Volume 36, Issue 7, July 2001

A Look at the Winners of the First Annual USGlass Marketing Awards
by Tara Taffera

 

A few years ago, awards competitions may not even have had a website category, and if they did, the number of entries probably paled in comparison to the others. But in the First Annual USGlass Marketing Awards, websites reigned. In fact, “Best Website” received the highest amount of entries.

But before discussing the winners, some people may be wondering about the exact nature of the USGlass Marketing Awards. An entry form for this first-ever contest was placed in the March 2001 issue of USGlass (see box on this page for categories and this year’s winners). If you missed it, have no fear—you can start gearing up for next year’s competition. 

Judges for the marketing awards were compiled of experts from both inside and outside the glass industry. They included: Kelly Kennai, communications manager for the American Heart Association’s Office of Media Advocacy and member of the board of directors for the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Public Relations Society of America; Bob Leyland, vice president of sales and marketing, Kawneer Co.; Nancy Peterson, marketing director, Azon USA; and Ron Smith, president, MarketWise Solutions. Judges were allowed to enter their company in the awards, but did not critique their own materials. 

Best Website
Judges in the “Best Website” category were asked to rate each entry in the following areas: content, appearance, ease-of-use, meeting the mission, relevance to the intended audience and service to the industry. 

Weathershield Windows and Doors (www.weathershield.com) of Medford, Wis., received the highest overall score, thus the first place prize. After reading the judges comments, it was clear they were impressed with the company’s site. “Excellent site … met the mission,” said one judge. “Easy-to-use and visually appealing. Clean professional design with robust content.”

Jeff Williams serves as Weathershield’s communications manager and has been very involved in working on the website. Although the company has been online for a while, it wasn’t until February 2001 that it made some major changes. “We wanted to take it from a very consumer-oriented site to one that offered information for the various trades,” Williams said. The result was a series of “trade corners” for groups such as architects, builders and remodelers. One judge made a note about these on his  form. “The customized information in the ‘corners’ is a great touch,” he said.

Williams agrees that with any website ease-of-use is extremely important. “When we designed the site we made sure that the user is no more than three clicks from the deepest point on the site,” he said. “There are no dead ends. We have more than 600 screens—at every point you can click back without scrolling back and forth.”

Williams also believes websites are evolving continually. In the future, he says Weathershield would like to offer a password-protected area where dealers can go to access specific information directed toward them. 

Kawneer Company of Norcross, Ga., (www.Kawneer.com) second place winner, agrees that companies must be workibestwebsiteng constantly to update and improve their sites. “I’ve always believed that a website is an ongoing work in progress,” said Leyland. 

According to Leyland, Kawneer’s website is “so much better than it used to be.” In addition to comprehensive product information, the site also offers e-commerce capabilities, which according to Leyland, will be expanded even further this July. Customers will be able to perform such tasks as ordering products online and checking the status of their shipment. “We’re looking to be virtually paperless within one year,” said Leyland. He adds that approximately 60 to 70 percent of Kawneer’s customers are online currently. “Almost every inquiry we receive goes through the Web,” he said. 

While some companies are just beginning to delve into e-commerce, this is the main function of e-skylight.com. (www.e-skylight.com) of Waterboro, Maine. The company’s third place showing is impressive given the fact that the site has only been live since May 2000. Even more impressive is the fact that the company will turn a profit this year. “This is unheard of in the dot-com world,” said Mike Descoteaux, e-commerce manager for e-skylight.com. “We’re way ahead of the game.” 

Although e-skylight.com exists on the Web, Descoteaux says the company must come through for its customers both on and off-line. According to Descoteaux, the way the company measures success is through communication and feedback from its customers. “We get phone calls from people who are pleased with the whole process—from initial design of the skylight on the website to delivery,” he said. “That is most important. The key to our success is repeat business.”

So, what should next year’s entrants keep in mind when designing their site? Well, according to this year’s judges, grammatical errors are a definite don’t, as are technical glitches.

Product Winnersbestproduct
In addition to its website win, Weathershield also won first place in the category of “Best Product Relaunch or Update Campaign” for its Crystal Clear Performance with Laminated Glass brochure. “We put a new spin on a product that has been around for a while,”  Williams said. The brochure was launched at the International Builders Show in February 2001 and Williams says he is already seeing an impact. “We’ve seen a spike in laminated glass sales,” he said. 
bestnewproduct
In the “Best New Product Campaign” category, Gardner Glass Products of North Wilkesboro, N.C., took top honors for Collective Images, a line of decorative framed mirrors. The company has been very busy recently, as it also won first place in the “Best Integrated Company/  Identification Campaign” category. Gardner created its Dreamwalls campaign with a mission statement of “Create the home of your dreams with Gardner Glass Products.”

While many of this year’s winners have been around for decades, E-skylight.com isn’t the only fresh face to be noticed this year. Metallon Inc. of Parkersburg, W.V., winner of an honorable mention for “Best New Product Campaign,” has been in existence for only one year. According to public relations representative Kathy Ziprik, the company was launched in late July, but the product didn’t debut until February 2001. Metallon is a real metal finish provided as an upgrade option on windows, doors and trim products. Ziprik says interest levels in the product have been extremely high. In fact, builders have been showcasing Metallon in show homes and in Parade of Homes projects. “People think it’s very unique,” she said. 

Another Multiple Winner
Allmetal Inc. of Itasca, Ill., was the first place winner in two categories: “Best Alternative Media” and “Best New Look.” In the alternative media category, the company designed its first-ever CD-ROM which showcases the company’s products and how they work. “This has always been a challenge,” said marketing representative Lisa Totino. “Our customers can’t see how our products are put together.” Until now. According to Totino, the CD will be updated continually as new products are introduced, etc. 

In the “Best New Look” category, Allmetal decided to revamp its sales materials. “The old look wasn’t bad,” Totino said. But, it needed to be updated so we introduced some new colors.” These included such eye-popping choices as orange, blue and green, while the company’s former burgundy shade was downplayed. According to Totino, each sell sheet, which is aimed at a different country, now has a different color, which she said helps the sales reps as well.

Best Print Campaign
Rounding out the winners is Pilkington North America of Toledo, Ohio, which won “Best Print Campaign” for its residential products brochure. 

“We’re very pleased and honored to be among the entries voted to receive the first ever marketing awards from USGlass magazine,” said Paul Gore, business segment leader, residential products for Pilkington. “The residential brochure has been a very valuable tool for Pilkington North America. It is the first brochure that combines all of our residential products into one concise piece. It has served as a means for us to create synergy among our residential products, and enable customers to understand Pilkington’s product offering for this very important and critical market.”

All of this year’s winners will be honored during the USGlass Awards Dinner to be held October 5, 2001 from 7-11 p.m. The event is being held in Minneapolis at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in conjunction with Glass Expo Midwest™. 

 

Best Website
First Place—Weathershield Manufacturing Inc., Medford, Wis.
Agency: Colle and McVoy, Minneapolis, Minn.
Second Place—Kawneer Company Inc., Norcross, Ga.
Third Place—E-skylight.com Inc., Waterboro, Maine

Best New Product Campaign
First Place—Gardner Glass Products, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Agency: Signature Design and Marketing, N. Wilkesboro, N.C.
Honorable Mention—Metallon Inc., Parkersburg, W.V.
Agency: SBR Creative Group, Parkersburg, W.V.

Best New Look
First Place—Allmetal Inc., Itasca, Ill.
Agency: Harp Interactive, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Best Product Relaunch or Update Campaign
First Place—Weathershield Manufacturing Inc., Medford, Wis.
Agency: O.E.C. Graphics, Appleton, Wis.

Best Print Campaign
First Place—Pilkington North America, Toledo, Ohio
Agency: Lauerer Markin Group, Maumee, Ohio

Best Alternative Media
First Place—Allmetal Inc., Itasca, Ill.
Agency: Harp Interactive, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Best Integrated Company/Identification Campaign
First Place—Gardner Glass Products, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Agency: Pop Design Studio, Asheville, N.C.

Tara Taffera is the editor of USGlass magazine.

USG

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