Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder
You might wonder why I’m writing about holiday client gifts in June. Am I crazy?! Before you answer ‘yes’, not so fast! Holiday corporate gift boxes are a big investment, especially if you’ve been in business a while and have a large client list. It’s good to have several things decided upon before making a decision on what to buy and where to buy it so you’re not left scrambling come December. Believe it or not, it’s June and we are already discussing holiday gifts with our corporate clients and even getting started on custom gift design for them! With gifting, it’s always best to plan ahead.
Budget vs Recipient List
What comes first? The budget or the recipient list? It can be tempting to first create your recipient list. But first, before you do anything, establish your budget and then set that aside. You’ll come back to it later!
Once you have your budget, establish your client recipient list. Do you include ALL of your clients or just your top clients? This will usually depend on the budget you have set. But, it’s always good to have your budget established first so you can then work the recipient list from there. Once you have the list finalized, bump it up against the budget and see if the budget you set is realistic. If not, then expand the budget or begin cutting the list. If you must cut the list (sometimes a very tall task!!), try and cut it based on some sort of measurement. For example, it could be based on the amount of business you’ve done with this client over the last year. This might seem cold or not in the holiday spirit, but you must have some sort of concrete way to eliminate people from the list or you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to decide who stays and who goes. If you’re still unable to cut the list, which by the way happens to me every year when we do our own clients gifts, you can consider creating a lower-tier gift and a higher-tier gift to make sure everyone is covered and budget remains somewhat in tact.
When advising our custom gift design clients, I recommend sending gifts as early in December as possible. Reason being…you want to make sure your client receives the gift. The earlier in December you send it, the higher the chances that they’ll actually receive it. Many people leave early in December for holiday vacation or they’re so flooded with gifts from others being sent to the office that you run of the risk of your gift being missed or not seeming as impactful. Or you think you can’t pull it together early, I also recommend bumping the gift send to early January and designing them as celebratory New Years gifts. Think about it this way…clients are rested from the holiday vacation and have returned fresh and ready to begin the new year. What a perfect time for them to receive a gift that will certainly stand out and get noticed!
Before deciding the gift contents, you’ll need to consider the gift recipients. Are they mostly male? Mostly female? Or a pretty even mix? Gear the gift contents around what most all of your clients will like and actually use. Gifts can definitely be unisex and still look festive and holiday chic! Or, if your client list is an even split and you’re feeling adventurous, you may consider coming up with a gift design for both male and female so that the gifts feel completely intentional and designed with the recipient in mind.
At first it might seem impossible to send an on-brand gift for the holidays since not everyone’s branding colors are red and green. However, don’t panic! It’s very possible to create alternate color palettes that remain true to a brand while still having a holiday vibe. Think about wrapping paper, for example. There are countless non-traditional color combinations that still end up looking like the holidays. Blue and white. Aqua and red. (see below!) Pink and red. Green and gold. Red and grey. Black and white. Trust me, with a little creativity, any of these can work beautifully!
Vary the Contents
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of corporate holiday gifts? Probably a fruit basket or a basket containing tons of sweets, am I right? While food items are always appreciated, you should aim to vary the items so your gifts are as impactful as possible. For example, instead of just sending cookies and chocolates, you might also send some coffee to enjoy with the sweet treats. Or, if you’re sending a nice bottle of liquor, you might consider a set of cold drink stones. Not only are these items thoughtful and useful when put together, they will serve as a reminder of your generosity throughout the new year and beyond. This also increases the likelihood that the gift recipient will be able to enjoy the gift. After all, not everyone likes sweets or they’re trying to avoid sweets, especially around the holidays when weight gain is a thing!
Make a decision on how the gifts will be distributed. Will they be created and shipped directly to you in bulk to personally gift to your clients? Or, do you purchase the gifts and drop ship directly to your recipients. It’s perhaps more personal to give the gifts in person. However, during the holidays, it’s unlikely that you’ll see everyone so better to get it off your list and make sure that everyone on your list receives one!
When I say “theme” I don’t mean it in a cheesy way. I more mean that every item in the gift should make sense in relation to the others. In other words, try to find items that seem to have a purpose when put together. For example, if you find a gorgeous tin of hot chocolate, the natural next step might be to include a mug to go along with the hot cocoa and make it that much more usable. Then maybe a snack that compliments these items such as gingersnap cookies, biscotti or shortbread.
The holidays can be stressful enough. There’s no need to wait until the last minute when you can begin making decisions on these points ahead of time. I promise you you’ll be happy you did!
For more information on our Custom Gift Design Service for holiday corporate and client gifting, please visit here. We’d love to help!