Is an Awards Program Right for You?

And the winner is . . .

That’s right, it’s awards time of year in the PR Biz and I recently developed a press release touting wins for GroundFloor Media. It got me thinking about the love/hate relationship I have with awards. Those of you responsible for awards programs for your agency or clients know exactly what I’m talking about. They are exhilarating to receive and are a testament to the hard work, creative thinking and smart minds that come together to make them possible. Celebrating the success of a campaign with clients and co-workers is a great time.

However, it seems the number of awards opportunities are constantly growing and developing entries can be time consuming and overwhelming if you try to bite off too many. Not to mention the cost! GFM has refined its own awards process over the years and we’ve learned a lot along the way.

To help you decide how to tackle this challenge, we are sharing our lessons learned. Here are a few tips to sift through the potential trophy-winning opportunities and go from having completed an outstanding campaign to collecting shiny figurines for your wall! Our tips can be summed up in three words, but I’ll elaborate, of course!

Locate – Evaluate – Prepare

Locate the Opportunities – If you have yet to participate in an awards program, spend time doing a little research to see if you are missing out. Nearly every industry presents awards. Start by looking into associations to which you belong. Trade magazines and newsletters typically provide award programs too. Local and regional media as well as your chambers of commerce and/or local business organizations are also sure to host a variety of “Best of” or “Top 100” type awards.  Or, check out your competitor’s websites and see what awards they are taking home while you vow to replace them next year!

Evaluate the Opportunities – Chances are you’ll find more award opportunities than you can shake a stick at. Don’t enter them all as you are sure to run out of time and money. Use the following questions to help evaluate and prioritize opportunities.

  • Will winning the award impact how customers, partners and employees view your company?
  • Does the award hold clout your industry?
  • Does your competition participate in the awards program?
  • If so, can you afford to be absent when your industry peers are involved?
  • How proud are you of a certain achievement, milestone, product, campaign, etc.?
  • Will receiving an award improve your company’s brand awareness?
  • How much time will be required to complete the award entry and do you have the bandwidth to make it happen?
  • Is there a cost to enter the award and is it within your budget?
  • Do you have what it takes to complete an entry you can be proud of?

Prepare for Opportunities – Many of the awards programs we participate in as a PR firm require us to submit case studies and campaign results. Almost all want to see examples of media coverage secured, videos produced, online campaigns that drove actions or social media engagement of fans.  To help us at awards time, we routinely evaluate our campaigns and services, and start compiling the information we know will be needed at awards time. Doing this in advance saves time and keeps us sane as we get closer to entry deadlines. Make files on and offline that everyone can contribute to. And, always be thinking about what’s working and what should be featured as a possible award entry.

A final note, make sure those involved in the success of a campaign or program are not only involved in the entry, but are remembered when it comes time to take home the award as. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back and the opportunity to be photographed with the shiny stuff?

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Is an Awards Program Right for You?

  1. Alison Bailin

    Love this advice – I have to add in that we help evaluate opportunities, both for ourselves and clients, based on the type of editorial connected to it. If an award comes with a significant media piece that will allow for the communication of key messages, in addition to the usual lunch or dinner, it gives us a little more weight to allot the time to write something that can win.

    Reply

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