When the holiday season rolls around many people start thinking about parties, avoiding overeating holiday treats, and about shopping lists.
As a business owner, you are also tasked with making time in your already busy schedule to find a unique (and on brand) way to say “thank you for making my business a success” to your clients.
While some opt for a holiday card, custom gifts can be a more personal option that provides a higher ROI, and encourages your clients to become brand advocates.
I reached out to my go-to ad specialty and screen printer, Suzanne over at Zamar, and we put together a list of gift ideas—along with a few tips—to help you sneak in a bit of brand awareness while saying “thank you” to your clients.
First, a few holiday gift pre-shopping tips:
1: Just like shopping for your family, a list can be a life saver.
- If you have all of the addresses and names organized, it will be easier to get everything shipped off and / or a hand delivery plan created.
- You’ll know exactly how many of the custom items you will need (something that most people don’t nail down, and end up with either too many, or too few, items ordered.)
- Having a list also helps you narrow down gift ideas based on your audience grouping: are you shopping for corporate professionals or mom’s-to-be?
2: Know your budget.
- As with any marketing endeavor, knowing how much to spend helps you narrow down your options.
- Don’t overspend. Be aware of what the ROI will be for the gift, and it’s OK to spend more on some clients than on others.
- Be VERY wary of underspending. Buying gifts on the cheap can be extremely harmful to your brand. Suzanne told me that “cheaper” products are often last year’s castoffs such as water bottles that leaks, or pens that don’t work… what does that say about your brand? It’s best to pay a little bit more for a higher quality item.
3: Don’t wait until the last minute to shop.
- The longer you wait, the more expensive the gifts will be. Think rush charges and expedited shipping.
- Higher quality gifts can take a minimum of 3-4 weeks to produce, so waiting until the last minute will drastically reduce your options.
- You run a high risk of “out of stock” issues as everyone who planned early already bought everything!
Gift with Thought.
Give yourself time to create a gift that matches your brand, and will please your clients. Ordering early also means you can take advantage of special promotions to extend your budget.
Gifting at a different time, place, or presentation can make a simple (and affordable) gift a holiday superstar that’s remembered year after year.
Thanksgiving is a great time to say thank you, and avoid religious implications around holiday gifts. It also gives you an additional chance to stand out from everyone else as your gift isn’t in a stack with others, and a higher probability that your gift will be remembered.
4: Work with a reputable source
- Not all coffee mugs are the same, and it’s really (really) hard to tell the difference by looking at pictures online. Working with a reputable vendor will help you ensure that your products are quality.
- You won’t really have to do any shopping! A quality vendor will ask you some questions about what you are looking for, and then provide you with a few options. Looking at 3-4 possibilities that fit your brand is a much better way to shop than browsing Google.
5: Once you decide on a gift, brand it.
- If you are imprinting your logo, supply a vector file (not the version that’s on your website).
- If you have more room to get creative, give your designer a few days to a week to prepare the artwork.
Ok, enough with the planning… let’s get shopping! Here are a few of the gift ideas Suzanne and I worked up for you.
Corporate gift ideas for a merry (and branded)
Provide munchies that they’ll remember.
Customize a cheese board or mug with your logo… but don’t stop there! Add in some custom cheese and a bottle of wine with the cheese board, or include packets of soup or hot cocoa with the mug. Your clients will realize that you consider all aspects of their needs – whether it’s cheese and cocoa, or the next project they call you about.
Gift a high-end chuckle.
I raised my eyebrows at Suzanne when I saw this one, but she made a great point about a flask being a fantastic (almost tongue and cheek) gift for high-end clients. They have probably never received a flask before (and will remember you for it), it gives everyone something to chuckle about… and really, who wouldn’t want a flask?
Keep them charged up over your brand.
Even if your clients aren’t draining their mobile batteries playing Pokemon Go, they (and their mobile devices) will love this 2200 mAh portable device battery charger. It has a large imprint area – making it perfect for branding your thank you message.
Gifting made easy with pre-packaged goods.
When your gift list is long, the packaging / wrapping can be a huge concern.
One nice thing about a quality key chain is that it comes in a box. And then there’s my favorite (because I make them!)—handmade soaps. You can have a custom bar created for your brand, along with branded labels making them ready to gift. And, I can tell you first hand that clients love receiving a local hand-crafted gift.
If a key chain or soap isn’t a good fit for your brand, not to worry. Suzanne can custom wrap gifts too!
Keep things cool (or hot) with dependability.
Something they would (probably) not consider getting for themselves is always a great gift – especially if it’s as useful as this stainless steel vacuum bottle. They keep liquid cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours—and will remind your client’s that you are just as dependable as the bottle.
Charm them with music.
A branded Bluetooth speaker will hang out on a desk much longer than a calendar or cube of sticky notes. At about 3 inches tall this speaker provides a middle of the road sound quality that’s perfect for an office environment.
Gift with Your Brand
Whether you send out a custom gift or holiday card this year, take the time to brand it. Be thoughtful about what you are saying and sending, and be sure that your clients know that you appreciate them—even the simplest token can go a long way with connecting with your clients.
If you would like to have a custom selection of gifts prepared for your brand, you can reach out to Zamar, and ask to speak with Suzanne. She’s a gem to work with and really understands how to incorporate your brand into a quality gift.