Why Xmas isn’t always the best time to reward clients

Are you just part of a mass herd of parties, dinners, gifts, cards and hampers to clients during the Xmas period?  Is there a better time to differentiate your brand and thank clients for their loyalty throughout the year?

The Xmas period is comparable to digital saturation and overwhelm. The noise, stress and expectations are exhausting for business and solo operators to say the least.   Many are in a  mad panic to finish work before the 25th along with juggling parties and other life demands.  Notwithstanding the time of year can also show up conflict with cultural beliefs, family and social pressures.  It’s like juggling balloons at a circus.

Then on top of all of this is the tradition of rewarding clients for their loyalty and custom with gifts, wine, dinners and Xmas parties. It’s also a very profitable  time of the year which keeps many sectors afloat (ie gift hampers, floristry, hospitality).

Now don’t get me wrong I’m no scrooge and enjoy the essence and spirit of gratitude, generosity and goodwill during the Xmas  season.  But equally after decades in business I am not convinced this is the best time of the year if you really want to stand out and show your unique business and personal brand.

Everyone is sending gifts at this time of the year seeking to be  memorable and augmenting relationships and the  following years trade.    Just like digital overwhelm and social media postings, it’s often really hard to get cut through.

If you have a key client who is  likewise considered a key client to others, it can be a fight for strike through space.  And if you have clients at the top corporate end of town it’s often impossible to be truly memorable.  Many tier 1 and 2 organisations are swimming in 100’s of gifts, cards, flowers and bottles of wine which drown their offices.  And there is just only so many parties one human can attend in a day.

You may have a cracker carefully thought out party planned for top clients, but the clash of dates may result in a low turnout.   The noise, space and decision making of which event to attend etc (which can in itself be so stressful) can just flummox the hell out of most people.

So the answer is to flip the traditional switch and make sure your personal and business brand is standing out in solo fashion (excuse the pun) where you have little or no competition for attention.

And that means gift giving  and parties outside of the Xmas period.  Your personal brand recognition and the unique value this will afford will be insurmountable.  And the benefit on a macro level is that the businesses that rely (and don’t get get much sleep) on the 3 week Xmas window will have a greater financial and physical spread throughout the year.

A few ideas to give gifts and parties outside of  the Xmas period:

  1.   The month/date that you first engaged the client
  2.   Anniversary month your client launched their business
  3.   Special event/launch of your client
  4.   Your business anniversary launch – make it a win-win you all celebrate
  5.   Tie in e dates of their favourite charities events
  6.   Easter – I think this is one of the most under-utilised dates and very few maximise the holiday.
  7.   February, May, September, October – these months are often in need of a bit of a mental boost and there is no    real competing events/holidays
  8.   Birthdays – this is real personal branding 101 – and it’s 1on1

The above 8 ideas are all very personal and not part of the tradition.  And that’s the gold where cut through and being memorable and appreciated really goes up a notch or five.

Whilst you may have missed the boat for this Xmas in changing course, there may be some windows left.   If you haven’t committed to gifts and cards etc, why not let clients know in emails that you have decided to do something different and will be planning a February event for example.  Or even taking the charity-giving route and advising you won’t be gift giving this year but allocating funds to charities and what is their preferred choice.

Whatever you do this year or next, be different and be brave.  Clients will see your unique value and brand in action.

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