1. Business Personalized Gift Etiquette & Some Do's and Don'ts
For Customized Gift Giving
The number-one rule, with both employees and clients, is to not offend! Find out any gift-giving
policies-especially with clients. Give a call to the business and ask the receptionist or the
personnel department. You may not even realize that your own company has a policy, so check it
out before choosing a personalized gift or embroidered customized gift for your employees.
Extravagant corporate gifts (not incentives) are inappropriate. Not only do they come across as bribery
with clients, they can make the recipient feel uncomfortable (especially if they want to return a gift).
You may feel like delivering the gift in person, which is fine. Just don't wait around while they
open it. There are definitely many appropriate times to give gifts-there are also times when you
absolutely should NOT give gifts. For instance, don't give a gift during a bidding process. It
could easily be taken as bribery. And if you don't have a friendly or close relationship with a
client, it's best to not to give gifts of any real significant monetary value.
The key in giving holiday gifts is not to give anything that has religious overtones. Stay generic
with cards and gifts respecting all religions that celebrate during the holidays. Seasons Greetings and
Happy Holidays are your best terms for the season.
Some Do's and Don'ts For Personalized Gift Giving
DO think twice about gifts for people of the opposite sex.
Extra care should be taken that gifts are not misinterpreted as being intimate in any way.
DO check vigorously for mistakes in personalized gifts.
Personalizing gifts are great, but make sure to check and double-check the spelling of everyone's
name --both when the order is being sent out and when the customized gifts come in. Nothing is more
disappointing than a misspelled name when the employee is supposed to feel recognized.
DON'T reciprocate automatically.
If a person sends you a gift, there is no need to give in return. But do make sure to acknowledge the
gift and thank the giver for his or her thoughtfulness.
DON'T overlook international etiquette.
If your gift is being sent overseas, make sure you learn about local customs first. It's easier than
you realize to inadvertently offend someone or send the wrong message. Also, to make sure your recipient
won't have to pay a tax or duty on the gift you send, you may want to consider ordering their gift locally.
DO be aware of dietary restrictions.
If your client gift is intended for a specific person, not being aware of someone's religious, ethical,
or medical restrictions in their diets could be seen as careless.
DON'T forget the assistants.
Your clients' assistants will appreciate the fact that you remembered them --and so will their bosses.
DO send different personalized gifts.
If you have a stable set of clients, give different gifts every year so people can look forward to what
you've come up with this year. Otherwise, you can seem stale: "Here's the fruit basket from Acme -- again."
DON'T play favorites.
When giving gifts to all of your employees, there should be no distinction between them -- consider them
all equals. Accordingly, the value of their embroidered customized gifts should all be within a couple
of dollars of one another.
DO be consistent.
By the same token, all employee gifts should be similar in nature. A personalized gift for one employee
means personalization for all.
DON'T discriminate on the basis of sex.
Buying obviously different types of gifts for men and women is considered inappropriate.
DO remember everyone.
This includes the cleaning staff and other regular contractors or part-timers.
DON'T restrict gifts to work-related ones.
Giving personalized gifts that can be used at home can be a plus for everyone. That way, employees don't
feel compelled to have their gift sitting on their desk or in their office.
DON'T throw a party and call it a gift.
If it's a party, say it is. Calling it a gift is just plain tacky.
DO make returns easy.
Of course, no one wants to have their gifts returned -- but those who make it easy to do so are
DO be discreet if you're not giving to everyone.
If you are personally giving customized gifts to only some employees, use discretion. You may want to
do it out of the office if there's a chance it will come across as favoritism.
DO consider a group gift.
The gift from a group of employees usually works well. If you do give a gift from the group, each group
member should contribute the same amount. But if everyone doesn't want to chip in, giving individually
is OK. A group card can be a nice gesture instead.
DON'T send a group gift unless everyone knows each other.
If your client is a large company and you work with multiple people at that company, sending a group
gift is appropriate. However, the recipients should know and work with one another, and the gift should
be sent to a neutral location.
DON'T call attention to yourself.
If you are giving a gift on your own, avoid making a production of the gift-giving. This includes giving
more than you can afford, or giving the gift in front of others.
DON'T force your boss to use your gift.
Giving a gift that can be used at home is best. If you do, your boss won't feel compelled to use or display
it in the office. It also avoids putting your boss in the potentially awkward situation of identifying the
2. Planning A Holiday Party
Holiday parties can be an effective way to help reward and retain employees, encourage donations for
fundraisers, entertain clients and prospects, or just to say thank you for a job well done.
Going beyond what ís expected is a sure way to create a memorable occasion. With this in mind, consider
all the holidays that can be celebrated by your firm. The most popular times are Christmas, New Year's
Eve and July Fourth. But there are are also those less common to business: Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick's
Day and April Fool's Day. Companies can even make up their own holiday celebrations, highlighting an
annual event or milestone. Many firms have celebrated the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards with parties
or receptions, for example.
When planning a party, it is critical to create an event that stays in the minds of your guests. One sure
fire way to make an event memorable is to use promotional products. They should represent a positive image
of the company as well as have broad appeal. Don't get locked in to one thing too early. Choose a few ideas
and items and ask employees what they'd like via a company wide survey.
As you develop the survey, keep the following in mind:
- Time. During work hours, after hours or a weekend? What time of day is best, day
- Guest list. Should spouses and/or children be invited?
- Location. On or off premises?
- Food. Buffet style or sit-down? (a buffet forces everyone to mingle.)
- Alcohol. Should it be served or not?
- Gifts. Should there be a gift exchange (if apropos to the occasion)?
- Bonuses (for those firms that give them). Should they be awarded at the party
Once you've determined what employees and/or clients are looking for, do your best to create an event
with real staying power. One firm chose to put more money and time into celebrating St. Patrick's Day
rather than Christmas due to the low response rate from its clients in the past. On March 1, the
company enclosed a St. Patty's greeting card with a peel-off shamrock in all invoices to clients. On
the day itself, clients received an Irish mug of beer in a beer mug filled with green paper clips.
Even if you're planning a traditional holiday party, you can add some spice to the mix. For example, at
a Christmas party, hand out monogrammed Santa hats or stockings to employees. One company took its
employees bowling and gave them imprinted Christmas-themed bowling shirts. Not only did it give workers
a chance to interact in a social environment, but they remembered the event because it was unique (to
say nothing of the staying power of the personalized bowling shirts).
Offer giveaways at the party. When people receive an imprinted item and something they can take home with
them it ís almost assured to leave a lasting impression, especially if itís something they can place on
their desk or in plain view at home. Mousepads or mugs or other products can fit the bill.
Developing A Theme
Remember, themes can enhance the atmosphere at any party. It can be as simple as decorating the office
and asking employees to dress accordingly. And it doesn't have to be Halloween to dress in costume. Think
Mardi Gras masks and beads, confetti and balloons might be just enough to turn the office into Bourbon Street.
In many cases, the holiday itself contributes to its own theme. A Memorial Day or Fourth of July party calls
for a patriotic theme, for instance. It's hard to imagine anything else but red, white & blue, color-wise.
If you're planning a Christmas party, try a Winter Wonderland theme in all white and silver rather than
the traditional red and green. Try decorating the office (or other location) with fake snow and icicles.
3. Non-Holiday Occasions for Business Personalized Gift Giving
- Occasions (ie: birthdays, baby, promotions, get well)
- New Hires
SALES & MARKETING
- Referrals/New Client
- Teaser Campaigns
- Product Launch
- Winners of Contests
- Tradeshows & Special Events
- Management Initiatives
- Board Members
- Personalized Gifts
- Thank You