Give them something to remember!

Employee communications tools

Gadgets & giveaways

PurposeTypical audienceProsConsCan you do it yourself?Thinking points
What could be more memorable than a physical gift?All DSM colleagues, but usually for smaller groupsEveryone likes a gift and if you choose the right one, your message will be front-and-centerThey take time to develop and can be expensive No – you will need a vendorTry and be original and creative in what you choose – and make sure your gift is as sustainable as possible

What is this tool?

Who doesn't like getting free stuff? People especially like things they can touch, feel and even take home to show to their family and friends. Receiving something physical and tangible can sometimes provide that final nudge to ensure your message gets remembered. Giveaways can be as large or small as you like: from stickers and stress-balls, to lanyards, umbrellas, to high-tech ‘hydration reminders’ and Covid-friendly door-opening devices. The more original the better!

What and when is it typically used?

Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.


  1. People like getting free gifts!
  2. Physical giveaways can make your message more memorable.
  3. They can add a fun (surprise) element, especially if original.


  1. Giveaways take time to develop.
  2. Being original is key (how many pens does one person need?).
  3. You’ll need an external vendor: which costs money.
  4. How sustainable is your giveaway? People might not appreciate a plastic stress ball!

How to use this tool

  • Identify the best giveaways for your project or program: What is most relevant? What adds value?
  • Ensure you have enough budget for your chosen products.
  • Check cultural feelings about suggested products – especially as sustainability is so important to DSM.
  • Find a preferred supplier or check out the DSM Webshop – which features a range of what we call ‘dual-purpose’ products.
  • Agree on a delivery format and produce your giveaways.
    • You can oversee this yourself and then just deliver direct to your chosen recipients (so you cover the cost of design, production and shipment).
    • Or you can arrange for your recipients to order the gifts themselves direct from your chosen vendor (so you cover only the creative design cost).

Things to keep in mind

  • Beware of culture differences. Certain gifts can have a different meaning in certain countries.
  • In line with DSM’s commitment to sustainability, always go with the most planet-friendly solution (if there isn’t one available, maybe you need to rethink?).
  • There might be taxation/benefit issues to consider in some countries, especially for higher value giveaways. Check which rules apply in the relevant countries.

KPIs for this tool

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • Check with recipients how they appreciated the gift.
  • Coffee-machine chatter; do you hear them talk about the gift they received?

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

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