Thoughtful Business Gifting
When is the right time to send a business holiday gift, and what should I send?
We are asked this a lot in our Norsu Haus business. How can you be the most impactful, how can you ensure your spend is maximized? Is it even worth it? We meet a lot of businesses that consider gifting as a check box exercise and don’t even realize how much impact they could make if they considered gifting in a slightly different way.
Our top tips of how, why & when to do holiday gifting:
1. Pre-Thanksgiving Gift. Send your holiday gift before thanksgiving. Why? Because you have the ability to surprise. It’s not perceived as being done out of obligation or expectation. If you give a thoughtful gift it will be in someone’s home while family and friends visit. Questions will be asked about where that rather unique and thoughtful gift on display came from? That leads to conversations about you and your business, and if friends and family give the seal of approval on your gift then as the gift giver you receive a wave of positive impressions - price per impression? Priceless.
2. Skip December Gifts - Yes, we did say that. Why? As a business you just can’t compete with family and friends, so don’t even try. Unless you are making an extraordinary gesture, and we have witnessed these, or your relationship is one where it makes sense to do so, skip December gifting. In general, we have seen way too many tables in offices during the holiday season, stacked high and full of unopened gifts. In business people can become overwhelmed with gifts - because everyone thinks that’s when you have to do it. Note “have to”, this is an implied obligation and it doesn’t come with a sentiment that is genuine or authentic, and that can be felt. You don’t want to be the business that sends another bottle of wine, or champagne, fruit basket, or food platter that sits on the side along with all the other things that have been sent from other businesses. The point of a gift is to consider the relationship you have and mark that in some form to make the recipient feel special.
3. Thank Your Employees - It might seem strange to put this in here, however while we see a lot of effort around client gifting, we see less around employee gifting. When it comes to year-end activities, we are all tired from a year of hustling, working hard, and going for it, and so come this time of year, there is just one last opportunity to push to end the year on a high - but for anyone who has run a marathon they will tell you that last mile is often the most grueling of them all. It’s the same in business, Q4 or the last 3 months are like that last mile. Filled with commitments, overflowing schedules, seasonal parties and celebrations, and a final push for the year to meet targets and objectives. With an unexpected gesture of a gift to say thank you for all you do, this will add miles of goodwill and contribute to individuals in your business feeling appreciated and valued. Thoughtful kindness goes a very long way.
4. No Logos - When you are giving a gift, it is a gift, not a promotional item. Resist the urge to pop your logo all over it. If it’s a promotional launch that’s different, and if it’s a regulatory requirement that’s also different. However, even with those requirements there are ways of including your logo in understated ways. Consider this, when you go to a wedding, do you ever give the couple getting married a gift with your name all over it? It’s the same in business, make it about your recipient, not about you, and you will nurture that relationship genuinely. When something is given that evokes curiosity other people will ask about it and where it’s from. If your logo is prominent they won’t ask about it because there is an automatic assumption that takes place in their mind and zero conversations take place - that’s not a impactful gift, you want a gift that gets people talking and connecting with each other.
5. Make it Personal - Your gift represents your relationship, it is a physical expression of what you value. Yet, we have received so many stories from individuals where a business has sent a gift without a notecard and message, or even to and from names - just a product in a box, not wrapped or presented in a way that feels like a gift. When you do this what happens? You make that recipient feel like a number, and when and if they discover who the gift is from it doesn’t nurture the relationship it actually detracts from the relationship. So, if you want to send a gift, find out who you are sending it to - sounds silly but you wouldn’t believe how many businesses don’t actually know if they’re sending to one person or a team of people. Find out! Get to know the people you are building relationships with, who are they, who are in their team, who are the people behind the scenes making things happen. Give a gift that recognizes those individuals. Include a notecard and a message, write the individual’s name on the card and envelope that it’s going to, and sign it, share why you picked that gift, then wrap it as if you were giving it to the person you loved the most. Gifts are all about expressing a sentiment and it’s how you make someone feel. When you make someone feel special, and not just remembered, your relationship will glow.
6. Presentation - First impressions count, we all know that, but we are still amazed at how many gifts are sent without thought or care for how the gift is presented and wrapped. Find ways to present your gift beautifully, wrap it with care, write a notecard. When you do this, you really do stand out, because ironically so few business realize the impact it has. The ones that stand out are the ones doing this, and that’s why they’re making a difference in their industry and galloping ahead.
7. Inclusive Food & Beverages - Consider sending food and beverage options thoughtfully. There are times when this is fitting as a gift, but include something that will last beyond the moment it is eaten or consumed. Many individuals have intolerances and allergies these days, and dietary needs are complex. If you absolutely want to give a gift in this category, consider how you can introduce the following aspects together - organic, gluten-free, vegan, full-fat dairy and gluten-filled, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Give something that everyone can enjoy with all sorts likes and dislikes. In addition, include something that will be reused as well. If you’re sending a bottle of bubbly and a non-alcoholic bottle of something, once those bottles are opened and consumed your gift is forgotten. The bottle is thrown away, the moment has gone. If, however, you include inspired coasters, bottle carriers, wine journals or books as part of the gift, each time those recipients use those additional items in the future, such as a coaster to pop their coffee mug onto, they will think of you and the memory you created.
8. Engage Family & Friends - Bring people together with of your gift. When you choose a gift, one of the most impactful aspects to consider are the recipients family and friends. Our jobs are where we spend most of our time, they keep us away from family and friends during our working hours. So if you find gifts that reconnect the recipient with their family and friends your gift will be the talk of the town. Your gift has the power to create new memories, connections, moments of laughter, real conversation, and inspiration. Genuine and true human connection is one of the keys to well-being and your gift can inspire that.
9. Make it Practical - The mark of good design is that it is both eye-catching and has superior functionality and practicality. Seek out high quality, practicality and aesthetic form. This doesn’t always mean high-price, often quite the contrary. Give a gift that has an element of practicality, something that will be used, not just something to sit on the side or put in a drawer. When it is useful, it will be used. Every time your gift is used it will invoke a memory of where and who it came from. You remain in the thoughts and awareness of your recipient and that leads to conversations many times over.
10. Go Local - Find something that is local to your recipient, or supportive of the country your gift is going to. Local economies and small businesses will thank you and you will be doing your bit for the globe. Not least you will always be uncovering and sending something that it is new and conversation-worthy. This demonstrates your thoughtfulness, awareness and effort in choosing a gift, and it shows what you value most - the relationship.
11. Find an Artisan - Commodity gifting has it’s place, but there is an under tapped opportunity when it comes to business gifting. Send gifts made by artisans. There are so many incredibly talented individuals and small businesses out there and the products they are designing, creating, and producing are exquisite. The quality is extraordinary and the passion they put into their products translates into the finished item which subconsciously can be felt. Artisans are shining examples of how to take an idea and execute on it, there is such wisdom and talent that translates into larger businesses that your gift could just be the instigator that generates and delivers on new ideas.
12. Give Back, Eco-Conscious & Sustainable - A huge trend now, and a really important one. As much as possible find gifts that support people, places, and the planet in thoughtful, sustainable, eco-friendly, and give back ways. Many of us have more than we can could ever imagine and need, so there is always the opportunity to find beautiful gifts that give back in all sorts of way.
13. Happy New Year! - Stand out from the crowd. We’ve talked about pre-Thanksgiving gifts and skipping December, but another powerful way to gift is at the start of the New Year. Start the year well, stand out by sending a gift with an inspired sentiment. You are more likely to receive a phone call or message in the New Year because of your gift than you are if you send a December gift. Most people are flat out busy during year end - yourself included, and we often don’t have time to do all the things we know we really should, like saying thank you for gifts we’ve received, or following up with people. Those things get pushed to the bottom of the list and it’s easy to forget them. So, plan and prepare your gifts in December for delivery in the new year. When you give a surprise gesture in January you simultaneously generate energy and momentum in your relationship and you set the tone for the year to come. You relationships will flourish in new and energized ways as a result.
14. Change it Up. - Just because you’ve always done holiday gifting in one way, or your perceived competitors do it the same way, dare to be different. Be courageous, be unique, be who you are, and who your business is. We’ve heard stories of individuals receiving the same thing year, after year, after year. The principles of the restaurant menu applies here - a great restaurant will regularly change their menu to keep things fresh and enticing for patrons who return time and again. Do the same with your gifts, change it up, vary when, how, and what you give. Resist the urge to fall into the same patterns every single year.
15. Say Thank You - And finally, last but absolutely not least. A reminder for when you find yourself being the gift recipient. Remember to say thank you to the person who sent it to you. No matter what the circumstances. Graciously receiving and contacting the person who sent it to you is one of the A,B,Cs of etiquette. It is also a wonderful way to make yourself feel good. It takes a few minutes to say thank you, and when you do your brain fires differently. You momentarily shift your negative bias, and ignite pathways for your brain to see other things it is thankful for too. This leads to increases in serotonin - the feel good chemical - and overall that delivers a dose of contentment through your system. The results? Endless possibilities of new opportunities coming your way.
As part of our collective focused on Experiences & Moments, we partner with Norsu Haus to expertly curate gifts fit for your business occasion, as well as creatively wrapping and presenting each gift beautifully. Norsu Haus has curated over 10,000 gifts and has more than 100 designers in their portfolio so your gifts are fit-for-purpose. From one off events to client and employee experience year long programs and experiential Wrap Bars Norsu Haus has an array of professional gift services. If you need help with your holiday gifting this year, please contact us.