COLUMN: Creative Thinking – ‘Take care of your clients and staff’
You may be too busy to think ahead to next week, let alone plan anything Christmassy, but you really still do have time to pull it all out of the bag.
Step one. Get it booked.
Even if it is just a date in the diary, you need to do that right now, otherwise you’ll find your favourite clients just can’t make it and it becomes a pain to organise.
If you’re on a budget, simply opening up the doors to your shop or office and inviting your customers to come in for a drink or two can work a treat.
Think outside your own customers and invite people you’d like to work with and other local businesses, too.
Hopefully, they will be impressed by what your own customers have to say about you and you’ll pick up some extra business in the months to follow.
People make an event and, if you invite the right ones along, you’ll be halfway there. Just don’t over-invite or you’ll never have time to talk to everyone.
If, on the other hand, you have a little budget to play with, consider some form of corporate hospitality to let people know you appreciate them.
Give some thought to an activity which works best for your business and set your budget.
You could take a table at Diss Rugby Club and wine and dine pre-match or book a round of golf at Diss Golf Club if you fancy some sporting action.
However, if you want a more creative hands-on activity, I’d highly recommend booking a group wreath-making event (try Gabriels Gardens) or a ceramics workshop to create Christmas decorations (try Claire Porter Ceramics) for your clients to take away.
None of these are our clients, just brilliant local businesses who are well worth supporting.
Don’t delay, invite today
Whatever you decide, now is the time to send out invites.
Just check the date you have in mind doesn’t clash with anything major locally and pick the right day of the week. It’s always safer to plan something midweek.
I’ve enjoyed some brilliant Christmas parties over the years, but the best ones usually tend to be when the boss picks up the bill, so, even if you can’t afford to feed all of your team, make sure the drinks keep flowing.
Happy staff will tell their family and friends about their party, so it’s all good PR. Whether it’s reported on your social media account or not is your choice.
The perfect gift
Corporate gifts can be cheesy and fun or stylish and practical.
You don’t tend to get much in between, so, before you start ordering thousands of fidget spinners, think.
Try to pick a gift that’s on brand and one you’d be happy to receive.
There is still a place for quality pens, useful desk calendars and mugs, but how many people would really use a branded diary?
If in doubt, choose a local hamper, drink or chocolates. Never try to give something too personal to clients.
Stylish as they are, does anyone really want a Splice Creative branded polo shirt?
Support a local cause
I love to receive cards through the post and, as designers, we enjoy creating Christmas cards for our clients.
However, many businesses have stopped sending them, either to avoid yet more waste or because of the sheer expense.
If you don’t send cards, think about sending a Christmas message digitally via email or an e-newsletter and making a donation to a local charity instead.
This year, I think we’ll do something a little creative to send digitally to our clients. After all, we still have bags of time to pull it together, don’t we?
– Kerry is the director of Diss media and marketing agency Splice Creative