Chances are, beyond their website and a blog, the Worcester Wreath Company doesn’t advertise at all. Instead, they work their very seasonal business in the classic manner, controlling their natural resources to deliver a quality product while building loyalty through hands on contact. It’s one way you grow from selling 500 wreaths in 1971 to over 500,000 wreaths last year.
Their website is decidedly homespun and Maine-centric. It freely references the Bible. It’s anything but corporate. It is, however, a pretty fair reflection of Morrill Worcester, thc company founder. And that’s why you may have noticed their major annual moment this Holiday season–the laying of memorial wreaths at Arlington Cemetery.
Back in 1992, Morrill had a surplus of balsam wreaths. He also had a powerful memory of a childhood trip to Washington DC and the 624 silent acres of Arlington National Cemetery. So he contacted his state Senator and worked out a way to lay his extra wreaths in a largely unvisited section of the cemetery as a token of appreciation for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. It was nothing more than that–a heartfelt gesture leveraging the unique gifts of one appreciative man and his company.
But Morrill’s idea touched a nerve. And that interest led to the Wreaths Across America Project which encourages similarly inclined people to honor the nation’s fallen in their local communities. This year, Morrill and over a thousand volunteers placed wreaths at Veteran’s gravesites all across the country, including 24,000 at Arlington.
Sadly, most corporations are incapable of this kind of idiosyncratic gesture; there are too many sensibilities that might be offended, too many constituencies with warring agendas, too many risk-averse levels of approval. And so we all lose something, even if we don’t recognize it.
Humanity is an individual, deeply-personal quality. To create it on behalf of an international corporation is an uphill struggle. But one well worth the fight.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79