Awards and stuff like that

The Academy Awards – an OSCAR is probably the world’s best known award.

And the winner is…

Everyone loves an award ceremony, don’t they? Especially the organisers who charge finalists and corporate sponsors hundreds of pounds for each person that attends. So, based on 25-years of entering and attending awards ceremonies for various software products, projectors, printers, etc., here are a few observations.

Should a PR agency enter an award ceremony?

Nope. Never. Not no-way. That is to say …

I don’t mean that nobody in any PR agency ever does any brilliantly successful or fabulously creative work; I think most of us do amazing things from time to time. But think about what a PR company is supposed to do. It promotes its CLIENTS, represents its clients, and gets third-parties talking about its clients.

So in my view, a PR company should enter its clients’ campaigns (see the subtle shift in ownership?) Because the client paid for the work, and it’s the client’s products and services that the PR company is promoting, isn’t it? Without a client, a PR company is NOTHING.

Whenever I’ve created a successful campaign for one of my clients I’ve sought ways to promote the client through awards. They in effect get double-bubble for their investment if they choose to enter that award. And yes, I’ve been invited along to a couple of award ceremonies by clients, but if they make the final and splash out on a table at the ceremony my advice is always to take a cust0mer instead of me.

Jimmy Carr – love him or hate him on the TV, he is an utterly brilliant award ceremony MC

Should an in-house team enter an award ceremony?

Yep. Always. Everytime.

In-house PR teams are often overlooked by their management (unless something goes wrong), but an award for a PR or marketing campaign, and DEFINITELY for products and services, gets the attention of management for the RIGHT reasons. And if you make the final it’s an opportunity to show the boss what you can do.

Again, taking a table at the ceremony can become a fabulous way to entertain customers – particularly if one of them has contributed a case study to the award entry.

Should you seek accreditations?

Yep. Always get your product certified by governing bodies, professional membership organisation, or whoever sets and administers standards for that industry. It’s rarely a false economy, and frequently these days it can be an in/out switch in an evaluation process.

The obvious thing to look at is compliance with the relevant ISO or British Standard. But recognition by organisations such as the ICAEW (for accountancy software) or the BDA (for dental products) proves that your solution is a credible and functional solution that meets the needs of professionals in practice.

Awards and reviews are now an integral part of PR and product marketing

Should you seek product reviews?

If you have a consumer product it’s absolutely essential to get plenty of good product reviews from consumer group websites and magazines. But while the reviews themselves are usually ‘free’, being able to use your hard earned endorsement probably comes at a cost. Using the logo of publications such as What HiFi or AV Magazine (other publications are available) can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds in fees to the organiser. Budgets and awards should go hand-in-hand.

One of the most important aspects of being successful in gaining recommendations and product awards is positioning your product correctly. While a very expensive product might outperform a cheaper one, if it’s significantly more expensive than the category norm it still may not gain a recommendation. Equally, there’s no point in entering a product with a lower than expected specification as it won’t be taken seriously, even if it’s really cheap.

So should you bother with awards and stuff like that?

Yes. But you need to approach awards with thought and strategy. Consider what you want to achieve from the award process. If you make the short list or final, think how you can turn your investment into an opportunity. And if you win, think very carefully about how you exploit your recognition.

Awards and reviews are these days an integral part of PR and product marketing. At Precision PR we have extensive experience of most types of award and review, and we would be only too happy to advise you, or even create and manage your entry.

For more information on any aspect of awards or product reviews please call us.

Chris has spent nearly 30 years managing in-house and agency PR teams creating highly successful communications campaigns. With a little help from friends, Chris created Precision PR in the spring of 2017. Chris has held senior communications roles at CODA, Hyperion, CSI, Qualys and Epson, and has worked in several mid-level and senior agency roles gaining a range of strategic and hands-on skills with clients and business partners that include; Alcatel-Lucent, Adaptsys, BHA Software, IBM, Microsoft, PeopleSoft, QAD, Qlik,, SAP, SDRC and Yokogawa. Our associates have worked with many others.

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