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BEST PRACTICE: Top tips for Christmas communication

It’s the season of goodwill and agency minds have visions of long lunches, festive gifts and shutting down for 10 days. Canny agency heads will also be aware that Christmas is an opportunity to cement relationships, remind people of your existence and reward staff. In fact in B2B it’s one of the biggest opportunities in the year to make friends and influence people. Conversely, it’s an opportunity missed if you get it wrong. So put down that mince pie and take note of these top tips for managing your Christmas campaign successfully.

Think of cards as an opportunity to communicate with your audience. This is one of the few times of year that your letter, card or email will definitely be opened. Having gone to all that effort, do you really want them to receive something that you’ve bought off the shelf, that anyone could have sent or which has been signed by people they’ve never heard of? Like all communications, the best Christmas cards (hard copy or email) are the ones which have a strong message - and Happy Christmas isn’t it. So use it to reinforce your brand properly and say something positive about the company. And, like all good communications, the ones which manage to say something personal (but not too personal) are the ones that work best.

Like all things digital, the use of e-cards is increasing year on year. Often they are accompanied by a (slightly apologetic) rationale which has to do with saving trees or giving money to charity but this is no excuse for poor creativity. It’s an opportunity to show your stuff - particularly if you are a creative agency. So don’t buy the card from an online site which is the same as everyone else’s or get someone else to do it for you.

Of course it’s nice to get gifts at Christmas, but don’t go overboard. Many clients now operate in open plan offices, so sending massive hampers to one member of the team will probably only embarrass them. Not to mention cause their colleagues to question why they got it rather than someone else. The ideal gift is small(ish), shows you have thought about them, but isn’t too personal - this is a business relationship. Being bought jewellery by your agency might cause some raised eyebrows. Finally, don’t forget that in the public sector, people have to declare any gifts in case they are accused of being bribed.