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Are Plaques Passé?

April 1, 2011

Should you spend hundreds of dollars on award plaques, crystal trophies, or golden statuettes when so many members no longer have offices to put them in?

Today, AEs are finding that technology can make member recognition more relevant and cost effective.

“Two years ago we moved away from printed award certificates to electronic certificates,” says Toni Wilson, marketing director of the Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Calif. “Those members who like to have certificates can print them and for those who don’t, we aren’t spending money printing and mailing certificates that ultimately end up in the garbage. All of our award winners are listed on our Web site.”

For many members, their Web site is their office. It’s where potential clients visit, gain information about services, and make the first contact. So this is naturally where displaying association recognition is most effective.

An “electronic award plaque” could take the form of a graphic or photo that a member can post on his or her site. To prove authenticity, it should link back to a page on your association site where the recipient is again identified and the award is explained.

Creating a virtual “wall of fame” on your Web site is another way to honor members for their service. It not only publicizes their accomplishments and contributions to fellow members, but also ensures that their name, along with their award, will show up in Google results whenever anyone searches for them.

“Our award winners are on our Web site in a digital publication and we distribute a logo for them to use in their own marketing materials, along with logo guidelines,” says Jessica Kern, marketing communications manager for the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. “Every year we see the demand grow for the digital logo, and it’s becoming more widely used.”