Whenever a major award is up for grabs, it’s common to hear people say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter if I win or not. It’s just an honor to be nominated,” or something similar. The fact is, though, that to most people, it does matter whether they win or not. Even small awards can produce benefits, both practical and psychological. Whether you are considering whether it’s worth the time and effort to enter award competitions or you are thinking about launching your own award program, understanding the importance of the awards can help make the experience even more meaningful.
Winning is Everything
According to Jeffrey Spencer, former Olympic cyclist and author, “Winning is the key to a passionate, productive, purposeful and prosperous life.” By his definition, winning means achieving a pre-determined goal. It’s success - you set out to complete an action with a specific purpose and outcome in mind, and you achieved that goal.
The reason that winning is so important, he argues, is that it is part of human nature. Humans are hardwired to set and achieve goals. When we don’t have anything to work toward, or cease striving to do better, then it creates a void. The void is often the cause of feeling unfulfilled and bored, and of feeling like something is missing from life, but we aren’t sure what it is. When we do work toward, and achieve, our goals, though, that brings fulfillment. Winning creates positive feelings; people who regularly win are generally more optimistic, and often more willing to take risks and set loftier goals. In fact, research indicates that people who win awards and are recognized for their excellence are often healthier and live longer than those who don’t.
The simple fact is that humans are competitive. It’s in our nature, and when we win, it fulfills a basic need to be the best. That’s not even considering the brain chemistry that comes with winning and the “happy hormones” that get a boost from achieving a goal. So, while those crystal awards that you hand out to the top salespeople at your annual sales meeting might seem like simple trinkets, they are actually important motivators and vital factors in satisfying your team.
Now for the Practical Stuff
While winning awards can be great for the self-esteem of your team, from a practical marketing standpoint, awards matter to your company as well. There’s a reason that you see “award-winning” used in the descriptions of so many companies, products and people. Awards lend a feeling of legitimacy to a product or service; obviously, if an objective third-party feels that something is award-worthy, then it’s probably worth checking out.
Awards matter for other reasons as well.
Awards cut marketing expenses. Even if you have to pay an entry fee for an award program, if you win, that fee will most-likely pay for itself in terms of the publicity and free marketing you’ll receive as a winner.
Awards boost revenues. Studies indicate that winning awards can increase sales significantly. A majority (82 percent) of buyers are influenced by awards when making decisions, and award-winners saw an average of 37 percent sales growth after winning their awards.
Awards attract talent. When your business wins awards, it’s easier to attract and retain talented employees. Who doesn’t want to work at a “best place to work” or “best employer?”
Awards bring value to your clients. When you submit work that you’ve done for clients for awards, you create additional value for them. If your focus is on creating award-winning work, not only does that influence your strategy and plans, but it also improves customer satisfaction -s and winning brings additional attention to the client.
Awards improve your measurement and reflection. Awards are based on your ability to prove performance and results. Applying for meaningful awards requires you to measure and quantify your successes, something that is vital to strategic performance. In a sense, going after awards kills two birds with one stone, because the materials you create for entry can also serve as a narrative of your overall success.
At the end of the day, winning awards simply feels good, and it’s nice to have hard work and successes recognized. So while it is nice just to be nominated, there is a lot to be said for winning as well. Don’t dismiss awards as an exercise in vanity, but approach them as a pillar in to your overall strategy for success.