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SHOULD WE PANDER? RIFF ON SETH GODIN'S BLOG 11/5/2015

An outdoor engraved plaque mounted on a tree

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.

The market, given a choice, often picks something that's short-term, shoddy, inane, obvious, cheap, a quick thrill. Given the choice, the market almost never votes for the building, the monument or the civic development it ends up being so proud of a generation later. Think about it: the best way to write an instant bestseller is to aim low.

The race to popular belies the fact that our beloved classics were yesterday's elitist/obscure follies.

Bob Dylan, Star Trek and the Twilight Zone vs. The Monkees, The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island.

Zaha Hadid and Maya Lin vs. Robert Moses.

A Confederacy of Dunces vs. Valley of the Dolls.

No one watches Ed Sullivan reruns (except for one, the exception that proves that rule).

It's our choice. The ones who create, the ones who instigate, the ones who respond to what's been built. It's up to us to raise the bar—pandering is a waste of what's possible.

Sometimes it seems like winner-take-all capitalism is pushing us ever harder to play it dumb. That makes it even more important that we resist.

We do resist – day in and day out, job-by-job and our repeat customer base lets us know there are those who believe in what we do. But in this fast and furious world – where even our industry reps tell us no one cares – how do we support what we do? How do we get paid to stay the course?

Our prices look high to people who aren’t used to anyone caring what the finished product looks like. The time we spend laying things out, asking for input, switching fonts – it all looks utterly foolish when placed against the majority of our competition.

Our mission currently is to take our caring, crafting, “Recognition is Respect Made Visible” outlook from our comfy home in Vermont (and very special customers all over) where we know people ‘get’ our ethic to a much bigger space – the world of the Internet.

What we promise is that we don’t pander – we just do excellent work with outstanding customer service always… every time.

Margi

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