At some point in the recent past, it became popular to include one's awards and accolades in your email signature. It's now common to finish reading an email and then notice that the sender's company is a "Great Place to Work" or a member of the (insert trade magazine here) "Top 100." While I don't like to see email monikers overwhelmed by such plaudits, I must admit that I'm a fan of awards. I think they make good business sense for a number of reasons, and here are my top three.
- It's not bragging if someone else says it. Third party validation carries weight in business. Sure, you can announce how amazing your company is, but when a third party says it, your credibility gets a bigger bump. Awards and other recognition offer a compliment which sounds much better when someone else says it. Company awards also can help boost morale as they offer recognition for employees and their efforts. Awards also hearten owners, investors and other interested parties. Further, prospective clients and future employees are often more likely to consider a company that is viewed as being one of the top in its field. Once you have won the award, make sure you promote it on your website, through your social media channels and with a news release.
- Make your clients/partners look good. In some industries (PR for one), the best awards are for work you do on behalf of your clients. Ad agencies are another prime example. The agency for Anheuser Busch may win an award for a campaign yet the brewer gets credit too. If your company does an "award-worthy" job for one of its clients, then you can bet the client will be happy to also get a trophy. In my experience, aside from getting joy from calling a client and telling them that we won an award for the work we did on their behalf, it also helps bolster the relationship because most award-winning efforts build camaraderie between client and contractor/agency/vendor. An award earned on behalf of a client also validates the quality of the work.
- Prove that you are, in fact, "best of (blank)" Companies spend a great deal of time and energy to position their products and offerings in the best possible light. However, repeatedly saying that your stuff is the best -- "state-of-the-art" this and "best-of-breed" that -- does not constitute a strong marketing message. However, if your company or product is lauded by others as, in fact, "the best," then you have something to promote. In a time when everyone is saying they are the best, awards and recognition can help a company distinguish itself. This is particularly valuable for businesses that offer less tangible services.
Awards also can be used to help solve business and communications challenges. For example, while consulting with a company that was struggling to find high quality job applicants, we helped them apply to become a "Best Place to Work" as awarded by Fortune. We also have recommended that attorneys work to secure awards and recognition. Lawyers often have difficulty distinguishing themselves from competitors because they are selling an intangible service. Being recognized as one of the top lawyers in their geographic area can be a tremendous asset.
If you are interested in applying for awards for your company, my recommendation is to start by researching local business and trade publications. For example, American City Business Journals has 40 publications in markets throughout the country and most have geographic and industry specific awards and listing programs. Also, many trade publications sponsor award programs, so it is likely that the "bible" of your industry offers awards. And you can also seek them out via that gizmo called the Internet.
Once you have identified relevant awards, create a schedule with the deadlines, requirements and budgets (alas, one must typically pay to enter). Take on a few awards to get started and soon your email signature will be overflowing with accolades.
This post originally appeared on DavidPRblog.com.