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The Power of Positive Reinforcement

How to tailor business gifts to the new economy.

September 2011 By Colleen McKenna
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Surprisingly, business gifts, much like lipstick, nail polish, spa goods and other luxuries are not tanking with the economy. Companies might be cutting back on resources, employees and even electronics, but they are not cutting back on awards and gifts. Recognition of good work is an integral part of corporate infrastructure. Eliminating business gifts is like taking thank-yous out of the workplace. Everyone performs a bit better with some encouragement.

To keep top performers at their best, companies are rearranging their employee promotions and finding a way to give back at a lower price point. Below are three different categories that show you how to sell business gifts at the discount companies now expect.

The traditional idea of household-themed business gifts is typically centered around higher price-point vanity items like picture frames, barware and electronics. "The trend moved away from corporate-type gifts like poker sets and cocktail shakers to household items that typically get used on a day-to-day basis, like coolers and blankets," said Neal Harper, chief operating officer, Logomark, Tustin, Calif. These more practical housewares are usually used for larger promotions. "A mass company gift is intended to create brand awareness through many different channels using the same item," said Harper.

When it comes to decorating housewares and awards, Harper noted that finished metals like brushed aluminum and stainless steel are solid materials for corporate gifts. "When presenting a business gift that is laser engraved, the logo enhances the finished product when done in a more subtle manner," he said. "Laser engraving as a decoration method will always add to the perceived value of a product making it that much more effective as a business gift."

Engraving a logo adds awareness and class to the company, but awards are for specific people so sometimes further personalization is required. "The impact that personalizing a gift brings is quite different from merely branding the product alone," said Harper. It adds value to the gift and distinguishes the recipient. "Personalizing a product that is not used by the recipient is a lost opportunity when the goal is ultimately to make a greater impact," continued Harper. The risk of personalizing an unused gift encourages end-buyers to spend more money on personal awards.

These expensive gifts might seem like one-time purchases, but Harper insisted they are not. He urged distributors to push program selling in this area. "What many distributors are unaware of is how often their customers go to retail outlets to purchase awards," he said. Distributors can grab this missed revenue by assuring their clients they can provide gift items regularly. To help stay in the front of your clients' minds, Harper suggested working on several projects at once so they'll think of you when an award ceremony comes up.



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