What is a gift supposed to convey? Is it an expression of how you feel about the recipient? Would that be affection? Gratitude? Respect?
Or is a gift meant to convey something about you? Intelligence? Adventure? Humor?
If you are serious about your reputation – what we now call your personal brand, the ideal gift will say something about both you and your recipient. It will have the flavor or essence of your personal brand and a hearty helping of an interest of theirs. Thus you are underscoring the intersection between the two of you.
For example, I am Hello Kitty’s biggest fan. Nearly a disciple, actually. Hence, for a client who collects contemporary art, I’ve purchased the perfect gift. It’s Hello Kitty, Hello Art! by Roger Gastman. The pages feature the art of Gary Baseman and Yosuke Ueno among others – all with their particular take on Hello Kitty.
That is the secret to buying the perfect item. I call it the: “me-and-you gift.”
Give something that is special – not because it costs a lot, nor because it simply celebrates the recipient’s interests. Sure you want to be thoughtful, but as a brand you want to make a lasting impression – about you. Thus, look for something that underscores a (perhaps little known) dimension of you, in a way that pleases your recipient. Include a reference to that in your note.
“Jack, this book is a perfect intersection of your passion about contemporary art and my not-so-secret Hello Kitty addiction. Hope you enjoy it!”
Business gifts have typically gone out to clients, but if you want to make an impression on your boss, referral sources or recruiters: the same advice applies. As a publisher, I can’t help but steer you to books and ebooks. The choices are endless – almost literally. Just browse booksellers with your dual purpose strategy in mind.
For example, check out Chris Matthews’ new book, Kennedy: Elusive Hero. It’s perfect for that MSNBC fan, if that’s your news channel of choice as well. It’s out in paperback just in time for the giving season. You might write, “We’ve laughed and cried about politics this year, and I wanted to pay tribute to both a great US President and our favorite commentator.”
I also like this selection of potential matches for you and yours:
– The Lego Book from the Lego company
– Zombie: A Novel by J.R. Angelella
– Plutocrats The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland
– The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll
– Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum
– Puppyhood: Life-Size Portraits of Puppies at 6 Weeks Old by J. Nichole Smith
– Love Looks Not With the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen by Anne Denaiu
Remember: If you are going paperless, make sure to check which electronic device your recipient has. Then, order the ebook online. You may even have it sent on a specific date. Want it to arrive on Christmas Eve – before the morning crush of presents under the tree? Just select that date when you are making the purchase.
So the ideal business gift is a memorable, maybe even surprising “you and me” match. It gives you a new avenue to express your personal brand and show your recipient you have something in common. And friends, remember that Hello Kitty, Hello Art selection. A girl can only hope!