International Etiquette For Gift Giving: Japan

Varying cultures & traditions across countries also applies to gift giving, what may be considered appropriate in one country may be a cultural ‘faux pas’ in another.

Within the interdependent, global and multi-cultural marketplace of the 21st century, cross cultural differences in the approaches to and practices of business people across the world are important to learn.

Every week we will be covering one country/nation/continent and we will provide a good understanding of the gift giving practices across these countries as to help you cultivate a worthwhile relationship with your business colleagues.

japan-flag.gif

Gift giving in Japan:

  • Gift giving and receiving is considered very important in Japanese culture and it is viewed as a mark of respect or appreciation.
  • The gift need not be extravagant
  • Be sure to gift senior colleagues better or more expensive gifts than their juniors
  • The best time to give the gift is at the end of your stay
  • Ensure that the gift is neatly wrapped but not in white or bright colours.
  • Do present individual gifts in private, in case you are giving a group gift then ensure that all the members are present before doing so.
  • The correct etiquette would be to present the gift with both hands
  • Gifts that are unique or reflecting the receiver’s interests are highly appreciated.

Occasions –
The most popular gift giving occasions in Japan are oseibo, which falls at the end of the year and O-chugen which falls during the middle of the year.

Gifts –
Good gift ideas include top choice beef, fruit and alcohol such as brandy, quality whiskey and Bourbon along with excellent wines.
They also appreciate gifts from high-end department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus.

You must bear in mind that the above listing is not exhaustive and is only meant to serve as an initial guidance. It would be advisable to do a bit more research before you choose a gift. Always remember that thoughtfulness in choosing a gift would be more appreciated than the cost or size of the gift!!

The Gift that Hits the Right Spot!!!

Gifting can be a simple task in daily life if the recipient is a friend, relative or anyone close to you. But, this simple task can turn into a nerve wrecking thinking process when the person who is being gifted is your boss, an employee or a very precious client.

Corporate gifts need a lot of care while chosen because they speak a lot more than just a gesture of appreciation. They need to send across the right feeling in the best possible way which solves a predetermined purpose. Thus selection of corporate gifts must be undertaken with special attention to many aspects, which we shall examine now on.The first criterion for any corporate gifting gesture is the “reason” behind doing so. Different organizations will have specific reasons for presenting gifts to their clients or employees, that too depending on various parameters.

It is essential that each marketing manager understands the core purpose behind gifting and whether it fits into the pre planned strategy. The reasons can be anything such as recognizing dedication of your company’s workforce, motivating teams, educating clients about your brand or even a simple thank you to all the people associated with your organization. Whatever the reason is, one must ensure that a gift speaks of the message very vividly.

Another important aspect to be kept in mind is the audiences you want to cater to while you send out corporate gifts. More than likely, your recipients will be from different backgrounds. Your ultimate gift should keep diversity in mind and be enjoyable for a broad spectrum of people. The character of your gift should be mindful of the many traditions and cultural beliefs in India. Gifts can become a very sensitive issue if not well thought of, and end up hurting emotions if wrongly addressed.

Unique, Creative and Appealing are the three most critical features to any kind of gift, especially a corporate gift since it carries with itself a lasting identity. While you select a perfect gift for a specific audience, do indulge in a bit of research and analyze what appeals to them and most likely is desirable. In an era when everyone wants to engage in the business of gifting, the only thing that will make your gift stand out from the clutter is the unique way of combining its utility with the corporate values and identity.

After all the other aspects are looked into, the final decision that helps the gift hit the right spot is to know what is important for your recipients.

Is it spending time with their family?
Enjoying the finer things in life such as art, craft and expensive articles?
Having a sense of motivation and pride in their performance and work life?

Your gift should make a connection with what your audience perceives as valuable. This positive perception may be ultimately associated with your company.

With these guidelines in mind, your mission to seek and find the ultimate corporate gift will be a successful one and it surely will HIT the Right Spot which matters the most – the hearts of your recipients.