“There are SO many great Christmas presents here” one of our regular customers said to me and he proceeded to buy 6 different items to have engraved for family members. It made me realize that I am often so focused on corporate awards that I forget how many of our products serve dual purposes and as our motto says, “Recognition is Respect Made Visible” works just as well for caring gifts as it does for awards and trophies.
A colleague has this quote as a tag line and it has made me think.
When my daughter was young we used to argue about table manners. “But I know how to behave when I have to,” she’d say. And I would undoubtedly reply that practice makes perfect and it would be nice for her family to see nice manners. It would undoubtedly be better to have ‘good’ be the default.
Trophies are 10% of our business so my living doesn’t depend on them and I can perhaps claim a bit of objectivity. Regularly I hear vehement opinions on several sides of this issue.
“Let ‘em learn how to play well enough to EARN a &*%^$ trophy!” said one friend. And there was the media story about the NFL player who returned his kids trophies for that very reason.
I get that, I do, but I see several other ways of looking at the issue.
Much of the awards industry takes the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. When we were a really tiny company closure was the only way to get a break and we’ve never changed it. Naturally we have auto-responders on our email but, as I can check email from anywhere I do. The following is not to blow my own horn – it is to illustrate how hard we will work for our good customers.
Should We Pander? – Riff on Seth Godin’s blog 11/5/2015
Our natural reaction is to say, “NO!! - emphatically NO” but as a small, custom, high-quality maker of awards and signs it feels like that is what the economy, the industry, and occasionally even our customers are telling us to do.
Here is Seth: In a race to go faster, cheaper and wider, it's tempting to strip away elegance, ornamentation or subtlety. If you want to reach more people, aim for average.
We make lots of small signs for outside use. They mark trees, boats, mail boxes and on and on. Often we hear that brass is classy and plastic looks cheap. While this may be true on installation I think the photo illustrates our belief that weatherable plastics are definitely the way to go.
This, once bright brass, piece was outdoors for only 3 years (engraved by another company) when it was brought to us and remade in a metal-look plastic.
We make a lot of high profile awards in Vermont and I attend many of the events. Lt. Governor Phil Scott is often a presenter of the awards and when I first introduced myself he asked about the company and I said he should do a site visit.
Phil replied that he prefers his “Everyday Jobs” program where he comes an actually works for the company for a day. I thought that was very cool but was about to buy our first laser engraver and he suggested I get in touch with his office after the purchase.
My daughter Jessie has a nice IQ but at least twice she got herself into special ed. classes. She was not slow – just smart enough to game the system and get simpler work.
This is part of our logo and the over arching mission of our company. If people knew how often the words are used in our workplace we'd probably seem pretty nerdy.
But we mean it. We had a man come in, years ago who'd been serving in the VT Guard in some far off place. He'd earned and been given an award. He brought the plaque to us and said: "Look what they gave me" his voice reflected his disappointment