What your corporate holiday gifts say about your firm

We just put our beach umbrellas away, so it’s definitely too soon to talk about the holidays. But for the person at your firm who is responsible for ordering your corporate gifts, it’s that time of year. Catalog season. Before they place the same order as last year, however, it might be time to reassess. 

In an era requiring firms to be much more mindful about markers of inclusion — such as how you describe office policies or who is depicted in stock images on the website — we’ve noticed that many firms continue to distribute swag and client gifts that hearken back to a more . . . shall we say homogeneous era. An era in which your firm assumed that all its lawyers and all its clients would have a use for branded golf shirts and golf balls and golf umbrellas. (Did anyone ever really play this much golf?)

The logo-festooned gifts you give your clients and the freebies you pass around the office are one more piece of the story you are telling about who your firm is. If you’re hoping to persuade clients and recruits that you take diversity and inclusion seriously, don’t undercut your message by handing out items that, for many people, evoke the old boys’ network.

The good news is that, unlike so many problems in diversity and inclusion, this misstep has an easy fix. Be sure the marketing professionals making the buying decisions poll a cross-section of people in-house to come up with some new ideas. Think about what your clients might actually want and use, as well as any underlying message or assumption that comes along with the item. And check out some of the newer providers online. They offer plenty of clever options that will help you celebrate another great year with your clients and attorneys—and invite everyone to the party.



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