Incorporating Awards into Your Communications Initiatives

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter

It feels good to win an award. But beyond being able to bask in the glow of recognition, can awards help you reach your marketing goals?

Entering for awards is one tactic we work into the public relations mix for our clients. Winning an award, or even being nominated for one, can go a long way to boosting brand recognition and can act as an endorsement for your product/service/organization.

5 Questions to Ask Before Entering

Before shelling out the entry fee and putting in the time and effort, look at the award details closely and ask these questions:

  1. Is the organization presenting the award competition reputable and recognized within our industry? Consider awards backed by key trade publications or associations for your industry or related to trade shows you attend.
  2. Is there an appropriate category for my company/product/service? Don’t try to make your entry fit into a category that doesn’t exist.
  3. Will winning this award reflect well on my company or will it only collect dust on a shelf? Determine if publishing the award on promotional materials would add value or an independent endorsement or simply be superfluous.
  4. Do we have quality material to enter? Consider what you’ll enter and determine if it’s worthy, don’t enter just to enter.
  5. Does the entry fee fit in our budget or will something have to be sacrificed in order to enter?

If the answers to these questions are a resounding yes, definitely enter. Follow the entry instructions to the letter and make sure you meet the deadline.

If you answer “no” to any of those questions, take a step back from the exciting award entry invitation and think about your strategy.

Just because you have something that you can enter, doesn’t mean you should enter. Make sure that whatever you enter reinforces the value of your product/service/company in the industry.

The main goal for entering award competitions should be to gain quality honors, not to fill a trophy case.

A Winning Strategy

When you enter to win an award, of course you want to win! When you receive an award, you shouldn’t just put it in that trophy case and call it a day.

Awards are an excellent opportunity for public relations. First, make sure that you announce the success internally and let your staff know that they contributed. Then promote your award externally with press releases, social media and in other appropriate channels. Your award promotions should cover:

  • What the award is.
  • How you earned it (i.e. with an innovative process that reduces your company’s environmental impact, by creating a new product that makes XYZ industry better).
  • Why it matters. Is the award a symbol of your company’s dedication to improvement? Does it show that you’re successful in meeting certain goals?

Some awards competitions have a nomination and public voting process. These types of competitions provide an excellent touch point with your customers and prospects and well as added visibility for your brand. If you’re in a round of voting, have your sales reps and field folks reach out to their customers and prospects with a quick, “We’re a finalist, please vote for us” message. This simple ask puts your company on their mind for a non-sales reason and it exposes them to your excellence.

Are awards part of your communication strategy?

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