POST WRITTEN BY Rebecca Kowalewicz
Buying holiday gifts for your clients can be a daunting task. From finding gifts that are cost-effective to items that take little thought and are easy to order (fruit baskets, anyone?), when it comes to holiday gift-giving, the idea isn’t to send out what everyone else does but something that speaks to and about your brand and business.
Holiday gift-giving is about more than just presents. A study conducted in Switzerland showed that gift-giving between two companies with a preexisting relationship led to orders that were almost twice as high as the average order, especially when the gifts were given to the boss or head of the company.
Before you start scouring the internet and magazines for gifts, determine a budget. At Clearbridge Branding Agency, we set aside a portion of our marketing budget each year for client gifts. Because we are an agency, that budget fluctuates with the influx of new clients, but we also adjust the cost of the items to ensure we try to stay as close to budget as possible.
Regardless of what vertical your business is in, a unique holiday gift that’s aligned with your brand will probably be appreciated much longer than that basket of apples and oranges you send every year. And with the option available to customize just about everything, it’s likely you can have your brand logo added, no matter what gift you buy.
With so many different types of companies within the service industry, vertical gifting can get very creative. For example, those in the HVAC field can customize a desktop heater or send USB cooling fans that can be plugged into computers or phones. If you are in the solar business, portable solar charging panels are not only amusing but extremely on-brand. Those in the electrical field can send lanterns, light-up pens, high-intensity LED flashlights or even a fun phone lamp to light up the night.
Moving on to the mouth-watering, those in the food industry can create edible delights like custom chocolates and cupcakes. But regional food, especially if you are shipping the gifts across the country, make a delightful and delicious gift option. Customized oven mitts, plates and even barware are both useful and unique.
Those in real estate tend to give chip clips, calendars and magnetic cooking measurement guides. But step up your gift-giving game with items like a decorative brass fire extinguisher, cutting boards with your logo or a customized labeled candle.
Those in the education field can etch their logo into an apple-shaped crystal paperweight, embroidered logo backpacks or sling bags or get creative and send custom-made adult coloring books (crayons, too).
If your vertical involves being outdoors, plants or flowers and desk terrariums are not only fun but also decorative and make great gifts. If you’re looking for something more unique, custom Chia Pets with your company logo will show your recipients that you’re really “growing.”
Marketing and advertising firms have quite a breadth of options when it comes to sending gifts to clients. Customized socks are all the rage and are fun to receive and wear. Logo-branded lunch totes are also useful and a great way to remind people of your brand at their favorite time of the day.
If number-crunching is your business, calculators personalized with your logo are always handy and make great gifts. A piggy bank with your logo is charming. Take it one step further and include a handwritten letter with ideas to raise money at the office, like a $5 donation to wear blue jeans on Mondays, and at the end of the year, donate the money to a charity.
And if making people look, feel or see better is your vertical, placing a logo and gifting items like eyeglass holders, hand-shaped massagers, compact pocket mirrors or a travel first aid kit are both on-brand and practical.
In addition to finding items that are in alignment with your brand, it’s also important to ensure that the gifts you are sending are appropriate and not in poor taste or possibly offensive. When customizing your logo, be sure to check with your company’s marketing team or style guide to ensure that it reflects the exact image required. It’s also smart to find out whether the company you are sending the gift to can accept it. Some companies have a no-gift acceptance policy or, like governmental agencies, are not permitted to receive gifts by law.
Because many of these gifts will be customized, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to place the order, approve the proof and allow for shipping. Start your search in early November if you plan on giving the gifts by mid-December. While it’s a little less personal, you can save time by having the items shipped to each individual recipient, if the company you are ordering from allows that option.
And if you’re in a specific vertical but can’t find anything that seems to be in alignment with what you do, try tying a gift in with your name. At Clearbridge Branding Agency, we’ve given out small logo-engraved crystal bridges to our clients, which doesn’t necessarily show them what we do but reminds our clients of our agency name, and they look really nice on display.
Finally, don’t assign just one person to look for gifts. Ask a few team members to get creative and see what they can find. Not only does this reinforce your team, but you might be surprised at what they come up with.