I’ve noticed that the number of Christmas cards I receive in the mail has been decreasing year by year by year. Oh, sure, I’ll get a few more after Christmas, possibly a straggler or two even after the New Year, but whereas I used to be able to paste my office door with Christmas cards from clients, contacts, vendors, and people who want to be my vendors, today I receive relatively few.

Instead, I get a slew of “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Holidays”) e-mails. I’m told to click on this link to take me to my Christmas card, or maybe the e-mail itself is replete with snowy trees and a lovely winter scene.

Now, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I insist on calling December 25 Christmas, rather than wishing people “Happy Holidays” (and I have no problems if, in return, someone instead wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or a joyous Kwanzaa). I actually like receiving Christmas cards in the mail, and going through the ritual of opening and reading them. And I actually read all the cards I get, even if they’re from a vendor I used eight years ago and would never use again because they were so terrible.

Christmas e-mail greetings? Not so much. When they’re not stuck in my spam filter, they’re shunted aside to be read later when (if) I have time, and when (if) I decide to bother to click on the link. And as soon as they’re glanced at, they’re deleted. The cards are up on my bookshelf.

I sent out Christmas cards to clients, contacts, and important vendors this year. Each was custom printed, hand signed, with a personal note from me. It’s part of the Grey Matter brand – personal service, personal attention, and high levels of engagement with customers. If our brand were high-tech and flashy instead, maybe an e-mail greeting would be a more appropriate fit with our brand.

Or maybe I’m just a Luddite, eschewing the wonders of Flash programming and HTML for a ballpoint pen and a stamp.

Every contact you have with people reflects on your brand. What have the holiday greetings you have sent (or the ones you haven’t) communicated about your brand? What have the various greetings you’ve received communicated about the brand of the sender?

I’m curious – what is your reaction when you receive an actual Christmas card from a vendor, versus when you receive a Holiday Greetings E-mail? For that matter, what is your reaction when you receive a hand-signed Christmas card with a little note from someone you’ve actually spoken with, as opposed to a card that is foil stamped with the company’s name, and sent out with a label on the envelope?


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