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The value of awards programs & winning isn’t everything

I recently attended the 2014 edition of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Awards luncheon held at the Pfister Hotel. The event celebrated the ingenuity of local companies – including one of our beloved clients, OS inc. The stories were compelling, the awards looked beautiful and the food was fantastic.

This event got me thinking about the value of awards programs to an awareness campaign. There are many benefits to winning these types of business achievement awards:

  • Recognition in the paper and online – usually with a flattering story about products/services
  • Opportunity to network with business peers, as well as civic and media representatives
  • Commemorative trophy for display in the office – a nice credibility booster
  • Relevant information to share via newsletters, websites and social media outlets
  • The culture-building “good feelings” that come from being a part of a recognized and successful organization

But what happens when you don’t win?

The actual pursuit of the award is itself a valuable experience, one often worthy of the effort.

Many award submissions require a deeper dive into the subject matter. As various pieces of information are gathered and created for the award nomination, it often forces an internalization and reiteration of important company goals, facts, products, services and processes. Sometimes this is reaffirming. Sometimes it can lead to spirited discussion and reassessment of outdated philosophies and practices.

Moving forward, it then becomes easier to think and speak about the company, its products, services, people and culture more accurately, eloquently and holistically – a true benefit to any company representative.

And once complete, a comprehensive award nomination can serve as a handy reference tool for quick access to client testimonials, revenue/employee statistics, product/service narratives, milestone events and more. That’s valuable PR information all housed in one location!
Those are some internal benefits. But external benefits still exist as well.

Julie Gaier and I recently had a discussion with local reporters and editors about the value of awards programs. Point blank, these media folks told us:

  • Award nominations are used as idea generators for future stories
  • Nominations get companies/officials on their personal radars – thus they are more apt to respond to future media pitches featuring them
  • Participants for their various “business leader forums” are often chosen from previous nominations
  • Strong repeat nominations are likely to be in a better position for award selection the following year

During the past 6+ years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of award celebrations with our TRG clients. And it’s certainly gratifying to be in the winner’s circle. But the sobering truth is you don’t always win.

So for the times when you come up just short, remember – all is not lost. There is still genuine value in having gone through the process.

“LuMaxArt Golden Guy Trophy Winner” flickr photo by lumaxart shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license