- Jessika Noda Ofiyai
The Science Behind Gifting: How Thoughtful Gifts Can Strengthen Business Relationships
Gift giving is a universal practice that transcends cultures, traditions, and geographical boundaries. We often think of it as an act of kindness, a way to express our feelings, or a token of appreciation. But there's much more to it – gifting is an intricate social dance, woven with psychological threads that bind the giver and the receiver in a delicate tapestry of emotions, expectations, and social obligations.
According to research by happiness expert and psychology professor at the University of California, Sonja Lyubomirsky, gifting triggers areas of the brain associated with pleasure, trust, and social connection for both the gift giver and recipient. This leads to both parties feeling closer to each other and associate the positive experience with social connection. In the world of corporate gifting, understanding this dance is crucial to fostering stronger business relationships.
The Role of Reciprocity in Building Strong Relationships
At the heart of gift giving is the principle of reciprocity, a fundamental social norm that compels us to return favors or kindnesses bestowed upon us. Reciprocity is a powerful force in human relationships, both personal and professional, fostering a sense of connection and mutual appreciation. The act of giving and receiving helps to establish a foundation of trust and cooperation, essential elements for thriving partnerships.
Named the “gift effect”, a study conducted by Michela Balconi and Giulia Fronda discovered that exchanging good deeds leads to an increase in cooperation. In the realm of business, a thoughtful gift can act as the catalyst that encourages reciprocation, inspiring people to work together towards common goals. The power of gifting goes beyond the physical gift itself; it encompasses the emotions and intentions behind the gesture. When applied effectively, gifting can forge lasting connections and solidify partnerships, nurturing an environment of mutual respect and loyalty.
Choosing the Right Gift to Convey the Desired Message
Selecting the perfect gift can be a daunting task, especially in the corporate world, where the stakes are high and every gesture carries weight (this is where Giftagram can help with curated gifts from best in class brands). To effectively communicate your intentions and strengthen the business relationship, consider the following factors:
Personalization: Choose a gift that is relevant to the recipient's interests, preferences, and needs. Personalization goes a long way in demonstrating your attention to detail and understanding of their personality.
Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural differences and potential faux pas. Research the recipient's background and customs to avoid inadvertently offending them.
Timing: Select the appropriate occasion for your gift, such as a milestone, a holiday, or a celebratory event. This shows that you're in tune with their world and are genuinely interested in their success.
Quality: Opt for high-quality items that reflect your company's values and commitment to excellence. A gift of inferior quality can send the wrong message and even damage your brand's reputation.