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Are Technology Awards Still Worth The Effort?

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It's officially awards season in the US – the last and first couple of months of each year when the most prominent and prestigious film awards are celebrated.

Locally, our calendars are also packed with awards ceremonies for the tech that goes into making and sharing our favourite shows. But each year there seem to be more of these awards – more categories, more ceremonies and more award icons featuring on home pages and in email signatures. Have technology awards lost their lustre in this crowded marketplace?

The case for technology awards
Winning an award means your product or project has been recognised as valuable – normally by an impartial group of experts in that field. An award inspires confidence in your company and the services or products you provide – particularly if the award comes from a brand you trust. Most awards organisers provide significant exposure to the nominees and winners – at awards ceremonies, on social media and in trade press. This publicity can help you reach new audiences and secure new business based on your win.

When technology awards go wrong
The benefits of winning an award are dependent on your target market recognising both the value of the award and the organisation that has presented it to you. If the market is flooded with awards from every trade publication, organisation and corporation out there, the danger is that all awards will be devalued – if only because they get lost in the noise. The biggest threat to any competition is when the integrity of the judging is called into question. Because many of the industry awards are organised by companies that count some of the entrants amongst their client-base, it can be difficult to prove that commercial interests don't play a role when winners are chosen.

How to make your award entry pay off
The first step to making your award entry pay off is to choose the right awards and category. Even if there's no entry fee, award submissions take time to put together and the only way you'll get any return on this investment is by being shortlisted or winning. Only consider entering awards that you are confident you can win. Evaluate the cost vs the benefits of winning. Paying to enter, sponsoring tables at the awards ceremony and spending time putting a winning entry together can become expensive, and while some free-to-enter awards may be less prestigious or provide less publicity for the winners this is not always the case. Make sure that the organisation running the awards is reputable and familiar to your target market.

Once you've chosen to enter, commit to putting a winning entry together. This means researching previous winners and guidelines and then allocating the necessary time and resources to write the entry and gather pictures, testimonials and other evidence of success. Don't compromise your entry because you've put it together in a rush. Finally, repurpose your entry. A lot of the content in a good award submission is the same as in a case study and repurposing it this way provides opportunities to share your success story with the trade press or post it on your website. So, even if you don't win, your time putting the entry together hasn't been wasted.

Good luck!

This article also features in the November edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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