Fostering Client Relationships with Branded Gifts

Hello, thoughtful friend! You are so sweet for wanting to gift your clients something special. Sending client gifts is a great way to build your brand and foster positive relationships from the start. But what exactly is that something special? How do you treat them to a gift they’ll love while still representing your brand?

Let’s start with why it’s important to foster a positive client relationship through branded gifts. Your clients hired you for a reason. They like you and what you have to offer and expect to see a certain style from you. We are all attracted to strong brands, as they’re easier to predict and rely upon, so gifting something that is “on brand” will only nurture your clients to trust you even more. And should a dilemma arise for whatever reason during the course of your relationship, a thoughtful gift could proactively prevent the issue from ever escalating.

So, how do you get started? Think about each element of a thoughtfully designed gift and ask yourself:

If your brand were a _______, what would it be?

You were most likely encouraged to ask yourself questions like this when going through the branding process, and they’re also great tools to help you design a branded gift that your clients will love.

Let’s take a look at the three major elements of a branded gift:

The Vessel

If your brand were a gift box, what would it be? Is it a luxurious one that opens smoothly while reflecting a high-gloss finish? Or maybe a beautiful seagrass basket that can be kept for years to come? Does your brand care deeply for the environment and wish to use a box made from recycled materials? Or could a magnetic gift box that is perfect for storing photos and memories best represent your brand? The box, or vessel, is one of the first elements your client will see and feel when receiving your gift, so make sure you don’t overlook this important piece. You want it to look and feel like your brand and reflect what is most important to you.

The Goodies

What goodies (aka the gift itself) represent your brand? This is definitely what everyone focuses on most, and for good reason. It’s the heart of your gift! While I believe that what you give is intended for the recipient and should be something they enjoy, the items inside really need to represent your brand, too. (Fortunately, since your clients were attracted to your brand in the first place, they should love receiving a gift that reflects it.) A well-selected branded gift will boost their confidence in choosing you, so I wouldn’t concern yourself with trying to gift something different to each client. Just make a smart gift plan and stick to it.

When selecting which items to include, I encourage you to gift a mix of goodies, especially if your clients are couples or families. Consider giving them a few different kinds of treats, thoughtful items, or gift cards for memorable experiences or helpful services. However, beware of gifting a lot of “stuff.” I am a firm believer in simplicity and never want to clutter someone’s home with tchotchke gifts. Finding a balance between gift items to consume and gift items to keep is always a good idea, and one that your clients will appreciate.

To choose those edible treats, let’s go back to our original question: if your brand were a snack, what would it be? What does it taste like? How is it packaged? There are so many delicious treats out there, but sometimes the packaging isn’t the best fit. Make sure the product “looks” like you and the quality matches the level of your brand. If you know of food allergies your client may have, please keep that in mind when selecting edible treats. There is nothing worse than sending a gift that sends your client to the hospital! I joke, but please be mindful of allergies whenever possible.

The Finish

Are you a French blue silk ribbon that flows elegantly off the package? Or is your brand a perfectly tied satin bow with clean-cut edges? Maybe twine wrapped in a simple fashion reflects your brand better, and you grace it with a sprig of freshly cut boxwood.

You could attach a gift tag with their names written in lovely calligraphy or maybe a tag adorned with your logo, but whatever you choose, make sure it represents the business you are building. Feel the weight of the paper. Choose the style of calligraphy/font you use carefully. Make sure you spell your clients’ names correctly and include a handwritten sentiment thanking them for choosing you. Finally, I highly suggest including your contact information again and reminding them how to best get in touch with you.

 

When it’s all said and done, ask yourself this: does the gift you designed reflect your brand? Is it something that you would love to receive if you were the client? Branded gifts reflect consideration and help strengthen your relationships with your clients, so it’s worth the extra effort to get them just right.

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Alicia Betz

Alicia leads Tuesdays Together DC/Alexandria and owns The Welcoming District which specializes in thoughtful gift designs for weddings, clients, workshops, and everyday celebrations!

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