Yes, You Deserve That Award
Our great industry has a number of ways to recognize great promotions, great achievements and great people. Everyone reading this publication has accomplished something—or is working on the project—that has potential to win them that award or gain them widespread recognition. From being part of judging panels of certain awards in the past, it's amazing how few people apply when you know of dozens of people whose current promotions you've seen and been inspired by. Some cite time as a barrier, others aren't prepared and others don't think they have a shot at winning.
My oldest daughter just graduated from high school. This winter, she applied for a number of local scholarships. It's an arduous process, yet we encouraged her to apply for as many as she was eligible for. A few scholarships were earmarked for someone pursuing a degree in education, as she is. Two of these gave preference to someone specializing in physical education, which she is not—although she coaches volleyball, and would like to coach in the future. To take the time to complete the applications and essays, assuming that she had a minimal chance of getting the scholarships, seemed a waste of time to her. The potential pool of applicants, between the number of area high schools, was foreboding. With a little prodding from her mother (ok...nagging...), she submitted the materials for those scholarships.
On Senior Awards Night in May, hearing her name announced as the winner of both of those scholarships, she was shocked... and grudgingly admitted that she was very happy she'd applied.
Did she win those scholarships because she wrote a more compelling essay? Were her grades and involvement superior? Did other eligible students feel as she had, and not applied, thinking there was little chance of getting the scholarship? We will never know.
Whether you are considering entering a competition on the industry level, or through a local association, there is time and emotional investment. However, that time invested in building your brand (business and personal) can really pay off. Besides the great feeling it gives you, customers like to associate themselves with proven winners.
A few pointers:
- Be confident. If you read through the guidelines of the award and know that you are technically eligible, than you've cleared the big hurdle. Don't worry about who may/may not apply for it.
- Get in the mindset every time you create a marketing program for a customer, or for yourself: this could be an award-winning promotion. If you think like an award-winner, the promotion will be that much better when executed—and get your client the results they're looking for. Make them look like a hero, and you'll look like a hero.
- Measure. If you're already in the groove of calculating ROI and measuring results, then you're 95% of the way there. If you're not, now is the time to turn that around. Your customer has a budget. They have objectives they want to accomplish. When a program you've put together helps them to that, you should understand why it worked and how you can replicate that success with new programs. If it didn't work, but you understand why and can show your client the metrics, your chances of getting the opportunity to create a program that DOES work are significantly greater than if you look the other way.
- Set aside time to finish the application. If you're organized with your data, it won't take very long, but you still need to focus. Block out time when you can be alone. When you hear your name announced or get that special phone call, you'll be happy you did!