Sunday, January 4, 2015

Gender Differences in Gift Giving

In a recent advertising pitch from a publication, I was advised to advertise my business in a publication aimed at secretaries. This reminded me that many of our corporate gifting clients are in fact women, even if they have a final decision maker who is male. This made me delve a bit more into the gender psychology of gift giving. It is not that men do understanding the importance of gift giving. In fact the saying “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”, stems from a final Greek vs. Trojan strategic move after a ten year battle, in which the cunning Odysseus, a Greek military strategist came up with the idea of a Trojan Horse created a very strategic gift. When the "Trojan Horse" was left at the gates of Troy, the Trojans thought the Greeks had left it as a pious parting gift because they had given up and sailed home. The Trojans welcomed the gift and took it within their walls; little knowing the belly of the beast was filled with armed soldiers who would soon end this battle. Some researchers believe evolutionary forces may have favoured gift giving. Men who were the most generous may have had the most reproductive success with women. Men do make excellent gift givers if motivated to be involved in the process. I can remember as a girl that my father always chose perfect gifts for me that showed his knowledge of me as a person and these gifts were always well received. However, generally women have a higher involvement in the process of selection, particularly where there are many people to give gifts to. Gender differences in gift giving seem to emerge early in life. Researchers at Loyola University Chicago studied 3 and 4-year-olds at a day-care centre, all of whom had attended the same birthday party. The girls often went shopping with their mothers and helped select the gifts and wrap it. Boys, meanwhile, were often unaware of what the gift was. “They’d say, ‘I took a nap while my mom went shopping for it,’” said Mary Ann McGrath, the associate dean of the graduate school of business at Loyola. Margaret Rucker, a consumer psychologist at the University of California, Davis, says men are typically more price-conscious and practical when it comes to the gifts they give and get, while women tend to be more concerned about giving and receiving gifts with emotional significance. Many corporates make use of the benefits of gift giving. Corporate gifts make a more personalised form of marketing and corporate gifts definitely help to strengthen bonds and in some cases gift giving can ease tension between enemies. At the beginning of the year when the motivation to go back to work, corporate gifts can certainly help improve morale and get staff’s excitement levels to be back to work a boost. So where does the gender difference come into making corporate gifting decisions? Women’s natural skill at gift selection can assist in choosing something that is special and theme appropriate. They are also able to select items for a varied group of people. Before we stereo type everyone, I have to point out that I have known women who are clueless at gift giving. I have family members where I have wondered, what on earth were they thinking when they give out gifts. But if it be foolish to not recognise that genders have a trend of natural abilities and the best leaders acknowledge that, while being mindful of individual skills. So harness the strategic, budget setting and emotional intelligence of your team to make the best corporate gifting selection. Should you require any additional information about corporate gifts, please contact us on: or call us on 082 948 7461