Saying Thank You At Xmas And Not ‘Look At Me’
I’m seeing the opportunity to promote, to self pontificate and to manipulate with scarcity is in abundance as we approach the end of this year. The past ten years has seen us move from the gold old fashioned Christmas card, to the templated free Xmas ecards to the ease of using the end of year to interrupt and promote on whatever channel we want to ram down others.
It is similar to a relentless pursuit of saying ‘one more after 8’ but moving onto the next chocolate straight away. The ‘spray and pray’ method of distributing a message with a promotional angle is still very strong in Christmas 2014.
This is what has entered my space over the past seven days.
Lets call it my very own gold, frankincense and myrrh:
It probably doesn’t get any better than this piece. Read the message, it just doesn’t make any frankin-SENSE (see what I did there). Using Christmas as a means to sell a product and do it in a really ineffective and uncaring way, can become detrimental to a brand.
This picture of self gratification, e-MURRged (sorry) on LinkedIN at the end of last week. Whilst it’s ok to acknowledge the support over the past year, but to highlight this with a picture of biscuits? This by the way was from my favourite industry of 2014 who communicate their message, estate agents.
SO, WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
Rather than blatantly making the most of using Christmas as a promotional tool, why not use the other 12 months as a means to introduce the support and solutions that you can provide to others.
Shouldn’t Christmas be a time to reflect on what we have achieved this year and our aspirations for the coming year? This sounds better than looking at the calendar and treating the last remaining weeks of the year as Black Friday where you are at the front of John Lewis at 6am and you have been given £1,000 to spend in 15 minutes.
DO WE REALLY CARE?
Do we really care how well your customers regard you? Do we really care that we have a limited time to book a space for a January function? Do we really care that we have to make snap decisions?
Ease and speed mean that we can now apply and send messages without having to think too much about them. The costs are minimal (and in most cases free) and what was once a heart felt thought now becomes a throwaway train of consciousness all wrapped up in a loving template.
MEANING MORE WITH THE ‘THANK YOU’
If Christmas tells us one thing, saying thank you to our audience and customers who have kept with us and helped us with our momentum. It has got nothing to do with interrupting with self conceited messages. Saying thank you means so much. Here is an email I received from one of the freelance team I work with on a separate side to the business:
“at this time of year I always like saying thank you to clients who have been with me a while and continue to use me, but also to new clients who have come aboard in the past year. So, many thanks for giving me some of your work this year. I hope you and the family have a wonderful christmas and a happy new year.I really do look forward to working with you in 2015.”
This is why this struck a chord with me:
- I wasn’t treated as a mass audience
- The email was addressed to me
- It was humble and honest
- It had nothing to do with sneaking in a new project opportunity
Becoming A Bit More Normal
Pulling down the stoic business persona and being ourselves means so much more than letting a logo and font speak on our behalf.
Being Christmas, saying thank you seems to be accentuated more than any other time of year, as we look to start with a clean sheet of paper (or say to ourselves that we’re going to use Evernote a bit more to plan and structure) in the next week or so. Rather than project a false sense of gratitude, as we look to the ‘wishing all our customers a fantastic 2015’ over on LinkedIn very soon, lets look to those who we value and who value us and to give that small bit of gratitude.
Interacting With Others Even Less
Technology is changing at such a pace that we are thrust at the control centre on the ship without knowing how to use the buttons first. At the same time the people around us stay the same.
Society is pushing us to interact with others even less, as many become even more comfortable with creating rubbish (see examples above). Something as simple as saying thank you on a personal level means so much. Being acknowledged is something that not only brings a smile, but what motivates the relationships that we are looking to develop. This is at the polar opposite of the festive spectrum by sharing with others how good/noble/special people should think you are.
It’s the small things in life that mean a great deal more. A one-to-one thank you is in a different league than a jpeg that is placed on every social channel.
Keeping To A Well Worn Mantra
If Christmas is a time that we connect with others and spend time with those that mean something to us, then there is nothing stopping us following the ‘better to give than to receive’ mantra in our professional lives.
While the next week we can see how many treat this time of year as a promotional onslaught, lets take a step back and remember the things that don’t cost anything and appreciate those we work with.
Customers and suppliers that have been with us during 2014 and into 2015 with hope and gusto, lets solidify the relationships we have and acknowledge that two words can mean so much to someone else.
Image at the top of the article from Dancentury