Every day, on my desk, I use the same two things (well, other than my Mac and phone). The first is a perfect coffee cup made of double-insulated glass. The second is a light, handbag-sized Thermos, gifted by the clever people at Ralph Lauren which, in the morning is full of hot coffee, and the afternoon ginger tea.
The duo are so pretty, and so useful, that every night before I leave the office I handwash them and lock them in my drawer. I’ve seen the covetous looks they engender and I don’t want to lose them.
I’m telling you all this, frankly slightly tedious, domestic trivia because this weekend I took boxfuls of things I don’t use to the charity shop – one of which was full of reusable water bottles.
I guess the fault is mine: having banged on for years about how everyone should carry a bottle with them, now every company on earth seems to want to send me one. None of which – other than the Ralph Lauren one – was a model I wanted to keep.
Some were recycled plastic, and couldn’t be washed in hot water (can you imagine the smell after a while?) Some were glass (hopeless for travelling, as I once discovered when I dropped my backpack at an airport, and water started to pour over the Immigration floor). Others were light, but, to my horror, started to rust inside, depositing bits of floating metal in my mouth. And the ones that you could plug in were unbelieveably heavy – and I usually forgot to take the lead travelling.
When your clients are thinking about gifts, perhaps it’s worth you getting involved and asking pertinent questions. Like: what do the recipients do? What will they use the object for? When? What’s their style?
Give them the perfect gift, and it will be the smartest brand move your client can make. I can’t tell you how many people have asked where I got my Ralph Lauren Thermos (see, I’ve mentioned it three times already in this column – and I can’t tell you how many colleagues have tried to search for one online).
Get it wrong and it diminishes your brand substantially. I know who gave me cheap bottle that spilled hideous-tasting rust into my mouth and as a result, I’d never want to stay in their hotel. If their bottle’s that nasty, I have a pretty good idea what their rooms would be like…