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How to buy a perfect client holiday gift


Every year, the question comes up: What should I get my clients as a holiday gift?

And each year, I struggle with it. I know agencies struggle with it, too.

There seem to be a few different schools of thought:

Hash Tag Blend

* Give the gift of giving. You’ll see many agencies and consultants do this–give the gift of charity. In essence, we (agency/consultant) are giving X amount of dollars to X charity/non-profit in your name as our holiday gift to you. Client feels good as they’re conceivably helping a good cause. And the agency feels good in donating to a cause they believe in. Everyone wins.

* Give the gift of chocolates. Or nuts. Or popcorn. Or, well, you get the idea. This is the standard vendor holiday gift. The popcorn tin. The Ghiradelli chocolates. The box of cashews. Low-risk, and easy on the agency/consultant side.

* Give the gift that’s only meant for them. This is the personalization scenario. The agency/consultant gets the client a gift only they would appreciate. A day at the spa. Tickets to a Twins game. A pass at a ski resort. Highly personalized. Big payoff.

When I polled my fellow solo PR consultants earlier this year about this question, I got a number of additional suggestions:

* A cocktail kit, including some of those small bottles of liquor you get on airlines

* Wine (popular choice)

* Themed gift baskets

* Books (great idea)

So, I had a lot of options to consider. But, what I landed on fell into the “creative” and “personalized” approach. In fact, it was a suggestion from fellow solo PR pro, Nicole Yost.

She had recommended the idea of approaching a local winery or roastery and asking them to make me a special “blend” in my name. Great idea, right?

So, I started scouting wineries. But, I couldn’t find a bite.

So, I started looking at roasteries, which led me to one of my favorite local coffee roasteries and coffee shops: Bull Run Coffee.

After a few emails and a meeting with one of the owners, he agreed to design a sticker with my company logo that they would then affix to their already great-looking coffee bags (love the weathered look of the Bull Run logo on the bag). All I had to do was come up with a name. Here’s where I landed.

BR Coffee

Bought some festive bags and tissue paper, added a personalized, handwritten note and voila–holiday gifts ready to be delivered!

And I couldn’t be happier with the results. And, from early returns, I’m getting some positive feedback from clients (and a few other folks, whom I will also be sending a bag).

As I went through this process, I tried to adhere to a few common themes:

Personalize, whenever possible

I could have written a form letter to all my clients and friend. But, I didn’t. Because I think in today’s day and age, a handwritten note goes a LONG ways. That strategy hasn’t failed me yet. Yes, it’s more work. But, hard work usually pays off.

Add the little touches

In this case, that meant personalizing the coffee with my own made-up name. I could have easily just bought the coffee straight off the shelves. This way, the coffee became MINE. But, it still had the local roastery’s name, which also carries a lot of weight/meaning since Bull Run is one of the better roasteries in town.

When possible, hand deliver

Obviously, this isn’t possible for every client or referral source (I had to send a few via snail mail). But, for the most part, I’m making every effort to hand deliver these gifts. Why? Because I can say “happy holidays” to them in person, thank them for their partnership and give them a strong handshake (or a hug, in some cases). Means a lot more to look into someone’s eye and thank them for a year of working together than it does in an email or note.



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