Year after year, I get emails from organizations announcing they were accepting admissions for awards, subsequent emails reminding companies to enter the contest as a deadline approached, and then notes about extended deadlines, hoping more companies will enter.
It’s often a struggle to get vendors and solutions providers to take a little time and spend a little – repeat little – money to get awards submissions in. And I don’t get it.
The entertainment industry, in particular, knows this well.
That’s why you see movies touted as being guided by “the award-winning director of …”
That’s why you see movie posters and promotions that have a bunch of emblems or icons noting awards won or film competitions where the flick was shown.
Consumers are quite logically attracted to quality and informed by competitions that celebrate work well done.
Here’s what I get, seemingly everyday, from PR and marketing people in and around our industry ecosystem: “Brand X, a leading global provider of something or other, is excited to announce …”
Leading global provider, or words like it, are hollow unless the company actually is, and few actually are. Not everyone can be leading, and even if they really are leading, so what?
Try: “Brand X, the award-winning platform for doing something easily, has now done this …”
Try: “Brand X, the award-winning creators of amazing visual experiences in business environments, has done that …”
Most of your customers and business partners probably have no idea there are awards in and around the industry. There are some good ones with real judges and real criteria. There are ones that sadly have solid or dotted lines to business ties, like you buy an ad, you get an award.
But to most untrained eyes, they’re all just awards, and the winners are award-winning. So therefore, the supplier or service provider is good at what it does,
Even “Brand X, nominated for three awards at the 2019 …” is pretty good.
Sixteen:Nine sponsors a global Digital Signage Awards competition, so I have a direct interest in this, in that I want to see a rich selection of entries, and not have to celebrate an effort that is more of a yawn than a wow.
I also have visibility on DSE’s long-running awards, and know it can be a struggle to get enough entries in some categories. One 2019 category that should have a pile of submissions had, I think, three. Three!!! And DSE is a marketing machine!
Companies should enter these kinds of competitions for the marketing value, and also to celebrate work well done. It sends a message to hard-working employees that their efforts were awesome, and worth noting and sharing. It does the same for business partners and customers.
I had an email months ago from a guy I’ve known for years and years in this industry, who has been plugging along with his company. He asked if it was worth his time to enter a contest, and I told him, “Yes, absolutely …” for the all the reasons laid out here.
He did, and his project won. He was at the awards event and was over-the-moon happy. All that hard work resulted in something beyond meeting payroll and moving the company ahead. He couldn’t wait to tell his staff and client.
Most awards competitions in this industry make minimal demands on time or finances to get involved. Yes, we’re all busy and yes, doing the work gathering materials and spelling things out is a bit of a pain. But it’s also a good exercise to review accomplishments and remind those involved they did something well.
I’ve also had conversations with industry people who were a little catty in the wake of awards events, wondering aloud how on Earth a particular project or vendor won something. Sometimes, the simple explanation is that the vendor made the effort, and now they’ll get the benefit.
Some awards are based on nominations and juries, but for the most part, they hinge on entry submissions, So a company or project is not going to win unless there’s a submission.
Take the time. Make the effort.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.