Awards are an important element of public relations programs as they provide third-party validation of company growth and momentum, product innovation and customer satisfaction. Whether trying to secure market credibility to support sales, drive thought leadership or boost company cachet for recruiting purposes, a robust awards program requires a strategic eye and due diligence in determining the right awards to pursue – ones that are not only respected within your industry but also ones that your organization has a real opportunity to win.
As an example, if you are interested in a “Fastest Growing” award, proactively look at the winning growth rates from previous years as this will be a good indicator of the baseline minimum growth needed to compete. Similarly for a product or service innovation award, you will need to determine if you need customer references to evaluate whether your organization has the qualifications for a strong nomination. If you want to be a “Best Places to Work” contender, ensure you have the staff satisfaction levels and internal bandwidth needed for your team to complete the survey. Also be sure to check how many surveys need to be completed – at a minimum – and about how long the survey takes to complete.
Here are a few quick tips for ensuring your awards program is rooted in best practices – and reality.
- Do your research. Identify target awards including their deadlines. Award nominations are often due 3-6 months before winners are announced.
- Ask questions. Find an award resource – someone at the organization who helps facilitate the awards program. These individuals are often helpful in answering nomination questions and clarifying requirements.
- Respect the deadlines. If you are running up against the deadline and need more time, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension. You probably aren’t the only one.
- Know the award history. Read up on previous winners to better understand the style of the submission and the types of projects that typically win.