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
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