​A Guide to Building Award Traditions

December 5, 2017

A Guide to Building Award Traditions:

Building a new award tradition can be an exciting and anxious task for anyone. On one hand you’re crafting a legacy that if done correctly will outlast you. On the other hand if done poorly it can backfire and make everyone involved look like they wasted time and money. With decades of experience in building lasting traditions here is what we have found works best:

Aim to be timeless:

The biggest thing that causes traditions that are supposed to last 100 years to fall apart early is over reliance on gimmicks or edginess. What causes this to manifest is the need for people to buy on early. The reality is for a tradition to catch on the design needs to be strong for generations.

Often the best place to look for this is the past. If a general design aesthetic wouldn’t have worked in the past it likely won’t work in the future. There is a simple test of three questions to see if a design is timeless. Do I like this? Would my parents like this? Would someone in college like this? If it is yes to all three you likely have a solid base for your tradition.

If you are still in doubt of what to build your base from, look for items that have already been passed down. Look for classic tools of the trade or sport, or something that speaks to the heart of the award such as the namesake or region it holds to.

Aim to be adaptable:

Regardless of how good the design, having a way to change it up year to year is smart for the long run. Take a look at the Olympic torch for instance. Despite the tradition being very clear cut of carrying a flame from Athens to the site of the event, the torch itself carries a unique flavor each cycle that carries the flavor of the host venue.

At Malcolm DeMille we have worked with the Bel Air Country Club in providing money clips for the Swinging Bridge tournament. While the overall logo has remained the same, the money clip has delivered a very different impact each year.

When you give yourself a little wiggle room for the future in your initial designs whether it be color, scheme or style, the creativity of the later years can truly bloom.

Aim to be unforgettable:

At the end of the day you do need to make an impact when starting a new tradition. Imagine if no one wanted to compete for the Stanley Cup, the NHL likely wouldn’t exist.

Making a prize worth winning or gift worth giving is really the payoff for all the work that goes into the process.

Large perpetual designs are sure to grab eyes and attention. Having nameplates around the base of an award is a great way to harken back to past winners while adding motivation for future competitors. Meanwhile having a known gift with a twist each year is a great way to generate excitement for an upcoming event.

Being timeless, adaptable and unforgettable is a great setup for years of great events. Take a look at El Niguel’s recent renovation. They set out to generate a theme based around their crown logo. One look at the trophy, trophy tray and money clip and you wouldn’t know that this new tradition started just this year.

If you’re looking for help building your new traditions we’re always ready to help. Let us know how we can help you by sending an email to info@mdemille.com

Post by Stephan Hodges

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