Employees and customers deserve something special

Published Dec. 10, 2001

Employees and customers deserve something special

by Kathryn Christ

With the holidays approaching, many business people are considering the best way to show appreciation to their customers, employees and suppliers.

“Giving gifts at the holidays is a thoughtful way of showing how important the other person is to you,” said Kim Silbar, vice president-media services at Willman & Co., a local advertising agency.

“Each year, we develop a theme and then create greeting cards and related gifts to show our appreciation for our clients,” Silbar said. “Last year, we sent Christmas cards with a message describing the legend of the 1,000 cranes. The story holds that if you fold 1,000 origami cranes, your wish will come true. Our wish as a company was for peace on earth. We sent each client a card with a piece of origami paper and instructions for folding a crane. We also customized gifts along the Zen theme by giving items such as desktop waterfalls, scented candles, rock gardens and other items.”

There are other memorable ways to recognize the people important in your business or professional life.

One category of gifts for executives is stress-relievers.

It’s possible to find a great gift for anyone in this category. Certainly a round of golf, a relaxing massage or a day of beauty at a salon would appeal to most people.

Collectors’ items serve a niche market. Consider a laser-engraved hickory-shafted putter for the golf enthusiast.

“One year, we gave bottles of wine that were engraved with the Regency logo on the bottle,” said Mary Lou Fiala, president and CEO of Regency Realty. “They were great gifts because the wine could be enjoyed and then the bottle was a nice keepsake.”

Patriotism has surged, and there are a number of gifts that fit that sentiment. Consider a beautifully illustrated book about America or creating a gift around the red, white and blue theme. A box of plain, strawberry and blueberry bagels with a variety of cream cheese all wrapped in patriotic ribbons would be an office pleaser.

For an upscale gift, a piece of fine art is a good bet, perhaps a commissioned drawing of your corporate headquarters. Supporting local artists through purchases of sculptures, paintings and other pieces provides an opportunity for unique gift giving.

“Giving promotional items for the holidays has become part of our business culture,” said Mike Sims, executive vice president of Promo Depot. “It’s very effective if done tastefully because it serves a dual purpose. First, the gift shows appreciation for the business and second, the item serves as a nice holiday gift.”

Food items are popular. “One suggestion is a cheese and crackers basket that includes a cutting board imprinted with your company logo. Long after the cheese and crackers have been enjoyed, the cutting board remains as a residual benefit,” Sims said.

“Gift giving is a positive experience for our company,” Silbar said. It gives us the opportunity to come together once a year as a company and it encourages the imagination of our creative department. While our wish for peace on earth hasn’t come true yet, we enjoyed the opportunity to give back to our clients.”