Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters
I'm sure the good wishes are there … but there's nothing expressive, personal or special about it.
I bet companies send stuff like that because they think it's "safe," that it won't offend anybody. It also doesn't take a lot of time or effort, and it shows.
The point of sending cards is to reach out, affirm the connection you have with another human being and remind that person of your personal and professional relationship. (Maybe for some people it's just a professional relationship, but for me it's always both.)
So this year, when you're thinking about your company's gifts and cards, I hope you'll move outside your comfort zone and try to come up with something memorable.
Here are some fresh ideas for premiums, gifts, cards and whatnots … not necessarily for the holiday season:
• Covenant House sends a mailing that includes a Guardian Angel pin. I love the presentation and it's in keeping with the theme of the organization. I have no idea how well this mailing does, but I think the freemium is terrific. It's appropriate, personal and appeals to the kind of people who donate to Covenant House.
• My friend, Andrea Nierenberg, does corporate seminars on sales and presentation skills. At the end of her talk she hands out little mirrors that stand up. You're supposed to put the mirror on your desk so you remember to smile when you're talking on the phone. (Apparently, the person on the other end can tell the difference.)
• I write extensively about a company called New Pig in my recently published book, "Customers for Keeps." (They sell industrial cleaning products, and Pig stands for Partners In Grime.) The people there are just great. They deliver outstanding products with excellent service and you get a chuckle out of them all the time. They sent me a New Pig bobblehead doll, which is in a place of honor on my desk. (Right beside Andrea's mirror. Now I'm in danger of laughing out loud when I'm on the phone.)