Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a bit of a love affair with New Orleans.
I have good reasons. For one, my boyfriend grew up there, so I am literally in a relationship with a real New Orleanian. I also went to school down there for a while, which gave me ample opportunity to eat delicious Cajun/creole/southern/fried/soul food. Just typing that sentence made me want to jump on a plane and get a Roast Beef Po’ Boy for dinner.
Like any great relationship, my affair isn’t one-dimensional. I could go on and on about the things I love about the crescent city. (And if you’d like me to tell you, I’m sure my coworkers would appreciate the break.) But this is a blog about promotional products, so today I’d like to discuss one of my favorite promotionally related words/traditions from The Big Easy. (Promotionally = not a real word.)
Your new word for the day is: lagniappe. (Pronounced ‘lan-yap’)
When I moved to Louisiana in the fall of 2006, I had never heard of this word. One day my boyfriend used it to describe an extra chicken nugget he’d received at the drive through. He described it as “a little extra gift, like a thank you for your purchase.” I’m pretty sure they just counted wrong, but who doesn’t appreciate an extra chicken nugget?
I love this word; lagniappe. One, it sounds nothing like how it is spelled. And that is because it is a Creole word – a melding of French and Spanish and any other language around back in the 1700s. ( ♥history♥) Two, it is steeped in tradition. I mean, it’s only been around for over 300 years, which is more than you can say for the word “texting”. (Okay also not a real word… Maybe in 300 years.)
Lagniappe is defined as “a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus.” Examples? How about that 13th donut the baker threw in, just as a thank you. Or the time you purchased a souvenir on vacation, and the shop owner gave you a bookmark, just because. Or that free dessert the waiter threw in for making him laugh? All lagniappe.
So how does this relate to promotional products? Because my guess is that much of the lagniappe you receive/give is a product right from our industry. There are thousands of inexpensive, but useful, items that would make great lagniappe, and (most importantly) keep you on the top of your client’s mind. A pen is a great example. Or a keychain. Or how about these awesome cookies.
So my question to you is, what is some of your favorite lagniappe? Do you remember those businesses that threw in that ‘little something extra’? Did it prompt you to choose one business over another with comparable services? And what are some ideas that you could use in your business to give that extra, unexpected “thank you” to a customer? Share your comments and ideas in the comment section below!
(Because, as awesome as it would be, we just can’t ALL give away chicken nuggets.)