Funny How an Organization’s Holiday Card Can Reinforce its Image (Or Not)

I wanted to clarify my comments about one of the holiday cards mentioned in this blog. The one from Davis & Gilbert, a law firm, was brilliant in terms of its self-deprecating humor and unusual visual. Knowing Mike Lasky as well as I do, I applauded him/Davis & Gilbert for taking an out-of-the box, counter-intuitive approach to their holiday greetings. That said, Mike is the best in the business and his firm is the best at what it does. My comments were intended to be positive and laudatory. My apologies to Mike if they were interpreted otherwise.

I feel a little like Andy Rooney right now. Like the venerable 60 Minutes personality, I'm sitting at a desk surrounded by lots of stuff. And, like the curmudgeonly Rooney, I feel inspired enough by some of the stuff to wax poetic for a moment or two.

The most interesting stuff is the mound of holiday cards staring back at me. It falls neatly into one of three categories and, interestingly enough, can either reinforce or undermine an organization's image

Let's start with the cards that reinforce the great reps of great organizations:Twitter card

– There's a cool card that contains a cool jazz CD from a Minneapolis musician courtesy of a very cool Midwestern PR firm, PSB.
– There's a very sleek card from a very sleek Midwestern firm, CLS. One has to interact with the card in order to read an original Yuletide greeting that hits just the right notes.
– Roush Fenway, which does lots of NASCAR-type sports marketing, sent a way cool card replete with photos of their winning drivers (note: this has to be a very, very good card to get an anti-NASCAR guy like me to like it).
– And, Converseon emphasizes its digital services with a really hip, really funny Twitter-themed card.

Now, let's examine the underwhelming efforts:

– I'd include almost every card from an accounting, law or insurance firm in this group. Typically, these lead with some breakthrough wording like "Season's greetings" and culminate with a signature from the accountant, lawyer or insurance agent in question. Ugh!
– Next come the "methinks thou dost protest too much" group of cards. These include all the do-gooders who tell me their firm's charitable contributions have helped some Third World country's windmill turn for an extra nanosecond in 2008. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge believer in giving back. But, I'm not the type to pound my chest and leverage holiday greeting cards to tell the rest of the world about it. 
– Finally, there's a card from a firm that isn't known for its warm and cuddly culture containing a photo of a warm and cuddly couple. Hmmmmm.

 Then, there's my favorite category: the bizarre and unexpected. Topping my list were:

– A signed photograph from "Hizzoner" Ed Koch. Why thank you, Mr. Mayor. And, you're doing just fine in case you'd like to know.
– A totally unexpected greeting from my favorite corporate PR lawyer, Mike "Mr. Monopoly" Lasky. His law firm's card has a picture of two hands cradling a serpent with the caption: "I want you to know this about me. I am a snake." Love it, Mike. Just love it.

Looking inward, I'd like to think Peppercom's card accurately reflects our culture. Love us or hate us, we take the road less traveled (and, our cards reflect it). If you haven't seen ours and would like to, shoot me a note. Oh, and btw, "Season's greetings."

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