Why and how your business should give appreciation gifts

Earlier this year I blogged about choosing the right recognition award. This time of year as everyone thinks of holiday gift giving, businesses are scrambling to show appreciation to their loyal customers, employees, and business associates.

Recognition versus Appreciation: What is the difference?

A recognition award is given as an acknowledgement for an achievement, e.g. top performer, dedicated volunteer, or years of service. For recognition awards, it is appropriate for the presenter’s company name or logo to be on the item.

Appreciation gifts are just that: gifts for people you appreciate. It is thoughtful and appropriate to the recipient. In the business world, the difference between a custom personalized gift and a can of honey-roasted nuts - which, while delicious, are somewhat generic - demonstrates your commitment to the relationship.

Business gift recipients – it’s not one-size-fits-all

Customers and clients come in all shapes and sizes. In the retail world, loyalty program members may get a free gift with purchase or special discount codes, and that is appropriate for the type of relationship. Across all industries, though, certain clients often rise to the top as a major part of your business. The same holds true for business associates; partners and vendors you work with regularly as an important part of your business might warrant a more thoughtful gesture than that can of nuts.

How to choose the right gift

So you’ve narrowed your list and have some names. But now what should you get them? Think about conversations you’ve had in meetings, on phone calls, or at business meals: what personal tidbits have you learned? What are their hobbies? Are they season ticket-holders who tailgate every home game? Avid runners or cyclists? Quilters? A bookworm? Do they live in a high-rise apartment, have a yard, or spend 300 days a year on the road? Are they single, married, have kids at home, or an empty-nester? A great gift will fit their life in or outside of the office.

When to give gifts

Contrary to popular belief or even the timing of this blog, the year-end holiday season is not always the best time to send gifts. With the hustle and bustle of parties and obligations with families and friends, it is too easy for gestures to get lost in the shuffle. A thoughtful gift delivered at a different time of year may make a bigger impact, especially if it geared toward a recipient’s seasonal interest: personalized barbeque tools in May or June or sports-themed items for the football fan in September.

How much should you spend on a business gift?

There is a target area between looking too generic and cheap (and probably wasting your money) or spending too much and making the relationship awkward. You are giving a gift, not offering a bribe to do more business. A general rule of thumb is to spend approximately what you’d spend to take the recipient out to a business meal.

When you shouldn’t give gifts!

As always, abide by the rules. Some employers – especially government agencies and elected officials – have strict policies about employees receiving gifts. In that case, a personal, hand-written letter expressing your appreciation for your relationship might be the most meaningful and legal show of gratitude.

A good rule of thumb to remember: if it has your logo prominently displayed on it, it is marketing. If it is customized for the recipient, it is a gift. Thoughtfully chosen, it will make an impression.

You see them in almost every business, university, community center, non-profit organization, club house, etc. Often mounted next to other achievement awards, you’ll find the “Perpetual Plaque”.

What is a Perpetual Plaque?

The perpetual plaque configuration typically provides a large “plate” or dominant area which describes the purpose or accomplishment being recognized and a collection of smaller plates which allow for variable data – typically, the names of those being recognized.

The value in the perpetual plaque is the ability to recognize more than one recipient on a single award. For example; an employee of the month, or multiple benefactors or contributors to a project. This type of plaque provides a plate or space for the name of each person being recognized without the cost of a separate plaque for each. And it logically groups the recipients under the common achievement or recognition.

VisionCraft has a large variety of layouts and materials to choose from - let us help bring your vision to life!

Updated: Jul 3, 2018

There is no doubt that shopping online is convenient. When it's time for a new pack of razors or a book for the upcoming business flight, nothing beats a quick trip to Amazon. Toss a few of these popular items in the cart and you’re on with your day.

There are online stores dedicated to awards and personalized items as well. Some of these appear well-stocked and seem to offer reasonable pricing. But is shopping for a personalized gift or recognition award as simple as browsing through the Office Products category at your favorite web store? For many, the answer is “no”, and this is where the convenience ends.

Convenience is defined as;

  • Anything that saves or simplifies work

  • The state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty

  • The quality of being useful, easy, or suitable for someone

  • Freedom from discomfort

If you are currently using, or considering using an online store for your personalized gifts and awards, consider the following:

  • Are you spending, or do you have, a lot of time to search online for that perfect recognition award or personalized corporate gift?

  • Are you confident that it’s a good fit for the recipient?

  • Do you know how it will actually look after YOUR message is incorporated?

  • Are you dealing with a trusted expert to guide you through the myriad of options? Someone who spends the time doing the sometimes-frustrating work of matching your vision and your organization's brand with a meaningful message.

  • Are you receiving a photo-realistic proof of your special gift BEFORE you commit?

  • Are you confident that your satisfaction is guaranteed without the hassle of dealing with nameless, faceless internet “resources”?

  • Are you receiving the level of service that you expect and deserve?

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you answered “no” to most or all of these questions.

Without providing further or more specific examples of how inconvenient it can be to select an important and personal gift online (I’ll save that for another day), consider what WOULD BE convenient.

Your personalization company and specifically, your representative, should be working with you and handling many of these things for you. Your partner in this space – and they should be a partner – must eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. It should be the reason they get out of bed in the morning!

Is your rep as passionate about providing you with the perfect personalized products as you are about serving your customers? If not, it may be time to interview another.

Call and interview us today – VisionCraft is up to the task. I think you’ll find partnering with us to be very convenient!