From hir­ing your own cas­tle to send­ing staff or clients on a For­mula 1 track day, there is a cor­po­rate gift for ev­ery­one, writes Clare Mackay

The Herald Business - - Special Report -

IMAG­INE invit­ing all the staff to spend a whole week­end in a mag­nif icent Scot­tish cas­tle – it would cer­tainly be more glam­orous than any pre­vi­ous sales de­part­ment team-build­ing ex­er­cises. Pro­vided no one sug­gests any kind of Up­stairs Down­stairs peck­ing or­der, a good caterer and a busy out­door itin­er­ary could make this the kind of cor­po­rate treat em­ploy­ees might truly en­joy this Christ­mas.

It’s al­ways tricky sort­ing out the sea­sonal ges­tures, but a lit­tle bit of cre­ativ­ity can go a long way in es­tab­lish­ing your com­pany’s fes­tive largesse as a cut above the rest.

The Scot­tish Youth Hos­tels As­so­ci­a­tion re­ally do hire out some of their most ex­cit­ing build­ings – in­clud­ing the afore­men­tioned and mar­ble-statue f illed Car­bis­dale Cas­tle, over­look­ing the Kyle of Suther­land, or the Lochranza hos­tel on Ar­ran.

But what­ever you de­cide to or­gan­ise for val­ued staff and col­leagues, Re­mem­ber, this is a chance to re­ally in­dulge in the true fes­tive spirit of cor­po­rate giv­ing.

So what about a day at the races? Or even sim­ply those ac­tiv­ity-based vouch­ers, where the lucky re­cip­i­ent can in­dulge in a day’s bal­loon­ing, white-wa­ter raft­ing, grand prix car rac­ing, or pam­per­ing at a lux­u­ri­ous spa?

But if you’ve al­ready bought the bot­tle bags – for­get it. Just send ev­ery­one a mixed case ... af­ter all, it saves wor­ry­ing about whether they pre­fer white or red.

De­cid­ing what Christ­mas gifts to send to clients can be a lit­tle more tou­ble­some, how­ever. Find­ing the right bal­ance, in terms of the gift’s per­ceived value, is cer­tainly im­por­tant, but it shouldn’t frighten you off the whole cor­po­rate gift idea al­to­gether.

For un­less you are con­sid­er­ing leav­ing a gleam­ing new Fer­rari on the lawn of your lo­cal coun­cil’s plan­ning supremo, the send­ing of such presents is gen­er­ally viewed as a per­fectly ac­cept­able part of build­ing good busi­ness re­la­tion­ships.

Clearly, there are cer­tain rules to bear in mind, and we must be care­ful not to send any­thing that might be con­sid­ered in­ap­pro­pri­ate, es­pe­cially when deal­ing with the pub­lic sec­tor. How­ever, it’s un­likely a box of choco­lates, for in­stance, would cause a scan­dal.

And it is gen­er­ally a mis­take to con­sider this an­nual rit­ual an op­por­tu­nity for a spot of free ad­ver­tis­ing. So leave the spe­cially printed mugs, pens and key fobs to the con­fer­ences and re­cep­tion give­aways.

For the most part, a mod­est but taste­ful gift is an ex­cel­lent way of de­liv­er­ing your com­pany’s sea­sonal and non-spe­cific thankyou.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, many com­pa­nies opt for a good bot­tle of malt whisky. It’s a fine choice, es­pe­cially if the sender does not know all the in­di­vid­u­als who will be re­ceiv­ing the gift. It will gen­er­ally be ap­pre­ci­ated by most – es­pe­cially as it is a gift that can be handed on to an­other, if the orig­i­nal re­cip­i­ent is not so keen.

Adding a per­sonal touch to a gift is al­ways a wel­come ges­ture, but where this is not pos­si­ble, make the per­sonal touch rel­e­vant to your com­pany, rather than the re­cip­i­ent.

With whisky, for in­stance, you can make a virtue out of sourc­ing your near­est dis­tillery, show­ing sup­port for an­other, per­haps lo­cal, com­pany.

In fact, the lo­cal el­e­ment can be em­pha­sised in many ways, per­haps send­ing gift packs from a nearby beauty store, or per­son­al­is­ing ham­pers with some well-cho­sen lo­cal pro­duce such as smoked cheeses or fish.

Hav­ing ham­pers made up with a se­lec­tion of Fair­trade goods is an­other ges­ture in­creas­ing num­bers of peo­ple would ap­pre­ci­ate.

The green theme can be built upon too as many or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing char­i­ties, con­tinue to push eth­i­cal giv­ing into the cor­po­rate gift mar­ket.

Food and drink, trav­el­ling clocks, foun­tain pens, wine glasses, silk scarves – the fes­tive sea­son of­fers the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to in­dulge in the gen­eral at­mos­phere of good­na­tured giv­ing.

Flagged up: track days are a great gift

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