For many companies, offering a personalised or branded gift at Christmas has several purposes:

1.    It recognises customer loyalty
2.    It creates brand recognition
3.    It offers a thank you to new customers who may not be fully engaged with the brand yet
4.    It establishes the company offering the gift as being substantial and caring.

These are great marketing opportunities that shouldn’t be neglected even when marketing budgets are tight. In fact, thinking creatively around the idea of a business to customer gift is a great way to establish some brand features that will encourage your customers to think of the company as one that supports them in tough times.

Branded clothing has practical value, unlike the traditional forms of corporate gift such bottles of wine or spirits, boxes of chocolates or the more modern and less personal approach of giving vouchers.

At the top end of the scale, monogrammed shirts, or hoodies for younger individuals offer a superb, highly-personalised approach to gift giving. It’s not a cheap way to recognise the customer’s value but for the truly valued client, it’s a brilliant approach. Think outside the box though, and see if you can select something that the customer will really value: sports clothing with a monogram that a customer can use for their favourite sport is an ideal way to say thank you.

In the middle of the market, T-shirts offer a chance to give a gift that gets worn, and is fully appreciated without breaking the bank. If your customers are young, find a young designer to style your company logo in a completely new way, that reflects current trends but if they’re more traditional, go for a classic and simple statement, maybe the company logo as a sleeve print or small embroidered detail with neat and unobtrusive contact details below it.

For the masses, if you have lots of customers and/or want to buy something that can be used for both Christmas gift and general promotional purposes, think about branded hats or lightweight bags. Don’t fall for too much novelty though: amusing images like Santa riding on your logo etc are only funny for a very short time and then fall out of favour and have no value to the recipient. It’s better to think about longevity and choose a hat or bag that will be used year round. Practicality is the key to a successful gift and you can double the promotional whammy you get from such items by running a competition that offers to reward the person who takes the best picture of their hat/bag in an unusual place or in a location appropriate to your business. Post the photos on facebook and tweet about them in your twitter account to get the maximum cross-platform marketing boost from your promotional clothing spend.

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