Are awards ceremonies just another money making scheme or do the winners reap the rewards?

awards ceremonies

Picture this, you’re sat in the Grosvenor Great Hall, penguin suited or gowned up. That BBC news presenter you sort of recognise is on stage telling you it’s the most hotly contested ceremony EVER, the highest amount of entries EVER, and that there is no fire drill planned for today so if the alarms go off, women and children first. We’ve heard it all before and you sort of feel like you’re back in the school assembly hall, naughty kids talking at the back and the swots at the front except more booze and a higher standard of school dinners. You might ask yourself, why are we putting ourselves through this again? What are we going to get out of it and are the only real winners the ceremony organisers at £2.5k a table? Sometimes it can all feel a bit like this;

Does the time, money and effort it takes even just to submit an award actually provide a solid ROI or are award ceremonies just another money making scheme? I would argue yes they are.

It would be naive to assume that awards ceremonies aren’t a money making scheme for the same simple reason we all go to work every day! Why would a publication or association put on an awards bash if not for the fact that it drives revenue – out of the goodness of their hearts? I think not. This, however is by no means a negative – awards can make money for everyone involved, it’s just a case of leveraging the results through marketing, PR and the pitch process. We’ve done it successfully ourselves for many years so there’s no reason to dismiss awards.

Habit or quality of content?

Awards are part and parcel of most event and marketing professionals working calendar and with submission deadlines set months in advance the entire process can have the tendency to become somewhat of a cyclical habit. Simply submitting awards for the sake of it, entering every category you think suits your submission can be a waste of time for all involved, it should be about focusing on what you are good at – what you excel in and ultimately it’s all about quality over quantity. This applies to the ceremonies you choose to enter as well. How do you determine which are valuable and which aren’t? Having your finger on the pulse of the industry as a professional is key here. Awards are the domain of the marketing team and so they should have the ultimate responsibility for submissions. Don’t be surprised if sticking your most junior team member or apprentice/ intern onto your awards submission at the 11th hour doesn’t yield results – it happens and it’s rather obvious ….

So, what’s in it for you? 

For some clients an agency’s trophy cabinet is a large part of the vetting process – if it boiled down to two agency’s with equally impressive pitches, who would you choose, the one with a wealth of industry awards or the one with a select few? I think we all know the answer to this and fundamentally not only does entering awards give you the opportunity to showcase your hard work but it positions you within an increasingly competitive industry.  We’ve picked up our fair share of awards over the years and the cabinet can make quite an impressive de-tour when giving a client the obligatory show-around.

awards ceremonies
We’ve got so many awards kicking around the office – we even let some of our team members take them home for the weekend like Remy here.

Since we started taking the awards process seriously all the way back in 2005, we’ve picked up over 200 industry awards and with each ceremony and each award, our team then begins to look at opportunities to leverage. We’ve had over 50 stories published in the press regarding our awards wins (Press possibilities are obviously tied to the publication schemes you enter as it’s unlikely to see publications talking up the ceremonies of their nearest rivals!) We also use award wins to cross sell to existing clients and as an excuse to keep contact with clients, sharing success and encouraging clients to enter projects next year.

One year in particular an opportunity arose after a brand in attendance at an award scheme, saw us win in their ideal category and invited us along to pitch. Next year, having won the project we were up on stage collecting the award in their ideal category – that kind of currency with clients is very hard to manufacture through any other marketing medium.

Awards undoubtedly have the ability to lure in clients and ceremonies can offer the opportunity to entertain and network with clients or potential clients while simultaneously showcasing your talents and promoting your business – the perfect combination?

Jack Roberts

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