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How to Choose Corporate Gifts That Make a Lasting Impression

What are the key attributes of a successful corporate gift—one that stands apart from commonplace offerings (water bottles, tins of snack food) and creates a lasting, impactful impression?

John Ruhlin, founder of a corporate gift-giving consultancy (the Ruhlin Group) and author of the popular book Giftology, advocates the concept of “radical generosity,” an approach described in Forbes magazine as “using the giving of physical things to build long-term emotional business connections.”

In his book Ruhlin writes that “gifts are symbols of the value you place on the relationship. When you act generously, people take notice.” This is a worthy goal. Achieving a deep bond with your recipient is the ultimate ambition of any well-executed corporate gift-giving campaign.

Experienced gift-givers recognize a corporate gift that is held in high regard by recipients will include the following characteristics:



The physical properties of your gift should reflect the integrity of your brand, the substance of your products, and ultimately the essence of your company’s character. Items that appear flimsy or rapidly mass-produced without adequate (or any) quality control and undermine your good intentions. Make the effort to ensure the gift that bears your company’s name conveys the same standards and attention to detail you put into your own goods and services.

Aesthetic appeal

When a recipient gets a first look at your gift, you that person to have an “Oh, wow” experience—a strong visceral response to its look and feel. It’s a satisfying moment for you when you can see your recipient is genuinely impressed by the gift you are sharing. A gift with a high-quality appearance is always a good investment.


You don’t want your gift tossed in a drawer and soon forgotten. This is the typical fate of keyring baubles and other inexpensive tchotchkes. The ideal gift will address some practical need in your recipient’s life that will prompt them to keep your item within reach on a routine basis.


This can be a challenging target to hit, but it’s worth the extra effort to search for a gift that fulfills a recipient’s “want-it” instinct. A great way to achieve this objective is to seek out a gift that fills a recipient’s unrecognized need (or meets a need they would never fulfill on their own), an item that will prompt them to say, “Wow, this is something I’ve wanted for a long time.”


Gift-givers receive extra credit if they can locate a gift that not only provides the first four attributes on this list, but delivers them in a product or service that is uncommon—or, ideally, unique—in its category. Most people love to show off their individuality and inventiveness. If you can locate a gift that offers a special flair or hard-to-find functionality, you have a can’t-miss winner.


Can any gift deliver all five characteristics? That can be a tough assignment, but doing some research can deliver some rewarding and unexpected gift options.

One such candidate would be autoXscape, a flashlight that doubles as an emergency rescue tool from INGEAR, a rising new name in auto safety tools.

Everyone needs a flashlight in their vehicle emergency kit (so it’s useful), and this three-mode light (high, low and SOS strobe) features a couple of distinctive extras—a pair of emergency blunt-force window punches along with a no-nonsense seatbelt cutter constructed with high-carbon steel. Those are features few flashlights offer. The autoXscape’s housing is constructed with military-grade aluminum and an IXP7 waterproofness rating. Such standards easily meet a gift-giver’s quality requirement. Its high-grade aluminum has a burnished finish, giving it a handsome look (not common among flashlights).

All these characteristics combine to make autoXscape a flashlight that does more than simply project a reliable beam of light. It’s a tool with an “wow factor” that scores high on the desirability scale.

Admittedly it’s rare a person would need to slash a seatbelt and bust out a window to escape a flooding vehicle, though as Hurricane Harvey reminded Americans, flooding is the world’s most common natural disaster. This is a gift that could potentially save a person’s life, making it genuinely distinctive—and a caring gesture as well. For anyone seeking a corporate gift that stands out, it’s a worthwhile possibility to consider.



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