3 Reasons Why The Yeti Corporate Gift Is A Bad Idea

by | Apr 26, 2021

Let me start by saying this: I like my Yeti rambler. A lot. But that doesn’t make it a solid corporate gift for the bulk of your clients. If your goal is to build relationships over time, the rambler – like most other Yeti corporate gifts – is not your secret ingredient.

Yeti products miss out on several essentials of a perfect corporate gifting strategy. This article will walk you through the basics of business gifting and point out 3 ways that Yeti corporate gifts, despite being high-quality, will underwhelm your recipients.

3 Reasons Why The Yeti Corporate Gift Is A Bad Idea

1. Are Yeti Products Practical?

For the average person – the answer is simply no.

A practical gift is one your recipient can use 3-5 times per week.  Which means that 3 to 5 times per week, your client, prospect, or star employee is thinking of you.

For example, a world class handbag. A personalized glassware set. A pair of soundproof headphones. Best-in-class products that people would love to own, but wouldn’t want to pay for. And while the yeti mugs are great for the coffee drinker in cold temperatures, you can only send a recipient so many ramblers. Especially at that price point.

Yeti’s products are far from practical. You’re not going to use a hard cooler 3 to 5 times a week, nor will you have much use of a wine tumbler all that often. Besides, hunting and wine hobbyists already possess both.

Moreover, gifting something like a tumbler where the Yeti logo is slapped on one side of the product promotes Yeti. It’s not an heirloom. It doesn’t make them feel special. When your client looks at the product, do you really want them to think about Yeti? Or do you want them feeling grateful?

Speaking from experience, recipients will soon forget who they got the tumbler from. Which is gonna make it hard for them to talk about you when your gift is in the room (but you’re not). The ongoing appreciation of a practical, well-used gift  is where the relationship grows on autopilot. And the ROI of a gifting strategy takes full effect.

For example, this person bought two Yeti coolers for a month-long camping trip.

Say nothing about the fact that the seal broke on his cooler and leaked all over his camper.  But how many people do you know who routinely go on month long camping trips.

If you’re buying gifts in bulk for team members or to WOW event attendees,  Yeti products are niceties – not necessities.

2. Do Custom Yeti Gifts Promote Continuity?

If your gifts have the ability to be a part of a cohesive sequence, they’re said to have continuity. Ie, the leather belt, then the leather shoes, then the leather wallet. Why is continuity necessary, you ask?

When each item you send is related to the other, it snowballs the emotional aspect of your gift for the recipient. It creates anticipation. It shows planned thoughtfulness and demonstrates your long term relational commitment. Unlike most marketing, a one-off strategy does not bode well with good gifting.

For example, one GIFT۰OLOGIST embarked on a gifting campaign he called ‘gifting the armor of God.’ This was a multi-month series of gifts that all had the same biblical theme:

  • “sword of the spirit” – an engraved letter opener
  • “breastplate of righteousness” – a necktie and Brooks Brothers tie case
  • “shield of faith” – a leather phone case (with a personalized etching)
  • “helmet of salvation” – a signed Major League baseball helmet
  • “belt of truth” – a ridiculously cool leather belt
  • “shoes of the Gospel” – a pair of Allen Edmonds (matching the belt)

Continuity gifting campaigns like this are the #1 reason people hire a company like ours.

The best gifting campaigns bring out the best ROI after multiple impressions. So, the more the cohesion, the stronger the sentimental impact, and better for the relationship.

(I hate talking about relationships and ROI in the same paragraph. But you understand what I’m saying.)

Once you give a rambler, what are you going to give next? How many hard coolers does the average person need? Yeti products do not have the sort of cohesion among them that can create a surprise-and-delight gifting sequence.

3. Do Yeti Products Involve The Inner Circle?

It’s no secret that the way to a person’s heart is through the people they love the most. The finest corporate gifting strategy, therefore, is the one that includes a person’s inner circle, i.e., spouse, kids, assistants, etc.

Most business leaders do not realize how essential this is. But understand this:

5 words about you from anyone in your client’s inner circle is more valuable than 500 words from you about how brilliant you, your product, or your service is.

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For example, imagine the goodwill you’ll have when your VIP’s family becomes your biggest fan. You got a personalized coffee mug for your client’s wife or a stainless steel ice-cream bowl set for their kids? You’ve made an impression in their head every time they use it. And now there you have it – your best salespeople right at the dinner table with your VIP.

Yeti gifts do not include the recipient’s inner circle in any form. A double-wall Yeti mug, wine tumbler, coaster, or an ice bucket doesn’t necessarily make your VIP spouse’s, kid’s, or assistant’s life any better. Low impact, low impressions.


The Yeti Corporate Gift: Desirability vs. Feasibility

As I’ve written about before in this series, there’s a disconnect between gift givers and gift recipients.

Givers often try to gift products that seem ‘desirable.’ For many gift-givers, a good gift is one that costs a lot. Because they’re stuck in the bigger-is-better, “engagement ring” mindset. Consequently, givers go for products that are nice to look at but not necessarily “daily practical” – like many of the Yeti products.

Your recipients will not value that sentiment. Studies show that recipients actually prefer handy items over fancy ones. They value feasibility. They value useful. So even if your recipient is dazzled when they open your gift (or fakes it), the value will soon diminish when that colster sits on the top shelf of their cupboard.

Don’t gift something whose value is difficult to extract – otherwise you’re gifting advertisements. And advertisements are easy to ignore.

Traits of A Successful Gift Marketing Strategy

Kindle An Emotional Connection

When you gift something to your client, you’re essentially expressing your appreciation for them. If you want your gift to truly have an impact here, you should give something that’s worth more in ten years than it is ten minutes after they open it.

Gifts that don’t create an emotional value, like many Yeti products, are quickly pushed to the back of the drawer or stacked in the garage. As our founder often says, it’s not the thought that counts. It’s the thoughtful thought that counts.

The right gift produces certain feelings of joy. At one point, all those good feelings become associated with you. Your brand is nothing more than the memories that come up when people think of your name. And the strength of those memories determines how people think of you when they (or someone in their network) face a problem.

Studies show that deep emotional impact is the ultimate memory-building tool. This is precisely why brands spend millions of dollars creating impactful commercials, be it humorous or heart-warming – to connect to people. A holistic gifting strategy does the same thing, but for far less money.

Personalize The Gift With A Handwritten Note

More often than not, a handwritten note is more precious than the gift itself. I have a thing for handmade cards, and to this date, I have preserved every handwritten note people have sent me, be it friends, family, clients, or business leaders.

And I don’t think I’m alone in doing this.

Another example: Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, would write letters to the PARENTS of all her direct reports. All handwritten, all positive, and full of specific, non-copy-paste meaningful anecdotes.

In Indra’s own words: “It opened up emotions of the kind I’ve never seen.” Parents wrote back to her and poured their hearts out. 

You don’t have to go above and beyond with your words like Indra, but a few handwritten lines catering to your recipient will make a world of difference.

Stop Gifting Only on ABCs

Gifting at the time of the year and only on ABCs (anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas) decreases your ability to form that emotional attachment you’re looking for. Your gift is simply just another item piling on top of the dozen others pouring in.

Instead, opt for giving gifts throughout the year. When you gift something at an unexpected time, the recipients form a stronger emotional response. We call it “planned randomness.” Gifting year-round adds an emotional supercharge to the ones with whom you want to strengthen your relationship.

They say timing is everything. And it’s never been more true than in the gift-giving world.

AVOID(!) Company Logos And Branded Items

A Yeti mug with your company logo is cool and all until you realize how commercial it seems. I get why you do it. But don’t approach gift marketing the way you approach advertising. Would you gift something similar at a wedding? Why give logo-stamped items to a new client or a referral partner, then?

In my experience, if you want someone to think of you, you make it about them, not about you. Give something that is practical and accompany it with kind words, and they will appreciate the thoughtfulness behind your gift for days (and years) to come. This is how you make gifting a watershed moment in a professional relationship.


The Gift Marketing Strategy That Your Organization Needs

If you stopped marketing and advertising tomorrow, how long will it be before you go out of business? Would your word of mouth be strong enough to carry you indefinitely? Think about all the money and energy you’ve previously spent on marketing. Would it continue to pay dividends?

If you build your business by investing 5-15% of your net income on strategic gifting, the way we, at GIFT۰OLOGY, recommend, the answer to that question is yes. The right gift is the ultimate advertisement. It’s when people use it, share it, and talk about it. It’s when your gift produces multiple impressions through its practicality and involvement of the inner circle that you leave a mark in your recipient’s heart.

Our team is here to take care of that on your behalf. Over the years, we not only have the most popular gift marketing book on Amazon, but have also built several courses to teach people the method of strategic gifting. We know just how to concoct the perfect gift for every categorical stakeholder in your business.

At GIFT۰OLOGY, we ensure that our gifts tick all the attributes of holistic gifting, including but not limited to ensuring practicality, continuity, and best-in-class, involving the inner circle, and including personalized notes. Feel free to connect with us, and we’ll help you formulate the gifting strategy that’ll take your business to the next level.

Freddy Dickerson

is GIFTOLOGY’s Social Media Coordinator and media specialist. He has traveled to 40 states, multiple countries, and prefers romantic comedies over action films. He is a firm believer that people remember how you made them feel, not what you said. Follow his Instagram as he capture’s other entrepreneurs pursuing their big dreams.