Customized Gift Cards Add Value
By Chris McGee
Position Your Company and Its Offerings
Gift cards branded with a corporate or product logo can serve as an extension of the company, and customizing these cards offers a means to strengthen people's perception of the organization. For instance, many companies brand gift cards with their logo plus a message. This message may be a corporate slogan or may be customized to fit the specific behavior the company is trying to promote, thus becoming a great advertising tool for anyone handling the gift card.
This not only includes the design of a gift card; it also can encompass how the gift card itself is made. For example, lenticular gift cards display a three-dimensional appearance as the card is held and rotated, and are attractive to companies positioning their products or services as prestigious or luxurious, or to any company that wants the gift cards with its name and logo to stand out. Other gift cards are produced in an environmentally friendly manner using materials that are biodegradable or that are made from recycled materials, which may fit well with companies that identify themselves as eco-friendly organizations.
Build Loyalty Among Consumers and Employees
Organizations that want to increase sales from existing clients and consumers can use these gift cards not only as an incentive for a single sale, but also to promote future sales by staying connected with their buyers. These cards can become a touch point as part of a broader relationship- building program. For example, these consumers will likely retain these customized gift cards if there is a possibility more value may be loaded onto them in the future based on becoming repeat purchasers. Consumers may also make repeat purchases with the company if they are offered an incentive to do so, such as a discount on purchases made using the gift card. If executed well, using the customized gift card in these ways should translate into additional purchases from existing customers.
Gift cards are widely perceived as more personalized than a purely monetary incentive, and employers are catching on. Employees who receive a gift card from their employer may feel the employer put more thought into the incentive. Personalizing the gift card further with the employee's and employer's names can strengthen this relationship. This same gift card may be loaded with value over and over as the employee meets specific performance thresholds, further using the gift card to solidify the employee's bond to his or her employer.
The use of customized gift cards as an incentive or a reward may be further enhanced through packaging. Many times gift cards can be presented inside an attractive gift card box or tin, or inside of a greeting card. A personalized message from the company to the recipient should accompany the gift card; this is especially effective if the recipient's name is used in the message—"Thank you Susan" will go a lot farther than "To Whom It May Concern." Companies can also include collateral materials with the gift card. One example would be sending a note along with the customized gift card announcing the launch of a new product or service that may interest the recipient as a potential repeat purchaser.
Reach Your Goals
The ultimate goal of any incentive program is to achieve or exceed the results the program is designed to drive. Customizing gift cards is a great way to reach this goal as this will not only help achieve objectives tied to increasing sales and driving specific employee performance, but it will also promote your company, position your company and its offerings in consumers' minds and drive loyalty among your employees and clients.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
is Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for NBO Systems Inc., an industry leader in developing and managing prepaid debit card programs, incentive card programs and shopping center gift card programs that include custom card designs. For more information, visit www.nbo.com.