Your Thoughts: Corporate Holiday Gifts

17 October 2016 | 16 Comments

cmf_14_cndy50002c_w4_sqI know, it’s a bit early for the holiday season, but I like to plan ahead!

Over the last few years, I’ve made it a tradition in November and December to show my appreciation to the partners who have a big impact on Stonemaier Games. Many of them from 2015 are listed here, and that list will expand in 2016.

I thank these people in different ways, but if an individual had a particularly big impact on Stonemaier Games in the last year, I like to send them a token of my appreciation. I’m not particularly good at this, as gifts aren’t my love language, but I do my best.

Last year I went to a local chocolatier and filled a bunch of custom boxes with carefully selected truffles. We sent this to our key partners in the US. For international helpers, I located local chocolatiers in their area and placed orders remotely.

All of this requires a surprising amount of time and effort. I have to find sellers within each area, find the right product, and place the order. For the US, I can either do the same thing or try to support a local business, but then it takes us additional time to select the item, pick it up, and ship it out.

This may not sound right, but I’ll say it: I wish it were a lot easier to send these gifts. Yes, it’s the thought that counts in these types of situations, but as my list continues to grow each year, I wish there were a simpler way to send these corporate holiday gifts.

Here’s what I really want: I’d like to upload a spreadsheet with all recipient addresses to a single service, enter the type of gift (chocolate, gift card, etc) and the budget, and the service would automatically ship the gifts to each person from within their region.

I’m mentioning this to you because it’s quite possible this service already exists. Perhaps it’s called “Jamey should hire an assistant to do this for him.” But it seems like the kind of thing that could be automated.

What do you think? Does this exist? Do you send holiday gifts to partners who’ve had a big impact on your business? How do you manage that process?

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16 Comments on “Your Thoughts: Corporate Holiday Gifts

  1. Bradley: Thanks for your detailed version of this idea! I researched a slightly less ambitious version yesterday: Apparently there are companies that make custom chocolate coins wrapped in “gold” foil. We could make Viticulture versions of those coins. My one hesitation is I don’t know if the chocolate is very good, so I’ve requested a sample first.

  2. Looking through the previous comments, how about finding a local chocolatier or similar provider, get a custom mold made of the realistic resource pieces and a stonemier specific thing (like your logo), and have each piece be represented by a different flavor. So, a straight milk, dark, or orange peel white chocolate for your logo (I would go with the orange white for the logo since that would likely match the color to flavor the best, but the straight milk or dark would both be classy choices). Perhaps a crisp for the metal, a puffed rice or peanut for the food resource. Cherry is a classic for hearts and pop rocks would sparkle like Stars.

    The benefit for each resource being a specific flavor is that you can include a cheat sheet so people can avoid flavors they dislike. If you look at the bottom of the lid of most mass market mixed chocolates, you will find a similar cheat sheet.

    And this is a gift you can have remade each year easily. Maybe a bit extra work the first year, but less so in subsequent years.

    Now, if I was to receive a corporate gift, cider, money, or loose leaf tea would be my preference, in roughly that order, but that is just me because I love alcohol, am not making a lot of money, and enjoy an occasional hot tea with my tea set.

    Hope this rambling helps. If not, have a good night.

  3. I really like the idea of chocolates that are more custom to your company using molds like coins or I wonder if you could do something from the treasure chest realistic resources. Now that I think about it what about a box of chocolates that looks like the treasure chest with the resources inside done in chocolate form. That’d be neat to open up!

  4. I like the buy support-local approach. It says something special that it represents where you’re from and your values.
    Also, I remember visiting a place in the Central West End every Nov-Dec for their chocolates. They were quite good …and expensive. However, I’m not certain the expense is warranted if you have a long list of recipients.
    With more advance time, you could work with them to have your own molds: chocolate meeples or coins for Viticulture. Create a signature gift?

  5. I think you’re better served finding something local. For example, being from South Florida, we’ve sent out key lime cookies or local honey. So, maybe, popping corn or gooey butter cake (if my Google skills have served me well).

  6. My 2.5 cents: corporate gifting is one of those things that can quickly get dismissed if it’s not a thoughtful gift. We need to be mindful of our audience in order to make them feel truly valuable — otherwise it’s like that generic birthday card you get from the dentist. It hits the trash can, not the mantle.

    Now that said, I still think you can find economies with a creative concept that is unique to you and your brand — perhaps instead of chocolates its a “starting player” token with the SG logo beautifully crafted into it, designed by a fantastic sculptor? You know…something the majority of your audience can use with virtually any game they play? Maybe a custom die? In my estimation this allows you to use the manufacturing channels you already use, lower your cost, and create impact. If it’s not a gaming reference one could easily come up with a crowdfunding-themed gift that makes people say, “ohhh, that’s clever” which then reflects their view of the brand. Or, maybe it’s a cat meeple with a funny poem and a discount code for your store. IDK.

    In the end, if the thought is really what counts, we have the opportunity to show the thoughtfulness and win their hearts (again!). Although I appreciate Fiverr a lot, outsourcing one’s generosity in this culture seems a little bit less authentic than it should be — especially for the people your appreciate the most.

    I realize that I might be in the minority here but this is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way and I’m really really glad I did.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! That’s an interesting idea about us creating something unique for our valued partners. I’m not sure if all of them will value it (they’re not all gamers), and we’d only need to produce 20-30 of them, and we often thank the same people, so we’d need to make something new each year. It’s a great idea, but it might end up resulting in a lot more work in an area where I’m looking to reduce the workload. :) Perhaps Stonemaier-themed custom chocolates? We could send them out every year and reuse the moulds.

      1. Another idea we do alot of in those instances is partner with small local companies we work with and do in-kind trading, so my customers will receive gluten-free mixes, wine, and other items like that in a hand-assembled basket with some swag from my company (my company is called Blue Blazes so we have matchbooks with blue tips and cards that are die-cut to look like the edges have been burned).

        In this way, we celebrate the brands of the people in our circles and help give them visibility also. The matchbooks were a 1-time purchase that we use every year, time and again. Small quantities are very manageable, especially if you’re only talking about 20-30.

        **But hey, chocolate isn’t going away any time soon. :)

    1. To be honest, I’ve never used Fiverr, but I know people who have (and similar sites). At the same time, I’m not sure if I would want to involve my friends in a “business transaction” like this. I guess that’s not a very decisive answer :)

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