When it comes to corporate gift-giving, food items are usually not high on the list. For a wide variety of reasons, it’s usually a smart idea to step away from giving out food items. From time to time, companies do give out food, but this is usually in the kind of non-perishables. We’re talking about tightly packed desserts or small candy items that have a long shelf life. It’s a rare situation where you get to see a company give out fresh food.
It’s not like this does not happen, but it is a fairly rare situation. There’s a good reason for this. First of all, you would not want to give out food that spoils easily. The last thing that you want for your brand is to have it associated with a spoiled or off colored food. Chinese food can be a great corporate gift if you know the ins and outs of giving this type of bounty. Here are some tips that would enable you to give away Chinese food items as part of your corporate branding and giveaway program without negative effects on your brand.
Stick to gift certificates
The safest way to give a Chinese food is the safest way to give any kind of food: gift certificates. The great thing about gift certificates is that you play off the prestige and brand power of the retailer who is going to honor the gift certificates. You win twice. First, you make a good impression by giving out Chinese food gift certificates. Second, the recipient would have to go to a recognized retailer or restaurant chain to redeem the gift certificates.
Depending on who you partner with, this can produce a secondary win, which is, the recipient might be impressed by the solid brand of the restaurant that’s actually honoring the certificates. This requires that you pick the right restaurant chain. You can’t just select any random Chinese restaurant. That is playing with fire. Make sure to pick a provider that has a solid track record of producing great food and has a clean brand reputation in the area you’re marketing to.
Do recipient research first
Photo: Beauty in the Pot
It’s always a good idea to interview, survey or poll your potential recipient pool first. What you’re trying to do here is you’re trying to do a clear consensus of the form of Chinese food you should give away. Do they have a preference for gift certificates? Would they actually want to receive specific dried food or grocery food items? You would be surprised as to what you’d find out because the more targeted your customer intelligence gathering, the more responsive your recipients would be to your branding campaign.
Keep in mind that this is a branding campaign. This is not just you operating out of the kindness of your own heart. You are not doing this for your health. You are doing this to achieve some sort of return on investment. Always keep this mind. It’s too easy to lose sight of this and end up giving away Chinese food for the sake of giving away Chinese food. That’s just rolling the dice. You want to make sure that for every hard earned dollar you spend on Chinese food giveaways, your company would benefit in a measurable positive way
Pick the average “level” of Chinese food your audience base prefers
Usually, when people are surveyed regarding food, there are many different levels of food interest. Some people prefer fine dining. Other people would settle for sit down restaurant. There are a number of people who prefer fast food. There are different sub-markets. What’s important is for you to figure out what kind of Chinese food your target market prefers. There are “Americanized, Australianized, Anglicized or Europeanized” ethnic food. This doesn’t just happen to Chinese food. This happens to Indian food and other types of cuisine. This definitely happens to Mexican food.
What you’re trying to figure out in your customer research is to determine whether your base of recipients prefers “authentic” Chinese food or a specific type of hybridized local cuisine. What’s important is not whether you’re trying to be as authentic as possible. Instead, you should focus on catering to the actual taste of your potential recipients. This is how you ensure that your gift certificates would be a hit. You do not want to give away “authentic” food only to see your branding efforts fall flat because it turns out your recipients couldn’t care less about authenticity.
Make sure the gift certificates play up the selection of food
In addition to making sure that the gift certificate has a nice grabbing cover, insist on gift certificates designed to play up the selection of food available. This packs a lot more value into your gift. The whole point of corporate gift giving is to shine the best light possible on your brand. Nothing makes your brand better than getting your message across that you truly care about the needs of the recipient. When you appeal to the very human need for selection and diversity, you communicate your concern for the needs of your audience. This is why you should always insist on gift certificates that have pictures of Chinese food.
Some other considerations
You should ask for customizing the cover where you could have your corporate logo placed. This is the bare minimum. If you want to go all the way, don’t just ask for logo customization. Ask for a whole series of gift certificates printed specifically for your campaign. Of course, this is going to cost more. Do your proper math to ensure that you maximize your return on investment by going this route.
Another thing you might want to consider is there should be different levels in the gift certificate’s cash value. This is because your recipients are not uniform. Some recipients are more valuable than others. Accordingly, they would feel much better if you would give them higher value gift certificates while people who do really much business with your company can get cheaper gift certificates.
You might want to consider tying the distribution of your gift certificates to special Chinese holidays like Chinese New Year or certain lunar festivals. This increases the relevance of the gift certificate. It provides some sort of context for it. Finally, you might want to avoid stereotypical details. Avoid “foreign script” many printers use for Chinese restaurants or any Chinese subjects. Avoid using stereotypical characters or anything that would make your company look culturally insensitive.