FILED IN: Client & Corporate Gifts, COVID-19, Education, Virtual Events
Posted By: Jamie Kutchman Wynne
If we learned anything in 2020 (and now into 2021), it's the importance of pivoting to meet your clients exactly where they are. When the world shut down due to Covid in mid-March of last year, all of our corporate events and weddings that we had on the books were instantly cancelled. As our clients converted their events to virtual, we began converting gifts to virtual concepts right along with them (as you may recall us sharing with you here) and in turn, learned a whole lot about using gifting to help our clients make an impact and encourage attendance and engagement at these virtual gatherings. We discovered that gifting for virtual events is worth doing and here's why. Think: virtual corporate events, virtual galas for non-profits, virtual bridal shower guest gifts, virtual baby shower guest gifts, and even gifts for virtual employee appreciation celebrations. If it's a type of virtual event, chances are we've created a gift for it! Now that we have these projects under our belt, I'm excited to pull together all that we've learned and share it with you!
Incorporate Your Brand
Gifts are likely the first (and maybe only) tangible way attendees will interact with your brand surrounding a virtual event so it's an amazing opportunity to properly communicate your brand and make sure that it's 100% obvious who the gift is coming from. This is especially important these days when corporate gifts are often shipped to recipients' homes. They aren't usually expecting work-related packages to show up at their homes so even more reason to let your brand shine for easy impact! You can achieve this by including branded logo tags on the outside or even a branded bellyband for a more modern look. You can also add branding to the contents inside. Some of the easiest items to brand are drinkware, notebooks, pens, coasters, blankets, and even candles.
Develop a Cohesive Concept
Gifts are more impactful when the contents make sense. I hate using the term "theme" because it tends to imply a certain level of cheesiness. But for lack of a better term, let's just say that gift design is at its best when gifts have a "theme". The theme can be something a simple as "work from home" or "zoom life" or something appropriate to virtual events. Once you decide what the gift concept will be, just make sure that all the gift contents you choose are, at minimum, loosely aligned with your concept! You can then drive the theme home with a notecard inside to explain the concept to your recipients.
Since interacting online can be more challenging than interacting in-person, and some argue that the personal connections made amongst attendees isn't as strong, it's fun to dream up gift concepts that encourage interaction attendees. Examples of this are including something for everyone to wear while online (branded masks have been popular!) or even a food or beverage item to enjoy while online together. You can even take it to a higher level and include contents that will be used for an activity like cocktail making or baking or some other group activity with an expert leading the way virtually. Bottom line - when attendees know that they all have the same items in front of them and/or they're doing an activity simultaneously, it does tend to elicit feelings of unity.
Vary the Contents
Since most all virtual event gifts are mailing to people's home addresses these days, it's important to not only include items they can eat and drink but also include items that can be used and enjoyed at home over time. This way, they'll be sure to have a positive reminder of the virtual event they attended, thanks to you. Pre-Covid, our corporate event gifts contained a much higher percentage of consumable contents with the thinking that guests wouldn't have to carry a ton home with them in their luggage. However, since they're already at home, it really opens up the possibilities! We've been including a ton of home-related items such as cozy blankets, tech items for home offices, gender neutral candles, and even branded drinkware.
Use as the Invitation
Sending virtual event gifts ahead of an event is a great way to communicate information to your guests! One very popular way is to use the gift itself as the actual invitation or save-the-date to drum up enthusiasm about the event and encourage RSVPs.
Communicate Event Details
Let's face it. Gifts are usually all about what's inside the gift. But you can definitely take your gifts to the next level by also including important event details for the convenience of the guests. Armed with all the details they need to know, attendees can fully engage with the virtual event. You don't want them scrambling at the last minute for particulars such as date, time, and itinerary. Even if you've already sent everything electronically, it doesn't hurt to reinforce this with an info card inside the gift. It's also that extra level of detail that shows effort and intention and this goes a long way!
We hope you've found this guide useful. By following this formula, you're bound to have custom virtual event gifts that are impactful and appreciated by all of your attendees. For more information on our Custom Gift Design Service for virtual events, visit here!
Images: Lissa Ryan Photography