Show the Love
Brigid Hines: Trends include art pieces that can be displayed in an office or home setting and products that are functional, such as high-end writing instruments. Acrylic products are increasingly popular due to the quality and clarity coupled with budget-friendly prices.
Robin Kerr: In addition to traditional crystal awards, I have seen many companies selecting art glass, which is a little more decorative and potentially more flexible in terms of where it's displayed. Companies also sometimes select an item that is not a standard "award," but something functional and individualized to the recipient. Many high-end products could be be positioned as awards while also being useful to the person receiving it.
Adam Van Witzenburg: In the gift card world, the latest trends continue to be open loop products like American Express and Visa. They seem to be the easiest products to use, given the fact that they are universally accepted and can be customized to fit a company's needs. Virtual gift cards or e-codes have become the newest and most promising trend in the gift card market and the awards and recognition promotional market. They are easy to deliver and use at the various retailers that offer them. We have also been noticing a lot of growth in the mass merchant area, such as Walmart and Target gift cards.
PM: What is your best advice for a distributor selling into this arena?
BH: This product group is an annuity and comes with a high repeat factor each year so distributors have a great ability to build relationships and work with a client for years on their awards and recognition programs. Selling awards has less pricing pressures and there are several unique awards to choose from, giving the distributor better profit margins.
Mike Ablauf: When customers are looking for standard crystal, acrylic, etc. types of awards they are choosing their supplier because of price, speed of delivery and reputation as a supplier. When looking for more of those recognition-type items, the customers are really looking for something exclusive or different. They want their piece to stand out from other awards or recognition items the person may have received in the past.