Dinn Trophy featured in Springfield Republican
Sunday, April 22, 2007
By KENNETH L. ROSS
The new baseball season has propelled Dinn Bros. Inc. into the major leagues.
The West Springfield trophy company is sponsoring several television specials on New England Sports Network, which televises Boston Red Sox games, as well as a weekly play of the week on NESN.
The 51-year-old family owned company hopes the exposure on NESN will increase its business in New England - even though it already sells trophies and awards nationwide through its catalog business and on the Internet (www.DinnTrophy.com).
Dinn is the sponsor of three Remy Award programs - pre-season, mid-season and post-season - in addition to the weekly play of the week. It will get added in-game and replay mention as broadcasters cite possible plays of the week.
"This is new territory for us," said Paul J. Dinn, one of the owners. "It has to be 25 years since we were on TV, and before it was always local. Now we'll be hitting all of New England except for Fairfield (Conn.) County in one shot."
He said Dinn Bros. also will be able to capitalize on the popularity of the Red Sox in the region.
"There aren't too many organizations in sports with the popularity of the Red Sox," Dinn said.
Steve M. McKelvey, assistant professor of sports management in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, helped bring Dinn and NESN together.
"The Red Sox are good at building brands," he said, citing other sponsors such as Granite City Electric, Quincy-based electrical supply firm, F.W. Webb Co., Bedford-based distributor of plumbing, heating, cooling and piping supplies, and W.B. Mason, Brockton-based office supplies firm.
"The Red Sox are good at finding innovative ways to bring in non-traditional advertisers like Dinn. Some of the other companies are now like household names."
Michael K. Dinn, Paul's brother, said the company's marketing leans heavily on direct mail and the Internet as well as ads in specialty magazines.
"This is a whole new channel for us," he said. Paul Dinn said that the company it was trying to reach the sports and business markets for potential customers of trophies and other awards such as plaques.
"If we hit CNN we would miss the sports guy, and if we hit ESPN we'd miss the business guy," he said.
They figure NESN would reach both markets.
"With Steve, we were trying to come up with the best way to cover New England and make Dinn the No. 1 option," Paul Dinn said.
McKelvey said that as they looked at advertising options, they figured the sports market would be a good place to be.
"We weren't initially focused on the Red Sox for what we perceived to be exorbitant costs," McKelvey said. "We looked at sports radio, TV station sportscasts, minor league teams throughout New England. They all had pluses and minuses. It came back to reaching the most people in the most efficient way within our budget."
Although Dinn Bros. wouldn't disclose the cost of the NESN sponsorships, McKelvey said NESN came up with several options and Dinn settled on the links with Jerry Remy, NESN broadcaster and former Red Sox player.
"If you do an awards show, it's good to do it with an awards company," McKelvey said. "And the play of the week gave us in-game exposure."
Dinn also is sponsoring a sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Red Sox spring training next year.
"We don't foresee the NESN deal as a one-hit wonder," Paul Dinn said. "We're looking for a long-term relationship."
Dinn Bros. started in downtown Holyoke and in 2000 moved to new space on Interstate Drive in West Springfield, where it does all of its trophy assembly and engraving.
"The problem there was that we were in a multi-floor building with a number of columns," Paul Dinn said. "Here, we are on one floor. It's worked out great for production."
It employs about 100 in its manufacturing operation. Dinn Bros. also has exposure off Interstate 91 from October until April or May, when leaves are off the trees.
Dinn's average turnaround on order to delivery is 48 hours, Paul Dinn said.
"We sell throughout the country," Paul Dinn said, "but the farther away we get from our home base, the weaker the sales. So we're concentrating on our back yard. There's a lot of opportunity right here in New England."