A Human Approach

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To Give or Not to Give…

To give or not to give, that is the question.

When I was growing up, occasions were always a big deal in our family. During a most hectic time of year, our mom inspired the magic of Christmas by celebrating family with every ounce of her being. We were all amazed at her humble, magnificent approach honouring the spirit, and the family, with decadent cuisine, eye-popping decor and the perfect gifts.

I’ve come to recognize that there are three types of giving:

1) With the anticipation or expectation of receiving something in return.
Have you ever given someone a gift and experienced their response to be, “But I didn’t get you anything!” If you’re giving something with the expectation of receiving a reward, a gift, a favourable position, additional business, P.R. or recognition – “I’ll give you something if you give me something in return” mindset – understand that’s not really giving, that’s trading.

2) Out of obligation.
I’m a people-watcher and I can’t help but notice the frustration on the faces of patrons in the store line-ups. On-line shopping has certainly reduced the mall chaos and subsequent wait-times for the next cashier. Still, the sighs of those in line might not be an expression of their tried patience but of the pressure of having to shop in the first place! In the workplace, those who procrastinate with their seasonal gift efforts don’t always do so as a result of challenging economics or overload – though those are surely powerful motivators for hesitation – it’s often that they feel the holiday dictates a must-give scenario.

3) From a place of love and gratitude.
When the motivation is at its highest vibration – love – giving is energizing. The value of the gift is not decided by monetary measurement as much by what the gift communicates.
In the workplace, seasonal gift giving is often a mix of all three; the real question, and success of your efforts being, in what proportion?
There can be some expectation that you’re solidifying your position with your customers and colleagues. You might also feel some pressure to join the ranks of the giving in a season that almost demands it. That’s business. Most importantly, though, is the “why” behind your giving effort. Is it because you truly want to recognize, appreciate and celebrate?

Here are a few ideas to help make your season a true PARTY

Personalized Gifts aren’t as much about branding as they are about appreciation. Including the recipient’s name or a personalized message are ways to communicate your message. Besides, no one ever regifted something that carried his or her name.

Appropriate There isn’t likely a one-size-fits-all gift for all of your customers, staff, supporters, stakeholders and suppliers. Break your list down into sections – perhaps A,B,C, levels of customers, staff, supporters (yes, your couriers and bank personnel count) – then choose something that suits their lifestyle and is appropriately personal or business-like, depending on the relationship. If it’s a team you’re recognizing, then gifting only the management might not help to convey your appreciation to everyone. Count heads, create thoughtful impact and gift everyone on the team.

Relevant My experience in this industry has most often been that people choose gifts based on what they like, not necessarily what’s relevant to the recipient. As you would choose a marketing piece to be a reflection of your business and relevant to the target audience, an impactful gift holds the same qualities.

Timely If the December holiday season is too rushed for you to produce an effective gift campaign – yes, calendars in February don’t cut it – choose a different time of year to celebrate. A retail theme like Valentine’s Day, Canada Day, Memorial Day, Labour Day, can all be great opportunities to set yourself apart and deliver a message of thanks without getting lost in the shuffle of the season.

You “You” are always the greatest gift you bring to any relationship. If there is ever a chance to deliver your gift or message in person – individually or at an event – your presentation will surely be the icing on the cake.

To give or not to give? Is that the question? Giving, in the spirit, is always the right answer.

Inspiring Results on Purpose.

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