Chances are, if you are considering giving holiday business gifts to your customers and suppliers this year, then you’ve already started planning it out. If not, you’re quickly running out of time.
Nonetheless, the following can apply anytime that you’re giving business gifts.
If you’re giving gifts to customers, make it a gift. A thoughtful, valuable, gift that has no direct benefit to you. You know what I mean. If it has your brand on it, it’s not a gift. It’s a promotion piece.
If you send a tacky gift with your logo on it, it is very likely to be put in a box or the trash somewhere and be forgotten.
Think about it. How many pieces of material do you have in plain view on your desk that has other people’s brands on them? Unless your brand has reached a level of conspicuous consumption, even your best customers aren’t likely to passively promote it.
If you truly want to leave an impression on your customer, give something selfless.
Here are six fantastic business gift ideas
Business gifts they can enjoy with others.
Could be a gift basket, a bottle of wine, or a decent scotch. Your level of relationship with the customer can dictate the expense. I personally like scotch or other spirits, and one that is unique because it’s not as likely to be gone in one sitting, and every time they want to treat their customer or associate with it, you’ll come to mind.
They are also more likely to talk well of you: “My XYZ gave me this Scotch for Christmas, and it’s fantastic.”
Something they’ll use on a constant basis
Make it a pen, a scotch glass, a desk clock – any number of things, however, put their name on it. It depends on your relationship. For example, if you sell them income protection for doctors, then it should be a relatively expensive gift. If you provide them with office stationery, then pay a lot less for the gift. If your relationship is with the company more than a single person, go with their logo, and put it on something that would go well in a boardroom.
If the relationship is more direct, go with just their name. Again, they’ll be more likely to use or display it if their logo or name is on it, and as long as it’s meaningful and sincere, just because your logo isn’t on it, doesn’t mean they’ll forget who gave it to them. Make it unique, striking, or a conversation starter, and you’ll get the positive press you seek.
Something personalized – that you made
This one isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t have a craft, however gifts with a story have extra meaning. Maybe you make jewelry, some sort of woodcraft, or amazing chocolate chip cookies.
You’ll put a lot more time into it, however, it will carry even more meaning and more of a story. If you’re really good at your craft, make it remarkable. They’ll talk about it.
Of course, if you must put your branding on it, there are tasteful ways to do it.
If there is a distinct symbol in your logo (think the Starbucks Mermaid or the SalesPartners Dots) just put that on it. This in itself can be a conversation starter, and creates an inside “secret” between you and the receiver, and puts them in a select group that is in, “they know.”
Some brands can get away with emblazing a logo too large to even fit on a product, however, this is typically reserved for conspicuous clothing brands. Good taste dictates you keep it noticeable, however inconspicuous.
The star atop a MontBlanc is a good example. If you were going with a personalized set of Scotch glasses, make it on the opposite side of the personalization, and keep it small and near the bottom, if not on the bottom.
Make it Removable
A small embossed sticker of your logo can look classy, keep costs lower, and be a good bridge between putting your logo out there, and giving them something personalized and meaningful for business gifts. It can be applied to pretty much anything, can follow the suggestions above, and gives your customers the choice of keeping it on display or not.
I received a great bottle of wine from a client this year. I liked that there was a sticker because while it’s in the rack it can be on the bottle, and when I go to serve it, I can remove the sticker, or not. We’ll see.
Business gifts in summary
The goal of handing out business gifts should be to express gratitude and strengthen a relationship. If what you’re giving is more about you than them – it’s not a gift, it’s a promotion piece. If you want to be talked about, make your gifts special for them.