Why personalization makes far more impactful client gifts

Why personalization makes far more impactful client gifts

Have you ever gotten a gift with the price tag still on it?  I have and it always makes me feel like people are just going through the motions because the feel obligated, or because they want something from me in a business setting.   

The most thoughtful gifts on the other end of the spectrum make people feel appreciated because you put thought into it, and time....not just money.   Nothing says I put some time and thought into this gift than personalized engraving.   

BIG tip #1: here is where many of you will mess the personalization up:

  • Don't put your logo on the gift, put their last name!!!   

Sometimes if I am going to speak to realtors or other professionals I will bring a set of gifts with my companies name on it and I will also ask the presenter before hand to randomly select someone in attendances last name for me to use a few days before the event.  I use the minor stealth to my advantage and bring a set of glasses with their last name engraved on it with me.  This set will be wrapped and with a hand written card.   I will call the person who has no that this was done before hand to the front to open the package and everyone in attendance gets to see their reactions when they open it to realize their family name is neatly engraved on all 4 glasses in the set.   

After the audience has seen the custom engraved opening and reaction I ask them if I can take that 4 pack back for 30 seconds, and hand them the one with my business logo on it.  In front of the group I ask them which one they want to take home more?  Then I ask them how often people choose the set with my business logo.   Answer is the same every time, their last name.   It still blows my mind how many companies want to put their name on everything.   Reminds me of a time that Homer gave Marge a bowling ball with Homer written on it as a gift.  Doh!  

BIG tip #2:  Make people look good in front of their families at home

By engraving their last name on whatever gift you choose, you make it about their family too.   If you are really on top of it you can buy/ personalize something the entire family can use all the time.   Impactful gifts get used and talked about because they stick around.  

A great example of this was when I had met a very nice lady at a Conscious Capitalism conference in San Diego.  She asked me to make her daughter custom engraved glasses with her new initials for her upcoming wedding.   The picture at the top of this blog post is of one of those candle holders that we made for the newly wed couple.   She sent me pictures and told me that the reaction was everything she had hoped for.   




Inc. features Refresh Glass: Corporate Gift Ideas That'll Make You more.

Inc. features Refresh Glass: Corporate Gift Ideas That'll Make You more.

7 Corporate Gift Ideas That'll Make You Unforgettable

A good deed (and a great gift) remain unforgettable.

By John Rampton .   Entrepreneur and investor  . 
PUBLISHED on NOV 24, 2017 .  Link to article here. 

In 1985, one of the poorest countries in the world became known as one of the most generous. Despite nearly 50% of its population living below the poverty line the Ethiopian Red Cross sent $5,000 to Mexico for humanitarian aid. Our neighbors-to-the-south had experienced an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which left 10,000 people dead, 30,000 people injured, and 250,000 homeless.

When asked how they could afford such an amount, the proud Ethiopians pointed to 50 years earlier when their country had been had been invaded by Italy. Mexican diplomats, in a move akin to sticking up for the little guy against the school yard bully, deeplycondemned Italy's behavior. This support would set forth a chain-of-events that would allow the impoverished East African country to remain in the league-of-nations.

Decades after-the-fact, a good deed (and a great gift) remain unforgettable.


Ironically enough, I don't remember where I was the first time I heard that story. But I remember who I was with the day the proverbial "Aha!" lightbulb flashed above my head with corporate gifting. His name is John Ruhlin and his company, The Ruhlin Group might very well be the greatest gift-givers in the galaxy.

John calls it "giftology." It is the act of strategic appreciation, usually in gift form, and designed around one of four business objectives:

  1. Retain your best and brightest employees
  2. Increase customer lifetime value (by keeping your best customers)
  3. Open new doors, create new introductions, and bag new elephants
  4. Rekindle (or repair) a previous business relationship

Strategic gifting has done things for me that an unlimited marketing budget never could. Now before you accuse all of us giftologists as being quid-pro-quo givers ("you're only giving something to get something! For shame!"), allow me to share some golden guidelines:

  1. Practical luxuries: buy things for people they'd never buy for themselves. A $50 coffee mug is better than a $100 watch.
  2. Personalized for the recipient: if the most remarkable thing about a gift is that your logo is on it? You're giving a promotion, not a present.
  3. Plan for continuity: think of each gift as one in a cohesive series. This year send the leather belt, next time the leather bag, then the leather journal, etc.

The majority of sweets, treats, and very forgettable holiday gifts (with your company logo etched on them) are all going to wind up in the trash. Or maybe in a donation bin if the recipient is feeling more imaginative than the unoriginal giver.

You're better than that. And so, this holiday season, I invite you into my gift-giving playbook. Here are my favorite things to give the VIPs that make my business world go round-and-round:


Sold by the ambitious students of Vector Marketing, CUTCO cutlery has been an American-made tradition since 1949. All Cutco items are guaranteed forever and, with over 100 products in their line, are the ultimate continuity gift. You can even engrave the ice cream scoop.


Planners, journals, flasks, candles, phone cases, coasters, and anything else that can be made of wood. The beauty of these products (all 100% engravable) is rivaled only by the custom packaging-- gifting done right. And every single purchase plants a tree with their "buy one, plant one" program.


Who wouldn't want a pair of zebra wood headphones? Buy them wired, wireless, or in speaker form and send your VIPs to audio heaven. Best of all, proceeds from every sale provide hearing aids to people in need. Check and mate.


Stunning glassware and home decor made from recycled wine bottles, one look at Refresh's Instagram account will have you oohing and ahhing. Their custom engraved setswill delight connoisseurs and socialites alike.


What's better than a cooler that'll keep ice for a week or more? How about one of the best warranties in the industry that covers latches, drain plugs, handles, even the rubber feet. Like most practical luxuries on this list, high-quality isn't cheap. However, Bison Coolers boasts gifts for all different price points.


Disrupting the digital framing industry, Aura Frames curate and display your favorite photos as you take them. Sensors in the frame automatically adjust brightness at varying times of day and the mobile app allows others to participate. Shop different collections and different occasions because every frame is a work of art.  


My secret go-to for my hardest to buy VIPs, Cherokee and Texas can do anything with leather and metal. Their vintage iPad covers will become frequent conversation topics and their custom record player is the stuff of legends. Better get in line soon because -with their craftsmanship and ingenuity- this company won't be a secret much longer.

How to choose realtor gifts that impress

How to choose realtor gifts that impress

One of the hardest things in the world to do is to try to find a gift for people who already have things in general.  So whether you are looking for a real estate closing gift, client gift, wedding or other personal the same basic rules apply.

The key we have found is to give people something that their families will use all the time for years to come...and that they will show their friends when they come over to help you get those referrals you deserve (or family bragging rights for giving the best stuff). 

The two most important things to remember when gifting to clients:

1.  You will be a rock star to them if you gift your clients something they can use for years

2.  ...that also makes them look cool in front of their friends/ peers.

It's not that hard if you remember these few simple categories by location:

Here is the get people to use them section:

The dining room table

Where are most conversations in the home had?   It would be hard to argue against the dining room table.   So its always a win to find products that will be brought out when dining.   

At their desk at work:

What can you gift them that they will want to put on their desk and use all of the time?   

Something they will carry all the time:

Pay attention to the things you carry with you and see if you can find something similar that you can gift to a client and tell them why you have enjoyed your ______ so much and that you wanted them to enjoy it too.

Now for the make them look cool in front of their friends and peers part:


Go to your local art walk or farmers market and see if there is someone there that can make something one off for your clients that fit in the useful category too.


Can you make it unique to your client.  We have found that last names work the best.   

We at Refresh Glass make drinkware and other useful product from wine bottles as part of our rescue mission and then engrave on them.   There are so many cool ways that you can gift thoughtful items to your clients in ways that they will appreciate and talk about for years.  

We hope you have fun with the process and benefit from it in many ways for years to come yourself.



Ray DelMuro

Refresh Glass founder and owner.





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