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Corporate Gifts with a Conscience is a non-profit business that is run by Helene Bourquin and is based in Cape Town, South Africa. The start of her business was sudden and came through an idea when she was volunteering in a village near Cape Town. She realized that the villagers were extremely diverse and talented in crafts. From there her company was born. She refers to her company as a self-help program in which the employees (locals, villagers etc.) are making the product and once it is sold, the money goes straight back to them.


Corporate Gifts with a Conscience also made a big bloom in business in their first six months. Through word of mouth, the concept and the company were widely known in Cape Town and it generated the interest of corporate businesses there. People knew what she was doing, the impact that it was making and they all wanted a piece of it.


The corporate gift of the company are truly unique, as they are hand crafted. These gifts are not mass produced, therefore each gift is a little different than the one before it and after it. The gifts range from a plethora of categories : from homemade scented candles, leathered goods to toys and gifts. And based on the means and local supplies, they would make fruit baskets, baked good baskets and even some make wine baskets. The gifts are inspired by the culture, tradition and artistry of South Africa. Helene also makes it a point to ensure that these gifts are of good-quality and are acceptable for both corporates and recipients.


It was stated that Corporate Gifts with a Conscience has provided for a range of events from birthdays, functions, corporate events, team building exercises and launches. They are mostly known for their mission and how their gifts stand out. Apart from standing out, in their vision, their gifts also have a special treat for the recipient. Each gift is wrapped, branded with the company logo (based on if the corporate would want it to) and it is tagged with a special note. The note contains information based on who the gift has benefited and how the gift has made a positive impact.  For example, the note will tell you : who made the gift and how the money from that gift has helped this person. It is a personal touch that most corporate gifts don’t have, and cannot fabricate. The testimonies for these gifts are bountiful of praises and compliments. It makes corporates and recipients feel good and it helps the people of South Africa, especially those who are less fortunate.

Over the span of the Chinese New Year, in 2017, in Malaysia : the amount of corporate gifts distributed had decreased (in comparison to the year prior). It was said that due to the slow and sluggish economic status of Malaysia, the amount of corporate gifts had declined.


Many local gift businesses have suffered as a consequence of this. They have stated that they have noticed a reduction in their orders from big corporate clients. Most clients state that the reasoning is due to a reduction or tightening of the corporate gift budget. Some companies, that supply corporate gifts, even claim that that their businesses have reduced in 10-15% in sales over the course of Chinese New Year, which is typically a large celebration and means for corporate gifting in Malaysia.


Clients usually either reduce their order volume or they order more low-value gifts than they did before, which is all a means of compromise. It has been noted that in a situation of a stagnant of slow-growing economy : most companies will cut or reduce their corporate gift budget. Although it is an effective marketing strategy that can produce many gains for the company, it is not the most significant. And therefore, the budget is slashed and compromised.


In Malaysia, Chinese New Year is a huge celebration with over 20% of Chinese Malaysians conducting their celebrations. Chinese New Year is also a major time for corporate gifts, where many people receive ang paos, fruit baskets, corporate office gifts and so on. But now the number of gifts are reduced and the number of recipients are limited as well.


However, the corporate gift supplies are optimistic about the upcoming year. Despite facing a quantifiable loss this year, in approximately 10 – 15% (depending on the company), they do estimate to make a gain in the upcoming year, as well as months to come. Because corporate gift companies have other holidays that generate a lot of income and revenue, especially in a country like Malaysia (where there are holidays for 3 major religions and 3 major races). Therefore, they are keeping an open mind and positive outlook over the progress of their business in the long run.

Watches are a great corporate gift, especially a corporate gift that is given individually and not by the masses. But a local entrepreneur has developed a brand new way of how we will tell time.


MEM watches (pronounced mee-m) is a watch company started by Izham Fitri Ismail, a 28 year old entrepreneur. He first got the idea of his watch company when he attended a talk back in his university years. His watches are extremely unique, and that is saying a lot. Not only is it unique in its design but it is primarily unique in it’s method of telling the time. MEM watches are watches that run counterclockwise.


The normal clock and watches that we all know run clockwise, this is how we have been telling time since we could tell time. However, why do we do this? This is the question that sparked Izham into creating his watches. He states that many things in this world : they naturally recur in a counterclockwise direction, from the motion of electrons to the direction of growth in plants. Therefore, why do we tell time differently?


His first creation was DUCT (do unclockwise timing) in 2009. He then joined with Hijra Timepiece in 2012, after graduation, marketing his watches to the Muslim community. This has a lot of do with the relevance, and one of his inspirations of his counterclockwise watches, of “tawaf” (the circumambulation of the Kaa’ba) and how it is conducted counterclockwise. This sparked the Muslim community and he gained a good following through that. But Izham also wanted to expand his company globally and started to make other watches, that were not affiliated to religion.


Currently, MEM watches have launched 16 styles of watches and they are not slowing down. They have sales in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Japan and even the United Kingdom. They also receive international online orders from South Africa, Turkey, South Korea, Russia and more. They mostly sell online. Their watches are locally designed, assembled in China with technology from Japan.


Izham claims that his watches are more than just counterclockwise watches. His watches challenge the societal norm of watches : changing people’s perspective to time. With that, it creates a reminder of adapting new perspectives and perception into our own environments.

Corporate gifts can be pricey, but not only for the bank accounts but for the environment as well. Mass productions of corporate gifts in manufacturing industries can contribute to greenhouse effect, which contributes to ozone thinning and climate change. This is detrimental to the environment. Therefore an alternative that companies can make is opting for eco-friendly corporate gifts. Green Yards are just the right company to look into.


Green Yards is a company started by Wen Shin, a former UPM student. She thought of the company in her university years but only started the business after graduation. Her company  sells scented homemade candles and bar soaps, but here is the catch : they are all made from recycling cooking oil.


Waste dumping is a major factor in what contributes to water pollution. A large portion of that comes from oil dumping. In Malaysia, oil dumping, in any large : small or large, is illegal. Therefore the options of discarding used cooking oil is limited. People either burn the oil until it becomes a sediment or they pour it down the drains. This could then cause unsanitary water as well as a disruption to the ecology and environment of Malaysian rivers, and may extend to the sea as well.


In Malaysia alone, over 220 million liters of cooking oil are dumped down the drain in both restaurants and households. Therefore Green Yards is trying to take advantage of this by re-utilizing the cooking oil. Not many people are aware of the potential uses of used cooking oil. Used cooking oil can be used as source of fuel, in some cases. And it can also be recycled into other things.


What Green Yard does is basically take used cooking oils, their major source is from restaurants but they take from households too, and sent that to a bio-diesel lab. The oil is then cleaned and washed of its sediment and unwanted particles. From there, they take it and use it to create their soaps and candles. In order to make this product halal, they will actually just take cooking oil from Muslim-friendly restaurants.  They have been getting many orders from corporate businesses, and have actually teamed up with Impact Gifts (a company that takes environmentally conscious gifts and compiles them into a box that can be given to other). Their products can be bought from their website.

Corporate Events seems like a quintessential part of a business. Having and hosting a corporate event can do one of many things from advertising the business, selling the business, scouting potential clients and investors or even just for the sake of the internal company affairs. But are corporate events considered to be corporate gifts? The answer is based on a few factors.


  1. What is the event?


There are a plethora of reasons why a business is hosting an event, therefore it is important to know that based on the event and what it is : it can be considerate as a corporate gift. When is it considered as a corporate gift? If the event is an internal affairs event. This refers to the event being held only for the company’s employees, clients, partners and investors (and no external personnel such as prospective clients, the public). Usually this is seen as like an office holiday party or even an office appreciation ceremony.


  1. Who is the event for?


This question goes hand in hand with the question prior. The event usually has a targeted audience. If the event is conducted in order to gain brand awareness, and has invited members of the public and outsourced personnel (that are not workers of the company), then it is most likely targeted for the public. In this case, this event is most likely not a corporate event unless there are corporate gifts being handed out. Corporate gifts being handed out (whether it be door gifts or in swag bags) are still an opportunity for corporate gift distribution. With that being said, it can be safe to consider this a corporate gift.


  1. Why is the event happening?


Just like any corporate gift, it is important to note the objective of the event. With that being said, the same rules apply. If the event is seen more favorable as a bribe or under-the-counter transaction, then it is not a corporate gift (not ethically).  


It is important to comprehend that on this basis of corporate events being corporate gifts, that they have different and specific rules set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in USA. In other countries, it important to contact the necessary and relevant people to ask if the corporate event is applicable for tax or not.

Foretec is an online marketing firm, based in the Philippines. However, they have headquarters in both the Philippines and Singapore. Foretec has been a leading SEO firm in Singapore and is a strong and competitive brand in the Philippines. They run their business through providing SEO services for local and international corporations, working to achieve comprehensive and cost-efficient SEO techniques that help companies to reach their business ventures.


On May 2017, they announced that they have developed, and successfully proven, a new SEO strategy. This strategy is new and has not been incorporated into the industry yet, therefore there is great buzz and excitement about it. The SEO strategy works upon ranking the corporate gift industry keywords into the top 10 positions/rankings on Google. They also claim that this strategy does not use any grey/black hat tactics (which would include paid links, spam comments, social media automation, buying followers, duplicating content, article spinning and cloaking). The use of any of these grey/black hat tactics are extremely risky, if the person is not knowledgeable on it.


The main reason for the development of this SEO strategy, and specifically working on the corporate gift industry, is because one of Foretec’s clients are Door Gifts Singapore. Door Gifts Singapore is one of the leading corporate gift businesses in Singapore and has made a fine name for themselves in the industry. In order to gravitate and increase attention towards corporate gifts, Foretec believes that this strategy will be beneficial for them.


The SEO strategy that has been implicated has also been proven. So much so that their client, Door Gift Singapore, have been ranked on the top 10 positions on Google, based on their most competitive and most profitable keywords.


In Singapore, the corporate gift industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, where many businesses make good business revenues through these gifts. An average of SGD670,000 in sales are made each month, in a business that uses corporate gifts as a marketing plan. And in the country, alone, some companies go up to making SGD1.7million in revenue (just last year).


Foretec has made claims to developing this SEO strategy into other industries and not confining it to just the corporate gift industry. They are optimistic about the future of this and are excited to see how well it plays in other industries and countries.

Corporate gifts, as we know it, are usually gifts targeted to the client, the employee and prospective clients. But is that the extent of the list of who we can give corporate gifts to? That all depends on your objective.When giving corporate gifts, there are some enquiries that need to be answered.


Firstly, why am I giving this person a corporate gift? What is my objective for this corporate gift? This is a significant question because you do not want to be aimlessly throwing out gifts. These gifts need to be non-corrupted (not used as a means of bribery or exchange of illegal trade) and they need to have a reason. Your reason could be to get closer to the recipient, get business with the recipient, show my appreciation and so on so forth.


Secondly, am I allowed to give this person a corporate gift? Many companies have a definite and decisive policy on corporate gifts. Therefore it is up to you to investigate if your corporate gift will/can be accepted by the recipient.


With these two questions answered and spoken for, here are a bunch of other people that you can send corporate gifts to.


  1. Supplier/Partner/Investor


Corporate gifts can be given internally as well (within the company) and that does not necessarily mean the employees. Employees are one part of the entire system, that makes up the company. Corporate gifts can be given to your suppliers (if you are a company that produces goods specifically). It can be given to partners, to show your gratitude for their assistance and support in building up the business. It can also be given to investors (but only if they are already investors and not prospective).


  1. University/Schools


Donations, from a company, to a university or school is considered just as much a corporate gift as all else. This is because the money is coming from the company and the business, as opposed to a single individual. Even if the CEO is donating the money, it is with the company’s money.


  1. Organizations


Organizations, from non-profit to profit, are applicable for corporate gifts too. And more and more companies are taking up corporate gifts for organization. Some do it for improving the wellbeing of the community and some do it for aiding in an organization that could be used to align with other companies.


  1. Other Companies

This is, in a sense, similar to partners and investors. If it comes to a point where a business is looking for other companies to align with, work with and support, then corporate gifts could be a good welcoming token.