When I was working in the Public Relations department in-house at Liz Claiborne Inc. many years ago, it was customary to plan our holiday gift mailing to key members of the media, as well as send Season’s Greetings by way of corporate holiday cards to our various vendors, partners and colleagues.
We would spend THOUSANDS of dollars on pristine packaging, beautiful gift items and work diligently for weeks on snappy card sentiments with clever phrasing and eye-catching designs.
Our efforts were not done in vain – our editorial contacts would often commend our group for the thoughtfully packaged sentiments and our relationships remained strong and thriving, all thanks to a little holiday cheer sent via NYC bicycle messenger.
Fast forward 15 years later, and I’ve continued to apply the holiday cards and gifts to my work as an independent consultant with my Public Relations firm, Groupe a la Mode LLC.
Now, let’s be very clear about something – my budget is FAR LESS than that of the Liz Claiborne days. But the impact is just about the same.
Over the past few years that I’ve been in business on my own, I’ve made a point to keep a list of previous clients, current clients and prospects. Around the holidays, I send custom cards to them, while select clients also receive a personal gift.
It’s a personal touch that I bring to my business, and being in PR, it shows current and prospective clients the way I approach client relations, branding, etc. while at the same time, is just a nice thing to do.
Of course, the added bonus is when the phone rings or the email hits the inbox in early January with a new business lead – which I’m happy to report, has been the case for the past three years. In fact, I landed my biggest client engagement yet, all thanks to keeping in close touch over the years with a former fashion industry colleague via these holiday cards!
It may be the middle of the summer, but it’s not too early to start planning – both from a budget standpoint and a creative standpoint – what your holiday outreach might look like. Take advantage of the summer slowdown to canvass your existing and previous client lists, vendors, contacts and your prospects and start to pull together your target list. Then, find a graphic designer (there are many here at BCPWN!) or scour the web for an online card design service and take it away.
I know of some business owners who take advantage of more off-beat times to send greetings – some at Halloween, others at Thanksgiving. Some even on April Fool’s Day! Do whatever you think is right for your brand and your business to stand out in the mind of your clients and potential clients or contacts.
President, Groupe a la Mode LLC