Christmas Corporate Gift Dreads
The Dreaded Christmas Corporate Gift
There. I’ve said it. Christmas is a’ coming. Singing Santas, red & white candy canes and little packets of Grandma worthy shortbread are sporadically appearing in random shelves and windows across the planet. Any moment now you will blink and little elves will have plastered Christmas over every surface, window and city building with an available surface. And with these little omens of Christmas come the dreaded planning of a Corporate Christmas Gift.
Should you send corporate gifts?
To keep it simple, if you are a business that is happy to receive a seasonal gift, and your clients would appreciate a gift, then sending one is a great way to promote brand awareness and generate a sense of loyalty and community amongst your clients. Most people love a little freebie. But there are things to consider.
In Australia today there are a plethora of religious and political beliefs. I’ve heard many people raise the issue of sensitivity in making the choice to issue a gift or not. I personally believe that the act of giving a corporate gift during this time carries a meaning that most people understand and appreciate. It is a way of letting your clients know that you appreciate their loyalty and business and that you hope to continue to work with them.
Always be sensitive to others beliefs, and offer the gift with respect. Most people will appreciate the sentiment behind the gesture. Also, be aware of your own business’ ideals. Not all businesses celebrate the season. Should this be the case with your own business, this should be the deciding factor.
Government employees are unable to accept gifts of any kind. To avoid putting your client through the awkwardness of having to return the gift, I would opt instead not to include them in your list and send them a card or personally give them a call.
Which clients should be included in your gift register?
When dealing with a company, you often have many points of contact. Sending a gift to all contacts can be expensive and impractical. Whilst it would be nice to include everyone, it is not always necessary or appropriate.
Consider the following:
- How much regular contact do you have with the individual?
- Is there a defined management structure?
- Who are the key decision makers?
- Who would you like to maintain or better your business relationship with?
Considering these factors will help you keep ‘Santa’s list’ to a manageable length – both practically and economically. Also, keep in mind, sometimes a better gift that costs a little more has a more positive impact when sent to the right people than a cheaper gift to everyone.
When should you start planning the Corporate Gift?
As early as you can!
October is the ideal time to plan, choose and order the company corporate gift. Some gifts can take 4 plus weeks to deliver depending on the volume and origination of the item. For example, when ordering items offshore, you can get caught out with international freight, general production time and local holidays. Purchasing local produce gifts can leave you missing deadlines and requiring a ‘plan b’ gift, leaving you disappointed.
You should aim to have your gifts available to hand out by mid November. And always have your gifts in your receiver’s hands by mid December.
Many companies will close up for business from mid December and some contacts will take leave to fulfill seasonal family obligations abroad. Having your gift safely with you early means you can send them the gift before closing/leaving. Also, very importantly, every other company in the country is trying to get items delivered during this time. Courier delays can mean the difference between the gift getting there in time and being left on a desk till January. Gifts received in January can be irrelevant and lose their impact.
How much should you spend on a Corporate Gift?
Be aware of your own budget. You know how much you can afford to spend on the corporate gift, try to work within this. Spending more than you can afford on corporate gifts is just bad economics. The gift is ultimately a marketing piece and designed to generate a return. Spending more than you can afford will mean you effectively are giving more than their monetary value to your business.
As I mentioned before, it is better to spend more on a better gift for less contacts than opting for something cheap for all. Once you have your budget set, compile your list and make some wise choices about who to send gifts to. Your available budget should define how much you spend. Everyone will appreciate a well thought out gift, no matter the price.
Don’t try to blow the client away with a ridiculously expensive gift. Overspending can make a client feel awkward and create a negative sense of obligation. Whilst everyone loves a fantastic freebie, this is a business transaction, not a gift to your bestie. You are marketing your brand, so keep it professional.
What kind of gift should you send?
Well now we come to the fun part!
Choosing the right Corporate Gift can be both great fun and seriously distressing. There are so many items in the marketing space, so many things to consider and so many clichés to try and avoid.
Think seriously about the message you would like to convey with your gift. It can be quick and easy to return to the traditional food hamper as a safe gift. Whilst a hamper is absolutely lovely and always appreciated, it does not give you much opportunity to plug your own brand and does not have the longevity of a branded gift. Your Corporate Gift is a real opportunity to keep your brand in the your recipient’s mind and to become a fixture in their daily business life.
Your core business is the ultimate guide to the kind of gift you should consider sending. A company with fitness connections sending out chocolate Santa’s would be a mixed message. Try to stay in line with your already established core message.
By sending a well planned branded gift you have the chance to own a little piece of real estate on your client’s busy desk, kitchen, handbag… etc, etc. Items like a cup they drink their morning coffee out of, the pen they use, the cookie jar in the kitchen through to a nifty little electronic gadget that they use daily can not only generate a positive response on the day, but becomes a useful item they use, keeping your logo in their line of sight throughout the next year.
When choosing the ideal item, consider the following:
- Is my gift relevant to my business, my message and the client?
- Within my client’s lives, how could I keep my logo visible?
- Is there a core interest that my client’s share?
- What kind of items would my client’s keep and not throw away?
- What is my budget?
- How am I going to distribute the gift?
- Would my gift be memorable to the client?
And so take heed boys and girls! Santa Clause is coming. It is time to start planning that gift that will express your thanks, keep you present in your client’s lives and generate more business next year.
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