Previously…

Much like A Christmas Story, there I was.  7 years old.  On the big guy’s lap, providing detailed evidence as to all my nice deeds for the year and clarifying a few naughty moments. My Christmas list was simple and pretty on target for my age group.  I was just about to pounce off when I decided to toss one more wish Kris Kringle’s way. Because, I thought, “It never hurts to ask.”

“And, Santa, I’d really love an 8-track player for Christmas.” I wanted it so badly because listening to my favorite tunes over and over and over and over again would be so GREAT!

He winked, smiled, and moved on to the next kid while I received my complimentary candy cane and Polaroid snapshot. (Photo used for this blog is of me on my Grampa’s lap, but you get the point.)

I’m sure you know what comes next. Just a few weeks from that simple, innocent ask was the Christmas surprise of a lifetime.  An awesome 8-track player under the tree.  That made my whole year and all because I asked.

Now…

What a great reminder as your year and my year come to an end.  Are there any questions you can ask yourself to close out 2022 or prepare for 2023?  Check-in on a key team member and ask how you can help them succeed in 2023?  Reach out to one more client or a prospect and get a coffee on the books for January?

And, as I take my own advice, since it doesn’t hurt to ask, how can I help you this holiday season? If you need help with shopping for your family or friends, or if your company needs an end-of-year recognition and celebration idea, I can make that happen. Just use the Contact Us page and we can make the magic happen for your friends, family, employees, or teammates!

Until we chat again, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Favorable.

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It seems weird (read: terrifying!) to say it, but we are officially SIX MONTHS away from Christmas and less than that to the holiday season. And with the holidays can come stress. A survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays. Another survey, by Principal Financial Group, revealed that 53 percent of people feel financially stressed by holiday spending.

But financial stressors aren’t the only ones that happen around the holidays. Pressures on you to be happy, to be everywhere, to find just the right thing…the list goes on and on. What can be done to try to alleviate this year’s stressors when buying gifts for family and friends?

  1. Plan ahead. Start thinking now about who you have to buy gifts for, make a list in your phone’s notes or other list app, and when you are out and about, look for gifts and BUY NOW!
  2. Talk to your family. Do you HAVE to buy gifts this year or can something else be done instead? A trip later in the year? The whole family gives to a charity close to your heart?
  3. Create a reasonable budget…and stick to it. You know where your finances are. Figure out a reasonable budget, whether by person or overall, and stay within it.

And don’t forget your clients, employees, and customers either. Although I would suggest giving gifts at a different time of the year than the holidays if you feel it is best to recognize and thank these people during the holidays, a very similar 3-step process can be followed.

  1. Plan Ahead. Will you get gifts for all your clients or segments? Will it be one gift for all or a selection of gifts to choose from?
  2. Create a budget. What makes sense as a per-person dollar amount to spend? Is there a limit in your business on what you can spend per client? And back to #1, how many gifts are you buying?
  3. Start ordering early. Don’t let what happened last year affect you this year. Order early to get the best option for gifts and shipping costs.

The best way to avoid the stress of holiday gift-giving for everyone, client, family, or friend? Hire Favorable early and all the gifts are done for you and within that budget! Fill out the contact us form and we can meet to talk about who you need to buy gifts for and the budget for each of them. Then I take ALL THE STRESS away from you. 😊

Until Next Time,

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Recently I was working with a client. And they asked me how I decided on the elements of their custom Connection Plan. Psst: If you are wondering what a Connection Plan is, please reach out. I’d be happy to tell you! (Hint: Client/Customer/Employee recognition is a key component.)

Plans and Processes

For starters, I’m a plans and processes kind of gal. P & Ps, as I’ve discovered over 25+ years in marketing, are so very important as they:

  • Keep a team on track toward a goal,
  • Successors can see what has been done in the past, whether meeting or missing goals.

Keeping track of what you did, the order you did them, and goals (i.e. KPIs) behind them creates a quantifiable way to gauge success for future team members. Documentation is key to evolution and company growth.

Strategic Timing

Second, managing connections and utilizing just the right timing for thanking and appreciating clients, customers, members, and employees, was a challenging puzzle I love to tackle. My five core questions are:

  • Do I want to find create momentum in a downtime or leverage an upturn in revenue?
  • What is the budget?
  • What is the latest fad or trend to jump on? (Pop sockets anyone?!)
  • Is there something that is utilitarian in nature that people will remember us for a long time to come?
  • What does our communication look like currently? Are thank yous strategically included in it?

Connection Plans

A Connection Plan combines these two elements and strategically targets thanking and engaging your company’s most important people with just the right tempo.

Ultimately, thanking people in a way that excites and engages them is the best way to connect them to your brand.

The Favorable Connection Plan helps clients. Approaching this methodically ensures you connect and not miss any person who spends their money and/or time with you. In my opinion, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do for your company.

Until next time,

SH Signature

One of my FAVORITE parts of creating a curated gift is the design of it. If there is a theme, what is it? How many things can I fit into the theme before it is too many? Staying within the budget is its own kind of challenge. How can I get the best product that can still make an impact? But my favorite thing is deciding, once I have the items, what can I put it in that is fun AND functional?

Let’s break this all down.

Themes are so fun to use when putting together a curated gift. Depending on who they are going to, how the gift is getting there, and what they like, theming could get more difficult to do. As an example, I love grilling boxes filled with super interesting grilling goods. Need an extra-wide flipper? What about meat shredders or large skewers? If you are going to have to ship this to someone, that could be tricky so maybe this isn’t the right idea? Or maybe you have the same “sense of humor” as my dad who thinks this type of gifting is silly. Thinking about what your recipient likes and needs trumps what you think would be fun every time.

Now on to products. I have a few stores and websites I go to when I want to make the greatest impact on how something looks, and the impact it will make on the gift. I’ve shared a few of them in the past.

They all have great things that make a lot of impact!

Finally, my favorite part is answering the question, “What can we put it in?” I’m not a person who loves baskets, so I rarely use them as a container for my designs. I prefer “practical,” boxes or containers with multiple uses. As an example of this, I recently created a gift design that had a beach bag as the container. It was a donation for a school fundraiser that included a stay in Florida. So, the beach bag was filled with towels, a floppy hat, and a beach-smelling candle to get in the mood for the stay. They could take the bag with them on the trip and use it to get all the beach-y things they needed with them.

My final advice is to think as innovatively as you can about what might be a great container. Because ultimately, what you want most from any gift is for the recipient to use it and think of you whenever they do.

If you want to see examples of some of the boxes I’ve curated, visit my BRAND NEW Gallery page.

Until we chat again,

SH Signature

I worked at TrueNorth Companies in Cedar Rapids many moons ago. For large projects I lead, I was given directions and autonomy. My boss knew where my strengths were and let me live in those and worked with me on growing and evolving in our weekly meetings. But most importantly, this company knew how to thank and recognize employees in ways that were unique and meaningful to THE EMPLOYEE.

The following factors can affect an employer’s ability to retain employees according to Apollo Technical:

  1. Lack of training and development opportunities for new hires
  2. Poor communication between management and staff members
  3. Unclear job descriptions that do not clearly define responsibilities
  4. Inadequate staffing levels to cover the workload.
  5. lack of recognition by managers when their work is done well
  6. An inability to provide feedback on performance issues
  7. The need for more flexible working hours
  8. High turnover costs associated with hiring and firing workers

I think that recognition is higher than #5 on this list. Because in my world, I’ve seen recognition as the MAIN reason MANY people stay on the job. For real, employee retention is important!

Did you know that effective employee retention can save an organization from productivity losses? High-retention workplaces tend to employ more engaged workers who, in turn, get more done according to NetSuite’s Employee Retention article. Think about it. I’ve always heard employees leave people, not companies. So, making them feel valued, heard, and keeping them engaged helps you keep a stable team environment. Giftology author John Ruhlin talks about how important is to know what your customer REALLY WANTS not just how much it costs. I think this applies to employees, too. When I hired a new team member, I gave them a very short EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION SURVEY on things they loved. I then took a picture of it and kept it in my phone for when one of them (or all) needed to be recognized for something spectacular.

And remember, when an employee leaves a company, it takes a considerable chunk of time to deal with their departure. In fact, entry-level employees typically cost 50% of their salary to replace. That’s a high number. So, thanking and recognizing employees is an easy way to save some $$.

Until we chat again,

SH Signature