Happy holidays my friends! This month’s column is about ways to show your appreciation this holiday season without breaking the bank. It’s also about marketing, communications, and PR, though not in the traditional sense. You see, reaching out to your clients during the holiday months is marketing to them because you are reminding them of your relationship. It’s communicating your warmest wishes for the season, and it makes your company stand out, which is the essence of public relations!
I’m being a bit cheeky, but the value of saying you’re thinking about someone should never be underestimated. This year, commit to doing something different. Forego the standard-issue or off-the-shelf company holiday card signed en masse by employees and opt for more thoughtful expressions that show your clients, colleagues, and trade partners that you truly care about them and their families and that you value the relationship you have with them.
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Here are some suggestions for showing you care during the holiday season:
- A Handwritten, Personalized Card. Whenever I go anywhere that sells paper goods, you’ll inevitably find me in the greeting card aisle. I pull ones that remind me of certain people in my life — friends, colleagues, clients, or employees. Something that will make them laugh or contains an inside joke. Connect the dots by writing something thoughtful and relatable inside and write each one by hand. There’s nothing more off-putting than a typewritten, generic greeting with a sloppy signature scribbled below! Gah! SO LAME! A personalized card is a small but very memorable gesture. Can’t quite commit to that? Okay, I get it, but there are options. Postable offers “really nice cards, mailed for you.” All you have to do is select a card from their site, type a message, and they will print, stamp, and mail it for you for a nominal fee. The day I went to look for options they ployed me with a 20 percent discount right off the bat. Nice! On the other hand, Paperless Post is an upscale digital card service that allows you to get a bit more personal and refined. Not as good as a handwritten card received in the mail but works in a pinch.
- Company Videos. If you were thinking about sending an email blast to your customers this season, think about what would make it different and worth opening. We love, for example, to see a well-thought-out or humorous company video in our inbox, allowing us to see the faces of the people we work with but maybe never see in person, have a laugh, and get the warm and fuzzies. We’ve seen some cute carols, riffs on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and more. Just try to keep it original and, if you can, try to keep it neutral or non-denominational so there’s no risk of offending any of your recipients.
- Gifts of Adventure. From small tokens of appreciation to something a bit more substantial, anyone can order and ship last-minute gifts that are way more meaningful than a Harry & David Summer Sausage Sampler Pack (could there possibly be anything more meaningful than that, though, really?). We love giving an REI gift card, for example. From hip outdoor-inspired clothing to gear for any outdoor or urban adventure, REI is one of KMB’s go-to’s for gifting. And we love their commitment to the #optoutside movement. We’re an outdoorsy group over here at KMB so we might be biased, but it’s a great cause and one to support, in our opinion.
- Drink and Be Merry. If you know me or team KMB, you know we love a good glass of wine, spiced cider, seasonal cocktail, or a hot toddy to keep things festive. Cocktail Courier has been one of our go-to resources for this as they are easy to order from and the deliveries are fun to receive. Last year, for instance, I received an Evergreen Moscow Mule Kit that literally came with everything required — Tito’s, ginger beer, pine extract, a copper mug, a sprig of rosemary for garnish, and the recipe. And, because this was during the holidays, it all arrived chilled! Helps that I live in Montana and it snowed that day, but still. Cocktails. By. Courier. Need I say more?
- Season’s Eating. Even the most culinarily uninclined will eagerly bust out their mixer during the holiday season, so going with cooking-related gifts or food items is always a safe bet. We like Earlywood for handmade, exotic hardwood cooking utensils and gift sets. As far as food goes, Zingerman’s is another source for delivering bread, cheese, and the like to your favorite clients and friends. Charcuterie anyone? If you know me, you know I’m all about the charcuterie (so much so that my nickname is “Char-Kate-erie”). Of course, sending something a bit more thoughtful, like local food choices or wine from your region, curated and put into your own gift basket, is always preferred but we know that’s complicated, so don’t set the bar that high unless you’ve got the resources to do so. At KMB, we spend an entire weekend baking cookies and shipping them off fresh to employees, clients, and others close to our hearts. Shortbread is our specialty!
One more tip and then I’ll let you go. Pet parents love to see that you thought of their fur-baby and included them in the gift. Grab some high-quality dog and cat treats and include a few with a note when you send things to those you know who have pets. That little gesture goes a long, long way.
Wishing you and yours a magical, memorable holiday season and a prosperous new year! THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for reading my column and sharing your thoughts — the feedback you’ve given has been fantastic and inspiring! See you in 2023!
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