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The hidden message behind staff Christmas gifts

With Christmas on the horizon, many business owners are beginning to think about gifts for their employees and clients. But what are you really saying to them when you buy them a cheap bottle of wine? Or that charitable donation certificate? Here’s a look at some of the hidden messages behind Christmas gifts.

When it comes to corporate Christmas gifts, it’s the thought that counts. However, this message doesn’t actually mean what you think it does! The ‘quantity’ of the thought – whether it was there or not – isn’t the issue.

What matters is the quality of that thought! What does that logo-ridden paraphernalia tell your major client? What unspoken message did you just send along with a charitable donation certificate? What does that cheap bottle of wine say about your relationship?

Today we’re here to examine what you’re saying with a variety of standard corporate gifts, when you say nothing at all.

Branded items: The hidden message

Sending out corporate gifts with your own company’s logo on it tells your recipient that you’re thinking far more about yourself than them. You need to be recognised and congratulated, and most of all, you need to get something back out of the gift … a sales opportunity.

Food gifts: The hidden message

There is a variety of ways to give food as a corporate gift – some are great, some send an unexpected message.

You run the very real risk of excluding some people in an office from your gift, or sending a completely unusable gift, if you send a single food item without checking dietary requirements or taste preferences.

To get around this, you can:

  • Ask people about their dietary requirements and whether they’d pigeonhole themselves as ‘savoury’ or ‘sweet’. It’s also a great opportunity to ensure your clients don’t have any allergies.
  • Give a restaurant voucher to a favourite in the local area. Australians sure to love their food and this way your recipients can choose their own food and enjoy a meal with company. You can include vouchers inside a hand written card for that added touch.
  • Give a Christmas gift hamper containing a selection of Australian wines, gourmet food and chocolates. A selection means there’s something for everyone – sweet or savoury. Hampers are also a great way to stick to a scalable budget – being generally available from just $50 as well as being delivered direct to your clients.

Expensive gifts: The hidden message

Expensive gifts tell people not to become too involved with your company – there are poor money management skills somewhere along the line, or your prices are too high!

However, it’s important to realise that there is a balance between expense and quality which should be struck. Cheap gifts won’t win you big contracts either.

Handwritten cards: The hidden message

The message in a handwritten card is that you have genuine positive feelings about the recipient; they were worth the time to write to; and you care about having a business relationship with them.

Handwritten cards are a win, whether they accompany a Christmas gift or stand alone.

Desk paraphernalia: The hidden message

Office items are a useful and politically correct gift to send, especially if your relationship with someone is still fairly new.

In ongoing relationships, though, you run the risk of being seen as thoughtless.

Personalised items: The hidden message

By personalised, I don’t mean monogrammed hankies! When you send a gift that is obviously tailored to a specific person’s interests, you tell them that you care about them as people.

This leaves most people with a case of the warm fuzzies … and some with a feeling of pressure. Judge it carefully, and don’t try to push the relationship past its natural state.

What do you think?

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Theo Ananiadis

Theo Ananiadis

Theo Ananiadis is the MD of Australian Gourmet Gifts - a Gift Hamper Company based in Melbourne.  Theo comes from an Accounting background and founded Australian Gourmet Gifts through his love for gourmet foods and efficient processes!

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