What To Get Your Colleagues, Employees, And Clients This Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year again! The time for showing appreciation to those who make your life possible or better. Every year, I curate my own list of what to give that special someone in your professional life, whether that’s your colleagues, clients or employees. Here’s my holiday gift guide from last year and a special edition mini gift guide for this year as well. 

Here’s my 2020 list of the best holiday gifts. I am truly hopeful that you will find something for everyone on your list. 

For the Kitchen Maven:

Tovala: The ultimate countertop oven for the busiest professionals. You can order a variety of Tovala meals or make your own. It steams, bakes, and toasts in one. It can replace the toaster and the microwave. 

Hurom Slow Juicer: Hurom’s latest H200 Slow Juicer now has an even larger inlet that can fit whole-sized apples. Less prep and less cleaning means more time to enjoy fresh-squeezed juice. Yes, please. 

The Tchibo Coffee Machine: German-engineering launches in America. It is a bean-to-brew machine. No pods needed. An excellent choice for a coffee enthusiast. You can also throw  in some holiday blends from Coffee Chicks. 

Jura E8 Coffee Maker: Flat white? Cappuccino? Macchiato? This is a beast of a coffee machine and it really does do it all. This is ideal for everyone in the office…or home office. 

Blue Diamond Cookware: If they love to cook, you can’t go wrong with some great finds from Greenpan. These are loved by cooks all over the world. Also in the category is Proclamation Duo which minimizes with two pans and you can get a dozen cooking methods with zero clutter. 

Fiesta Dinnerware: From star shaped candy dishes to colorful pitchers, you are bound to find something to like. Also in the dinnerware category is Poketo with their bamboo dinnerware. 

Taotronics Air Fryer: Great for someone in your life who is trying to eat healthier but still loves the deep-fried texture.

Espresso Machine by illy and cups: Bright red, this Y3.2 iperEspresso machine makes both espresso and coffee with one touch. It also doesn’t take up much space.

Viking Culinary: I recommend the teapot (comes in three colors) or a reversible wood prep and carving board. Makes prepping and cleaning a breeze. 

Crate&Barrel Fellow Stagg Kettle: Perfect for pour-over style coffee or tea. Doesn’t take up much space and looks great. Also available in three different colors.

Jung Lee Pharos Tea Pot and Mug Set: Even if they are just entertaining for one, this is a lovely piece sure to delight. It has one teapot and comes with two mugs – inspired by the lighthouses of Portugal. 


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Big change to online shopping for FNB clients

FNB has made a significant change to how its clients make online purchases ahead of Black Friday and the festive shopping season.

Previously, the bank sent a one-time PIN via SMS or email to customers to confirm transactions made on online stores.

Now, however, it has adopted the Online Secure, or 3D Secure, system in an attempt to cut down on cybercrime.

“As cybercrime continues to be one of the barriers that hinder the growth and potential of ecommerce activities in South Africa, FNB is rolling out its Online Secure authentication service to all merchants and individual customers to provide an additional layer of security for digital transactions,” the bank.

“In line with industry requirements, FNB has upgraded all merchants and cardholders to Online Secure authentication to ensure enhanced user experience, security and flexibility.”

Online Secure means that all FNB customers will be required to authenticate themselves when making online purchases. This can be done via a push notification sent through the FNB mobile banking app.

“If the customer does not have the FNB App or does not respond to the FNB App push message to approve their online purchase, they will receive the OTP via SMS, App messaging and by logging onto Online Banking messaging,” FNB said.

“Receiving OTP via email is being discontinued in line with the bank’s strategy to discontinue communication via this format for safety measures.”

It is therefore recommended to download and set up the FNB banking app for the smoothest experience possible when shopping over Black Friday.

App-based authentication

The bank said that in the case that FNB is satisfied the purchase is secure, customers will not be required to authenticate themselves iva Online Secure.

This will result in faster authentication during periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, FNB said.

FNB now allows customers to update their Online Secure contact details via the FNB App, and it will subsequently discontinue the updating of Online Secure via its online banking and call centre channels.

“We encourage customers to opt for convenient and safer ways to shop during Black Friday in line with COVID-19 safety guidelines,” said FNB Card CEO Chris Labuschagne.

“More importantly, many local retailers have begun offering Black Friday specials much earlier than usual to improve the shopping experience for consumers.”

“We also encourage customers to use trusted platforms when shopping online and remind everyone to always keep information such as PINs and passwords safe and to only authenticate transactions they have initiated,” he said.

These security changes will also allow customers to complete transactions when shopping online through payment methods such as digital wallets, QR codes, and mobile payments.

For example, FNB customers can use the app’s Scan to Pay feature on websites where this is supported to easily make payments for products.

Payment requests are also supported, where the cardholder will receive a push notification on their phone from the FNB app and select the account they would like to pay from.

Online Secure will protect cardholders against unauthorised use

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A 28-year-old fashion brand director explains how ruthless attention to detail has landed Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez as clients

a person holding a phone in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Kyle Bryan. Courtesy of Kyle Bryan

© Provided by Business Insider
Kyle Bryan. Courtesy of Kyle Bryan

  • Kyle Bryan is the brand director at the luxury brand LaQuan Smith.
  • In his role, he helps market the brand and establish brand partnerships and collaborations to help raise its international profile.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Bryan shared the strategies he’s used to help build the brand’s celebrity clientele, and the importance of having a meticulous eye for detail. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kyle Bryan isn’t just a fan of being detail-oriented — it informs the entire philosophy he brings to work. And as branding director for the fashion house LaQuan Smith, that work is luxury.


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“It’s all about understanding that details are going to make a brand full and make it make sense,” Bryan said. “Luxury is all about the story.”

As the one in charge of amassing new clients, it’s up to Bryan, 28, to land strategic partnerships and A-list talent. Over his seven years at the company, he’s managed to help grow the company’s elite client roster, which had already included stars like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez.

His secret: caring a lot about what others may overlook — that is, focusing on inclusivity on the runway, tailoring experiences to particular clients, and taking a vested interest in networking to land new strategic partnerships.

“Kyle has a work ethic that is unmatched,” Jacqueline Cooper, vice president of LaQuan Smith, told Business Insider. “Kyle is the glue that holds everything together.” 

Telling a new story

Bryan started working at LaQuan Smith — the fashion house owned by its eponymous black designer — in 2015, with what he says were very clear intentions. 

“I came in with a mission to really help create the first luxury American brand by a Black designer,” he told Business Insider. “That story hasn’t really been told before.”

He says the company’s main goal as a Black-owned business is to help rewrite the legacy of Black luxury entrepreneurship, while also creating a brand that is inclusive of all people and sizes. 

“As a brand, it’s important for you to have a diverse set of users and people,” he said. “The best brands are the ones that do that — Tom Ford, Versace — it’s not just for one particular woman.”

That philosophy often shows up on the runway.

Chantelle Brown-Young, LaQuan Smith posing for the camera: Winnie Harlow (L) and LaQuan Smith (R). Brian Ach / Stringer / Getty Images

© Brian Ach / Stringer / Getty Images
Winnie Harlow (L) and LaQuan Smith (R). Brian Ach / Stringer / Getty Images

Getting the casting and modeling just right

Video: The Path Forward: Entrepreneurship & E-Commerce (The Washington Post)

The Path Forward: Entrepreneurship & E-Commerce



According to Bryan, model casting holds “incredible importance” for how the brand is represented on stage.

For example, casting a big name such as Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model and advocate for those with vitiligo, brings with it the eyes of her 8.3 million followers on Instagram. It also adds prestige to the show, for the company

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WPP’s BCW is launching an e-commerce offering for clients

  • The WPP-owned PR agency BCW is building out an e-commerce business, in a shift for an agency known for its work in corporate communications, crisis, and public affairs.
  • BCW has been working to diversify its business since it was created from a merger with the creative-focused Cohn & Wolfe in 2018.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has hurt BCW, but it has seen gains in work involving corporate communications, crisis, public affairs, and healthcare.
  • It’s also branching out into consulting with its new Polycultural Consulting Unit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The public-relations giant BCW has been quietly building an e-commerce offering, the latest effort by CEO Donna Imperato to diversify the WPP-owned firm’s business.

The e-commerce pitch is part of BCW’s digital- and integrated-communications practice. The pitch is that BCW can build websites and apps for clients and run performance media campaigns that target consumers with search, social ads, and content marketing, a BCW spokesperson said. 

The company says it already has a dozen clients, which it wouldn’t name.

Like other PR agencies, BCW is trying to diversify and grow its business by getting into areas like ad creative and data-driven services. This effort goes back to 2018, when BCW acquired HZDG, a firm specializing in branding, advertising, and digital.

“We knew we needed e-commerce because with the internet, you want to be able to promote the client product or brand and make it easy for the reader to go straight to purchasing that product,” Imperato told Business Insider.

It’s also part of a broader convergence where the lines between media and advertising services are blurring as companies push into each other’s businesses in search of new revenue lines. Examples include the top PR firm Edelman making a big push into advertising, consulting firms like Accenture buying agencies, and agencies fighting back with their own offerings.

E-commerce is new territory for BCW, which makes most of its revenue from corporate communications and public affairs. E-commerce is also booming as people order online while stuck at home during the pandemic, leaving brands scrambling to maximize their online presence.

BCW is also getting into consulting with a new arm it started in September. Two years in development, the Polycultural Consulting Unit’s pitch is that it can help companies understand, communicate with, and advertise to consumers in culturally relevant ways and promote inclusion and diversity.

“We’re going to need to staff up because the team isn’t large enough to meet all the requests right now,” Imperato said.

BCW is the third-largest PR agency in revenue, with $740 million in revenue, according to ProvokeMedia. It was formed in 2018 through a merger between the PR giant Burson-Marsteller, which was known for corporate, crisis, and public-affairs services, and Cohn & Wolfe, known for digital, creative, and integrated communications.

After taking a dip earlier in the pandemic, Imperato said BCW’s business pipeline started turning around in August. Throughout the pandemic, public affairs, crisis, corporate communications, and healthcare, and the US market as a whole, performed

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Treasury encouraged banks to prioritize PPP loans for existing clients, hurting minority and women-owned small businesses, House report says

  • The Treasury Department privately encouraged banks to prioritize existing clients when implementing the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which provided coronavirus relief to small businesses, according to a report released Friday from a House oversight panel.
  • Limiting PPP lending to existing customers disproportionately hurt minority and women-owned business, the Democratic-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said in its report.
  • The reported concluded neither the Treasury nor Small Business Administration offered “meaningful” directives for lenders to prioritize underserved groups, according to financial institutions interviewed by the subcommittee.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: US President Donald Trump shows a signed Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2020.

© Provided by CNBC
US President Donald Trump shows a signed Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2020.

The Treasury Department privately encouraged banks to prioritize existing clients when implementing the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program that provided coronavirus relief to small businesses, according to a report Friday from a House oversight panel.


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The Trump administration’s directive to favor existing clients in PPP lending decisions disproportionately hurt minority and women-owned business, the Democratic-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said in its report.

“As a result, small businesses that were truly in need of financial support during the economic crisis often faced longer waits and more obstacles to receiving PPP funding than larger, wealthier companies,” the congressional panel said in statement. 

Congress established the PPP as a part of the CARES Act, designed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations to help them weather the Covid-19 pandemic and preserve jobs. The Small Business Administration relied on banks and other private lenders to process the funds.

Documents obtained by the subcommittee revealed that the Treasury told banks to “go to their existing customer base” when issuing loans, according to an email sent by the CEO of the American Bankers Association, Rob Nichols, to the group’s board of directors on March 28.

“From early on there was an understanding from Treasury that banks were working with existing clients,” Jennifer Roberts, a senior banker from JPMorgan Chase & Co, told the subcommittee in July, according to the report.

Banks and other financial institutions faced challenges in vetting new customers and processing applications in a timely manner during the early rollout of the PPP. The congressional panel found that seven of the eight banks involved in its investigation limited PPP lending to existing customers.

But this tactic hurt underserved groups, the House panel found. Research shows minority and women-owned businesses are less likely to have existing relationships with lenders.

An August report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 41% of Black-owned businesses closed between February and April 2020 — higher than any other demographic group. The New York Fed pointed to “racial disparities in access to federal relief funds,” including “stark PPP coverage gaps.”

In the CARES Act, Congress specified “the Administrator should issue guidance to lenders and agents to ensure that the processing and disbursement of covered loans prioritizes small business

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Introduce Your Business to New Clients With a Corporate Gift Basket

Giving corporate gift baskets to potential clients is a good way to make a long-lasting positive impression. This gesture shows that your business is invested in its clients and wants to go that extra mile to make sure they’re happy.

The gift baskets you give do not have to be super expensive or large. In fact, a corporate gift basket like that could make the recipient feel awkward, and we don’t want that. gifts containing alcoholic items are also probably best left alone; if your recipient doesn’t imbibe, this renders the basket useless. The same goes for baskets obviously aimed towards a certain gender, such as a basket filled with frilly pink spa items. The best way to go is to opt for small to medium sized corporate gift baskets filled with goodies anyone could use, such as candies, desk supplies, or baked goods.

A great way to draw a client to your business even more is to include some items with your company’s logo on them. Don’t go overboard with huge logos that obscure the entire object; a modestly-sized one will do the trick wonderfully, whereas an oversized logo can look tacky and desperate. Some good items to put your logo on include pens, laptop bags, water bottles, and travel mugs. These are all items that a person can really use on an everyday basis, and they’ll think of your company every time they use it.

There is one final thing to consider. Giving a gift to a potential client is a great idea. However, keep in mind that it is inappropriate and often against company policy to give gifts to any client you are currently in negotiations with. This can be interpreted as a bribe, even if that’s not how you intended it. Even if your company policy says nothing about this, the client may feel uncomfortably pressured by your gesture. To avoid any sticky situations, opt to give corporate gift baskets to people who have not yet gotten involved with your business, but who are thinking about doing so. This is not to say that you shouldn’t give gifts to potential clients at all – just use your better judgment to avoid any mishaps or embarrassing situations.

Corporate gift baskets are a perfect way to show potential clients that your company wants to do business with them. It gives your business the image of being genuine, thoughtful, and involved. Why not try it next time?

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