Holiday Gifting Primer

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Holiday Gifting Primer

Lurking just behind the Halloween clearance aisle in your local department store is the winter holiday display. The airwaves are saturated with commercials for small electronics and toys. It is November - the gift-giving season has arrived.

In an economy that is still coming back from the brink, this season is liable to foster more nightmares than the spookiest haunted house. The bogey man can easily be banished, however, by reviewing some simple tips.

Company to Company gifting

The holidays are the perfect time to say ‘thank you’ to your top clients. Being a standout, especially in this economy, is important. Even on a budget, these strategies can help you make a difference!

Be original.
Especially if you have a stable of regular clients, don’t send the same gift every year. This year, set your company apart from the crowd with something new!

Make it personal, send a card.
Don’t make the mistake of getting lost among all the other gifts your clients are receiving this season. Instead of just the usual “Happy Holidays” imprint, add a note of appreciation and sign the card yourself. Cards are cost effective, have a fast turn around time, and with a personal note, can accomplish your gift giving agenda without breaking your bank. One company I work with sends a Thanksgiving card each year; the unusual timing gives them an extra boost in messaging.

Give a gift to the entire office.
Gifting to a client’s office can increase goodwill, especially when the office is small. Be cautious when gifting to larger corporations, however. Be sure that the recipients know and work with each other and that your gift is delivered to a neutral location.

Presentation is half the grade, don’t skimp on wrapping!
A nice bag or box, a bit of tissue and a ribbon are touches that show you care. Or, choose a gift that comes packaged in a basket, gift box or velour bag.

Select a gift that reflects your business and your company image.
Be conscious of the look and feel of the gift: is it well-made, the color appropriate, and the logo visible but understated and tasteful? Select a supplier that knows, or is willing to get to know, your company. An established relationship with your supplier means that they understand your company and can suggest gifts that are appropriate for your needs, taking the guess-work out of the equation. They may even be able to help expedite processing or delivery.


Company to Employee gifting

Rewarding your staff for a year of hard work is important, fostering employee loyalty and increased productivity. In an economy only beginning to beat back the dark, a little ‘thank you’ can go a long way. However, it’s easy to misstep – here are some strategies to keep in mind as you put together your year-end employee gifting program.

Avoid cash, gift certificates or gift cards.
The IRS considers a cash gift of any kind, including gift cards or certificates which it sees as a cash-equivalent, compensation. All employee compensation is taxable.

Make it personal.
Regardless of the gift to which it is attached, a note of appreciation and thanks makes a lasting impression.

Make it practical.
Give something your employees can use on the job: a padfolio or briefcase for a polished look at meetings or sales calls, a pen set, business card holder, or a desk or wall clock to jazz up their personal office space. One of my clients recently gave employees company jackets. Another company I work with took the practical theme to the next level, giving their staff collapsible chairs perfect for use during parade or tailgate season.

Ken Maltby
Sky High Marketing, Marketing Consultant