Walk into the lobbies of any respected communications firms and you’ll see a bevy of trophies, plaques and other trinkets to recognize an outstanding piece of work. Usually they honour exceptional communications planning, execution, or results (although, it’s hard to imagine any of them in isolation). Awards are even more relevant for those who are part of larger organizations where communications is deemed secondary to the product or service.
Many cry that it’s a pay-to-play kind of game, and to be fair, they are absolutely right. Many awards opportunities have entry fees, and if you do win, it is expected that you buy tickets to attend the ceremony and perhaps bring the boss or at least a few colleagues. Many more will argue that it is hubris to exalt your day job above others or their contributions. But I am here to tell you that it’s worth it!
You’re enhancing the reputation of your company (another reason for customers to choose you over the competition), your professional reputation (awards look fantastic on the resume), and it gives you some brownie points with senior management (not only were you a brilliant hire, but they may have even been a part of your success).
As I see it, the benefits of third party recognition are threefold:
People in a technician’s role within a comms department can often feel as though their voices are not heard at the boardroom table. This can be problematic when business decisions are made without having someone extrapolate the potential impacts on key stakeholders and the relationships they hold. If you have been recognized by an industry association, or one that represents your profession, you have earned a lot of credibility with the top brass, if you leverage it appropriately. Also, HR departments are always hungry to support the accomplishments of their teams, so be ready to take the spotlight in the newsletter or company gathering. You’ll get the pat on the back you deserve, and gain some heavy ammunition for when you negotiate that raise or promotion.
The people who will truly understand and appreciate your accomplishments are the people who also do your job. In the context of a professional association, you’d be surprised to see the kind of support that is available to you. Not just in terms of professional development and accreditation, but an opportunity to network, find a mentor, or parlay the award into something bigger and better for your career.
Success breeds success. To be viewed as an authority, or simply having pull in a given field or industry, brings people to your doorstep. As an agency, it bolsters your ability prove what you say you are capable of, in a company it adds to the perception that your organization operates effectively and efficiently. Either way, you’re one step ahead of the competition.
Bonus Benefit: Experience
Even when you don’t win, you learn a great deal about what it takes to win. To win bronze in a competition gives you an inkling about what it takes to win gold. When you attend industry or professional events, you connect with colleagues and peers who you can teach you a thing or two, either directly or by example.
So get out there today, find out what kind of recognition works best for you and your business, and find a project that exploits your skills and talents to their full potential.
Have you won an award or accolade that you are particularly proud of? Were there any unforeseen benefits from participating? Any pitfalls? Let us all know in the comments below.