All I want for Christmas…

…is another popcorn tin?

Less than 60 days to the culmination of the holiday gift giving season, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.  (Or any combination!)

Most businesses try to acknowledge their best clients over the holidays.  A smart plan.  But it often loses a great deal in the execution.  What do you give your clients?  Popcorn tin?  Fruitcake (eww) or  fruit basket?Images1

I know, how about a paperweight or nut assortment? 

All fine ideas.  (insert yawn here).

Sorry — but could you be any more like everyone else?  Why bother?  Do you have any idea how many of those items stack up at the average business?  What does your gift say about you and your organization?  Here’s what I think those gifts say:

  • We didn’t want to put a lot of thought into this.
  • We wanted to do something easy.
  • All of our clients are getting the same thing, so you’re really not that special after all.
  • We’re generic — nothing special about our gift, nothing special about us.

I know, that’s a little harsh.  But come on…admit it.  When you receive your 4th popcorn tin of the season, are you all giddy inside?  Can you even remember who gave you what?

I have searched the blogosphere to find others having this conversation and guess what.  Most of them say "Be generic. Give the same stuff everyone else does, it’s safe."

Sure is.  And it is completely forgettable too.  Why waste your money?

You have two choices, in my opinion.  If you have a handful of clients, then buy them something that shows you understand what matters to them.  If they love theatre, tickets to a show.  Into their kids — a game night package, complete with popcorn.  Demonstrate that they matter to you by knowing who they are.

If you have a larger number of clients to remember, think about your company’s brand.  What are you all about?  What’s your brand promise?  What gift seems to be fitting with that?  What feels like you?  What gift, when they look at the booty for the season, will stand out and be unmistakably from you and only you?

So…what will you be wrapping up for clients this holiday season?


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12 comments on “All I want for Christmas…

  1. Mike Sansone says:

    Great ideas! I usually try to find books that match up with friends and clients (fri-ents?). So many choices.

    While I’m here, let me share my wishlist … well, I’ll let you decide:-)

  2. I think Panera gift cards are looking like a pretty good plan among my new friends and associates 🙂

  3. As much as “consumables” and gift cards are useful, they’re not memorable, as you put it so well, Drew.

    Since I opened my direct marketing consultancy almost 20 years ago, I give my clients something “postal or mailbox” related. Some years I’ve gone pricey (porcelain Irish teapots in the shape of a Dublin post office), some years not so (a holiday ornament featuring a mailbox.)

    Although my work is about 80% web and 20% direct mail, there’s still something about a simple mailbox that I feel communicates my brand and my corporate persona.

    I haven’t found my mailbox gift just yet, but I have a little time left!

  4. Sean,

    Thanks for dropping in. I hope you’ll stick around.

    Your Christmas gift idea blog should spark lots of original, innovative ideas for savvy business branders!


  5. Mike,

    At MMG we’re all about marketing strategy and branding, so we too look for books that we think illuminate something our clients would value.

    We try to personalize those gifts by pairing the books with some great teas or bottle of wine, since there is nothing better than sipping something as you read during an Iowa winter!


  6. Doug,

    I laughed out loud at your comment. Considering the brain trust that is regularly at Paneras, I had thought the same thing!

    Couple that gift card with a great thought provoking presentation and you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a better gift.


  7. Roberta,

    Your example is exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve identified an aspect of your brand that you can capture and share with your clients.

    I would guess that some of your long term clients not only cherish the past gifts but they wait with anticipation for each year’s new twist on the branded gift.

    I’m curious — do you mail your clients things (cards, other snail mail items) throughout the year to reinforce your holiday brand message?


  8. Drew, if I were smart I’d do just that, send little mailbox trinkets throughout the year. But I’m not that smart.

    On the other hand, my long-term clients DO start to hint around now to find out what mailbox treat will be finding its way to their office. I’ve never repeated a gift, not even once :=)

  9. Sean,

    I hope you’ll keep coming back and engaging in the conversation. Thanks for adding to this one!


  10. Roberta,

    I’m sure it is more an issue of having enough time, not smarts!

    Even if you just did some sort of “dusting out your mailbox” in the summer, that might be enough to keep the intrigue alive!

    I have no doubt your clients love the themed gifts. They are unique, make them feel special and could only be from you. That’s a recipe for a branded holiday gift!


  11. Drew,

    I could not agree more. Once again proving that we are like minded. I love Sansone’s idea of buying books that match with his “fri-ents”. Whatever the idea, let it be Different and Relevent! Thanks for letting me stop by!

  12. Hey Cory,

    Thanks for stopping by. I agree, Mike’s comment was right on the money. We’ve given books as gifts for years and our clients love them.

    Hope you become a regular visitor!


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