Our seven-step approach to finding the perfect gift this holiday season.
Or are you a copy-cat – beating the system by gifting your partner the successful gift a friend gave his wife last year? Or the Historian – those who rack their brains to remember any hints their partner may have slipped over the past few months?
Either way, we think you can do better. So we brought together our world-class design thinking team to create this 7-step, fool-proof approach to gifting!
"I just want a present they will like! Oh, but also..."
Step 1: Define success. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of this step, which is often skipped by naive gifters. Of course you want to choose a gift that will make your partner happy – that’s obvious. But what bigger role can it play in your relationship? Perhaps you want to make your partner fall in love with you again. Perhaps you want to use the gift to demonstrate your financial success to family and friends. Or maybe it can help you go out together more often? Let’s take that last one as our working example.
Once you know your objective, define your KPIs. How will you know if it worked? What’s your expected ROI? Make sure to create SMART objectives. We recommend you document your process to ensure strategic consistency – our template might help:
“But if he’s too tired to go out after work… what present could change that?”
Step 2: Empathize. In this step we set aside our assumptions, and try to truly understand our “customer”, by jumping into their shoes. A good way to do this is through conversation. When you have the chance, get out a bottle of wine and start casually interviewing your partner. Wasn’t it great when we went out for tapas last month? I loved the music at that place! But then we were so tired the next day… Try to uncover any strong emotions they have related to this topic – this will lead to insights about what would motivate them to go, and what’s keeping them home. You may unveil surprising barriers that maybe even your partner hadn’t realized were at the core of his behavior – for example, maybe he just really hates looking for parking?
"Wow! So actually..."
Step 3: analyze findings and generate your insight. So you’ve had the conversation with your beloved, complex individual. Now it’s time to summarize all that into one insight statement, that describes what is going on in their mind and heart. If they exhibited some contradictions between behaviors and intentions, that can be a really good source of insight!
“He actually also wants to go out more, but he dreads looking for parking so much, that he’d rather just stay home. What’s more – he doesn’t seem to realize this is the problem!”
Plug your insight into our template:
“So many ideas!”
Step 4: Develop the solution. Usually by now, you will have many ideas running through your head – and we encourage you to sketch all your solutions, even the radical ones, without yet worrying about feasibility. What solution (=gift) could get your partner over their barrier and toward the desired outcome? Allow yourself to think big, using all of your creativity. Then sleep on it for a night or two, and take a look at your ideas with fresh eyes.
Ask yourself three questions: 1- which of these solutions will your partner be happy with? Remember, your own objective comes second to that. 2- which ideas are feasible? And 3- which solution will best help you achieve your objectives?
"Will it work?"
Step 5: Validate or iterate. You’re almost done. Before you move on to execution, if you want to be really sure your plan works, you should test it: one idea is to role-play Christmas day with someone who knows your partner well. Then, you adjust the solution as needed.
Step 6: Execute! This is the easy part. You purchase the gift, wrap it nicely, prepare the card, and wait for Christmas day. You’ve got this.
Step 6.1. It’s Christmas!! We hope you got to sleep in. Give your gift and watch the desired (re)action unfold. Congrats, you did it!
“But it's still not over…”
Step 7: Gather learnings. After all, your partner’s birthday is just around the corner! So when the holiday season is over, take a sheet of paper and think back at your gifting project. What worked and what didn’t? How did you perform vs. your defined objectives? Did you manage to design a gift that would lead them to your desired outcome? Make sure to take note and save these learnings in a safe place.
If you got this far, we hope you managed to design and give a gift that helps you reach your dreams! And, of course, your partner’s…
If nothing else, you at least have a beautiful human-centered snowman to show your partner you really, really tried.
Wishing you a great holiday season!
The Fresh Strategy team