Bespoke Business Gifts
The Quaglino's Effect
It was the quintessential 90’s party hangout. Quaglino’s, under Conran ownership continued the tradition of the restaurant. Combining great food with a raucous atmosphere that made it synonymous with a good time for nearly 10 years. It wasn’t on my radar; I was too busy navigating my teenage years. These days, with my gifting hat on, mention of the name just makes me think of the piece of merchandise that adorned the restaurant tables. That during the same era saw 25,000 pieces walk out the door in the bags and coat pockets of the well-heeled clientele. What was it that was so desirable? That punters couldn’t be tempted to return even on the promise of a free glass of champagne? An ashtray.
These ‘Q’ shaped ashtrays, designed by Terence Conran have essentially become the holy grail of branded merchandise. A piece that not only literally symbolised and communicated the brand but was also super desirable and well, nick-able. Let’s not focus on the associations with smoking after all these trays could have a multitude of functions (salt & pepper, nuts, paperclips) but instead on what it means for businesses wanting to put a piece of themselves out there. In fact they still pop up on ebay occasionally
Not that we have lofty ambitions <cough> but why can’t everything that a business sends out be a little piece of them and something that the recipient really wants?
We recently designed the mugs for use in a series of serviced apartments. Nothing wrong with a mug, they may have a bad rep as the ubiquitous corporate merch giveaway but let’s face it, the right one will be your recipients hands all the time.
In this case it would’ve been easy for our client to buy a plain white mug or get the company name & logo printed on a large batch. But back to the earlier principle, we began the process with the aim that guests would not want to leave these pieces behind. What a great endorsement and small price to pay if they did take them. We even suggested leaving empty gift boxes to encourage this ‘take-home’ gift.
A generous sized, fine bone china vessel was selected. The company logo and colours were turned into a geometric pattern with more than a nod to the mid-century aesthetic of the apartments' interiors. And so, a bespoke piece of merchandise (but not as you know it) was created.
So, we talk about bespoke gifting a lot. But what does this really mean? For us it’s something that is created especially for you. Well actually it’s really with the end recipients in mind as our briefs always begin with how you want them to feel.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the gift itself will be designed from scratch (although we certainly can) more often it might mean taking an existing product from our huge network of suppliers and makers and changing the colour, adding some kind of branding or personalisation and gift wrapping it with a gift card that we’ve designed especially for you. A great example of this was the bone china bauble we created for Virgin Media. We actively encouraged the placement of their logo on the reverse of the piece and created a bespoke illustration of a Reindeer for the front, this combined with an on-brand ribbon colour and a hand-painted 22ct gold top these were elevated to something quite special. Bespoke also might just be the way we combine & present the perfect off-the-shelf pieces to really nail the brief. Sometimes no change is needed.
Some top tips and considerations for a bespoke business gift:
Timing -Do you have six months or longer to develop a product from scratch or is it an event in two weeks that needs something special?
How do you want recipients to feel when they open the gift?
What is the occasion or event the gift is supporting? Can it help the recipient continue this experience at home?
Play to your brand's strengths, what defines your culture and core values? demonstrating these will always be more authentic.
Use branding and personalisation only if it enhances and makes sense with the product.
Consider branding the reverse of a product or the packaging or using corporate colours and other imagery to communicate your message.
Think about practicalities -don’t give large heavy gifts and then send your guests off on public transport.
Ensure that the way it is packaged is not only practical but reflects how special the gift is.
For more considerations when choosing the perfect business gift take a look here.