As I worked with clients and made new friends at the National Trumpet Competition this past weekend, I was reminded of something fundamentally different about our company. Unlike other trumpet vendors (except Blackburn and Callet), we do not seek endorsements from clients. In fact, I have never approached a trumpet player ever in my life asking them to consider purchasing or performing on anything built by me.
This may not seem like news, but in reality this reveals the true nature of my work. I innovate, design and build trumpets because I love the entire process including making beautiful music. I believe that my work is worthy of your attention, your time and your investment without the recommendation of someone famous.
When visiting my website, reading my blog entries and speaking with me in person, you do not see or hear references to the hundreds of incredibly talented musicians who currently play my trumpets unless you specifically ask. There are no artist models with a photo attached. There is no list of great players to impress you. Instead, you are given in-depth information on how and why I have designed my trumpets to be efficient, ergonomic and custom fit to your playing preferences.
Harrelson Trumpets as a company follows a solution-driven model of marketing. We earn your trust, respect and endorsement by offering solutions specific to each and every customer. If you play downstream and want your bell to aim up, then we follow your recommendations and make design changes to fit your needs as was recently the case with a client of ours in Detroit. He drew a sketch of the leadpipe tilted down a few degrees and the bell tilted up a few degrees. His trumpet design will soon become reality.
In contrast, our display at the NTC this past weekend was in a shared room with a reputable corporate trumpet company. Two very nice gentleman represented the brand and Jen and I had nice conversations with them throughout both days. We were quickly reminded that corporations truly hold sales numbers over almost everything else in the equation including the customers. This is the reality of big business. Owning a large factory with hundreds of employees takes on life of its own and the bottom line does in fact become more important than almost anything else on a regular basis.
The corporate process of recruiting new endorsements is equally as interesting. When an artist came into the room, the corporate guys were quick to make jokes about how the artist would be better served if they would endorse their brand over the competition. Sadly, Jen and I later remarked that this must make the endorsed artist feel less important and more like a tool to achieve sales.
If you look at the history of endorsing artists, athletes and clients over time, you will see the trend that larger companies do this to increase the bottom line. When you think about most product transactions today, people don't really want to think too hard on options, quality or even the drive behind a company. It is easier to see that you are getting the same product that was endorsed by someone you admire. This is also a safe choice since your friends also admire this person and you can all feel like you belong in this way.
But why not think for yourself? Why not consider products and purchasing on a deeper level? Why not investigate and discover what advantages one product has over another? I challenge you to consider any and all companies offering high quality products. And I especially recommend digging deep into those who offer no endorsements.
I build some of the best products in the world and not one of my CNC machine tool dealers will give me a discount on my next machine purchase based on my talent, exposure or ability. Yet I am more than happy to spend $200k or more for their products because I have done my homework and know the machines are the best on the market. Ironically, the most successful American CNC machine tool company today constantly advertises who is using their equipment while they have the reputation of being the least accurate, least reliable and least efficient tools available.
We don't endorse our clients with free instruments like our competitors. Our clients are the best of the best and they come to us excited to invest in their new custom instruments. Then they turn around and endorse us! I believe this happens because we truly care about each and every client. We are all family in this pursuit to achieve greater results on one of the world's most demanding instruments.