This is the time of year when companies and business people express their appreciation to colleagues, associates and clients by sending gifts of all sizes and shapes, from teddy bears to boxes of chocolates to commemorative gifts with personalized engraving.
Just about everyone appreciates it when you take the time and effort to send a gift. And, of course, it is the thought that counts. But when it comes to corporate gift giving, you should consider a few additional factors when deciding what to give and to whom. You’ll want to take into account the nature of your company, the importance of gift-giving within your industry, the history of your relationships and, perhaps this year more than most, your budget.
In fact, the first step to take is to create a budget for yourself regarding how much you want to spend on gifts, and then stick to it. Each gift should appropriately reflect your relationship to its recipient. An extravagant gift might be seen as a bribe and this could damage your future relationship with that individual or company. On the other hand, you never want to send a gift that appears cheap. So create a budget and then choose different gifts that are suitable to your various relationships.
Two words: appropriate and personal
Let’s look at some other points to keep in mind as you consider gift-giving. When you’re thinking about sending a gift to a new contact, it’s important to first make sure that their company or organization allows them to receive gifts from people they do business with. Some companies and many organizations have strict policies forbidding their employees to receive gifts.
In general, it’s best to choose gifts that don’t have strong religious motifs. People come from different religious traditions and you wouldn’t want to send a gift that would make anyone feel uncomfortable. The same principle applies to the imagery and wording of your greeting cards.
And when it comes to greeting cards, try to add a few handwritten words to each one. This means a lot because it shows your recipients that you didn’t just have your secretary address a stack of envelopes. Instead, you took the time to write to them personally.
When sending a gift to an especially important client, try to find something that relates to one of their hobbies or interests. They will greatly appreciate the fact that you took the time to discover what they enjoy and then found a gift that applies to them personally.
Sending gift items with your logo on them is a good advertising tool, but it will lead people to assume that you’re sending the gifts in bulk to a large list of people. This may be fine for some of your recipients but it will lessen any unique message you’re hoping to send.
Above all, try to add some small personal touch to your gift that acknowledges the person who is receiving it. After all, most of us already have plenty of stuff — we really don’t need any more. What we do want at this time of year is to re-affirm our connections to one another — so remember to give a bit of yourself.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”. Winston Churchill
© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.