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Recognition Matters!

 Recognition Matters!
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An in-depth look into the importance and future of industry awards.

The glitz and glam of an evening out, sharing a drink with colleagues and industry peers and applauding the winners – this is what comes to mind when we think of award ceremonies. But at the crux of it all, is knowing your work is being recognised above all in the industry and this recognition can propel your organisation and employees to greater heights.

2020 has forced many industries to rethink and change gears, but how will this impact awards into the future?

Industry importance

The PR and communication industry are very competitive. Clients are spoilt for choice and this makes the need to stand out imperative. Awards provide agencies with an opportunity to benchmark themselves and to stand out as best in class. They are a great way to demonstrate the importance of solid partnerships between client and agency – there have been many award entries where the entry would state; “The client trusted us to create a successful campaign, challenging us to push the boundaries, and working with us to reach the goals and objectives.”

Awards also acknowledge those who create and implement the campaign and ignite the magic into making ideas come to life. They instill pride that one works for an award-winning agency, can improve employee engagement and help to attract top talent ensuring breakthrough client work continues to keep the trophies coming in.

The value of awards

Credibility is a well-earned endorsement and will most certainly ensure the agency is on the pitch list for new business opportunities. They act as a prologue to your agency’s reputation and form part of pitches because clients want to work with proven winners. Further evidence of this is when listing awards is part of an RFI or for agency search consultants

Best in the business: We have already touched on the trust, pride and credibility awards can bring. There are many agencies locally and globally that have positioned themselves as winners in different sectors such as healthcare, technology and public affairs, and they use their awards to show their experience in those practice areas. If you do not brag about your work, who will know that you are the best and that you create winning campaigns?

The Covid-19 spanner in the works

Covid-19 has paused lots of things, including the personal interactions which come with award ceremonies and the merriment of such occasions.

It has also forced new ways of communicating, and creativity has come to the centre stage like never before. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans and other platforms have allowed awards ceremonies to go ahead.

Videos, mock sets, innovative engagement and live acceptance of awards is the new way of attending the ceremonies.  And what’s more, participation from all corners of the world is possible. Gone are the days of geographical barriers making attendance to ceremonies a logistical conundrum. If you are sitting in New York or Knysna, you can be part of the ceremony.

So, despite the adaptations to ‘normal life’ that Covid-19 has necessitated, it has fostered togetherness, even remotely. All the staff in the agency can be part of the ceremony and the invitation can now be extended to the client to be part of the celebration.

The only limitation is imagination (and a little budget)

The take up of online awards globally has been well received. Keep it short, sharp, and entertaining and you have a winning formula.  Suffice to say that online awards have a longevity which the dinners and galas of last year did not have, you can combine different communication channels, have different countries involved and choose the time of day to suit the company because it all lives online.

The changing world should not scare us, but it should rather be seen as an opportunity to create and execute high quality work that changes the world.

This is an opinion piece by Bridget von Holdt, Business Director, BCW Africa. A recipient of the PRISM Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

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