundation steeped in the use of behavioral economics principles, we have helped clients by customizing the packaging and presentation to improve results. Here are five key areas you might want to think about for your next appreciation or recognition gifting project.


1. Focus on the behavior you are trying to drive

To effectively drive behavior change you need to focus on milestones or lifecycle touchpoints of the person you are sending something to. Are you rewarding a customer or an employee for being loyal or are you trying to acquire new customers? The packaging should tie into and reflect the behavior you are trying to drive. Here’s an example; If you are trying to acquire a new B2B customer, send a bigger package.

The bigger package accomplishes two things. It’s more likely to get past the administrative gate keeper and the recipient is far more likely to open it. Have you ever received a large package at work that you didn't open?


2. Make it vivid

This is one of the simplest behavioral economics principles to leverage. The outside of the package is incredibly important when you are trying to surprise and delight somebody. If you are going to reward and recognize someone for being a great customer, a plain vanilla cardboard box doesn’t convey anything other than curiosity. The outside of a package should reflect your brand. Make it interesting, memorable or unique in a way that gets the person excited before they even open it. This also increases the perceived value and importance of what’s in the box. There’s a reason diamond rings come in those coveted, fancy velvet boxes.


3. Make the presentation integral to the message

There is nothing worse than getting a box full of non-environmentally friendly foam packing peanuts. Remember the unboxing experience is almost as important to the recipient as the joy of the gift itself. It is critically important to include a note or a card telling the person why they are receiving this. Tell them they are valued. People will remember you, your company and your message if you speak to them in a personable way. Here’s an example. A colleague of mine once received a gift from an auto manufacturer after they bought their third vehicle from that brand. It was a gift with a nice note explaining how much they appreciate his business. What I’ve noticed is my colleague now speaks about the note and what it said, even more than the gift itself.


4. Make it personal

One important behavioral economics principle of sending a tangible gift to someone is called re-consumption. It basically means that every time the recipient recalls or comes in contact with the gift, they are reminded of why they received it. One of the ways to drive re-consumption even higher is to personalize the gift. There are many simple ways to take a gift and personalize it. Here’s an example. High quality drinkware is always a great surprise and delight gift. One of the ways we personalize drinkware is to send out custom printed coasters with the recipient’s name on them. The person will share those with friends and family forever. Just think, every time they see the drinkware with a personalized coaster, they will be reminded of their connection to you, your message and your company.


5. Don't fall into the gift card trap

Some companies will send gift cards because they might be easier to administer. However, there is a whole host of reasons why sending gift cards isn’t a good idea. There are several behavioral economics principles that explain why tangible gifts are more effective at driving behavior change. On top of that, CNBC states that almost half of all adults in the US have at least one unused gift card. They go on to state the average unused amount is now at $175 per person, up from $116 a year earlier. It is important to remember why you are sending the gift. You want to build a permanent connection between you and the customer or employee. When you send a gift card you are building a connection between the person and the retailer on the gift card. You, your company and your message are quickly forgotten.


These are just a few of the many things we have learned after sending out millions of gifts. BI WORLDWIDE has been in the inspiration business for over six decades. Our expertise can help drive behaviors that inspire customers and employees.


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Glenn Wagner

Glenn Wagner

Vice President, Account Development – Customer Engagement

Glenn Wagner is a Vice President in the Customer Engagement Group with BI WORLDWIDE, a global engagement agency with headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Glenn has worked directly with and provided Strategic Marketing Services for an abundance of Fortune 500 companies.