How important are awards?

 |  By: Kate Jones In: Awards | Growth and scalability

Anyone who engages with Twitter will be familiar with just how many award ceremonies there are. Near daily, Twitter is flooded with happy, smiley, well-dressed and slightly tipsy people clutching awards and suggesting #CantBelieveWeWon

But award-winning award entries take a lot of time and effort to put together. You’ll want to include nice design to make it punchy. Judges trawl through 100s of entries so video can really boost your chances and client quotes are the cherry on the top. A humble word doc no longer cuts the mustard.

So before you start putting your 2018 marketing calendar together, in this blog we ask, just how important are awards?

Celebrate the team

Agencies need to retain their talent. So ensuring their talent feels championed is really important. By capturing excellence within our awards we are better able to celebrate and support the industry and pass on the knowledge to others to do likewise. So winning feeds the industry, shares excellence and makes us all better. And it's really good to feel like you are good at what you do at the end of the day. 

Andy Sandoz, Chief Creative Officer Deloitte Digital told D&DA Awards

This raises a very important point, winning awards is not only about external kudos for the agency. Publically celebrating individuals and teams that have worked on a project is great for morale. Having hard work recognised externally, as well as internally, helps team members feel proud of what they've achieved and reiterates that they're able to deliver award-winning work while at your agency - which is often down to being given creative freedom, trust, and autonomy in their role, as well as some brave and risk-taking clients.

Strengthening your client relationship

Your client might already be giddy with delight over the work you’ve delivered. If you’re even considering entering an award you’ve probably delivered some fantastic results. But there is something even more special about having a client hear from an external body of experts that you did a great job, and this can do wonders for your relationship. It’s a great chance to thank your client for giving you the freedom and trust to deliver the work. Work that’s completely risk averse or not doing or saying something new rarely wins an award, so your client’s gumption should be recognised too.


This is arguably the main reason people enter awards. It’s a rare opportunity to get your agency name in the press for something extremely positive that’s earned not bought. OK you paid for the award entry but we hope you didn’t pay to win.

But an important point here is that picking the right awards will make a huge difference to the value of the publicity. Niche awards can do wonders as you're speaking right to the heart of your audience. But as well as picking relevant awards, pick respected awards with a tough judging panel and stonking reputation. It’s unfortunate, but we do all know of awards that have a reputation for picking winners based on the number of tables they purchase. Winning one of those awards will say more about your bank balance then your design, digital or PR ability.

And without teaching you to suck eggs, create your own publicity around your award entry. Try to steer away from something braggy that simply reiterates you won, and think more about what will genuinely interest your audience.

When Tunafish media won ‘best use of social media’ for their ‘Made in Salford’ campaign for Salford University at the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards 2017, agency Founder Sam Jones wrote a fantastic, detailed and inspiring blog offering a step-by-step guide on how they delivered the campaign. Not a brag, just a riveting read. It’s also worth commenting on how brave Salford University were with this campaign and their marketing team should also be extremely proud of this win.

Attract new business

Exactly what is says on the tin, but worth a mention as there’s no denying that winning an award for a project will help you win a similar project. Not only due to the publicity generated but the fact you’ve proved your worth, you’ve set yourself up against your peers and frankly, you’ve won.

In summary, the general consensus seems to be that awards are extremely valuable. But less is more, focus on the ones that matter to you and spend time crafting an honest, killer entry. And when you’re done, share your story in a meaningful way. People will remember that above anything else.

If you’d like to hear more about how Synergist can help your agency identify the clients that are going to enable you to grow safely, in the direction you’re passionate about then there are a number of ways you can get in touch:

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