Volume 38, Issue 12, December 2003

Top Notch
Winners of the Third Annual 
USGlass Marketing Awards Announced

by Brigid O'Leary

Though void of any scandalous smooching or feather-plumed guests, the third annual USGlass Marketing Awards were announced during October’s Glass Expo Midwest in Chicago, proving that image is everything—even in the glass industry. These honors recognize companies for their marketing excellence in several categories, and this year includes the addition of honorable mention to the winner’s circle. The prestigious awards were presented on October 17, 2003 during a luncheon at Glass Expo Midwest, ’04, at the Wyndham Lisle Hotel in Chicago.

A Truly ‘High Performance’
In most industries, when an innovative product or product design proves successful for one company, others in the field follow suit until the market is saturated with this style of product. Once this happens, companies must create something special to set themselves apart from the competition. The recipient of this year’s award for Best Alternative Media, ICD High Performance Coatings of Vancouver, Wash., has done just that. The company designed an interactive CD on its OPACI-COAT 300® spandrel product. The goal of the CD is to provide educational and technical services that are equally pleasing to view and use. It was, however, up against three other promotional CDs and a television commercial.

“It’s easy to navigate,” judge Kathy Ziprick said of ICD’s entry. “A very complete CD.”

“[The CD] has been well accepted internationally and it’s a good tool to show architects and builders how things come together,” said Kris Vockler, marketing director at ICD. “It created a great loop for everything to come full circle, and we’re very excited that it met the criteria to be chosen for the award.”

Coming Out Ahead
Simonton Windows of Parkersburg, W.Va, was the first company ever to receive three awards, winning Best Website, Best New Product Campaign and, for a second year in a row, Best Product Re-Launch. 

Up against several other companies for Best Website, Simonton’s made quite an impression on judges with its overall content, appearance, relevance to the intended audience and service to the industry, receiving the only perfect score.
“Simonton took the time to filter information,” said judge Christie Terkelson of Linetec. “[It’s] a great resource for [both] customers and employees. Architects, homeowners, distributors and contractors won’t have to waste their time sorting through details.”

“Very organized!” judge Pat Kreider of TruSeal Technologies commented. “I’m impressed with [the company’s] site. It is full of information and it all seems valuable for a dealer to utilize. It is very evident that Simonton has put much thought [into] this site.”

An attention-grabbing visual for the Simonton StormBreaker™ Plus line, a link bearing its logo and flashing in a manner similar to lightning, was a hit with the judges.
“[I] loved the use of Flash to high-light the StormBreaker Plus line,” commented Terkelson.

Apparently the judges of the website competition were not the only ones impressed with Simonton’s line of Storm Breaker Plus windows, as it also earned the company a win from another group of judges for the Best New Product Campaign. 
“We’ve always tried to take a radical approach to our literature and support material,” Simonton vice president of marketing Chris Monroe said of the StormBreaker Plus printed information. “We were launching an impact product—one that withstands impact of high winds and debris—so we wanted striking, shocking, dramatic photography to catch people’s attention.” 

Thorough descriptions and explanations are constants in the company’s printed marketing items. Following last year’s Best Product Re-Launch win for its Metallon marketing materials, Simonton reclaimed the prize again this year for its Impressions™ line. To ensure marketing success, Monroe explained, Simonton brought in several contractors to serve as a focus group that provided feedback and ideas to help create the new material.

“These are really selling tools in print, not brochures,” Monroe said of the Impressions marketing material. “The contractors can take them into homes and really use them to sell the product directly to the consumer.

“We were thrilled to get that kind of recognition in the industry for the kind of work we’ve been able to generate within the organization,” Monroe said of Simonton’s near sweep of the awards. “A lot of people in the company worked on those projects and it’s exciting when the teamwork comes together.”

Printing It – The Way It Was
Despite the growing trend of computerized marketing, good, old-fashioned print material will never truly be replaced. Greenwood, Ark.-based Precision Glass Bending Corp. knows that, and by creating a colorful and thorough brochure, the company won the Best Print Campaign.

“We’re very pleased,” said Russ Alder, vice president of Precision, of the award. “We work hard on our marketing and feel that we do good things with our product. The best way to communicate that is through marketing to the right audience.”
Targeting both a professional and a general audience, the information provided about each possible use of the bent glass offered by Precision Glass Bending is brief, but direct, and includes a list of examples of how the glass might best be applied in different situations. 

“It educates people to what is possible with glass and I think that’s important,” Alder said of the brochure.

Keeping this audience in mind helped the company keep the information structured in such a way that it remains presentable to all potential readers, which gained the praise of the judges.

“This has it all,” said Charlene Kull, of C.R. Laurence, who was one of the judges in the Print Campaign category. “[It] really addresses the audience … really sells the product and the company. [It was] the best piece of those submitted.”

And Finally….
Three awards for honorable mention were given this year. Brander Communications for Technical Glass Products out of Federal Way, Wash., received the nod for Best New Look, for its new, streamlined product brochure. Filled with pictures that blend aesthetics with purpose, the brochure targets those who design with, build with or market glass doors and windows as well as those who set and enforce building and fire codes. AFGD Glass of Atlanta earned recognition for Best Integrated Company/Identification Campaign. AFGD updated an image so that its goals and mission were more easily recognizable, in turn, more effectively serving both its employees and customers on every level of interaction. 

An honorable mention for Best Auto Glass Marketing went to Binswanger Glass, headquartered in Richmond, Va., for its “Century of Excellence” brochure that showcases the variety of glass services that the company offers, which includes work on and with auto glass.

This year’s votes are in, but how long will Simonton Windows remain on top? The competition in several categories was close this year, an indication that companies are stepping up their efforts to set themselves apart from everyone else. If you think your company has what it takes to unseat one of this year’s award winners, we invite you to submit your entry. You can download an entry form from www.glass.com to enter early or, if you wish to fine-tune your work before submitting it, the entry forms will run in March 2004. 


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