TOP Talk

Awards Matter, But Not Why You Think

Posted May 14, 2015 By Sue Parente

Topics: Awards Programs

Multiple awards

A new business prospect asked me recently if I thought awards still mattered. Does anyone pay attention to them really? Instinctively, I answered “yes” for all the reasons we’ve been giving for years: awards build brand-awareness, differentiate you from the pack and help get you on customers’ short-lists.

But on my ride home, I kept thinking about his question. We encourage and often help our clients chase award show glory all the time. It’s a time-, resource- and budget-consuming effort, for sure. Some could argue that in this day and age, when content marketing and social media can do so much to get your story out there and let customers judge for themselves, does winning an award really make that much of a difference?

The answer is—even given all of that—yes, awards still matter. Before I detail why, let’s agree that the kind of awards we’re talking about aren’t the bogus ones where you just submit a couple hundred dollars and get your name on a plaque. We’re talking about the ones with qualified judges, the ones that your employees and customers would find admirable and cool.

Now, back to why they still matter:

Reason # 1: Awards instill a mindset of achievement.

It stands to reason you won’t achieve greatness unless you strive for greatness. So creating a culture of doing award-winning work puts your people on the path to excellence. It pushes your teams to be more creative, go the extra mile, and deliver the best possible outcomes.

Reason #2: Awards nurture pride in your company.

Remember those old ads that showed little kids saying things like, “When I grow up, I want to climb my way up to middle management.” No one aspires to be mediocre and no one wants to work for a company that isn’t the best at what they do. Awards are a way for you to recognize and celebrate the success of your company and its employees.

Reason #3: Awards showcase a focus on getting results.

Any awards program worth its salt will weigh business results above everything. To what extent has your team’s work had an impact on your business or your customer’s business – that’s the bottom line. When your stats can speak for themselves, why not let them do their talking on as high a profile stage as possible?

Reason #4: Awards sharpen your sense of where the bar is and how to raise it.

Too often, organizations operate in a bubble, or only lift their heads up long enough to check out what the competition is doing to judge how they are performing. But there’s a great big world out there, with many companies doing amazingly creative and innovative things. When you make the effort to measure yourself against the best of the best, then you’ll know where you stand – are you a bar raiser or not?

Reason #5: Awards deliver that often hard-to-come-by third party validation.

Lastly, when you’re part of an organization, it can be challenging to not find yourself drinking the corporate “Kool-Aid.” Awards help you gain much needed perspective by letting an impartial third-party tell you how you are doing vis a vis your peers.

In short, awards are not about bragging rights; they are about testing your mettle and learning where and how you need to strengthen your products and services. It’s about you and your teams knowing your work is award-worthy. And isn’t that the only kind of work worth doing in the first place?

Sue Parente

About Sue Parente

What inspires me? Brave communicators who dare to put "right" before "safe."