Awards. Who cares?
29 Aug 2017 by Steven Giannoulis
Having recently announced a whole string of national and international awards for our work, it’s strange to be sitting here wondering, who really cares? Obviously, we do. The question is, who else cares and why?
Our design team cares about awards. For them, they represent recognition from their peers: people they admire, aspire to be like and whose work they covet. It’s recognition of a designer’s creativity and therefore, it’s a source of both self-satisfaction and motivation.
For the wider team, awards are about meaning. They’ve worked hard to manage a project to time and on budget, to lay out all the various elements and to produce the different components. Award recognition says it was worth it and that their hard work contributed to something that mattered.
As a business leader and a strategist, awards are a measure of quality and effectiveness. They say we are doing something right in the way that we run the business, the people we hire and the way we structure our processes to deliver great ideas, executed beautifully. Effectiveness awards, in particular, acknowledge that we are doing the right thing by our clients, delivering results that justify their investment.
We often think about awards in terms of reputation. Last year we undertook research with prospective clients and it was clear that a ‘pool room’ of awards didn’t drive them to pick an agency. I think about my own experiences on the client side, selecting new agencies. Awards were never a consideration. They came more into play after deciding, providing a post-decision reinforcement that I had made the right choice.
But clients sure love it when you win awards with their work. It reinforces their individual self-worth as marketers and communicators, telling them they are doing a good job. And it gives them a tool to go back to the accountants and other peers who struggle to see the full value they deliver to their business. And of course, it reminds them they are working with the right agency partner.
Our industry really cares. Awards represent best practice and a celebration of what we collectively contribute to our economy. I am often frustrated (and vocal) about how creative awards are handed out. We celebrate the latest, the weirdest and the boldest, often ignoring a work’s obvious failure to communicate effectively or to deliver the results the client commissioned it for.
Despite all this gusto, I still get an immense sense of pride for me, our team and our clients, when we win an award. And it’s this pride that makes us all care about winning awards.