Unique Executive Gifts That Leave an Impression : Tips & Gift Ideas
Trying to build relationships with key executives is always a challenge. So many people are vying for their time and attention amid already busy calendars. So when the time comes to go gift shopping, it's totally normal to be scratching our heads looking for good executive gift ideas. Since founding Allegory, we've been part of countless brainstorming sessions with brands looking to get the attention of executives, public figures, even celebrities. And during these sessions, we often encounter the same challenges:
- Executives already have stuff they love: Successful people probably already have many of their favorite things. Their habits around self-care and their hobbies are already well-stocked. Their office is well decorated. It's the classic challenge of what to get the person who has everything.
- Most gifts have only a few seconds of impact: Even nice gifts often have trouble finding a place in an executive's life long term.
- They're going to get a lot of gifts: Executives often have dozens of vendors and prospective vendors shopping for them. Let alone their own team, friends, and family.
So how can we overcome these challenges to give a unique executive gift that even the busiest exec will remember? Here are some things to focus on while you shop:
Tip 1: Impress them with your thoughtfulness, not your expensive gift.
Don't try to flex when buying a gift for someone who is already doing pretty well. Thoughtfulness must exceed the price tag or you risk being tacky.
Let's be real here. Even if neither of your organizations has limitations on the price tag of a gift - overspending is tacky. A successful executive can already afford pricey luxury items and if they want one, they aren't likely to wait for a business partner to get it for them. This isn't to say you can't spend lavishly, but don't choose a gift for only that reason. If the spendy item you are looking at doesn't have specific meaning in the context of your relationship with your giftee, keep looking.
Instead of focusing on a high price tag, shoot for a gift with deeper meaning. More tips on how to do this later, but as for the basic idea we can't say it any better than Maya Angelou.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
Make them feel something with a unique and personal executive gift, and they'll never forget you.
Tip 2: Executives are passionate people - and that's an opportunity to connect through a gift.
You don't reach top levels of business success unless you're passionate about your work. And very few people with that level of passion keep it focused on one thing. It's a safe bet that your giftee has something they are passionate about, and just showing an interest in that thing will show you are interested in who they are. If they're just a business contact to you, it's going to be hard to stay on their radar. But if you genuinely value the relationship, think back over your conversations (or ask some sneaky questions in your next one).
- Do they love a particular sport?
- What about other hobbies? Have you heard them mention anything from board games to woodworking?
- If they have kids, what are their kids up to?
- Have they mentioned volunteering for a cause or organization? Perhaps you met them at a fundraising event?
- What experiences have you shared with them? Did you meet at a conference? Where was it?
- Is there a place they love? A favorite vacation spot? Somewhere they grew up that still feels like home?
- Is there a time in history, or some academic topic they occasionally nerd out about?
If you can connect your gift to something personal about them, it's going to mean something. And you don't have to go full Sherlock Holmes to find the most meaningful detail possible. It's just about showing them you are paying attention to who they are outside of their role at work. It's totally okay to start with something small, especially if it's early in your relationship. And that first step might open the door to a lasting friendship.
Tip 3: Consider the impact of your gift - how can you make the experience last?
An heirloom quality gift will last for years. More impact is worth the extra investment.
The more you can fit your gift into their life, the deeper the connection you will create.
- Best case scenario - something they will use often: If something you give ends up being a part of an executive's daily or weekly routine, not only will they love it, they'll likely bring it up almost every time you talk. This can be challenging though, because as we mentioned above these folks already have their routines optimized and all the gear they need. So you'll have to use our first two tips and thoughtfully connect with something that matters.
- Second best - make a memory: Can you create an experience they will remember? Something that will remind them of you each time they think of it? Get creative here. Maybe it's a single unique experience, or maybe it's something small but repeatable, like a fun subscription. Again - the key to making a memory that lasts is connecting to who they are outside of the office.
Helping your giftee create the ideal workspace is a tall order but it pays off if you do it right.Third best - become part of the background:Office decor can be tricky. Especially at a time when so many of us work from a home office. Don't go this route unless you've had an opportunity to understand your giftee's tastes. But if it's done right, a well chosen piece of decor or desk art can remind your giftee of your thoughtfulness and excellent taste a few times a week for a long time.
Tip 4: No matter what you choose, tell the story.
If you ignore every other piece of advice in this article, don't skip this one. Write them a handwritten note and explain why you chose the gift you did. Something like this:
I was looking for a gift for you when I came across (gift). It made me think of when you brought up (a thing they are passionate about), so I thought you would enjoy it by (how they can use the gift).
This template is pretty basic and lame, so have some fun with your note-- this just to get you started! Here's the thing though... Even if you're wrong, and that thing they brought up on a conference call last month isn't that important to them, even if your gift ends up re-gifted in 10 minutes, the note tells them you are paying attention to who they are, that you care, and that you're trying to connect. That's likely to build the kind of relationship that will make your next gift spot on.
6 Unique Executive Gift Ideas
Enough talk! Let's dig into some curated ideas. Of course we have a few Allegory products here, but we've also researched some other favorites your giftee is sure to love.
Handcrafted Pens from Wood with a Story - perfect for history buffs!
Each wood in the Workhorse Collection has unique story to make your gift more thoughtful.
Story can make all the difference in a meaningful executive gift. That's part of why we use materials that tell a story, like historical woods up to 50,000 years old. If you know your giftee is a history buff, or just a fan of luxury, consider gifting them a beautiful pen from our Workhorse Collection. The Model R or The Model C pens are perfectly customizable. You can choose what wood they are made from, including:
- Ancient Kauri: 50,000 year old wood from an ancient forest that was preserved underground.
- Bog Oak: 5,000 year old remnants of forests from before the last ice age, turned naturally black from millennia under a peat bog.
- Bethlehem Olivewood: Trimmings from olive groves in and around Israel that date back to biblical times.
- Sinker Cypress: Logs from pre industrial river log drives that are recovered from the bottom of the Mississippi.
- Picklewood Redwood: Old growth redwood planks from decommissioned pickling vats.
- Salvaged Indonesian Teak: Teak reclaimed from industrial buildings in Indonesia by a social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs.
Custom Leather Portfolio
Allegory's Walker Portfolio.
We all know that executives are busy and constantly moving from meeting to meeting, so why not give them a custom, unique, yet completely functional gift they can use every day? The Walker Portfolio is a customizable, leather portfolio and tablet case that has all the bells and whistles that any hard working business person could need.
Unforgettable Gift Baskets
Spoonful of comfort has a variety of great gift baskets full of heart and stomach warming treats.
An unforgettable way to thank your corporate partners is to send a unique care package with a personalized note card. Spoonful of Comfort’s corporate gift baskets nurture the body and soul with ready-to-eat comfort foods that use the highest quality ingredients.
Great wine tasting kits are available at ingoodtaste.com
Wine Tasting Kit
A miniature wine tasting kit is something that can be a memorable experience especially if you know the giftee is a fan of wine (who isn't? - ha!). This can show thoughtfulness and that you actually remembered something they are passionate about.
From several conversations with your chosen executive, you may have heard that they’re outdoorsy or tech-savvy. Consider a portable water purifier, solar charger, or any other thoughtful, yet useful, gift you can give them to enhance their experiences during their off-time. Consider their hobbies and see what kinds of things will make the activity that much more enjoyable. Giving them something to tinker with while they're on their next adventure is sure to make memories and connection.
Homemade Treats With a Handwritten Note
Take a page from Ted Lasso's book. He wooed his tough new boss by baking irresistible treats. A homemade treat shows genuine care and thoughtfulness. A handwritten note is the cherry on top of a memorable gift. Although delicious treats don’t last very long, they were something that took time and effort to create which shows a little bit of extra care to your giftee.
Leather Messenger Bag
One of our most attractive, functional, and quality products for professionals is the Macana Messenger Bag. It is a leather bag for laptops, tablets, phones, portfolios, chargers, papers, and anything else your giftee needs either for work or for pleasure.
The exterior is completely waterproof, and it has plenty of pockets to organize everything you want to carry with you. Made from sustainable Ecuadorian Latigo Leather, this is a gift that will last them for years to come. You can also customize the leather color and the pattern of the inner lining, which is made from handwoven fabric using Incan traditions, preserving this ancient craft. Include special add-ons or get it engraved, if you choose. This is a gift that you can tailor to your giftee's likes.
it really is the thought that counts...
It's an old cliché, but it's really true. People value your thoughtfulness and consideration more than your money. So all of these are just ideas so spur your own thoughts. You know your giftee better than we do. So go grab that thoughtful gift and make an impression!