The most inappropriate gift ever received?
Christmas for us all, is now a distant memory as we look forward to Spring. Gifts good and bad have been enjoyed or put away. However, for at least one lady Christmas provided a rather difficult task; writing the hardest thank you letter of her life. As a polite, well brought-up individual she has always found a positive attribute in every gift to allow her to sincerely thank the sender – on this occasion she is stumped.
That lady is my mother and the gift was sent all the way from the US. A dark grey, t-shirt, v-necked (not good for ladies of a certain age at the best of times) with a picture of my father’s great-great-great grandmother. I will not go into the various aspects of this gift that make it so deeply inappropriate but suffice to say the remote cousins who sent it will be waiting a while for a reply!
Now this is one thing with distant relatives but quite another on an event. Time and again, clients ask us to come up with unusual gifts or take aways from events. Their objectives vary from a pure gift to a reminder of key business messages but one thing seems to be in common – something unique that people will find useful.
This requirement seems to be in direct conflict with the recent media messages around reducing our impact on the environment. Time and again we find discarded gifts during the pack down of an event whether intentional or not. Even the most popular gifts (at various times fidget spinners, juggling balls with key messages and mobile chargers) are not going to be to everyone’s taste or requirement.
So, is it time to stop automatically giving a branded gift and start thinking about the relevance and impact it may or may not have and whether that is worth the financial and environmental impact? Certainly, my family could do without this t-shirt!
I am not suggesting that the event gift should completely die out. Rather, make the gift relevant to the message, useful to the audience and consider the environmental impact before diving headlong into yet another delivery of USB sticks.