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Designing the waste out of events and corporate gifting

Guest blog: by Unwrapit


It’s a familiar scene. You arrive at an event and you find the registration table. A friendly face hands you your badge and a lanyard, reminds you to download the event app, and offers you the participant gift that every attendee is receiving

You politely take the item and make your way over to the exhibition area. As you walk, you tuck the gift away, taking a quick glance at the logo and debate if it's something you’re able to use (or not).


We get it, we’ve been there too. In fact, I have a whole drawer full of event items I’ve gathered over the years. If I haven’t used it, I feel too guilty to throw it out. I keep it all, and often my kids find something and claim it for their own.


It’s for this reason that last year, we developed a virtual gifting platform offering non-physical gifts and a fun unwrapping experience that is personalized and can be branded. We identified that much of the conventional corporate gifting, event gifting and employee appreciation efforts are lovely in their sentiment but are being rendered obsolete by three big forces.

  1. The digital-first world that many of us are living in/working in - logistically it’s a nightmare to get ‘stuff’ to people in their place of residence.

  2. The climate crisis - thankfully people are becoming more and more conscious when it comes to their consumer habits and…

  3. ...on that note, changing consumer preferences - individuals expect things to be tailored to them and personalized, ideally with ‘cool factor’ incorporated.


The challenge?

Finding a new way to surprise and delight gift recipients that involves minimal logistics can be scaled and works in virtual, hybrid or in-person models. Through the platform, the gifts offered are almost entirely digital, experiential, charitable and practical. Therefore they don’t require shipping logistics and won’t end up in landfill.


For us, the environmental impact was front and centre!


But we knew that offering a more sustainable solution wasn’t going to be enough for many. It had to create a ‘moment’ for recipients. In turn, strengthening brand objectives for the event organizer as well as creating engaged partners and sponsors. We’ve achieved that by offering significant customization options. And in the end, the gift recipient is presented with a choice of gifts that they can use, enjoy, experience or pay forward, without the waste.


We wanted to design the waste out from the start. We’ve learned that this is an often misunderstood element of the circular economy. For years, events have lived within the linear economy. Event gifting has certainly fit that model - take, make, waste.


This last year has forced significant change within the industry and we’ve been heartened to see how many companies have taken the opportunity to embrace change. For marketers, brand recognition is top of mind and they’re looking for an alternative, more sustainable, solutions that can achieve that.


We would argue that better event gifting is ‘low hanging fruit’, an easy way to significantly reduce environmental impact while maintaining, and better yet, improving attendee engagement and connections. Either way, we encourage you to turn the traditional approach to event gifting on its head. Often, event organizers primarily focus on the gifts and neglect the giving experience. Should we do a branded water bottle? Or a recharging device? What type of item will most resonate with our audience?


Instead, think first about the recipient and their experience as they receive it. What will they see and feel? Create an association between that experience, the event and your event partners and a ‘meaningful connection’ emerges.


For more information about Unwrapit or to book a demo visit www.unwrapit.com.


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