6 things that everyone should know about recognition awards
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Mar 6, 2009

Last week was the biggest event in the world of awards and recognition, the 2009 ARA Show in Las Vegas.  Last year, our whole company went and had a great time, however this year I went with our resident recognition guru Nelson Borges and Saul Brown, owner of Saul Good Gifts.

I’ve always found the show interesting because it brings together all of the biggest companies and personalities, showcases their latest awards and designs, and gives us a chance to listen and share ideas.  About 4 years ago, following the launch of our new website for crystal awards, Eclipse emerged as a leader in the awards and recognition industry.  Suddenly, we were no longer following the trends, we were setting them.  Now when we visit the show, we try to guide the manufacturers in the direction we believe will benefit our clients.  Every day we deal directly with dozens of companies of different sizes across North America and we hear what they want in terms of personalized recognition awards, crystal awards and green awards.

Our strength at Eclipse Awards has always been our ability to listen, understand, and then deliver.  So what have I learned from attending 7 of the last 10 ARA Shows? Here are the 6 things everyone should know about recognition awards:

1.    Recognition is a powerful instrument.  Everyone wants to be appreciated for their work or contribution…it’s a common emotion and part of being human.  When done properly, a recognition award has the power to inspire, to motivate, to enable and empower, and to open new doors while also building confidence and good feelings.  These incredible intangibles are often underappreciated, yet they can add real depth and value to your organization.  Recognition done poorly however, can actually create the opposite of the intended effect.

2.     Make it personal.  Personalizing a recognition award with a name and a thoughtful message changes it from something generic into something that is truly unique and highly valued by the recipient.

3.    Simple is beautiful, elegant and timeless.  That award with the flashing LEDs might look great during the event, but how will it look in 3 months or 3 years?  When choosing a recognition award, aim for something personalized, timeless and classy that will stand the test of time.  We want people to be proudly presenting our awards 10 years from now.

4.    Never underestimate quality and craftsmanship.  The gift or award that you select to recognize someone symbolizes your message to them.  If the awards you’ve chosen are poorly made or lack quality, you’ve likely undermined your message and possibly even insulted the recipient which is not what you set out to do.  On the other hand, if the award is thoughtful and well made, you’ve just reinforced your message of appreciation in a subtle yet powerful way.  Isn’t this what you set out to do in the first place?

5.    The only true currency is the quality and depth of our relationships with one another.  In the end, we’re all people trying to get along and be happy.  Nothing will ever replace a heartfelt thank you with eye contact or an appreciative hug.  However, sometimes we need to go out of our way to make people feel special and give them something beautiful that symbolizes how others feel about them.  We all know how amazing and empowering it can be when we’re made to feel special, and a properly done recognition award can help create those lasting feelings.

6.    Timing is everything.  It’s best to recognize positive behavior as quickly as you can.  Feelings tend to diminish over time, so the strongest reinforcements are possible right after the behavior you want to reward occurs.   On a more practical level, you need you're awards delivered to you on time.  Your awards aren't worth much if they arrive late for your event.  Think of the Oscars arriving one day late...that's why we guarantee on time delivery.

So that’s a quick summary of what I’ve learned in the past 10 years.  Recognition isn’t necessarily about the latest and greatest, it’s about sincerity, consistency and quality.  It’s about taking the time to make someone feel special in a lasting and positive way.  
In these challenging times, are there people that you’d like to recognize for their contributions and loyalty?  Make sure they know how much you appreciate their efforts and sacrifices on your behalf because we are all stronger together than we are apart.



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