Last week, a young colleague celebrated her big 3-0. Like some (many?) young people about to leave their 20s, she was reluctant to make the transition.
Instead of giving her some novelty item, I decided to give her a birthday card. Actually, I couldn’t find something that suited the young lady’s personality so I settled for a card with another set of wording, and then I added “Happy birthday!” Aside from the abovementioned, I also wrote that age is just a number and that “30” is a turning point for new beginnings. What I forgot to say was, “This is especially true for young professionals.”
When I handed her the card in the morning, she smiled this big grateful smile. It helped that there was a packet of chocolates, her favorite, that went with the card. Late in the afternoon, just before leaving the office to call it a day, she thanked me again, and this time, a big hug came with it!
I’m not an emotional person (er, I think), but I admit to being sentimental. I believe in marking important occasions and milestones with something tangible because for all the electronic gadgets we’re surrounded with in this age and generation, people are more simple and sentimental than they care to admit. They like something they can hold on to, like a handwritten note, because they can read the message over and over again. There’s a “connection” (at the risk of sounding mushy) that you just can’t establish with a message that’s communicated electronically. Agree?
People may acquire possessions, may be constantly on the lookout for the next new shiny object to save or lust for, but I think, it is the carefully worded, handwritten notes and letters that they will consider their true treasures.
From a personal branding standpoint, you immediately set yourself apart if you practice this as part of your strategy. Picking the right card, card stock, words to say, and even the ink to pen those words all take effort. You have to admit: that’s certainly admirable of the person who goes the extra mile for you.