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BM_ES2By Elizabeth Sparrow, Managing Director – Blabbermouth

There was a time when I received corporate Christmas gifts such as smoked salmon hampers, bottles of Champagne and huge boxes of Belgian chocolates. But that was a long time ago when showering clients with gifts was the expected norm. Then the recession hit and we made do with Christmas cards. Now, with mass access to e-marketing platforms, traditional cards have become a thing of the past and an electronic card is all that is expected.

What has caused this sudden decline in generosity during our Yuletide season? Could it be the implications of The Bribery Act introduced last year? Could it be firms’ hesitance to ‘flash the cash’ in times of austerity? Or is it simply that the economic downturn has meant tighter operating margins?

Whatever the reasons behind the decline in corporate Christmas gift giving there is a question about its impact on client relations. I personally do not miss a desk covered with corporate Christmas cards that I felt obliged to display rather than being recycled on the same day of receipt, but I do miss the excitement of parcels being delivered to my office and the discovery that the gift was something I liked or could eat.

Corporate gifts are a way of demonstrating to your clients that their business is valued and that you have taken the time to try and please them. Is this not something that appeals to all of us? Choosing the appropriate corporate gift is of course a minefield but with a little thought and planning you can stand out from the crowd and cement those client relationships that you have spent all year nurturing.