I work with a flash game development company. Recently we have made a few business deals, and are now venturing into previously uncharted territory for us, thank you gifts/notes. What, If anything is customary? We also had a contact that helped arrange the deals in the first place. What would be appropriate for him? The gifts are for two different groups. One who we recently signed a contract with, and one who helped us get said contract in the first place. Would it be appropriate to give them the same gift or should they be individual.

Don’t worry too much about what is customary as far as gifts are concerned. The more original you can be, the better, as the standard range of corporate gifts (mousepads, pens, calendars, motivational cards and promotional CD-ROMs) are forgotten pretty quickly by most.

Claxon sent mugs to its affiliates a few months ago. While the gift itself was pretty standard, receiving a mug in the mail is a fairly rare occurrence, so this generated a good degree of buzz . CJ sent a wooden train whistle to a select group of affiliates years ago; a gift that is still discussed today, and Google sent funky illuminating radios.

As a matter of fact, all of those gifts generated buzz threads on Geek/Talk, as I’m sure they would have in other circles. They did so primarily through being unusual and not conforming to what is customary or traditional.

Even the timing of your gift can be most effective when it doesn’t conform to tradition. Often, companies will send gifts after an event has occurred or at Christmas time. If you alter this by sending a gift before the normal time, or by delivering gifts in celebration of the New Year, for example, you could further differentiate your brand from the others.

The choice of gift really depends on what sort of value it represents. A nice card may be all that’s required if you just want to show appreciation or celebrate a new relationship. If one of your clients represents a major brand who would normally only work through an agency or if your sales folk went out of their way to encourage an important prospect to use XGen rather than a competitor, then sure, a dozen roses (not red), a nice bottle of champagne, tickets to a concert or a hamper of gourmet goodies might do a better job of conveying your extreme gratitude.

Not everything has to be branded, and sometimes simply slipping a business card or a “with compliments” slip in with the generic card will be sufficient. If you are looking to give a gift that isn’t food or experience related, such as a mug, pen or item of clothing, definitely try to make sure that it’s branded. If the client does get some use out of your gift, your logo and contact details will then be readily accessible.

The other thing you can do is send a gift for them to giveto their children.

A regular pen set, mug, etc are often forgotten quickly but a cheap novelty item for a child will often have a greater emotional impact as they see the joy in the childs face – and it can still be inexpensive.

Just a different approach.