Branding Featured Marketing

Why Companies Should Spread Holiday Joy with Gift Card Giveaways

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National companies give out thousands of dollars worth of gift cards to small local retailers during their holiday season brand activation events not only because it’s a positive, joyful contribution to the community, but also because it powerfully activates their brands. These gift-card giveaways are such an easy and effective way to connect with target customers that more companies should consider doing them. 

Benefits of Gift-card Giveaways

Imagine you need to run an errand at a local store. As you walk in, you come across a booth from a large national corporation giving gift cards to that same small establishment. This means that whatever you went to that location to purchase just got cheaper, thanks to the generosity of the benevolent corporation!

Consumers love this kind of swag, and giving away a gift card is the perfect way to attract consumers to your brand activation booth and strike up a conversation. When a company extends gifts like this, it breaks down a barrier and people understand that your company cares about them, which goes a long way in building that coveted relationship with your target customers.

Sometimes, brands also utilize this strategy as a lead generation or sales tool. The brand ambassador says to the consumer, “We are going to give you this amazing gift card, but would you mind taking a survey?” or “Would you be open to hearing more about our company?” 

When the customer agrees, your company captures data in return, such as contact information.

Why a Gift Card?

For many people, getting a gift card — even for only a minor amount like three to five dollars — is even better than free merchandise with the company’s logo, like hats, t-shirts, and sunglasses, which can cost the company even more. That’s because the consumer gets to decide how to use the money for themselves. In this way, everyone who receives a gift card derives the maximum amount of happiness from it. The amount of positive feelings consumers develop for the sponsoring brand is maximized, as well. 

Moreover, whenever customers come across their subsequent purchase in their daily lives, they will remember what company helped them make it, and may even remember the major corporation’s gift card every time they walk into that local retailer. In this way, gift-card-giveaway campaigns go a long way to burnish a brand’s reputation and establish its good character in consumers’ eyes, which opens the door to sales and customer loyalty.

The Benefits of Gift-card Giveaways for the Community

Gift card giveaways are also a great way to demonstrate corporate social responsibility. When a major corporation purchases a massive number of gift cards from a small local business, it buoys their bottom lines. This aids those small businesses and injects funds directly into local economies, contributing to job retention and the community’s financial stability.

These gift cards also serve as a welcome infusion of cash, especially for people who might be struggling during the holiday season. After all, the season of giving can be expensive, and gift cards offer an inclusive way to spread joy, but a parent may now be able to afford a more expensive gift for their child or perhaps an additional stocking stuffer. Some of my brand activation events take place in underserved communities, where giving someone a $10 or $20 gift card can help them put food on the table. Programs like these can help retailers solve food insecurity plaguing communities nationwide.

In addition, if your company gives away gift cards that can be used at more than one restaurant or other establishment, recipients can choose what they need or desire most. This approach caters to diverse tastes and needs within the community.

Gift card giveaways can also create a ripple effect of support within communities. Having received a gift card from a local business, residents feel encouraged to support small businesses in their neighborhood, which fosters a sense of community unity as well as economic growth.

Finally, large-scale gift card purchases serve as a visible display of generosity and goodwill that not only demonstrates your brand’s good character, but also inspires others to engage in similar acts of kindness. As these positive influences spread throughout the community, a culture of giving and support develops.

How to Create a Gift-card Giveaway Campaign

For any small business looking to deploy this strategy, the first step is to understand your target audience. If you haven’t already created an Ideal Customer Avatar, now’s the time. Try to keep your criteria as realistic and accurate as possible — who does your product or service truly help most? Your Ideal Customer Avatar should be a reflection of your actual customers, not a fantasy of who you might prefer your customers to be.

Next, look for retailers or major corporations that appeal to the same people you want to reach since those partnerships will likely be the most fruitful for both businesses, and then reach out to the companies and explain your idea for a gift-card giveaway. Alternatively, you can recruit experts with pre-existing partnerships and experience holding these brand activation events who can help execute a campaign built specifically around your needs and budget.

Gift Card Giveaways Make Everyone Happy

Some companies implement these programs every year because it’s such a positive experience for everyone involved. Giving feels amazing and contributes substantially to the happiness of the employees involved in the gift card giveaway, as well as the recipients.

Ultimately, the purpose of gift card giveaways is to give back to the community. Now that the holidays are upon us, It’s the perfect time of year to give back and say thank you!

About the author


Ray Sheehan

Ray Sheehan has a background in strategic planning, marketing, event management, and advertising and has helped the company expand from one city to over twenty states. In 2020, he launched the G.I.F.T Program as part of Old City Media. Ray is recognized as a leader and an innovative thinker in the special events industry.