When I started my career, my first job was in a fashionable London advertising agency. I was amazed that from the end of November up until a couple of days before Christmas there seemed to be parties for clients and indeed departments almost every night of the week.
Especially over the last few years with; the global financial crisis, time pressures, the “procurement microscope” and indeed in some countries even legislation over what can be considered bribery, things have changed dramatically.
I’m seeing that many of the service providers that we work with have decided not to hold a Christmas party for their staff or clients and not take clients for what for some had become, their traditional lunch to celebrate the festive season.
Indeed, a lot now don’t send Christmas cards (for many the only time of the year they update their database) and instead send Christmas viral’s or e mails telling their clients and key suppliers that they have donated money to charity.
Whilst I’d be the first to agree that each business and client relationship has its own culture and idiosyncrasies it did make me think – in 2011 and in the years ahead, what is considered appropriate entertainment for clients and indeed staff at this time of year?
Do such events still have a part to play in securing and building client relationships?
Should you hold a staff party?
Do clients and staff expect it?
How lavish should you be and do you run the risk of sending the wrong signals?
Are Christmas cards a thing of the past or is there still merit in receiving a nice handwritten card?
I’d be really interested in your views.