In the last few weeks, our firm has won several local and national public relations awards.  These awards were presented to us for a number of reasons, including to “honor industry-wide peer achievements” and “to recognize excellence in marketing communications and the outstanding accomplishments of marketing professionals.”

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When it comes to winning awards, people react very differently. Some brag to anyone who’ll listen, for others it can be a source of embarrassment. Generally speaking, most people feel pretty good about it and tend to appreciate the recognition.  For us, winning these awards was an honor, especially since we did so among many smart and talented PR and marketing teams.

Beyond the distinction and positive sentiment they offer, awards can be powerful tools for driving business – which is why PR firms often recommend them as part of an overall communications strategy.  Here are a few ways winning awards can benefit your organization.

Provide Third Party Validation:  Having an outside group recognize your company’s product, service or leadership carries more weight than when you do it yourself. Prospects often look for and trust peer validations such as an award, which helps to substantiate your company’s credibility.

Distinguish You From the Crowd: You understand that the success of your business often depends on how well you differentiate yourself from the competition.  Awards can help set your company apart from the crowd by highlighting your achievements and quality of work.

Strengthen Your Reputation: Assuming your company’s reputation is already solid, an award can propel it from good to great.  By nature, people tend to want to hire the “top” service or use “the best” solution or work with “leading” professionals – all of which are designations earned through awards and accolades.

Foster Internal Communications: High employee morale is important to the health and productivity of any business. Awards are a great way for team members to not only feel good about the work they’re doing, but also create positive buzz around the office.

Increase Your Awareness: Awards can present a good opportunity to generate more publicity for your company, which is often a core goal of communications strategies.  Keep in mind it’s important to design a publicity plan with an eye towards your messaging, audiences and overall business objectives.

Should your company pursue and eventually win an award, it’s important to showcase it in a manner that doesn’t appear self-serving.  Use the honor to not only promote the great work your company does, but also to thank clients, customers, partners and others who helped make the award possible. This will go a long way toward opening the door for future awards wins and the extended value they provide.