I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
It’s that time of year of again — time for corporate holiday gift planning. Yes, planning — is the optimal word. For too many, the word is panicking, because most people don’t actually plan their corporate gifts.
If you intend to provide memorable corporate gifts to employees, clients, partners, vendors or anyone else, here are a few things you should be thinking about:
Recipients – Make a list of everyone who should get a gift from your company just like the personal list you make for the holidays.
Budget – What do you want to spend? Break it down by category. You may want to allot $150 each for your top 20 customers, while key prospects get something for $15 apiece. Now apply your budget to the list you already made. Writing all of this down will help you understand how far your budget will go — or not go.
Gifts – Here’s the big challenge. Everyone wants to give the ideal gift, but if your list is more than five people you’ve got some challenges. A cash gift is out. Cash might be a bonus but it’s not a memorable holiday gift.
Items with your logo on them? No! This is not the time for overtly advertising your company. By the way, this is the biggest mistake most companies make. “Happy holidays, Bob. We appreciate your hard work. We’d like you to advertise our company everywhere you go as a thank you to you!” Huh?
This can backfire even worse with clients, partners or vendors. Logoed items are fine for other parts of the year, but at the holidays you should say “thank you” in a meaningful way.
Stick to brand name merchandise. But with this comes a whole new set of challenges. How do you choose the ideal gift? If you buy a female client some gold jewelry when she wears silver then your nice idea just made things worse.
Check out digital options. Companies such as Choice-Gifts.com offer online selections of gifts at different budgets. You
can set up an online store for your gift recipients and let them choose what they want. They will enjoy shopping for their own gift.
Tom Stearns is a marketing consultant who helps companies develop and implement innovative marketing strategies.
A sweet and happy holidays
Business gifting is made simple by Godiva. Thank your clients and employees this holiday season with a gift of Belgium chocolates. The holiday keepsake tin is filled with individually wrapped dessert truffles that are perfect for sharing in the office and with family. For more information call Godiva at 866-888-6095 or email email@example.com.
Ideal for home or office
With a solid aluminum case, black crystal base and classic skeleton movement, Omni (style B2066) from the Bulova Tabletop Collection comes complete with an engraving plate to create the perfect gift. For details, contact Adrienne Forrest, Bulova Vice President of Corporate Sales at 800-228-5682 or email CorporateSales@bulova.com.
Thank your staff and business clients with a holiday gift handcrafted in Maine — a classic Boat and Tote Bag from L.L.Bean. Made from practically indestructible 24-ounce cotton canvas and tested to hold up to 400 pounds, the Boat and Tote Bag is a gift they’ll use every day and appreciate for years to come. Available in a range of sizes and selection of colors, in natural canvas or embroidered with your company logo. For more information, call 800-832-1889 or visit www.llbeanbusiness.com.
The gift of helpful
For 89 years, Ace Hardware has been the helpful place with access to more than 65,000 home improvement items. It’s the perfect place for the “do-it-yourselfer” with amazing selection and expert advice. For more information, contact Ashley Hoffman, Ace Consumer Card Specialist, at 800-777-6797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Point and shoot
Ideal for those who want to take their point-and-shoot photography to the next level, the Cybershot® RX100 camera offers excellent quality and SLR-like operation in a sophisticated, pocket-friendly package that goes anywhere. The pricepoint makes it affordable as a holiday gift. For more information visit sony.com/motivation or
All-Wrapped Up combo
Omaha Steaks All-Wrapped Up Combos include fork-tender and delicious filet mignons packaged in the company’s signature gift box. Inside the box, the steaks are stored in a white Omaha Steaks cooler filled with dry ice to ensure all of your special deliveries arrive in perfect condition. Call 800-228-2480 for more information or visit www.OSincentives.com/gifts to see the full line of holiday selections.
One size fits all
This year, recognize your valued employees, loyal customers, VIP clients, friends and family. Customized with your logo, JNR’s Prepaid MasterCard® Reward Card allows you to check everyone off your list with one great gift. For more details, contact Brent Coriaty of JNR Incorporated at 949-476-2788 or email email@example.com.
From paper to digital
Perfectly designed for the modern world, where written word meets technology, the Tech2 ballpoint pen with stylus from Cross combines dual functionality with sharp, contemporary design. Your recipients will be able to transfer their thoughts from pen to paper, and now stylus to touch-screen with this unique addition to the Cross collection of writing instruments. For details, contact A.T. Cross at 401-335-8300 or visit cross.com.
Alpha Bravo Yuma slim brief
From Tumi’s Bravo collection of soft, unstructured and more casual business and travel designs comes this slim, expandable brief. It offers a dedicated laptop compartment, iPad pocket and numerous interior and exterior organizer pockets. Top carry handles and a removable, adjustable shoulder strap. Made from soft-yet-tough ballistic nylon. For more information, contact Mike Landry at 413-567-1567 or visit TumiSpecialMarkets.com.