Advanced Graphic Engraving was started in 1997 by my parents. Flash forward 17 years and the folks are ready to back out of day to day and asked my sister and I to come in and take over the family business. My sister, Hannah, was an environmental geologist and I was a registered nurse working Neonatal Intensive Care. Hannah made the leap in December of 2013, while I took a little longer, coming in May of 2015.
These decisions were not taken lightly, and meticulous care was taken to assure our customers would not feel any hiccups during the transition from one generation to the next. One area of business had rarely been addressed over the long history of the business, and that is business development, which is where I come in. So what does a registered nurse with over 11 years experience at the bedside know about growing an already well established business? Absolutely nothing.
Now that I have been at this endeavor for the last two years, I have learned far more than I can put in a blog post, but I want to start with the first challenge that I have found.
What do you call what we sell??? Business 101: Know your product and be able to pitch it in 90 seconds to anybody, regardless of background. Down here in the south, where Oil and Gas is the primary industry, we sell tags. Lots of tags. And these tags are made of all sorts of materials, but regardless, they are usually called tags. Sometimes they have a prefix attached to the word ‘tag’, such as data tag, machinery tag, equipment tag, but overall, other than a few exceptions, most of our products can be referred to as simply ‘tags’.
BUT, we do not only service the Oil and Gas industry in the south! We service a multitude of industries across the globe. Just like Oil and Gas generally calls it a tag, shipbuilders tend to call it a label, no matter the material from which it is made. Automotive? They call it a badge. Other industries like to call them nameplates (one word) or name plates (two words). I once had to pitch to an entire room full of people who had no idea what we did and were not associated with industrial companies, and one gentleman, who worked in banking, after seeing the products, said he would have called most of them ‘placards’.
This revelation lead me to begin keeping a list. Every time I come across another term, it goes on the list. Did you know that we sell “miners checks”? I didn’t either until I found out what miners checks are, and I can say, we sell a heck of a lot of miners checks, and have for 20 years now. Who knew? Other names include markings, markers, plaques, legend plates, charms, brady labels, and colliery checks/tokens. I am sure that this list will continue to grow.
So, let me ask you, what do you call it?