Gift giving etiquettes in China

Before understanding gift giving etiquette or the act of gifting in China, it is important that we understand how Chinese people approach visitors or guests. Let’s get some basic albeit vital information about way of greetings and introductions in the country.

Chinese Gift givingAlso, let’s get some understanding of Chinese culture & Protocol. Confucius, considered China’s greatest sage, is known to have formed a meticulous system of morals, ethics, hierarchy and behavior, setting the framework of rules for all people to deal with each other. Following are the key concepts in following Chinese culture:

Guanxi: The fundamental glue which holds the Chinese society together. The concept of guanxi is about relationships.

Mianxi: It’s about losing or saving face. It’s very important and needs to be considered at all times.

Li: It popularly denotes the art of being courteous and polite.

Keqi: Ke means guest; qi means behavior. It represents modesty and humbleness.

The Chinese generally do not appreciate doing business with strangers. If possible, try to bring in play established relationships, or an intermediary known by both sides, to establish the first contact.

Gifts are an important way of building and creating guanxi in China. Chinese etiquette demands that a person declines an invitation, gift and other offerings three times before accepting it. It’s expected that the giver of a gift will persist, gently, until the same is accepted.

We shall also see how Chinese behave or react when formally introduced to a guest. Understanding these aspects are as important as learning the gift giving etiquettes.

The Chinese people may appear rather unfriendly when being introduced.
They do not like to display excessive emotion.
Make it a point to stand up when being introduced
Remain standing till the introduction is over.
During introduction, the accepted form of greeting is the handshake. They may also nod or slightly bow.

Never present a gift which would make it difficult for the Chinese person to reciprocate in kind. This would put them in a very awkward position and cause a loss of face. Another important gifting etiquette is to be sensitive to genuine refusals.

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Secrets of successful gifting strategies to build bonds with customers and consumers

In the following paragraphs, let’s try to understand finer aspects of gifting depending on to whom they are presented. Here we shall unravel secrets of successful gifting strategies to build bonds with customers and consumers.

Customers
Gift StrategiesWith today’s added and pronounced emphasis on corporate ethics, it is imperative that you not only scrutinize the gift and its recipient but also the mode of the presentation. Carefully consider the points below before you make your choice:

  • The first key thing is to finalize a list of those who you believe won’t mind accepting gifts
  • Once you have done so, carefully make the gift choice.
  • It is also crucial as how you are going to package and present them. For example, if you choose to ship gifts, you do away with a great opportunity of reinforcing the bonding between your customers and your sales force.
  • The point to be underlined here is that gifts have the maximum impact when they are presented in persona with a customized touch to make the receiver feel privileged.
  • The gift in itself and its worth may not matter so much if it’s dispatched and given in an impersonal manner. What enhances its worth it the way you opt to present it.

Consumers
Creative gift strategiesAt the outset, let’s be clear about that fact noncash awards or merchandise offered to consumers generally fall under this particular category of awards or premiums that come with games and sweepstakes. Now, let’s understand a bit more about the concept.

  • The motive is to add an element of surprise for the customer
  • Another purpose of giving noncash awards or merchandise is building long-term loyalty.
  • The key factor in successful employment of using consumer gifts as a relationship building strategy is to have a specific goal and focus in mind. This, in other words, means, targeting customers whose volume you are in a position to track over time.
  • Let’s take a practical case. A supermarket chain wants is looking to boost usage of its preferred-customer card scheme so it will be able to track their purchase patterns more accurately. It has given incentives to get consumers to sign up and make use of the card. However, its usage has begun to trail off. As part of its effort to keep alive interest in the preferred-customer card, the supermarket dispatches a surprise gift with a nice thank-you note from the president to all those who have actually used the card to purchase goods of say 1000 rupees in a month. This will result in mouth publicity and popularity of the scheme, thus fulfilling its end goal.

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Corporate Gifting Interview With Priyadarshini Kohli, INX Media

Dear readers,

Today, we are glad to bring you an interview with Priyadarshini Kohli, Sr. Manager Brand Communications, INX Media to state the marketers point of view with regards to corporate gifting.

Questionnaire For Marketers

1. Does Your Company do Corporate Gifting?
YES

2. How much on an approximate basis does your company spend on corporate gifting?

NA

3. What is the most unique gift that you have come across?

A very sleek and compact calculator. It had a silver cover and the moment it was touched, it used to open up on its own stand

4. As a promotional tool does corporate gifting impact sales? If yes
can you give an example?


If it is a good looking piece/ if its very useful, it does indirectly impact sales by creating brand recall and keeping the brand top of mind, which indirectly impact sales

5. What are the type of gifts you would normally receive? Which one has
been your favorite?

Over the past have received calculators, drinking glasses, nut bowls, mobile chargers, pens etc. The favourite has been a pocket compact mirror for ladies. Extremely sleek, small and in silver colour in its individual, hot pink, satin case

6. What are the occasions on which you gift your clients? And what is
the gift?

I do not personally give gifts, but I would send a gift for either, Diwali, New Year or a new product launch. Gift would vary based on the budget, the level of the client in terms of hierarchy in the company, etc.

7. Do you read blogs or go use Social networks like Orkut? Which one?

NO

8. Do you know that Giftex has Corporate Gifting Blog which talks about
latest gifting trends in India? (Blog.giftex.in)

NO

9. Now that you know, would you visit the blog?

Yes

Thank you Priyadarshini for giving us your views on corporate gifting with a marketers perspective. We are glad to hear from you.

If any other marketers/companies/sales people wish to tell us their views on corporate gifting, you can contact us by leaving your email ID and comments below.

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Corporate Gifting Interview With Yash Virkud, LOWE, Mumbai

Hello readers,

Today, we are glad to bring you an interview with Yash Virkud, Brand Servicing Manager at LOWE, Mumbai (Formally known as Lintas India) to state the marketers point of view with regards to corporate gifting.

Questionnaire For Marketers

1. Does Your Company do Corporate Gifting?

Not particularly

2. How much on an approximate basis does your company spend on corporate gifting?

Not that much

3. What is the most unique gift that you have come across?

We give our clients high value ideas i would consider that a gift.

4. As a promotional tool does corporate gifting impact sales? If yes can you give an example?

We would not know, we are in advertising

5. What are the type of gifts you would normally receive? Which one has been your favorite?

Calendars,Planners.
Fav: ICICI Prudential Planner

6. What are the occasions on which you gift your clients? And what is the gift?

New years: Calenders, folders

7. Do you read blogs or go use Social networks like Orkut? Which one?

adfreak and northpodium
social network: facebook

8. Do you know that Giftex has Corporate Gifting Blog which talks about latest gifting trends in India? (Blog.giftex.in)

Yes I do. Infact I also attend thier exhibition at Nehru Science Centre to see the trends first hand.

Thank you Yash for giving us your views on corporate gifting with a marketers perspective. We are glad to hear from you.

If any other marketers/companies/sales people wish to tell us their views on corporate gifting, you can contact us by leaving your email ID and comments below.

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Corporate Gifting Interview With Nitika Kariwala

Hello Readers,

Today, we are glad to bring you an interview with Nitika Kariwala, Content developer, Corporate trainerCentre for Personal and Professional Excellence to state the marketers point of view with regards to corporate gifting. Marketers of corporate gifts have to make a choice. They have to make a decision about what gift should be delivered to whom and when. They are the one’s who facilitate the happenings within the corporate gifting world. And certainly..

It is important for marketers of corporate gifting to know what other marketers think, why and how? Here’s a little questionnaire that gives a brief about a corporate gifting marketers viewpoint.

Questionnaire For Marketers

1. Does Your Company do Corporate Gifting?
Yes

2. How much on an approximate basis does your company spend on corporate gifting?
30000- 50000

3. What is the most unique gift that you have come across?
A Bonsai plant.

4. As a promotional tool does corporate gifting impact sales? If yes can you give an example?

Well sometimes it does. If the gifts are radical like a plant which people keep on their desk it makes sure that  we are always on their mind. Even after years when u see them with the plant it gives immense satisfaction.

5. What are the type of gifts you would normally receive? Which one has been your favorite?

Well I have received small clocks with company logos, planner diaries with my name printed, a nicely packaged box of spices and honey etc… My favourite has been a  personalised qoute book.

6. What are the occasions on which you gift your clients? And what is the gift?

Diwali and New years. Mostly they have been honeyed dry fruits packed in nice boxes which can later be used for keeping knick  knacks.

7. Do you read blogs or go use Social networks like Orkut? Which one?

Well, yes I do. Social networking sites are Orkut and Facebook.

8. Do you know that Giftex has Corporate Gifting Blog which talks about latest gifting trends in India? (Blog.giftex.in)

yes, I do.

9. Now that you know, would you visit the blog?

Oh yes, I have already visited the blog. It has some good information.

Thank you Nitika for giving us your views on corporate gifting with a marketers perspective. We are glad to hear from you.

If any other marketers/companies/sales people wish to tell us their views on corporate gifting, you can contact us by leaving your email ID and comments below.

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Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Looking a Gift Horse in the MouthIn ‘America’s Sweetheart’, Billy Crystal’s character, super-publicist Lee dishes out pearls of wisdom on promotional strategies to his underling. One of them is this:

“Survival Rule no. 3, kid, you’re not here to love anybody, you’re here to promote a movie, that’s it – period. Say you’re here and you got word that your mother died, got hit by a bus or something. You go downstairs, shed a tear and say…It’s a shame, she would’ve loved this movie.”

And that’s how the cookie crumbles. Everything is about promotion and everybody wins in the game. The magazine editor wins with baskets of freebies, the movie producer wins with free merchandise that makes his characters look hip and the company wins with rising sales figures. It all began rather innocuously some time ago but burst in everybody’s face with Dil Chahta Hai where an MRF tyre was shot at close range from a stylish angle. Quite an ad.

Today it is all about selling the product, and boy does bollywood sell! Think ‘Bunty aur Babli’ when Rani Mukherjee’s patiala salwaars made sales shoot up. So clothing brands immediately latched on to what they rightly saw as a great promotional strategy. If Farah Khan wanted to sell Om Shanti Om, Shopper’s Stop wanted to sell its clothes; the two teamed up and the clothing brand stocked the movie’s clothing line, which ignited the 70s craze in Indian fashion. Kareena has donned a new look altogether for Globus and is all set to launch her own line of clothing through the company.

Today brands are in on the PR formula. Widespread advertisement through films (for a price of course) and goodwill promotion through corporate events is the best deal a brand can strike up, and the best way a corporation can reach out for mass appeal. It’s not for nothing that ABN Amro teamed up with fashion’s enfant terrible to design credit cards! Notepads do the best business for one is always needed at PR events to give to journalists. On a more strategic note, companies would do well to tie up with brands for their promotional schemes. Say, the editor of a new fashion magazine can easily rope in any company she wants for her launch party where several celebrities and socialites will be given gift baskets. Once the celebrity falls in love with the product she will definitely visit the store for more.

This is any company’s best bargaining tool. Whether it is a watch or a tyre or a shoe or a dupatta, the gifting strategy has more lanes and bylanes than the New York gridline and at the end of it all, everyone’s a winner.

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The Time To Watch Out!

rado.jpg A watch may spell w-a-t-c-h to the average Joe, but it spells time, money and respect to the corporate professional. It is a simple gift that does not have to be too expensive and yet will convey all the right intentions. However, it is easy to go wrong with it for it is such a common gift idea many do not give too much thought to it beyond the boring brown or black strapped ones.

When it comes to the dial, choose one with numbers over one with four strokes; it’s more definitive. No one wants to have to try and figure out the strokes on the dial when in a hurry. A big, broad watch with bulky dial and strap is for men only, while women prefer slim or normal-sized ones. Preferably, keep the impressively big watch for your boss and stick to normal-sized ones for your colleagues.

The safe colours are black, brown and navy blue but the textures may not be as boring as the colours sound. You can choose from patent leather to animal skin-embossed leather to felt and suede. An interesting buckle also goes a long way towards making the owner of the watch feel good. When looking to break out of the traditional colour mode, go for different shades of the colours rather than heading straight for the bright. A charcoal black stands out with an interesting texture, a deep cobalt blue looks hip in patent leather; opt for ‘serious’ shades of fun colours like a magenta or deep purple or a dark red. Then your flamboyant colleague can express his personality without stepping out of bounds.

There are various brands available at reasonable prices. So take your time and take your pick, and watch them flaunt their wrists!

pic source

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The correct wrappings for corporate gifts

corporate gift wrappingWhile it may not be the most important factor for men, everyone likes a well-wrapped gift. Women like it for the art of proper presentation and men look upon it as a sign of respect and recognition of their status. No matter what you buy, add a personal touch to it, make the packaging attractive, without going overboard. After all, this is your boss and colleagues we are talking about.

There are a variety of papers to choose in the market today, but don’t even look at the ones that have dancing teddy bears and floating hearts and candy sticks on them and avoid the bright ones that need you to wear sunglasses before you can glance at them. Go for sedate patterns like stripes and the checkerboard effect and muted colours like a deep, matte red, rust orange and pale yellow.

Use the bows, but keep them to a discreet size.

When going for more easy-going patterns, stick to polka dots, geometric designs and you can even create your own paper with the company logo for your boss.

Wrapping up gifts in boxes is infinitely better as a hard casing sub-consciously portrays a more professional approach than a soft one.

However, don’t let your creative mind despair – there are certain occasions that you can safely go jazzy for:

Colleague gets promoted: Now’s the time to go for the super-shiny stars that proclaim him to be one!

Colleague gets married: Bridal red, jhatak gold, shiny silver are the wedding colours you can unabashedly use for this occasion; go creative with your selection of wrapping patterns as well. Oh, and bring on the floating hearts as well!

Colleague is set to become a parent: Now you can go for the dancing teddy bears.

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Getting past office politics with the right gifts

Office PoliticsBosses can be tough sometimes, but those whom you directly deal with on a daily basis can be tougher. Often, impressing your boss is not as crucial as it is to stay in the good books of his right-hand man. And contrary to a popular saying, flattery will get you everywhere.

Be alert and pick up on clues to what your colleague or immediate superior(s) want. Does your colleague like to read? Buy a small, portable magazine or book rack to keep beside his chair. They’re reasonably priced, easy to deliver, and for presentation purposes tie a satin bow around the handle. Casually mention that when you saw the rack you immediately thought of his love for reading and bought it on an impulse.

Has his clock stopped working? Browse through your online options and select the most appropriate one. Always be quick to offer to exchange it for him if he mentions it’s not the right size or the right colour.

Always keep hierarchy in mind – your colleague’s gift should be smaller than that of your immediate boss, but equally special. When it comes to gifting the head honcho, discreetly find out what your superior is giving him and select something that is not ostentatiously better. At no point should your colleagues feel that you are trying to upstage them.

The rule of thumb in any organisation is being non-threatening to those who are close to your superior(s) without appearing eager-to-please; you’ll just be named an ass-licker if you do.

Gifts, when chosen thoughtfully and presented intelligently, can go a long way in securing your position in the company. Teaming a great performance with an image of being thoughtful and caring – that’s mastering office politics!

Books as gifts to build bonds of friendship

Books are best giftsMumbai’s leading publication DNA carried a special article on the art and trends of gifting. It narrates how shoppers are turning to books to fill the stockings of their near and dear ones.

The report is as follows: “Mumbai city’s venerable Strand Book Stall says Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret continues to be a bestseller. “I’ve bought The Secret for my husband this Christmas,” says newly married 29-year-old Sunita Banerjee. “We are looking at buying an apartment in the city, and I want to leave no stone unturned. If The Secret can help us, then my husband needs to read it.” It’s also a time when NRIs visit town and purchase books.

The report mentions that bestsellers and the occasional classic seem to be the choice for last-minute buyers. “Books are a personal choice. Unless you know the person well, chances are you’ll land up giving them something they already have or read,” says 39-year-old Binal Shah. “New authors are a safe bet.” One Pratik Doshi is ‘hunting’ for Nick Bantock’s The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy — a series of graphically illustrated books that tell the story of two lovers through letters and postcards.

The DNA report details about Granth’s and Crossword’s special Christmas section, with activity books and compilations like Famous Stories From The Bible. The store’s bestselling fiction list is an eclectic collection of the old and the new. Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance Of Loss and The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho, all make an appearance. The non-fiction section includes Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat, Dev Anand’s Romancing With Life and Larry Bossidy’s Execution.

Those looking for something different, check out The Case For India, written in 1930 by historian Will Durant. It was banned by the British Raj and, according to Strand’s store manager, who has been quoted so in the DNA report.

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