Awards Are More Than Fancy Paperweights — They’re Good for Your Agency’s Bottom Line

By | March 20, 2015
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Drew McLellanBelow is a guest post from Drew McLellan, a veteran of the advertising industry for nearly 30 years. For 20 of those years, he has owned and continues to run his own agency.

Additionally, Drew leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small- to medium-sized advertising agencies on how to grow and build their profitability through agency owner peer networks, consulting, workshops and more.

It's Time For Your Agency's Red Carpet Moment

Everyone eagerly awaits Hollywood’s most glamorous red carpet moments. They want to see who the lucky dates are, who gets too tipsy, and who takes home a gold statue.

But why should Hollywood have all the fun? Creative agencies deserve recognition too.

Events such as the CLIO Awards, the Cannes Lions and The One Show are opportunities for creative agencies to receive recognition for themselves and their clients—not to mention a chance to glam it up and have a party.

Yet agency leaders are often reluctant to enter these competitions. They mistakenly view the process as a distraction at best, and a waste of time and resources at worst. Creatives are usually the ones driving award initiatives, trying to convince their bosses that submitting their work isn’t just about their own ego.

The truth is that awards are more than fancy, feel-good paperweights; they’re actually good for the bottom line. Here’s why:

  • Awards establish benchmarks. Award-winning ads are 11 times more effective than other ads. Using awards’ standards for projects can raise the bar within your agency and increase overall work quality. By distinguishing the best talent, awards also help establish benchmarks that inspire and shape the industry.
  • Winning differentiates your agency. According to the 2014 AMI research report, more than a third of companies are looking for an agency to gain specialized expertise. Peer recognition helps distinguish your agency from the herd. The key is to apply for awards that mean something to your market. For example, Ford and Coca-Cola will likely be interested in how many CLIO or Cannes Lions awards you’ve racked up over the years.
  • Added credibility can help you win new business. Current clients may not care about your agency’s award history, but prospective clients certainly do. If a client is considering several agencies for a project, awards could tip the scales in your favor. Some industries, such as B2C food and beverage companies, value awards more than others. But even in smaller industries, a record of award-winning client work shows that an agency has the chops to deliver on its campaigns.
  • Award-winning ads boost client visibility. Agency leaders often object to applying for awards because the judging criteria focus on campaign creativity rather than results. But awards shine a spotlight on your clients as well, and you can increase this positive impact by highlighting their role in the creative process. For example, one award-winning agency issued press releases that emphasized its clients’ achievements, which raised the clients’ profiles and made the agency seem exceptionally customer-centric.
  • Winning boosts morale. People want to work for winners, and employees who feel like they’re part of a successful team are going to do better work. Awards are also a great selling point for new recruits. They want to work for agencies with visibility and growth potential. Awards tell them that yours has both.

If you’re still worried about the time and resources you’ll need to put together your application package, ask your team for help. They’ll likely be more than happy to put in some after-hours work to submit your agency and promote the win for the company’s benefit. They already know the value of these awards, so put their enthusiasm to use.

If you win, make sure you flaunt it. Announce the award on your website, celebrate on social media, and add the awards to employees’ email signatures. Awards are impressive. Make sure people know that your team has won them.

So break out your tux or evening gown, and pour some bubbly this awards season. Your agency works hard, and so do your clients. It’s time you got some recognition for it.

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