I wrote a few weeks ago that 65% of Australians last Christmas received a gift that they did not want (or like) the value of these gifts was estimated to be worth $985m. I’d like to know how many of these were given by companies?
I have heard some tragic corporate gifting stories recently. I often speak about Happy People  = Happy Profits. Well, one way to keep people happy is to give them a gift they will love.
This week I have been asking business people I know their corporate gift ‘war’ stories.
Peter said: “As a young accountant I worked in insolvency and when we arrived at the new client one of the first things we would discover is the 100s of promotional items they had in storage. Corporate ties. This was the 90s who wore corporate ties? No wonder they were still sitting there no one wanted them.”
When asked what creates a brand I answer “People create brands. The thousands of relationships that the people within an organisation make with customers, suppliers, distributors, affiliates, associates, all stakeholders make brands. These relationships are brittle and precious they are something to be nurtured and developed. The must be approached consistently.”
James said “a previous employer gave a Christmas Gift to all her staff (many 100s) a Perspex pen holder filled with purple jelly beans (corporate colour) and a DVD of her Christmas message. Those close to her strongly advised against the gift – she argued that the Perspex penholder with the logo would stay on people’s desks and remind them of the message. She went ahead. People used the DVDs as coasters or Frisbees. The DVD was not watched by people because they were so disappointed in the gift – and no one ever eats purple jelly beans they make you feel sick”
Alan told me “A supplier that I spend between $750k-$1m per annum with last year I received a company branded local sparkling wine. Very tacky indeed. It takes a brave company to stick its logo on a bottle of plonk and expect clients to drink it”
When I was at Ansett years ago as a young product manager I was asked to find the staff Christmas gift. I worked with an external supplier and I said ‘make sure that you can supply 18,000 of them and they will need to be delivered throughout Australia’. The gift was to be presented to Sir Peter Ables executive assistant (who was a matriarch to be feared) She selected a pretty Christmas bauble from the selection of gifts presented. ‘Agh’ said the supplier we can’t deliver that one. Very embarrassed they said ‘we just picked that one out at DJs. There is only about 20 in their store!’ So back they came with a small dried holly arrangement by one of Melbourne’s leading florists. The matriarch liked it….at $50 delivered per – this ended up being almost a $1m exercise. This was the late 80s and let me tell you people hated them…. They just said ‘what a waste’ what is the point.
I am changing gifting in Australia forever. And when I hear these stories of waste it just furthers my cause. Let’s reduce the clutter on the planet. I want people to be able to share their gift with family and friends. We want more than anything to have good times with people we love. Purple jelly bean anyone?
Don’t add to the clutter on the planet as we move into this Christmas gifting period … Think about what you give them… and remember a gift is all about them…not you and not your company logo it is not a time for promotion and blatant advertising – it is a time to say thanks.
What is the worst corporate gift you have ever received… do share.

Grow & Scale Your Business by Naomi Simson

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