As influencer marketing has grown considerably over the years, the role of gifting has changed with it. Over the years, gifting has become saturated, with every brand following suit and making it a core part of their influencer campaigns.

At the same time, the industry has changed. Influencers are demanding better pay and seeking to create a fairer system. Whereas in the past a nano influencer (<10K followers) would have happily given a brand exposure through receiving a creative mailer, today they expect to be paid to do the same. 

Alongside these industry changes, there has also been a greater cultural shift around sustainability and climate change. Influencers have been quick to call out instances where they are overwhelmed with products they did not ask for or are frustrated at the amount of packaging and waste that arises from gifting. As brands adapt to incorporate greener policies, agencies also need to ensure they are doing the same through the execution of their campaigns.

Thankfully the changes that make gifting campaigns more sustainable also make them more successful. Below are three key considerations when putting together a gifting campaign.

Are these products wanted?

Influencers receive hundreds of PR gifts a year, which is why it’s important to ensure whether or not influencers are open to receiving gifts in the first place. It’s equally as important to ensure that they will make use of the products being sent to them. Targeted and bespoke gifting allows brands to cultivate relationships with influencers and BDB found this approach has a higher level of coverage than mass gifting.

Are these materials sustainable?

Once established that the influencer is happy to receive the products – the gifting experience as a whole can be brought together. This is where, as an industry, we need to do better. There is a myriad of sustainable options available to use in terms of packaging – from vegware to using rosebuds to seeded paper. The ways in which we can package and protect the products being sent are continuously evolving for the better. 

As part of Primark Germany’s Christmas campaign, Billion Dollar Boy was tasked with creating a fully sustainable gifting experience. Once we’d established the design and contents, we set about determining the best materials to use. We established early on that any foodstuffs would be vegan and procured these from independent and artisanal suppliers. From there we looked into the packaging and sourced fully recyclable tissue paper, tags and stickers. 

We knew that all the elements and products needed to be housed in a box, but in the interest of sustainability and authenticity, we looked into jute sacks. Jute because it is a completely biodegradable material and sacks because these are a key part of Germany’s Christmas tradition.. We personalised the sacks so that each influencer received one with their name on it. Personalisation is always a nice touch. In this case, we used personalisation to ensure the jute bag would be something that the influencers receiving the gifting kept for years to come and repurposed.  

How can we push sustainable gifting even further?

There are several reasons why our Christmas gifting campaign for Primark Germany was successful (with 84% of recipients posting about it, and with a total of 244 pieces of content).

The contents played a part, as did the aesthetics but there is no doubt that the personalisation and commitment to sustainability played a significant role.
Providing gifts that can be used over and over again, or products that will be kept beyond the “unboxing” moment needs to be a priority if we are to move towards a more sustainable model. However, it also serves as an often overlooked brand touchpoint. 

Another example of where we are doing this is with Clarks Shoes, for their Back to School campaign. We gifted fully bespoke packages for the children of influencers and ensured that the contents align with the child’s interests. This serves two functions: it ensures that nothing will be thrown away or go unused.

Secondly, it makes for a more personalised experience. This further establishes a positive relationship between the brand and the influencers. Rather than gifting this in a branded box, we have used no external packaging, instead choosing to use the backpack as the method of packaging. 

Gifting is a great way to engage influencers and bring your product to life through a narrative and experiential approach. It can help foster relationships and offers a more genuine interaction with the brand. As our industry continues to grow and adapt to the current challenges facing us, making gifting more sustainable and considered can only benefit all parties involved.

Need help with your influencer gifting strategy? Get in touch with a memeber of the BDB team today. 

Article written by Kinda Savarino, designer at Billion Dollar Boy. 

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