A Beginner's Guide to Corporate Awards

So your manager says to you, "Hey, we need awards for next month's event. Can you handle that?" "Sure boss", you say, but secretly you don't even know where to start. Sound familiar? Well, don't panic. We're here to help. We'll break it down for you in this simple guide to corporate awards.

We'll start with what a corporate award is, then go over what to look for, and finally give some pointers for what it should say.

What Are Corporate Awards?

First off, what kind of item are we dealing with here? Technically, a corporate award is simply any award given by a corporation, business, non-profit, or association. To be more specific, it tends to be a high value piece with a clean, elegant design, and a professional-looking imprint. Those three elements are absolutely key. We'll go through each of them step-by-step today.
The first two points, high value and elegant design, help you know what to look for in an award, so let's start there.

High Value

You want to say "we value you", so be sure your award actually communicates that feeling. When the recipient receives it, they should feel like "wow, I guess my contribution is worth something like this." So, make it a high value piece.
You generally know when a piece feels high value, but you might not be able to say why. To help you with this, here are three important factors to consider: craftsmanship, material, and weight.
First, craftsmanship refers to the construction of the object. You want it to look like someone took the time and effort to craft a thing of beauty. Art glass, like the crystal black teardrop, is the premier example of this, since each piece is actually hand-crafted. But you can get the same effect from a well-done acrylic, such as the crinkle edge acrylic block. If you pay attention to craftsmanship, your recipient will feel worth the time and effort it took to make the award.
Second, the material the piece is made from should seem valuable. Crystal has the highest perceived value of anything we sell, while acrylic is a close second. Marble also suggests value. All these materials seem like the kind of thing that would fetch a high price, which makes your recipient feel worth that price.
Finally, don't forget about weight. Human psychology tends to associate heaviness with importance, so you want something with a bit of heft. Crystal, again, is ideally suited for this.
These three characteristics, craftsmanship, material, and weight, communicate signals of high worth. Together, they say "we value you."
Now that you understand high value, it's time to talk about design.

Elegant Design

Naturally, you want your award to look nice. That's a no-brainer. But is there a specific aesthetic you should aim for? As a matter of fact, there is. You want your design to be elegant.
Why is this important? Because your award represents your organization, and a clean, elegant design communicates efficiency and status. Your organization is efficient and high status, right? So, your award should be too.
Most awards you'll find are simple yet beautiful. Not too complicated. There's a reason for that. An award as baroque as King Louis XIV's palace doesn't say efficiency, it says glut and waste. You don't want that. You want something simple yet beautiful, or in a word, elegant.
A good example of elegance is the optic crystal wedge. It's just a rectangle tapered ever so slightly, yet it catches the light so skillfully it seems more complex than it is.
In short, your award's design should reflect the qualities of your organization: efficient and high status. Thus, look for something beautiful yet simple, or in other words, elegant.
Once you've selected a high value award with an elegant design, you know you are on your way to a top-class corporate award. But there's one more thing to consider: the message you'll have imprinted on it.

Professional Imprint

So you've just picked out your award, and then the sales person asks, "What would you like it to say?" Gulp. You didn't realize you'd have to be a writer.
Fortunately, what you've already learned about corporate awards can serve as a guide for writing your message. You know you want to reflect the efficiency and professionalism of your organization, right? So do that in the wording too.  Keep it clean and simple.
Here is a common four-point model you can use. A corporate award typically begins with 1) the logo of the organization presenting the award, followed by 2) the recipient's name, then 3) the reason for the award, and finally 4) the date or year of presentation. There are many variations on this model, but that is the gist.
Of these four points, it's the third, i.e. the reason for the award, that tends to give people trouble. You want something clean and succinct. You may want to call out everything great the recipient ever did, but save that for the awards ceremony or a personal moment of congratulations. Too much text starts to look like one of those user agreements that you scroll past and click "agree."
Instead of that, you want to sum up in as few words as possible why you are recognizing the person. It may be as simple as a category name, like "Top Sales." Or it may be a brief phrase or statement, such as "In recognition of 15 years of dedicated service to the community." Stick to one sentence if possible, or two if you must.
Avoid archaic language or complicated sentence structures. These may seem to lend status, but too often they come off sounding stilted instead. Yours is a modern organization, so use modern language. Just be clear, straightforward, and genuine.
There are many variations on this model, of course. The rosewood piano finish plaque, for example, incorporates the date into the logo. You can also switch around the order or omit some elements. The main point is that you convey the necessary information in a professional manner without getting wordy. If you follow this advice, the result will be an imprint appropriate to a corporate award.
By the way, if writing really isn't your thing, don't worry. Our salespeople are happy to help you come up with the message you want.

Ready to begin?

By now, you understand what to look for in an award and what to say on it. The piece you select should be high value and elegant, and your imprint should be professional.
With these things in place, you can be assured your item will communicate the right message and your recipient will feel valued. The next time your boss asks for an update on the awards for next month's event, you will beam with confidence.