Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters
A Little Giving Can Go a Long Way, At the Holidays… And Beyond.
By Lois K. Geller
At a wedding a few months ago, I met a nice man in the insurance business. He was bragging about his granddaughter, and I lamented that I wasn't a grandmother yet. A few days later he sent me a little book about being a grandmother with a sweet note. I know he didn't do it expecting any business from me, but the next time I think about buying insurance I'll give him a call.
Usually when I speak at industry conferences or to my class at NYU, I give things away: candles, furry animals, smurf trolls, that kind of thing. The little freebies are a great way to break the ice, and everyone likes to be acknowledged with something special.
At Mason & Geller, we try to make our company's Christmas gifts a little special. In our first year, when
we were struggling mightily, we designed our own Christmas card with the theme that we were a "little tree" getting ready to grow and we sent the cards out with a baby Christmas tree in a tube, ready to plant. Nowadays, we still make our own cards—the creative department comes up with some wild ones—and we make a point of finding interesting presents. One year we sent a battery-powered wood blimp (it worked!). Some years we send baskets of exotic food and drink. The point is that we try to be different and we truly want our "Season's Greetings" to be personal.
Not many companies do that sort of thing anymore. In fact, most companies do the absolute minimum. For instance, there's one holiday card that's so common (a bit of gold edging with the company and person's name printed on the inside) I got five of them last year. It screams boring.