The Science Behind Giving a Good Corporate Gift


The Law of Reciprocity is one of the reasons why corporate gifts generate a positive brand memory among people…

Much has been said and analyzed about the reasons why corporate gifts or promotional merchandise work. Statistics, studies, and different works confirm that campaigns with personalized gifts are configured as one of the most successful ways when it comes to getting the advertising message to the public and achieving the long-awaited brand memory. Adapting to their tastes and preferences, as well as offering useful promotional products as corporate gifts, are at the top of the list of reasons. For more information please visit here

But if there is a remarkable fact in the analysis of its success, that is undoubtedly the psychology behind the corporate gift. And not just for falling in love with well-thought-out messages and personalized designs. Beneath all these factors lies a basic psychological principle: the Law of Reciprocity. This is a kind of basic law of marketing based on human behavior when they are given free gifts. This law has a psychological basis.

The Law of Reciprocity explains that people feel indebted to others when they give them a gift.


“It is well-born to be grateful.” A saying like this, so popular and widespread in our culture, has a lot to do with the Law of Reciprocity and corporate gifts or promotional merchandise. This is a principle enunciated and developed by Robert Cialdini in his work: Influence: Science and Practice. This law of psychology refers to something as basic as the feeling of indebtedness to someone who gives us a corporate gift. A conditioned response by which we are forced to reciprocate when someone has deference to us.

The Law of Reciprocity present in corporate gifts is easily identifiable in everyday situations. It underlies both pure and hard marketing contexts, such as free food trials in supermarkets, as well as other more subtle channels, such as mobile phone offers.

In both cases, the consumer is drawn to reciprocate the detail that has been made to him, be it eating for free or having a great discount on a mobile phone. Another visible example of this mechanism is found in the case of the Hare Krishna who, very brilliantly, base their collection of donations on the street in a first contact in which they give a flower to the passerby and, immediately afterward, ask for money. The feeling of gratitude that it produces leads the person to be more likely to make such a donation.

More than 70% of users are more likely to buy a brand’s products and services after receiving promotional gifts from it.


The Law of Reciprocity brought to the promotional gifts market, represents the same psychological mechanism. The user, client, or employee who receives promotional gifts from a brand awakens a direct emotion of debt to that person. Hence, among other reasons, figures such as the fact that more than 70% of users are more likely to buy the products and services of a brand after receiving promotional gifts from it. Or that positive brand recall skyrockets and reaches more people.

And it is that the promotional gift, seen from its perspective of the physical object, is nothing more than the first step towards the success of marketing campaigns with corporate gifts. From there, and beyond whether or not a direct purchase finally occurs, a basic concept in terms of return on investment comes into play. It is about the impact that personalized gifts have on the user to whom they are addressed and the visibility they achieve in this and the rest of the users. That is the objective of reaching the maximum number of people with the minimum investment.

Efficient marketing is measured in terms of GRPs or Gross Rating Point, the index that brands use to assess the impact on the audience or, in other words, to measure the advertising pressure exerted on the target of the campaign.


If we talk about effectiveness and efficiency in the case of promotional gifts, there is no doubt. The direct impact of advertising items on the user, as well as the visibility of the brand in the eyes of third parties and its extension over time, result in the best results in terms of GRPs.

This maximum effectiveness in GRPs is directly related to the frequency of the campaign effort. Compared to traditional channels such as an advertisement in a newspaper, conditioned to the moment of reading, corporate gifts offer a high level of visibility over time.

There are gifts such as advertising cotton bags or promotional pens that show a very clear example of this reality: they are given once and are used for a long time and in various contexts with different audiences. Thus, with a frequency as low as the effort to give away an advertising pen, the impact of the brand on users is multiplied easily: visibility of the logo by third parties while the gift is being used, because the user himself reaches the advertising article frequently and because, and this is very important, on many occasions, it is even given away. The result: More than 70% of people who receive promotional gifts are more likely to purchase products and services from those brands, according to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).


Thus, unlike a common advertisement or online advertisements, which must have a high frequency to achieve the desired visibility, in the case of the promotional corporate gift we speak of a very high Gross Rating Point since it offers coverage wide for a very low frequency. And an equally low investment thanks to the cheap corporate gifts that can be found today in the advertising items market, as recalled from Gift Campaign.

Beyond the quality of the products, the low price, and the customization options, if there is one reason why promotional gifts work, it is a combination of the psychology that underlies marketing (Law of Reciprocity) and the potential as regards to conversion (Gross Rating Point).