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At Idea Incentives, we are currently observing a trend in the realm of Corporate Gifts Canada, with a pivot towards inukshuks and subtle branding. This evolution mirrors a graceful dance between cultural depth and the whisper of luxury, capturing hearts with its understated elegance.  Amidst evolving workplace dynamics and a growing focus on personalization, two trends distinctly stand out: the resurgence of the inukshuk as a premier choice for corporate gifts and a movement towards subtle branding, reminiscent of the understated elegance of luxury brands like Loro Piana.

two inukshuk platters
Fused glass Inukshuk plates

With our mission centered around the “Joy of Appreciation,” we excel in commemorating the essence of acknowledgment through carefully curated gift programs that mirror the refined preferences of our partners. Transitioning from the inception of a concept to the grand unveiling, our dedicated team is committed to customer service and the precise coordination of every element. Our array of refined gift selections and top-tier brands allows us to expertly handle the intricacies of branding, timing, and delivering to your desired location with finesse.

The Resurgence of the Inukshuk

The inukshuk, deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic, particularly the Inuit, is experiencing a significant revival in the realm of corporate gifts. This symbol of guidance, navigation, and communication is not merely a decorative item; it represents the fundamental values that are highly esteemed in the business world—leadership, direction, and connectivity.

Their adoption in corporate gifting mirrors a deeper appreciation for gifts that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also embody profound meanings and facilitate stronger connections within the business community.

The global recognition of the inukshuk, particularly during the 2010 Whistler Winter Olympic Games, highlighted its value as a symbol of friendship and cooperation. Today, its resurgence in popularity reflects a renewed interest in integrating elements of Canadian heritage and storytelling into corporate gifting strategies, making it one of the most sought-after items for companies looking to make a memorable impact on their partners.

Silent communicators of the Arctic

One third of Canada’s landmass is in the Arctic, an expansive region that is forever being shaped and adapting to the natural forces into endless tundra, mountains and islands. Temperatures in the Arctic can be +30°C to -60°C. These intense temperature deviations create an environment that ultimately forces all living things to adapt, migrate or succumb to their surroundings. For over 4,000 years Inuit and before them their ancestors the Tunniit people have adapted and made their home in this land, which is known today as Nunavut.

Traditional Inuit society was nomadic, oral based and used only what the land and sea provided. In Inuktitut one of the languages of the Inuit, the word Inuksuk also known as Inukshuk (singular of Inuksuit) means “likeness of a person”. Inuksuk and Inuksuit have been used over thousands of years as a method of communication to others.

Inuksuit vary in size, shape, location and communication function. Built from whatever natural stone was available, each one is as different as a fingerprint. Placement and arrangement was as carefully thought out as construction. Some were placed to be visible from a vast distance, others to be seen against a snowy backdrop, some frame a distant point. Reaching out across the landscape they guide hunters travelling on land, sea or ice, they indicate a dangerous place, such as deep or snow or strong currents or the quickest route to the next settlement. Sometimes a group of Inuksuit are used to indicate a place to drive herds of game to where they could be killed in numbers.

Not all Inuksuit are built for practical purposes, some have spiritual meaning. They may mark the edge of a traditional spiritual landscape, or a source of good fortune, an antidote or a refuge and so are honored, touched and presented with offerings and gifts.

Nowadays although most Inuit live in settlements for at least part of the year, their powerful attachment and respect for the land remains as well as their admiration for their ancestors and the traditional way of life. Inuksuit continue to be built and have become much more than a stone marker. They have become a symbol of the North and of leadership, friendship, communication and the human spirit.

A group of Inukshuks
Inukshuk figurines and plate

Subtle Branding: The Loro Piana Influence

Alongside the cultural renaissance of the inukshuk, there’s a growing trend towards more subtle and refined branding within corporate gifts. This shift is heavily inspired by the ‘quiet luxury’ for which brands like Loro Piana is renowned. Known for its superior quality materials and meticulous craftsmanship, Loro Piana represents an elegance that is powerful yet understated, often employing tone-on-tone logos that maintain brand presence without overshadowing the product’s innate quality.

This trend has been further popularized by the visibility of such brands in influential media, notably in television shows like “Succession,” where the characters’ choices in apparel subtly reflect their wealth and taste without overt displays of logos. In the corporate world, this translates to a preference for gifts that signify sophistication through quality and design rather than through conspicuous branding.

Companies are increasingly choosing corporate gifts that resonate with the ethos of understated luxury, selecting items like gourmet ethically sourced  chocolate-filled gift box or high-end promotional products that feature discreet logos. These choices not only reflect a refined aesthetic but also a respect for the recipient’s discernment and taste.

Inukshuk figurines and award

The Art of the Corporate Gift

The evolution of the appreciation gift in Canada has transformed it from a transactional exchange to a nuanced art form. Today, the choice of a recognition gift is a reflection of the giver’s brand identity and the nature of their relationship with the recipient—whether they are clients, employees, or other stakeholders. It’s about conveying respect, gratitude, and partnership through carefully selected items.

The reemergence of the inukshuk as a preferred recognition gift underscores a shift towards items that not only serve as simple thank-you’s but also as carriers of a deeper narrative and shared values. Similarly, the choice of a corporate gift basket or gift boxes filled with gourmet items for an Employee Appreciation Day, client gift or a luxurious appreciation gift sent to celebrate a milestone, speaks volumes about the company’s culture and its approach to building and maintaining relationships.

Themes of sustainability and ethical sourcing are increasingly at the forefront of appreciation gifting practices. This emphasis on responsible sourcing and sustainability is appealing to a broader range of clients who value environmental stewardship as part of their business practices.

Recycled glass Inukshuk


As we navigate through the trends in appreciation gifting in Canada, it is evident that there is a significant shift towards gifts that are meaningful, refined, and imbued with a sense of cultural depth. The resurgence of the inukshuk in recognition gifts, alongside the trend towards subtle branding, highlights a broader cultural shift towards authenticity and personalized engagement in corporate relationships.

This transformation in recognition gifting practices not only enhances the value of the gifts themselves but also strengthens the essential connections that are crucial to successful business ventures. As the appreciation gift continues to evolve, it becomes a powerful tool for companies to express their values, celebrate their heritage, and forge lasting relationships with clients and employees alike, all while adhering to a higher standard of quality and thoughtfulness.

The modern corporate gift landscape is also characterized by a growing emphasis on creating a personalized experience for the recipient. This trend is reflected in the meticulous selection of recognition gift boxes that are tailored to align with the interests and tastes of the recipient, further enhancing the meaningfulness of the gift. By incorporating elements like the inukshuk, which is not only a symbol of guidance but also of resilience and steadfastness, businesses are able to communicate a deep sense of appreciation and alignment with core values that resonate with both the giver and the receiver.

Moreover, the revival of the inukshuk as a corporate gift packaged in a beautiful gift boxes does more than reconnect with a traditional symbol; it also serves as an acknowledgment of Canada’s rich Indigenous heritage. This reconnection fosters a greater understanding and respect for cultural diversity, enhancing corporate social responsibility initiatives and enriching corporate culture. Companies that choose such culturally significant items are seen not only as thoughtful but also as advocates for a more inclusive and respectful business environment.

Glass and pewter Inukshuk figurines

The incorporation of subtler branding techniques, influenced by high-end brands like Loro Piana, extends beyond aesthetics. It suggests a shift towards a more sophisticated approach to corporate identity, where the focus is on quality and lasting value rather than transient promotional impact. This approach is particularly effective in reaching high-level executives and valuable clients who prefer exclusivity and discretion in their professional and personal items.

Additionally, the focus on sustainable and ethical practices in the creation and selection of appreciation gifts,  a gift basket or packaged gift boxes is becoming a crucial factor. Consumers and businesses alike are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impacts of their purchasing decisions. Appreciation gifts chosen with sustainability in mind reflect a company’s commitment to ethical practices and can significantly enhance its reputation. Items like eco-friendly gift boxes,  gourmet gift baskets, a wine gift basket,  Christmas gift baskets or boxes or chocolate gift box or chocolate gift baskets sourced from fair-trade suppliers not only make a statement about the company’s values but also contribute to a broader movement towards sustainability making it the perfect gift.

BC Jade Inukshuk

In summary, the trends in corporate gift ideas in Canada highlight a sophisticated integration of cultural appreciation, ethical considerations, and refined branding. These trends are reshaping how companies approach gifting, making it a strategic component of their external and internal relationship management. As businesses continue to navigate these trends, the focus remains on delivering gifts that are not only memorable and beautiful but also reflective of a deep commitment to quality, sustainability, and cultural respect. This shift is not merely about maintaining standards but elevating them, ensuring that every gift is as impactful in its message as it is in its presentation.


Author Lee

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