The last few months have been unprecedented for every business. In a matter of days and weeks, the way we work and connect with peers, customers and colleagues has potentially changed forever. We believe virtual meetings are here to stay and home working will continue to be preferred by many for some time yet.
We've noticed that companies need to work harder to engage with participants of virtual meetings and events. No longer do you have the advantage of having their undivided attention in a room. Now you have all the distractions of their home setting to contend with, plus the added challenge of any number of technical difficulties. That being said, companies have found cost savings working virtually and we’ve been amazed at all of the innovative approaches to engaging employees and customers virtually.
Many of our customers have been improving engagement during virtual meetings and events by sending gifts in advance to be opened either before or during the event. This has been adding an element of intrigue and excitement, whilst helping them to connect with the audience.
You can have fun with the design, colours and contents to make the gift something truly memorable and engaging. Drawing on the event theme and brand colours is a simple yet effective way to add some sparkle.
Having a clear objective to giving a gift is essential. These might be based on attendance, engagement or understanding of the core messages you are communicating. Your objective could also include helping to make your customers or colleagues feel valued and connected.
Posting gifts requires a little more planning than handing them out at physical events. Distribution time scales need to be considered and outer packaging and gift boxing is essential. You should consider how will your gift be protected during travel and can it be sent to certain regions. We love growing gifts for example, but sadly it isn't possible to send these internationally.
When sending corporate gifts to employees you should ensure employees are opted in to receive items to their home from you due to data protection laws. It’s not as simple as reading your hr system for their address, ideally you’d incorporate a way to opt in beforehand. This of course needs to be factored into your time scales.
How do you want the gifts to be presented when they arrive? What gift experience are you aiming for? How do you want the recipient to feel?
We recently worked with a large technology company to provide gifts for a sales conference and extra effort was put into the gift wrapping to help improve engagement and to create a bit of drama. Each element in the gift box was wrapped individually with numbered stickers, which were then referred to during the event. The gift included items with core strategic messages, as well as some drinks and snacks for them to enjoy. All of these details helped to engage the audience and capture their attention.
Asking your employees to opt in before sending them a gift creates an amazing opportunity for you to personalise their gift experience.
As a business, we’ve stayed clear of alcohol and food on the whole, as without knowing individual preferences it's risky business. Sending a bottle of bubbly to a recovering alcoholic or someone who doesn't drink for religious reasons for example isn’t particularly responsible.
With fantastic non alcoholic 'grown up' drink options such as Seedlip available its possible to give thoughtful virtual event or party hampers catered to everyone's dietary requirements.
The opt in form can also be a great way to find out other general preferences and then the gift perhaps matched to these. We’re working with a company at the moment, where employees get to choose from different themed gift experiences including: a pamper quiet night in hamper and time to celebrate.
When considering your budget you should allow for a decent amount for postage and gift boxing. The good news is that these can be separately itemised and not included in the gift value, which may help you for tax, legislative or internal procedure purposes.
Giving a gift for a virtual meeting or event is a great way to communicate key messages. We’re a big fan of personalised gift cards with a few sentences communicating core messages. For example companies with strong family values, could use a message such as “from our family to yours” and then the gift could be something for the whole family to enjoy such as games. More and more of our clients right now are recognising that their employees are working under a lot of strain and are highlighting in their communications the importance to make time to look after themselves. Our wellbeing 'pause' themed sets have been particularly popularly along side these messages.
We’re all working in very strange times and the importance of human connection has been highlighted more than ever with lock down restrictions making it harder for us to do so. Technologies such as Zoom, Go To Meeting, Google Hangouts and Whats App are great tools to make the most of, but have their limitations. Following these tips to giving gifts for virtual meetings and events will help you to form deeper connections in these virtual environments by giving something physical when meeting physically isn’t possible.