The Evolution of BURGUNDY

The Evolution of BURGUNDY

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This definition of BURGUNDY is a significant part of the Evolution of Burgundy in the Alford culture


This commentary, by Steve Alford, was originally published in the Fall 2004 INSIDER Magazine, but is as timely today as it was seven years ago. This is the first of a series of previously published commentaries we are featuring this week while we celebrate Customer Service Week.

In the finite world of AV staging, we have become as positively identified with the color burgundy as IBM has with blue, Coca-Cola has with red and UPS has with brown in the larger business landscape. How this has happened in a relatively short period of time is a testament to the consistent quality of service we have provided our clients. So what is the story behind burgundy and Alford Media?

Twenty years ago I started doing business as Alford Media Services. With the help of producer/client Terry McCullough a logo was designed, and I chose to use the color maroon—not because I was a Texas A&M fan but because that was my high school’s color. When the initial printing run was complete, the dark maroon came out a slightly lighter shade. I liked it and thus the Alford burgundy-colored logo was born.

In 1989 Tom, Danny and I partnered and incorporated Alford Media Services. We had no desire (let alone money) to change the Alford logo or burgundy color. When we moved to the Hutton Drive location in 1992, we (with the help of John Scott) modified the logo so that we could have a sign built for the lobby and a fresh look on our new stationary. By then there were lots of burgundy cases in the warehouse (if not on show-sites), and we were well on our way to being identified as the burgundy company.

Outfitted in new Alford burgundy polo shirts, our roadies started identifying other techs they liked working with as “burgundy.” In particular I remember Gary Scott telling me Randy Robert was burgundy. This would have been in 1994 prior to Randy coming on board full-time. It wasn’t long before clients and competitors alike started identifying us as “burgundy.”

At our staging conference in the summer of 1997, I coined the phrase “burgundy to the bone” and yes, the rumor of attendees receiving burgundy underwear at that conference is true. Being “burgundy,” and better yet being “burgundy to the bone,” had taken on a significant meaning thanks to the attitude and work ethic of our dedicated and talented technicians and support personnel. Yes, our cases and shirts were burgundy, but all Alford employees and valued freelancers knew that “burgundy” was much more than a color at Alford. The industry was not far behind in figuring this out.

By the time we launched our “being burgundy” ad campaign a couple of years ago, Alford was already well known in AV circles as the “burgundy company.” The poorly kept secret of what being burgundy was had long since been revealed. Alford had become known for getting the job done no matter what the obstacles, finding solutions for our clients’ many needs, and for working tirelessly with an altruistic spirit aimed at making others look good. All this and more was summed up in “burgundy.”

Companies often put their reputation on the line by the advertising slogans they use. Budweiser says it’s the King of Beers. Avis says “We Try Harder.” Energizer keeps going and going and going. Like a good neighbor State Farm is there. Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Frosted Flakes—they’re great! You’re in good hands with All-State. All these sayings (and many more) put their companies on record as to what they stand for and what they better deliver, or face the consequences of a fickle public.

By saying our people are burgundy (and all that implies) we ARE putting our reputation on the line on each and every job—each and every day. We wouldn’t want it any other way. Years of service by many dedicated Alford personnel have earned us the honor, privilege, and yes, the responsibility and challenge of exceeding our clients’ expectations at every opportunity.

One of our marketing pieces asks, “What’s the biggest difference you can make on your next event?” The answer is “the burgundy difference.” Should this ever stop being the case, would the last person out of the building please turn off the lights?


Originally published in the Fall 2004 Alford INSIDER Magazine




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