Thursday, December 18, 2008

Corporate Gifts for the Propert Profesional

Corporate Gifts
Property Professional
Nov/Dec edition
By Lisa Witepski

The festive season means different things to different people, but almost everyone looks forward to opening a pressie or two come the year’s end. Your colleagues and clients are no different, so here’s how to choose a gift that will impress.
“A festive season gift is the ideal way to show employees and clients that you value them,” opines Charene van der Westhuizen of Gifts Inc. “That said, the wrong gift can cause offense, while splurging on an inappropriately expensive present may make the receiver feel uncomfortable.”
Kim Vermaak of Belle Regalo agrees – and she maintains that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in this regard is to confuse promotional gifts with year-end presents. “The end of the year is not the time to go cheap and nasty,” she says emphatically. “The fridge magnet with emergency contact numbers you usually give buyers is an excellent branding tool, but that’s precisely what it is: a promotional item designed to create brand awareness. The year-end gift, on the other hand, acknowledges a client’s loyalty.”
With that in mind, some items are an instant no-no: come the year end, says Van der Wetshuizen, most people are looking forward to leaving their desks behind, so a desk-top item, although a practical choice at any other time of the year, will come a far-off second to a present that can be used during the upcoming holiday season. Think fun and family, Vermaak and Van der Wetshuizen advise: car emergency kits that will come in handy during a road trip emergency; braai sets (Vermaak recommends the Cobb, a South African award winning domed mini braai that weighs only 4kg), beach mats and travel luggage. Leisure activities like games are also well received: backgammon and travel chess are good ideas, says Van der Westhuizen. For women, homeware is always popular (the Dianna Carmichael range is another suggestion from Vermaak) – perfect for summer entertaining. Fashion items like pashminas are also a big hit. Finally, think travel – Vermaak reveals that travel books are in huge demand, the most popular proving to be 1001 Places to see before you die.
Whichever gift you choose, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the festive season is synonymous with Christmas. It’s special to people of all religions, but sending a devoutly Jewish client a box of Christmas decorations may be just as offensive as sending a Muslim client a bottle of whisky or wine glasses.
For this reason, it’s wise to conduct a little research around your clients and employees first. “One of my clients sends out an annual questionnaire to top clients, asking for suggestions - a kind of corporate ‘Santa wish list’,” Vermaak says. “Before making your purchase, ask yourself if this is a gift you would like to receive, and ask around to see if others share your view. And, to really stand out, find out what other members of your industry are giving as gifts – and do something completely different.”
As for how much to spend – Vermaak advises that you look at a client’s spending patterns to calculate their value. Spend too little, and they’ll think you’re cheap; too much, and you’ll seem desperate at best, bribing at worst. The largest portion of your gifting budget should be reserved for repeat clients.
When it comes to employees, van der Westhuizen believes it’s best to give the same present to everyone in the company – something that people at all levels of the company will enjoy.
“This can be difficult, as few companies have homogenous workforces,” she allows. “That’s why it’s best to plan your gifts well in advance – you’ll have more choice. What’s more, many suppliers run out of stock the closer it comes to the Festive Season.”
Quality is another factor to consider. If possible, says Van der Wetshuizen, examine a sample before ordering.
Once you’ve decided on what’s going to fill your clients’ stockings, think about ways of presenting it. This can make all the difference: use thick, quality paper that won’t tear, and use organza and satin ribbons to add a splash (Van der Wetshuizen believes that your company logo on the ribbon adds just the right amount of subtle branding) – and don’t forget a well-worded greeting card. If you have time, says Vermaak, try to hand deliver the gifts – if not, then at least try to drop off presents to your top five clients in person. “If you’re using a courier, insure the presents, as a lot of gifts go missing,” she notes.
Finally, make sure your gift reaches the client by no later than 10 December – most schools break up by the fifth of the month, and families make a beeline to their holiday destination.
corporate gift ideas, visit

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Business of Gifts

A token of goodwill
Publication: Business Traveller Africa Date Published: September 2008 Author: Lisa Witepski

How many branded T-shirts and caps lie, unworn, in the back of your cupboard? Make sure your corporate gifts don’t follow the same route by tapping into the latest trends, and making your choices with care.
You invest a lot of time and effort into selecting presents for your friends and family, so shouldn’t you do the same for clients and suppliers? Absolutely, insist Charene van der Westhuizen of Gifts Inc, Benje Du Toit of Giftwrap, and Belle Regalo’s Kim Vermaak. All three point out that your choice of gift is informed by two key questions: What is your budget? What is the aim of your gift – is it to promote the brand, to say thank you, or to nurture your relationship further?

These considerations are important, says Vermaak, because your gift is heavily influenced by your relationship with the receiver. “If your partnership stretches back several years, it’s appropriate to spend a little more. However, if’s a new prospect, a pricey gift may be viewed as a bribe.” With this in mind, it’s always wise to investigate whether your client’s company has a policy about gifts, as well as ensuring you’re clued up about gifting etiquette when transacting with multinational companies.

Branding is something else to keep in mind. According to Vermaak, the rule of thumb is, if it’s a promotional gift, go big. Branding on a mug, notebook or pen will ensure that your company remains top of mind and visible, as these are items used on a daily basis. Small companies should also consider adding their contact details.

On the other hand, lifestyle gifts intended to foster customer loyalty may lose a little cachet if they’re more heavily branded than a billboard – plus, they might just be relegated to the ‘stuff I never use’ pile, which defeats your purpose. That doesn’t mean you have to forego all branding. A subtle rendering of a logo in a shade or two lighter or darker than its background is an ideal way of making your mark.
Whatever your gift, quality is of the utmost importance, Van der Westhuizen points out. A brand that upholds an exclusive image would be entirely undone by pens that don’t work, or fraying T-shirts. But, agrees Du Toit, even brands that don’t target upper end consumers shouldn’t skimp on their gifts – a cheap handout makes you look cheap. By the same token, spending less on important clients – especially if you’re a large corporate with significant budget – is nothing les than insulting. “Tailor your gifts to suit your audience,” Van der Westhuizen advises. In doing so, research is key: if you know your client eats only kosher food, avoid gifts that may contravene dietary guidelines, like biltong. The same applies to giving presents of alcohol, as drinking is taboo in many cultures. Also, warns Du Toit, be careful of gender-sensitive gifts that may inadvertently offend: you might think that a female client will be thrilled with a bunch of flowers or bath products, but these may be viewed as too personal. Most importantly, though, conducting research will impress your clients by showing you’ve invested thought and consideration in your gift. “Think of gifting as part of your overall marketing strategy,” Vermaak suggests.

With the basics in hand, you have an enormous scope of items to choose from. Key trends at present, perhaps unsurprisingly, include soccer, all things digital and eco-aware goodies.

Standard items, such as pens, keyrings, stress balls and coffee mugs, are being revisited to reflect our preoccupation with these areas. For example, soccer ball motifs are increasingly common.
Gifts that enhance or complement clients’ computers are also a sound option – especially as they’re in frequent use, and therefore provide an excellent branding opportunity. Try something different, Van der Westhuizen urges: the international Aqua range of computer mice has attracted enormous attention for its sleek styling, with a liquid filled base creating a space for a floating 3D logo. Also popular are USBs, which can fill a double function if loaded with company information. Remember, though, that with software becoming more affordable, it’s unseemly to give a USB with memory capacity of less than one gigabyte. Don’t forget other nifty digital gadgets, like USB plug-in coffee warmers and digital photo frames. Electronic goods are also often well received, Du Toit informs – a product in hot demand at Giftwrap is the desk-top fridge.
The current consciousness around going green means that eco-friendly products get the thumbs up. Gifts made from materials that may reduce an individual’s carbon footprint are a great idea: think of lanyards made from bamboo, and pens or bags crafted from recycled materials. Solar powered torches and chargers are other options, and clever ones at that, given the unpredictable nature of South Africa’s power supply. In the same vein, locally sourced gifts show that your company supports South African industry, says Vermaak.
Customisation is another big buzzword, and is linked with a trend towards luxury. Pamper products are likely to strike a chord, especially if they include goodies that an individual may be extremely fond of, but not purchase themselves. Gourmet hampers are a good example: you can choose products that match an individual’s hobby (such as Belle Regalo’s Golf Lover’s hamper), or impress your client by cramming their basket full of their favourite champagne, biscuits and other treats.
Don’t shy away from items that can be used in the home, says Vermaak. Remember that if you’re considering a desktop item, chances are another company has the very same gift in mind – and theirs might be a little better! In that case, your gift will be tucked away and unused – so avoid this trap entirely by giving a gift intended for personal use. Monogrammed bathrobes are a good choice, says Du Toit.
Leather goods also speak to that liking of luxury, Van der Westhuizen notes. The options here are plentiful, from filofaxes to folders – and, by embossing your client’s name on the item, you add an extra personal touch. Du Toit says his clients often request wallets from buffalo or crocodile skin. Or, they can take the ‘wild’ theme one step further: “Clients who want to make their gifts unmistakably African may choose something like a book, with inserts made from genuine zebra skin.” Apart from its exotic appeal, this gift is very personal in nature, as every zebra skin, like a fingerprint, is entirely is unique.
Vermaak also finds that personalized books are a great success: exquisite coffee table books, with their evocative photography, are made even more special with a branded tip-in page, which may even carry a message from the company chairman. These make excellent individual gifts, but are also a smart addition to any office’s reception area.
Smaller items may have just as much impact. Vermaak says that there is growing demand for cast metal items, which can be crafted with remarkable detail, and therefore serve as an excellent branding platform. Why not create a cast-iron replica of your logo, or a miniaturized product, for example?
Other ‘smalls’ which shouldn’t be dismissed include lip balm (in the colour and flavor of your choice) and notebooks – smart choices, as they’re likely to occupy a permanent place in your client’s handbag. Pens are an evergreen favourite for a reason, and if they’re a coveted brand, such as Waterman, Montblanc or Parker, so much the better.
In fact, says Du Toit, well known brands are always received gratefully – a Carrol Boyes or Diana Carmichael piece, for example, is sure to delight for a long time to come.
Whatever you choose, timing is vital. Give your supplier sufficient lead time, and consider distributing your gifts around an occasion like Women’s Day or Secretary Day, so that they don’t get overlooked in the flood of presents that takes place around the Festive Season. And keep your standards consistent – Du Toit observes that clients may perceive a slight if you suddenly put an end to gift giving after having delivered desirable goodies for years.
“Ultimately, the most successful; gifts are often the most simple, given an individual twist,” he concludes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Birthday Hampers for Covidien

Belle Regalo was awarded a contract in April 2008 for the supply of birthday hampers for Covidien.
Covidien Ltd. debuts in South Africa as an independent diversified healthcare products company. The business, formerly known as Tyco Healthcare SA, spun off from Tyco International in 2007.
Belle Regalo supplies attractive ladies hampers and gents’ hampers and has them delivered to the staff members at their work premises on the day of their birthday.
Belle Regalo also supplies get well soon hampers and wedding hampers for staff members. Belle sells a range of luxury hampers. Our hampers are filled with scrumptious gourmet goodies, bath treats, baby products and delicious wines. We make use of stylish reusable wooden boxes to pack our gifts and secure it with a satin ribbon. You will find the perfect gift for a multitude of occasions, making a memorable impression on colleages, friends and family with our hampers.