Small Product, Big Impact

You don't have to spend a lot on corporate gifts to keep your brand top of mind

By Sherryll Sobie

Good things do come in small packages. This, according to Maureen Peets, manager, marketing and events, Torys LLP, who organizes client promo products and corporate gifts for the international business law firm’s Toronto office. “There’s a trend towards giving corporate gifts that are thoughtful, useful and simple,” she says.

With help from promotional products company, Cotton Candy Inc. (, Peets has found inventive corporate gift ideas that hit the value-for-money mark. As well, Peets has adopted a relatively new philosophy for corporate gift giving. “Instead of purchasing items in bulk and then stocking the overflow, we are now buying much less in an ad hoc fashion and customizing each gift to make it more meaningful,” she says. 

Mike Sullivan, senior account executive for Candy Cotton Inc., says clients still need to purchase these crucial employee gifts to keep their brand in the marketplace, but budgets are being scrutinized more. “The biggest challenge now is to get more value for the money,” he says.

Here are some examples of corporate gift ideas that have gone over well at Peets’ company:

  • Cool Bags. Always a hit, logoed tote bags made out of recycled material. Tip: Choose a style or colour that ties into the theme of an event.
  • Vintage Vino. Canadian wine reveals support for our local vinters, which is always a plus. Tip: Choose a vintage that will resonate with the client and/or employee (in the case of recognition), whether it’s the label or the winery or the year. 
  • Wine sleeve or coffee cup coat. Splash it with a colourful company logo for maximum marketing impact, or leave naked for those who would prefer to a more understated look.
  • Recycled pop bottle jackets. Don’t always feel pressured to go with a name brand. If the item is good quality and eco-friendly, you can spend less and get more.
  • Tech Treats. A USB-powered portable charger, for example, comes close to near perfection because it satisfies just about all the criteria. Says Sullivan, “The Powerstick comes with nine adaptors to fit a variety of peripherals like iPods, BlackBerrys, even GPSs. It’s locally-made in Montreal and is extremely portable since it’s about the size of a stick of gum. It’s gender neutral; it’s definitely useful and you can brand it.”

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