Out-of-the-box thinking comes naturally to David Diederich, president of Pactech, a $4.5-million company located in Rochester, N.Y., that designs and manufactures flexible packaging. Diederich looked at the relationships his company was building with his customers and thought of a great way to promote both his customers and his design expertise in one neat package.

Pactech designers and technical staff work closely with a customer's in-house engineering team to develop packaging products. Some of these products have the potential to win industry awards for design. Diederich's idea: enter design competitions in the customer's name, not Pactech's, to win recognition for the customer's in-house engineering team. Pactech pays contest entrance fees, coordinates the submission of supporting documents, and sometimes pays for winners to attend the award ceremonies.

The customer's advertising department uses the award for publicity, and the winner gets recognition that can lead to promotion. But Pactech's role does not go unnoticed. The competition process enhances Pactech's profile with the winning company, and Diederich credits its success with increased sales. After winning an award, annual sales for one product went from $10,000 to $1.3 million.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing