When you think about giving a gift to a client or a team member, or anyone in your business network for that matter, one of your first thoughts might be “why not a hat and t-shirt with our company logo on it??” or “how about some of our cool company swag like chapstick and pens?” While stamping your logo on a piece of merchandise and giving that to someone to remember you by might seem like the best idea since the Squatty Potty, I’m going to give you a few reasons why this might just not be the case.
If you haven’t read the book Giftology by John Ruhlin, then I suggest that you do. It will give you a solid background on the art of gift giving and how it can take your business to the next level, and it will also give some validation to the ideas that I’m presenting here on company swag (I first learned about how terrible of a gift this stuff is by reading this book). It’s a really good one to learn from! We even read this as part of our company book club (check out everything that we learned right here)!
Ok, so why is this such a bad idea?
One of the biggest things to always keep in mind when giving a gift is that you should make it as personal as it can possibly be. The more personal a gift is, the more that gift is going to mean to the person that you are giving it to.
Sending someone a shirt with your company logo on it is about as impersonal as it can get. People say gift cards are impersonal? At least with a gift card you could learn the person’s favorite restaurant and customize the gift that way. You can still make that a good experience where they will remember you while they are using the gift card, and they will love it because it is their favorite place! A t-shirt though? Nothing says “I couldn’t think of a single thing I knew about you, and I forgot that I needed to get you a gift anyway, so I ran and searched through a dusty storage shelf and found this” like a good ol’ fashioned company t-shirt.
Try going out of your way to learn things about your clients or team members and really personalize the gifts that you send to them. It will go a much longer way than something like company swag. I promise.
Gifts Should Not Be About You
When you are giving someone a gift, the point of that interaction should be to uplift that person and to make their life better. The focus of it should be 100 percent on them. Don’t even think about yourself, your company, or the things that you will gain out of building up a relationship with this person. That’s not what this is all about!
Your entire thought process should center around the person who is receiving the gift and what would make them the happiest. When you give someone a piece of merchandise with your company logo plastered all over it, you’ve done the opposite of this. You’ve turned that incredible gift-giving experience into something that’s all about you and your company! You have defeated the entire purpose of the gift. They think “well that’s kind of cool.. But why would I want a hat with this logo on it? Under what circumstances would I actually wear this?”
Granted, people should be grateful for anything that is given to them, right? But just think about it from your perspective. How cool would it be if a company took the time to learn about you, found out who your favorite sports team was, and sent you a really nice hat in support of your team? Wouldn’t that be WAY cooler than getting a hat with that own company’s logo all over it? Wouldn’t you remember them way more for the Yankees cap that they sent your way that you are still wearing 20 years down the road rather than the swag hat they sent you that you promptly tossed in the garbage?
It seems kind of backwards that something without your company branding could have a much larger impact than something with your branding, but it’s absolutely true!
It’s Not Unique
Company swag is mass-produced, meaning that your clients may have received this same gift from many other people in the past. When you give them something truly unique and special, it shows that you are paying attention and that their satisfaction means a lot to you.
Giving something personalized to that person is a step beyond this idea, but at the very least, do something that is unique to what the other companies are doing! When everyone is sending out a ham or a box of chocolates at Christmas, send your client a video of all of your team members saying thank you and include a pizza party for their entire office along with it – something, anything! that’s a little bit out of the ordinary is going to stick a lot more than a mundane bit of company swag.
It’s Not Doing All of the “Free Advertising” That You Think It Is
One of the grand misconceptions of company swag is that you’re going to kill two birds with one stone.
On the one hand, you’re giving someone an awesome gift (everyone loves free stuff, right???), and on the other hand, they’re now going to rep your brand everywhere they go, and you’re suddenly going to have an influx of leads because your logo is on that person’s shirt!
Wrong on both accounts.
I’m not saying that your brand awareness wouldn’t increase if you had thousands of people repping your company all over the place. That would be awesome, wouldn’t it??
The problem is that you’re going to spend potentially thousands of dollars getting all of this swag put together, and people are – at best – going to wear your stuff as pajamas or maybe to mow the lawn. It’s very rare that someone is going to be attending an event full of your potential customers while wearing your company swag.
Giving gifts is an incredibly important opportunity to establish and build out a strong relationship with your people. Make sure that you go above and beyond in this department and really wow people with your thoughtfulness and care!
Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to build something special by giving them yet another t-shirt with yet another company’s logo on it for them to toss into their trash can.
If you need some great ideas on gift giving or want to learn more about how to build out an incredible gift giving operation at your company, check out the book I mentioned previously. Giftology will teach you everything that you need to know about this and how to do it in a genuine and caring way.
If you need some help bringing in more clients so that you have more people to give awesome gifts to, reach out to our own digital marketing team here. We’d love to sit down with you and plan out a strategy to increase your online presence and the amount of leads coming in through the internet!