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It’s almost Christmas, but there’s still time for a creative company to share some cheer and promote the business at the same time. The holidays can be a strategic advantage for marketing yourself or your small business. But it pays to be smart. Take into account some key strategies while gathering round the Yule log, and yule be glad you did (the holidays are also the time of year for bad puns). Here are six tips for owning the season, spreading some cheer, and creating brand value.
Promote your smallness. There’s nothing worse than a small business that promotes itself by trying to seem bigger than it is. You sell one item in Canada and you’re a “multi-national conglomerate” that’s “fast-growing” and “award-winning.” People are smart. They get that you’re small. And they’re OK with it. During the holidays, you can celebrate your smallness by replacing slickness with geniality, family focus, and warmth. This is the time to give something homey, like a knitted wine bottle scarf or a gift for a client’s favorite pet. Make your smallness an asset by targeting your clients personally.
Tier your gifts to stretch your budget. Not every client has the same value to your company, so not every gift should have the same value to your client base. Create two or three tiers of gift giving depending on the value of the client to your company. Tier three might get a calendar. Tier two, some chocolates. Tier one gets the big kahuna, maybe a cool mug shaped like a photo lens to promote your photo division.
Drive conversation with your gifts. Let’s face it. No one really works the last two weeks before Christmas. But everyone comes into the office and checks in. The holidays are a great time to connect with fellow workers. Take advantage of that by sending gifts that will spark connection and conversation. They don’t have to be expensive—a tin of gourmet popcorn will cause people to gather round and hang out. Bonus points if you deliver something in a clever way, or give something buzzworthy. Everyone likes to use social media to show off the unique gift they received, especially if it’s truly tailored to their persona. Give your clients the gift of being an Instagram maven.
Be aware of corporate policies. You might want to give your client that espresso maker that caught your eye at Sur La Table, but they may not be allowed to accept such an expensive gift. It’s smart to be aware of the gift policies of your clients’ companies. Company gift policies are often spelled out in your vendor agreement if you have one. Or you can find them online. Getting the actual policy is important, because you’d be surprised what the limit is at some major corporations. When it doubt, though, keep your tier one gifts in the $50-$100 range and you should be safe.
Get your gifts out in time. Christmas is on a Tuesday this year. Most client schedules will be driven by the school schedule in the local area. If you have kids, you’ll already have a pretty good idea of the schedule. If you don’t, the information is easy to find online. Make sure you get your gift out with enough time for the client to enjoy it. There’s nothing worse than stale cookies a week into the New Year, when all the focus is on losing weight.
Think different. It doesn’t cost anything to be creative, especially if you’re a company that specializes in creativity. Instead of cookes, give cookie cutters. Instead of movie tickets, hire a sketch artist to draw everyone at your client’s office one afternoon. Instead of a Blu-ray of the latest blockbuster, give a list of AFI’s top 100 films with Blu-rays of the first ten, tied up in a bow and snuggled in a popcorn bucket. The journey should be the reward. Take an afternoon to jam concepts with your team. You’ll have a blast and you’ll come up with some ideas that your clients may talk about for years. We once had our photo studio produce awkward Christmas photos that our clients loved.
The pace of life is different during the holidays. Take advantage of the difference by associating your brand with a holiday trait, like hominess, travel, quirkiness, friends or family. Do it right, and your clients will associate that trait with your company. They’ll look forward to your gifts every year.
December 13, 2018 at 07:01PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs