With the holidays fast approaching you may not be thinking about advertising.  However, this is one of the best times of year to get your business noticed and most importantly REMEMBERED!  Gifts given at this time of year may yield substantial business returns for years to come.

It is a fact businesses spend over one billion dollars a year on advertising and gifts alone during the holiday season.  Here is the kicker though; most of these gifts are generic items offering no clue of WHO the gift was from, except for the equally generic card solely with the senders name on it.  How forgettable!  While the plain card is a good thought, the saying, "It's the thought that counts", is NOT good enough for us business owners, nor is it going to seed life long business relationships.

Here is an example to think about.  Say you are a tech company and your competition gives a chocolate gift basket to a company or client you do business with, or would like to do business with.  Their company name is not prominently displayed on the packaging and the only person who knows where it came from is the person who opens the card, if the card is opened at all. 

How many times does a plain "thank you" card end up in the round file? The basket is set out on the counter for all to enjoy, and they do--with no clue of WHO was kind enough to send such a treat!

HOWEVER you decide to spend the same amount of money, if not a little more, and have the chocolates embossed with your company logo, the nuts labeled with your company logo AND the ribbons imprinted with your company logo.  Now EVERYONE is going to know who that gift basket came from, even if they pick up a stray chocolate!  Most importantly, your company name and logo will be remembered!

This is just one example of how a little extra planning and creativity has the potential to increase your company's visibility among the competition.  You not only created a POSITIVE memory with the chocolate, but your logo has been seen repeatedly.  Remember, people associate quality with name recognition.

There are a number of ways to use this strategy. If you are on an extremely tight budget, invest a little on custom-made ribbon giving your homemade gifts that extra zing and special touch.  Personalized coffee mugs (unique ceramic or travel mugs) can be easily dressed up and reused by the recipient in any number of ways, showing off your business name and logo long after it is given!  How about personalized gift totes that are made of canvas and can be used again and again, showing your company is environmentally friendly? 

There are even companies that will make up a gift basket that is full of personalized products and stuffed with your company's literature. Personalize ornaments and tins that your clients (or employees) can enjoy year after year, giving the recipient a memory of your business along with displaying your name throughout the holiday season every time it is used.  Even a simple ball cap, emblazoned with your logo, for those lazy hair days will be a hit.

The only rule is to not gift alcoholic beverages unless, of course, you are involved in the wine/liquor business.  Otherwise, the sky is the limit for ideas! 

Tanya Castilleja is a Promotional Products Specialist & Owner of TLC Concept, a locally owned advertising agency. For more information and ideas, contact her at (503)833-2080 or tlconcepts@charter.net.

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