It’s that time of year again… Public relations’ prime award season is in full swing. And yes, while we all enjoy honors and recognition, do awards really serve a purpose outside of self-promotion and office décor?
Earlier this week, the LPR team collaborated on entries for a few upcoming programs (including the PRGN Best Practice Awards and PRSA Dallas’ Pegasus Awards). I caught myself wondering, aside from winning a trophy for a client or our agency, what’s the purpose of participating in these awards programs?
After some thought, I realized that it's about more than just winning a trophy to add to the collection. While displaying the hardware is great, it occurred to me that awards programs, by and large, serve a greater purpose.
Awards programs aren’t strictly about promoting our agency or clients, but rather a chance to:
- Review our work and evaluate performance outcomes, AND
- Seek validation from respected industry peers that we’re implementing best practices and achieving results for our clients.
With any awards entry, you need to describe research, planning methodology, implementation activities and measurable outcomes. The process requires a detailed look back at campaign or tactic successes—and sometimes obstacles—that occurred along the way. It’s an in-depth process that can take a lot of time, but it gives us a chance to present the effectiveness of a communications campaign that helped a client achieve its business objectives.
Awards programs also are a great way to benchmark your efforts. When you submit campaigns or projects for award consideration, you invite constructive criticism and feedback. A peer judge may find something that you or your colleagues missed or offer up best practices to be incorporated into future programming.
All of a sudden, PR awards are much more than a trophy and a pat on the back. The awards process is an opportunity to analyze your work, benchmark against best practices and open yourself up to feedback from other professionals in your industry. Ultimately, it’s about both recognition of a job well done and ongoing encouragement for great work still to come.