When you give someone a gift, you don’t write your name on the actual gift. You write your name, a little story and some XOXOs in the card that goes with the gift.
So why then do companies think giving gifts to clients is any different?
That really rad rain-proof jacket, branded with your company logo, will only ever be worn by your employees, at work! Give one of those jackets to a client, and I guarantee it will get moth holes on it before ever being worn in public.
Same goes for really cool notebooks and stationery. Brand the packaging and tell the story of the gift (*cough* HumanWrit.es *cough*) on the wrapping, but leave the gift as just that.
The story of receiving a gift will always be told if that gift is memorable. That is the word of mouth you are looking for by giving out “corporate” gifts.
“Cool notebook you got there with the Telkom logo on it! Where did you get it?”
Said no one, ever.