How to Avoid Bungling Your Holiday Gifting

Posted by Inside Influence Report | Dec 12, 2011 2:00:00 AM

Your_logo_hereAfter last week’s post on the attempt of Starbucks to give holiday gifts, I thought the following observation might be useful. 

John’s wife works for a large multinational financial services company – let’s call it “XXX Card” – which has thousands of employees. For Christmas each year, XXX Card gives points that employees can spend on high quality items from the company’s beautiful holiday gift catalog. Choices include: fix-a-flat kits, aprons, barbeque sets, tents, high-end leather jackets, silk scarves, luggage, and crystal – some worth hundreds of dollars. 

On the face of it, these are very generous gifts. But wait! Each of these “gifts” comes wearing the “XXX Card” logo – on everything! Aprons, tents and leather jackets are monogrammed with the logo. The logo is even etched into that expensive crystal! Amazing!

Items monogrammed or etched with a company logo may be great for promotions or advertising, but for Christmas gifts? Not so much! “Gifts” like these send a confusing message. Are they meant to thank employees or to use them as part of the company’s advertising campaign?

Research shows that gifts are most effective when they are unexpected, significant (which does not mean expensive) and personalized. Imagine how employees would feel if XXX Card offered these same gifts without the company logo. Even better, consider what it would be like receiving that gift with your monogram on it rather than the company’s! That would be significant and personalized giving! 

In short, there’s nothing wrong with companies using their logo on merchandise for promotion or advertising. However, they cannot expect these items to initiate the same type of reciprocity or good will with employees.

Have you ever received gifts with a company’s logo?  Did it make you feel very indebted to the giver?

What do you end up doing with gifts with company logos on them?

How have you personalized the gifts that you give?

Topics: Science, Research, Dr. Cialdini, Psychology of Persuasion