No matter where you are through the year, a good gift is a great way to connect with your clients, be it journalists, your company partners or the brands you work with. It doesn’t have to be a specific holiday – though it is 4 days til’ Christmas so now’s as good a time as any – but if you’ve had a lot of business from a client then a token of appreciation is a great way to show them that you are enjoying your working relationship and you would like it to continue. PR 101: the better the relationships with your peers, the easier the job becomes; that’s something I’ve come to learn very quickly. The problem, though, is that without a thoughtful plan, gifting can be a disaster.
There are plenty of ways to acknowledge your relationship with your clients, and one of the best ways is to really consider how you plan to give them a gift and what you should even get in the first place. What I’d say is, put yourself in their shoes: you want something that means something to them, and you want them to see that you do know them. Gift cards, for example, are a great present – but if you’re gifting a teetotal journalist a wine voucher, or your female partner a Topman voucher, then you’re pretty much setting yourself up to see them sell gift cards for cash instantly – and there’s nothing worse than a failed present. They’re a stellar present – and this year I received one of my first gift cards in years and it was the best because it means you can get what you want with it, but all I’m saying is – be tactical in your approach and make sure you do your research to save your gift being traded in almost as quick as it was received.
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Following on from this, here’s my top 5 do’s and don’ts of buying presents for your PR clients.
DON’t buy something that’ll be trashed.
As mentioned earlier about gift cards that get sold for their cash value, you need to think about the fact that your client will have their basics handled. They won’t need another set of pens (which pains me to say as I do have an obsession with stationary though I seldom use it – I need to get real). The world is digital now, and gifts should be curated for each client based on their personal tastes and branding opportunity. Stay away from the typical gifts and be unique. Desk buddies always seem like a top option for me, I was gifted one by Moz almost a year ago now, and I still love it to this day. (I have this tradition of moving its arms up in the air when it comes to Friday – and yes I know that’s sad but it’s become a forcible habit now).
DON’T Overdo It
Impressive results do not come from being over the top with your delivery of your client gift. You should also treat each client equally so that if they talk, you haven’t gifted one client with a less impressive gift that they can compare.
Each client is individual. Trying to save money by sending the same bottle of champagne from the same case just shows the lack of thought – especially if the client doesn’t even drink. Plus, it’s fun to think out presents – everybody know’s by now that Christmas is my favourite time of year and buying gifts always earns a lot of thinking time from me. I just love it all.
DO Consider What They’d Appreciate
Developing a good relationship should tell you everything that you need to know about your clients gifting needs. Getting them something that you know they would like shows that you’ve been paying attention to them, and reinforces that great relationship.
DO Remember That It’s Not Just About Gifts
Physical presents in gorgeous wrapping paper is one thing, but a gesture can be enough. Things like 50% off their next invoice, or a personal, handwritten thank you note are always appreciated and show your effort. This year, all the journalists I’ve worked with on campaigns received a mini personalised e-card from me, and I think the thought went a long way.
Gift-giving allows you to build relationships with your clients that can strengthen your bond and grow your relationship better. You can show your clients that you know them and you can really pay attention to what they say. Giving something back to your clients is the best gift that you can really give them, so consider how you can reach out to them and give them thanks.
*This is a collaborative post, but all views and opinions are honest and my own*
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