Editor's Desk - November/December 2014

It Is the Thought That Counts

Reading Brian Rivolta's guest column, about how he was primed before parties as a kid to ensure he knew how to say thank you—and how to avoid letting anyone see disappointment—I thought of my own, similar experiences as a kid. How I was taught early on to express delight over every gift, no matter whether it was a severe disappointment (that E-Z-Bake oven, received at the age of 16, for example, from an aunt who obviously had no concept of what teenagers actually like).

I'm willing to bet that most of us had similar training as kids, almost always accompanies by the same phrase: "After all, it's the thought that counts." And many of us now, as parents, probably repeat this same training with our own kids, and repeat the refrain: "It's the thought that counts."

As it turns out, it is the thought that counts, for most of us. And that's why it's important, when you're planning to give a gift—whether it's for your BFF's birthday, an employee you want to celebrate, or a business partner you want to thank for their ongoing support—to actually give some thought to the gift you choose.

The thought counts. It counts for gifts, and it also counts when you put together incentive and rewards programs.

When you choose the merchandise, travel options and gift cards that you include in your incentive programs, you shouldn't make that selection willy-nilly. You need to take care with how you create that lineup of reward options. You can't just base it on what you think people will like. You need to talk to experts in the industry and find out what's trending. You need to understand your audience, so you know what will work best. And you need to give plenty—but not too many—options, in order to cater to a wide variety of likes and dislikes.

Business gifts require even more care. If you're giving the same gift across the board, you need to make sure that you're selecting something that has general appeal. If not, then you need to ensure you understand how your gift will be received by the recipient.

If you haven't given these types of programs the proper care and attention—the right amount of thought—it will be obvious. Think about it. When holiday time or your birthday rolls around, you can tell whether your significant other, son or daughter, mother, father or friend has given some thought to their gift choices for you. No one appreciates a lack of effort.

In other words, no matter what kind of program you're putting together, you need to be thoughtful about the whos, whats and wheres, as well as the hows and the whys for that program.

When you give these programs a good amount of thoughtful consideration, the fact that you've put that thought into the program should be obvious to everyone involved. And your thought at the beginning can go a long way toward ensuring success and happiness for everyone at the program's end.

So you see? It is the thought that counts.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,