What Is Corporate Gifting?
Imagine this scenario, your company is preparing for the launching of a significant milestone, and your CEO just told you about it yesterday. You’re frantically Googling online to find the perfect gift for your guests while scrambling to adhere to your procurement SOPs, hyperventilating throughout the entire process and hoping you don’t turn up at the event empty-handed. Sounds familiar?
If you’re looking for ways to show appreciation for your stakeholders in Malaysia, corporate gifts are the way to go. Corporate gift ideas in Malaysia are highly dependent on various factors, while some items serve as a standard benchmark for the branding sector, corporate gifts in Malaysia evolve over time due to cultural factors, political landscapes, and company policies.
What are corporate gifts? Corporate gifts are thoughtful gestures that show your stakeholders that you value their contributions and are grateful for their support. They are items provided by corporations to employees, clients, visitors, or even charitable organisations as a token of gratitude. The reason for this is to ultimately build relationships and increase your brand presence within your respective industries.
The Best Corporate Gift Ideas In Malaysia
What is branding? While methodologies and considerations can differ from country to country, basic branding practices are standard across the industry. According to an article written by The Branding Journal aptly titled, “What is Branding?”, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.
So, what does this have to do with corporate gift ideas in Malaysia? It may not be apparent at first, but corporate gifting is an essential branch of branding sections within most major corporations in Malaysia. It may seem insignificant in a colloquial sense, but branding and trend influence corporate gifting more than you think it would. For example:
When it comes to corporate gift ideas in Malaysia, there are a few key themes to keep in mind. Firstly, eco-friendly gifts are currently in trend as more corporations are jumping on the bandwagon to be more ESG compliant. Secondly, minimalism is currently a fad in design themes with simplistic designs taking centre stage. Thirdly, traditionalism is making a comeback with increased orders of artisanal Malaysian traditional crafts like the Batik, Mengkuang, and Songket.
Corporate gift suppliers in Malaysia are also noticing a trend towards upcycled gifts made from items at the end of their life cycle, like clutches made from used seat belts, shirts made from recycled plastic fabrics, or recycled plastic coasters. The other trend to take note of is personalised gifts. With the advent of Instagram home businesses which specialises in homemade, handmade gifts in small batches, corporations have been ordering them for VIPs, especially during festivities.
Luxury or premium gifts are also in style in recent Malaysian gifting trends. Due to their higher costs, they are usually reserved for exclusive events, e.g., fountain pens, personalised watches, leather name card holders, lapel pins, cufflinks, shawls etc. Preparing your business cases with the endless possibilities for corporate gift ideas in Malaysia may be overwhelming at first, but if you focus your attention on the purpose of your gifts, building momentum for making unforgettable statements for your company will eventually come naturally.
Now that you’re aware of the top trends, let’s take a deep dive into our top picks:
1) Customised Corporate Stationeries
Customised corporate stationeries are the bread and butter of corporate gifting. They fall under the category of standard corporate gifts which are produced en masse for widespread distribution at a low cost. Possessing large blank surfaces, they provide an ideal canvas for you to print your logos and brand motifs, making them an ideal branding tool to increase brand awareness.
Due to their practicality, they are also carried everywhere to meetings, cafes, conferences, classes etc. The recent trend for corporate gifts in Malaysia also saw the rise of an unofficial competition between annual personalised diaries where employees pit their diary designs with their acquaintances from different corporations. Well-designed ones will even turn heads, making them a unique choice for corporate gifts in Malaysia!
2) Tech Gadgets
Tech gadgets, while fairly expensive, are great corporate gifts in Malaysia. While they are usually utilised as a door gift or VIP gift for corporate functions due to their cost, the addition of tech gadgets like wireless chargers, portable speakers, wireless earphones and laptop stands into your inventory ensures that you are always ready for that ad-hoc event or VIP visit to your office. If your budget allows it, they are certainly worth your while as they provide a sense of exclusivity for your stakeholders. Their flat and wide surfaces also encourage creativity, making them a great canvas for your corporate designs.
3) Eco-Friendly Gifts
Our next pick for corporate gift ideas in Malaysia are eco-friendly gifts. Corporate gifts in Malaysia are often influenced by current affairs and cultural trends, evolving with the zeitgeist of the period. Corporations have been ramping up their efforts toward ESG adoption with the need for environmental conservation, integrating eco-friendly gifts into their CSR initiatives, and playing their part to make a difference.
They have been the norm for a while now, but in their initial stages, they were used as a PR stunt to create better impressions towards companies without any actual initiatives to back them up. In part, this was influenced by the uprising of “Green” lifestyles in the early 2000s with governments backing up efforts to get their respective populations to get in on the act of recycling.
This has all changed however, with companies currently making a conscious effort to integrate ESG compliance into their daily operations with investment funds trading in green stocks or even going so far as to setting up entire landfill gas harvesting operations to generate green energy.
With this, eco-friendly gifts serve to exemplify your efforts towards environmental conservation and to reduce non-biodegradable waste as soon as the gifts are discarded, ensuring that your stakeholders are aware that you’re an organisation which walks the talk. As for internal stakeholders, eco-friendly gifts are a great way to encourage employees to adopt a low carbon footprint lifestyle while at the same time educating them about the importance of environmental conservation. Couple this with internal newsletters and social media postings and you get an endless avenue for free publicity!
4) Personalised Desk Accessories
Here it is, the Gen Z gaming fad has finally hit the corporate space. While RGB lighting and loud mechanical keyboards with tactile switches are frowned upon in the workplace, some more subtle aspects of gaming accessories have been remarketed (let’s call it what it is) into posh leather black and brown desk accessories, akin to the typical decor of a law firm.
Reminiscent of executive desk set in the 90s with wrist rests, fountain pen holders, letter openers, ink vials and blotters, the less old-fashioned aspect of this comes in a minimalised form of desk pads, birch pen trays, stationery holders, memo trays, phone holders, and headphone holders. Personalised desk accessories are also making a comeback in the workplace due to post-COVID-19 behaviour where employees are looking to emulate their work-from-home environment in the office.
Depending on your target audience, desk accessories are typically made of leather or faux leather. Depending on your corporate gift supplier in Malaysia, there may be metal or plastic ones being offered, which are just as sleek as their more expensive counterparts. Nevertheless, personalised desk accessories are appreciated by all as they are a versatile and practical corporate gift which can help your stakeholders stay organised and efficient at work.
5) The Bread And Butter For Corporate Gifts In Malaysia: Branded Merchandises
Branded merchandises are so common that we think everyone in Malaysia has seen or used a variation of them especially with the government’s imposition of no plastic bags at supermarkets. Whether it’s a simple logo or a catchy slogan, they’re a cost-efficient method to increase your brand presence in the market and can be incorporated into any of your initiatives. They’re also easily mass-produced to fill up your inventories, ensuring you do not run out of corporate items.
CSR initiatives and events will never be the same again when your employees show up with matching shirts. Your stakeholders are bound to be impressed by the organisational pride your employees possess, and your social media postings will pop with your brand’s colours, ensuring maximum exposure for your brand.
Branded merchandise will also work in your favour in the public space. Canvas bags, for example, are highly durable and biodegradable. They’re usually used for shopping, commuting, travelling, or just for storage purposes, increasing brand awareness efficiently.
Some great corporate gift ideas in Malaysia for branded merchandise: T-shirts, jute bags, non-woven bags, pens etc. are a basic standard for corporate gifts in Malaysia regardless of the size of your organisation.
6) Islamic Religious Accessories
Islamic religious accessories are highly dependent on your target audience and are usually reserved for organisations that engage with government entities. Islamic religious accessories like the tasbih, prayer mats, or Rehal made our list of top corporate gifts because of their cultural significance for your target audience, and the current cultural landscape in Malaysia which promotes unity.
Do keep in mind that due to religious sensitivities, you will have to practice due diligence to ensure that gifting Islamic religious accessories are implemented respectfully. For example, having your corporate logo embroidered or printed directly on prayer mats and tasbihs is not exactly an acceptable practice, but incorporating your brand on its gift boxes or gift cards is usually the norm for these items.
Reasons To Incorporate Islamic Religious Accessories Into Your Corporate Gift Inventory In Malaysia:
- Your Target Audience: If a majority of your target audiences are Ministries, GLCs or GLICs, you should consider having Islamic religious accessories for your inventory of corporate gifts, especially during Islamic festive seasons like Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
- Religious and Cultural Significance: Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, and with 20.6 million Muslims in Malaysia (as of the year 2020) based on data by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the religious significance of Islam in Malaysia is undeniable. By giving these meaningful gifts to Muslim stakeholders, you are recognising and honouring their religious beliefs and practices.
- Personal Connection: Gifting Islamic religious accessories as corporate gifts in Malaysia can create a personal connection between you and your stakeholders. By acknowledging and respecting your stakeholders’ religious and cultural backgrounds, you are exhibiting value and appreciation for them.
- Practical Use: Islamic accessories are used daily. Foldable travel prayer mats, for example, can easily be carried around for prayers at the office or on trips.
- Universal Appeal: Islamic religious accessories are not limited to a specific age group, gender, or nationality. They can be appreciated by Muslims of all ages and backgrounds, making them a universal and inclusive corporate gift option.
7) Artisanal And Traditional Malaysian Craft Accessories
With traditionalism making a comeback in Malaysia, traditional Malaysian craft items like Batik, Mengkuang, and Songket items are becoming some of the most popular corporate gift ideas in Malaysia for stakeholders. This is due to a wave of support for locally made items stemming from our COVID-19 days, starting with the #kitajagakita movement from the height of the pandemic.
The government played a part in this as well, with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s Kempen Beli Barangan Malaysia in 2020. This instilled a sense of patriotism among Malaysians and some of our corporations, pivoting some of our purchase decisions to local ones, which saw an increase of RM3.3 billion in Malaysian goods purchased in 2020 alone!
Some major corporations, particularly ministries, GLCs and GLICs have even implemented policies which prioritise local companies over foreign ones to play their part in boosting the local economy. This led to an influx of Malaysian traditional craft corporate gifts in the market with a 25.71% increase in revenue in 2021 for Syarikat Pemasaran Karyaneka alone.
Private corporations are of course not left out of the loop, with Berjaya Corporation Berhad implementing Batik as its official attire in 2021 to help boost the local industry of artisans for traditional arts and crafts.
In short, artisanal traditional craft items are unique handmade items that are ethically sourced. Promoting a culture of corporate gifting with traditional Malaysian craft demonstrates poise in your corporate practices, making a statement of Malaysian pride among your stakeholders.
8) Personal Care Items
Personal care items have been in the inventories of many corporations since COVID-19’s landfall in Malaysia in 2020. Commonly utilised for CSR initiatives, the corporate gifting trend in Malaysia saw an increase in personal care items with COVID care kits (sets of face masks, hand sanitisers, wet wipes, and face shields) being distributed to NGOs.
While they are great corporate gift ideas in Malaysia between 2020 and 2021, the popularity of these items has since dwindled down with our transition into the endemic phase. Despite this, other forms of personal care items have since taken their place with manicure sets, scented candles, and personalised sanitiser bottles being sighted at initiatives, especially among organisations engaging in CSR activities involving senior citizens and pensioners.
Do keep in mind that while personal care items are great, the shelf life of some of the aforementioned items are limited. The effectiveness of items like COVID-19 test kits, hand sanitisers, and face masks diminishes over time, and you should be conservative when stocking them up. Also remember to never ever give expired items to your stakeholders, as this can potentially cause a PR backfire. So always check the expiration dates before preparing your kits.
9) Travel Accessories
Let’s face it, being stuck at home for the past three years isn’t fun. Revenge travelling is a thing, and Malaysians have been itching to leave the country. With borders reopening once more, travel accessories have been making the list for corporate gift ideas in Malaysia which appeals to all age groups and adventurers alike for a number of reasons:
Reasons To Incorporate Travel Accessories Into Your Corporate Gift Inventory In Malaysia:
- Practicality: Travel accessories like luggage tags, passport holders, inflatable pillows, and toiletry bags are versatile gifts which are easily transportable for any of your initiatives. They also help your stakeholders stay organised and comfortable while travelling.
- Brand Visibility: Travel accessories are commonly brought all around the world, maximising your potential for brand awareness to a much wider audience.
- Customisability: Travel accessories come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes, creating unique personalised gifts for your stakeholders. You’re also able to add personalised messages on top of your own branding to create more meaningful gifts.
- Flexibility: Everyone travels at some point. They are versatile gifts which can be given to stakeholders in any industry and are widely accepted by any target demographic. They are also commonly used as career fair visitor gifts.
10) Youth/ Career Fair/ Graduand/ Graduate-Oriented Gifts
With a projected GDP growth of 4-5% in Malaysia, companies are hiring. With a myriad of career fairs down the pipeline with tens of thousands of potential new hires, graduands are a big deal. With this, some of the corporate gift ideas in Malaysia for corporations are targeted towards younger audiences and are a must for any Corporate Communications or Human Resources practitioners.
On top of branding purposes, creating positive brand associations among graduands and graduates is a necessity during hiring processes to help your brand position itself to be approachable and considerate of job seekers. The goal here is to keep your brand at the top of their minds during the job search process.
By incorporating career fair-oriented items into your recruitment strategy, you are more likely to increase the chances of attracting the right talent for your company. It’s also essential to ensure that the corporate gifts should be of high-quality and practical, creating a lasting positive impression among your candidates.
In this article, we explored a range of corporate gift ideas in Malaysia which are designed to leave a lasting impression among your stakeholders. Whether you’re seeking to express gratitude to clients, motivate employees, or foster meaningful connections with partners, the key is to choose gifts which align with your brand values and resonate with your stakeholders.
Ultimately, as you embark on your corporate gifting journey, consider your stakeholders’ preferences, your brand image, and the theme of your initiatives. Remember to strive for uniqueness, quality, and relevance. Whether it’s a beautifully crafted desk accessory or a personalised tech gadget, let your corporate gifts reflect the thoughtfulness and value your business holds.