The Envelope Please

One way to really get your name on the map is to issue an award or awards. There are several ways to do that and you don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to get a name for yourself.

If you think your organization or company doesn’t have enough stature with the public to offer an award, think again. Would you know what the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is if they didn’t host the Oscars?

Here are a few categories of awards to consider. Regardless of the type of your awards, tie the awards ceremony to an event. It makes a great centerpiece for a lunch or dinner and allows you to create a fundraiser. This will help spread the word about your award. If you have a product that you sell, announce the award on your website or blog and draw people in to a sale to commemorate the award.

Advancement

Is there a scientist or advocate who has furthered the cause that your company or nonprofit organization supports? Acknowledge them with a humanitarian award. If they also happen to be a great speaker, allow a time for the recipient to speak about the strides they have made in your field. You need to gauge how interesting the topic is and how dynamic the speaker is. Keep it short and if the audience is enthralled you can let it go longer.

Have they written a book? Having a book signing is another way to bring people to your awards ceremony. Review the book first so you know what it is you are promoting. Make sure it has something to do with why you are giving the award.

Quality

You see a lot of “quality” awards when it comes to children and baby products and toys—Year’s Best Toy, Safest, Smartest, and so on. Cars and restaurants also have layers of awards bestowed upon them. Do you even know what J.D. Power and Associates does besides give out awards? Who was Malcolm Baldrige? James Beard? Zagat?

These awards had to start somewhere and it might have been a list of top ten, based on some simple criteria. Using social media it is much easier to issue a list of your own and disseminate it to the masses.

Three simple steps to acknowledging quality:

  1. Hold a press conference to announce the criteria you used and what made it onto your list.
  2. Invite your top slot to be represented at the press conference.
  3. Send a special logo to the winners so they can market your quality awards for you.

Once you have established your “quality” awards, issue your list every year at a time that makes sense for your organization. Positioning yourself as an authority is a great way to become the go-to organization for the media.

Contest

In some ways a contest can be more labor intensive and in some ways less. You have to spend more time collecting the contest entries than you would just picking a person to recognize at a luncheon. On the other hand, your public is creating all the content for you. Think about “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” They just have to re-broadcast what America sends in. Wading through all the entries can be tiresome, but there are ways to leverage another media story from the judges. The judges have their own unique stories they bring to help endorse your product or service. Think about the judges on “American Idol.” We know all about them as stories unique from the contestants that they judge. The process of replacing judges is yet another thread of media stories all around a contest.

A people’s choice award is also an essential element to driving masses of people to your website where you host the voting.

One advantage of a contest is that you can do it with a very limited budget. People like to win things and without wading through actual talent, you can simply pull a name out of a hat.

Don’t shy away from creating awards. Awards have tremendous public relations mileage and can really jumpstart your position of authority.


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