When is the last time you used a mouse pad? How about that generic wall calendar with so-and-so’s logo on it? You know that flimsy one they gave you halfway through the year? Or better yet, those ill-fitting, itchy branded polo shirts from that last conference?
You get what I’m saying. Sometimes even the best intentions can come across as anything but.
When you give a gift – be it to clients, event attendees, or employees – you’re sending a message. You want that message to reflect your brand and not feel like an afterthought. Because a thoughtful gift, no matter the cost, will keep you and your business top of mind.
As a meeting and event planner I like to say I’m in the business of creating memorable experiences and leaving lasting impressions. Helping my clients source thoughtful, memorable gifts is just one way I can deliver on both.
It can be a struggle coming up with the right gifts for the right events. So today I have three tips for choosing the best client gift, plus a few gift ideas, to get your creative juices flowing.
- Make is useful: Budgets are often tight. The last thing you want to do is to throw precious dollars in the trash. But that’s exactly what you’re doing if you simply pick something because its cheap – or easy. Think of how many times you’ve receive a swag bag with useless branded chocks? Those items that went straight into the trash, never even making it to your home. Such a waste! Instead, look for items that actually useful to those who will receive them. Like a branded Swell stainless steel water bottle or a branded eco-friendly jute tote for a conference.
2. Think local: Everyone loves a taste of place when they travel. This is a definite for incentive trips. I often work with clients to curate locally-inspired welcome gift basket with tasty food stuffs and drink along with thoughtful little gifts to make their stay easier. Locally made items also make perfect farewell or post-event thank you gifts to keep their time with you top of mind. Think things like local mezcal in Mexico or a handmade crafts like seagrass baskets in Charleston.
3. Be as personal as possible: Personal does not have to mean expensive. A sincere note of appreciation can have just as much impact – if not more. Consider the recipient’s personality and interests, and think outside the tangible and consider gifting an extra experience. Loves to cook? Maybe a specialty cooking class like at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Wine enthusiast? Maybe branded glassware with a bottle of their favorite wine.
Whatever you choose make it matter. And always consider “what does this gift say?”.
Make it memorable!
Named a 2018 Meeting Planner to Watch by Convention South Magazine, meeting and event planner Jan Levine, founder of JSL Meeting and Event Group, is known for infusing her energy, charisma and creativity into every event she manages. Whether she is customizing a whale watching excursion as part of a conference, coordinating a dozen international vendors for an annual corporate meeting, or planning a private dinner party for clients she takes great personal and professional pride in her hands-on work. Find out more about Jan and see samples of her work here.