Awards: Between value addition and vainglory

By Ibidunni Banjoko

What really makes Award winning tick? Is it the recognition that comes with it, the third party endorsement of the excellence of the winner’s job/ brand or the prize received? It is all of these and many more! Awards are viewed as a valuable marketing tool to have in any organisation’s arsenal. Though award applications can take a considerable amount of time and effort, the value we’ve seen them bring to a business is undeniable. You can now understand therefore the popularity of awards across most professions and especially in the creative and manufacturing industries where excellence, quality and originality are germane to success.

In the Integrated Marketing Communications Industry, creative agencies, brands and other stakeholders place high premium on awards because of how it affects their acceptability by clients and rating among peers. Brands love receiving awards. They flaunt the awards on the shelves for all to see, publicise it on pages of newspapers and add it to their profile.

No wonder then that award organising has become a big and booming business. It is not surprising therefore that interlopers and pretenders have come in to make quick money. It is therefore important to be able to discern between credible awards and those organised by scammers or interlopers. The pedigree and experience;, validity and veracity of the award process and the integrity of the organisers are some of the criteria that can be used in determining whether an award is credible or not. Because of the fillip awards can give to the reputation of a product, brand or organisation before its critical stakeholders, organisations actually plan and work towards winning awards.

According to John Hall, Senior Contributor, Forbes, what many do not realise is that awards don’t just happen organically; they rarely fall into leaders’ laps because a passer-by nominated them on a whim. Most often, winning an award is the result of strategic efforts to build a person’s and company’s authority as an industry leader. A valuable way to distinguish yourself as a top-flight leader or company is by applying to and winning well-known, credible awards. These accolades acknowledge companies and leaders who have achieved a certain degree of success against a specific set of standards, or separate them from competitors in front of a panel of experienced judges.

Lyn Goodear, Chief Executive of the Australian HR Institute, acknowledged there is a brand return on recognition, but she emphasised: “There must be rigour in the selection process; it should be about impact and sustainable outcomes. Time will reveal whether we’ve recognised and awarded the right people and businesses.

It is evident there is something rather alluring about receiving an award; undoubtedly it can feel good. But care must be taken to manage the desire for recognition so as to ensure that it is those that truly deserve recognition that are rewarded. Matthew Beard, philosopher and ethicist, reminded us: “Awards are more about what was achieved than who achieved it. They provide a guide for what we should value and what’s worth celebrating.”

Speaking on how awards affect the fortunes of organisations, Seun Adesida, CEO of Davebrook Limited said: “Awards are global benchmarking standards for Organisations, especially awards that are not financially induced. Awards are also a form of Third Party endorsement that authenticates products and services of the benefiting company.  This is expected to translate into huge service or product demand in the short to long term post award ceremony or publication.”

Akonte Ekine, Lead Strategist of Absolute PR Ltd, on his part, stated that “brands are always happy when they are recognised by independent persons or public, because it shows that they are doing the right thing. The organisations that win will have some measure of credibility”.

According to chairman, Lagos State chapter of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Segun Mcmedal, “when the third party recognises what you are doing, it validates your effort and it also give the organisation something to talk about to engage its stakeholders. It calls for excitement. Some even create special budget for it; it also motivates them to do more”.

Speaking with the Executive Director of CMC Connect, Raheem Olabode whose organisation won LaPRIGA award as the Best Place to Work in year 2020, he said: “Award is very key; it shows recognition. Getting award as an organisation encourages you to do more and keep standard. It shows that people felt the impact, people are watching you and they could see what you are doing.

“For example, my organisation won the best place to work in the industry. This shows to us that our internal ambience motivates us, our environment is friendly to work. And with the selection criteria, it shows that someone is watching in terms of how we are managing our resources particularly our people, because if we are making money and our people are not happy our organisation can’t be the best place to work.”

Winning organisation awards from credible third parties can go a long way in solidifying your reputation as a trustworthy brand that delivers. Award-winning organisations are consistently seen as more reputable and honest, even if consumers aren’t consciously aware of this perception.


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