Acadiana Business

Lasting Impressions

by Walter Pierce

Successful corporate gifts mean giving - or doing - something the recipients will remember.

Successful corporate gifts mean giving - or doing - something the recipients will remember. By Amanda Bedgood

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013

Cane River Pecan Co. offers a variety of sweet treats and the option to
customize tins with your corporate logo.

They say it's the thought that counts. But in business it's the execution that matters - especially when it comes to corporate gifts. The holidays are a time to make your mark with clients, show your appreciation for staff and spread a bit of holiday cheer in a way that helps your business stand out.

Read on to learn what to give, how to party and the best spots to take care of your holiday business this season. The time to start is now.
Corporate gift giving should either leave an impression or stick around reminding clients of their favorite business. At spots like Pieces of Eight you can do either.

"It's so easy now to reproduce logos on a lot of different things," says manager Nicole Perea.

She points to standards like lux tumblers, clocks, leather agendas and paperweights that will prove useful over the years - all emblazoned with a company logo or a personal message. But she also notes the success of creating something uniquely Acadiana like a basket filled with gumbo bowls, spoons, pot holders and a variety of Cajun seasonings.

"That was a big hit," she says of the client who chose the foodie combo.

It's the same sort of thing Paul Ayo of E's Kitchen aims for when it comes to recs for corporate gifts. Ayo's top pick - the shop's personalized cutting boards. But he notes the store is filled with great local options sure to leave an impression like pepper jelly made in Lafayette, every local beer and the area's only distilled spirit - Sweet Crude rum.

"All of these things are great, especially if you're giving to clients out of state," he says. "You're giving them a flavor of our area. We also have the only locally roasted coffee - Reve."

Food, in fact, is one of the gifts that may not last past the week it's given yet leaves a lasting impression. Cane River Pecans is a standard in corporate gift giving offering custom tins, Louisiana pecans (and treats like pralines, cinnamon pecan straws and chocolate goodies) and varying price points.

E's Kitchen can create custom cutting boards for your corporate gift with
logos, recipes or a personal message.

Carlos Russo, the Accidental Chef, knows the power of food to leave a mark. He has been offering a special batch of toffee he only whips up this time of year packaged in high end cigar boxes that he ships to whichever clients you need.

And when it comes time to party with your coworkers, it's food that can often take a party to a new place. Consider themed foods and using locally sourced items. Bring in a chef to do a cooking demo. If that chef is Russo it's equal parts eats, standup comedy and history lesson.

"It's not the same old cocktail party," Russo says.

Instead of showing up with food cooked, the party starts when Russo lights the fire. Partygoers are a captive audience as he rolls through the courses, creating an environment more intimate and lasting than the typical gathering.

He's been in the kitchen of CEOs who host their employees for a dinner, and then there's the option of using a cooking class as a bonding experience for workers.

"It's corporate team building," he says, noting the option for the class to break into groups and compete as they learn to cook. These classes can be hosted anywhere from a private home to Russo's commercial kitchen to an unexpected location like the Feed & Seed.

E's Kitchen also offers cooking classes. Plan ahead to have custom cutting boards with the recipe etched in them for each person as they leave. And if you're looking for a lighter fare, consider doing just a wine or spirit sampling at E's. Bring out the office for some great drinks then gift them with a bottle of wine, etched wine stopper or decanter.