As high-growth tech companies expand their public relations efforts, they often want the recognition that comes with industry accolades. But for the uninitiated, the vast awards ecosystem within different industries can be a mysterious black box. To help PR/marketing execs succeed in earning awards, here are a few fundamentals and insider tips to know. Let’s use a variation on journalism’s 5Ws to share insights.
Why should I enter for awards?
Like analyst reviews, industry award wins can serve as evidence of the worth of a tech solution or growth record for an organization. Product awards confer invaluable third-party endorsements because they feature a real-world case study of the solution’s use in the field. When a company shows how a known brand like Home Depot or Mercedes has achieved business objectives using a software solution, for example, it gains instant credibility.
B2B buyers looking for the best SaaS solution, for example, will review all collateral and communications, including analyst reviews, online explainer videos, customer reviews, case studies, white papers, etc. Awards wins can be another credible weapon to keep a company’s product or solution in the highest consideration set. Industry award wins are proof points for investors, new business, and even talent acquisition.
Which awards should I enter?
Awards do not stop at product solutions. A B2B tech company should submit for in categories wherever their excellence lies. In this current environment of competition for tech talent acquisition, many clients are prioritizing entering for recognition of their company culture as in AdAge Best Places to Work. Those looking to attract more diverse talent (and who isn’t?) can show an inclusive and progressive environment through awards in the DEI and women in technology spaces. Tech providers can demonstrate their excellent customer success by earning awards for client service. Our clients Chili Piper and Innovid planted their flags as Inc. Magazine’s Best WorkPlaces 2021 – earning visibility for job seekers who can now afford to be selective about where to grow their careers.
Who should I enter?
Individual awards are great morale builders, and they can showcase a company’s diversity and inclusion. Individual recognition for thought leadership is also an excellent way to build visibility for executives looking for a higher profile. Most award programs have individual categories like the CEO of the Year or Rising Star for earlier career superstars. At Crenshaw, we enjoy helping our amazing female adtech executive clients win recognition in awards like Cynopsis Top Women in Media, Advertising Week Future is Female, Campaign US Female Frontier Awards. Awards like these help showcase a company’s dedication to change the gender imbalance in the technology industries. Our client LiveIntent’s CMO Kerel Cooper took home Tech Diversity Advocate of the Year in the Campaign Tech Awards 2021 – which supported his personal brand as well as the company’s forward-thinking reputation.
Where should I look to find the good award targets?
First there’s the matter of geography. A U.S. company should obviously enter awards from inside the country only – except some programs are global, so the decision hinges on whether client work is strong enough to compete around the world. Awards produced by U.S. based pubs Digiday and AdExchanger are actually global . By the same token, U.K. based pubs like The Drum and Campaign are also open to companies and campaigns around the world. Entrants should definitely read the fine print in the rules/guidelines before entering . Sometimes, a program is looking strictly for companies operating in certain regions. There is also the question of which award programs are tier 1 and which are less legitimate money-generators. At Crenshaw, we tend to favor the awards produced by relevant tech media outlets like those mentioned above – since there’s a built-in media opportunity. An award program not associated with a media outlet could still be worthwhile; but beware of awards that seem to have a thousand categories and a stout entry fee. The ones where everybody wins don’t hold much legitimate PR value.
How do go about entering awards?
Industry awards take real time and effort. Submission forms range from 450 to 1500 words. If you have a PR agency, definitely get them to do it! The key to all tech industry product awards is a fully realized case study narrative — and here’s the tough part – approved for use by the client. Some Customer Success/Sales departments are better than others at convincing clients to allow their brand name to be used in award case studies and in the media. Framed correctly, a tech vendor can persuade a brand client of the PR benefits of prestigious award recognition. The right category can make a difference. If you enter a category such as ‘most innovative use of technology’, a brand takes top billing and looks like a leader while the tech solution can also bask in the glow. For info on what makes up a great case study, see my earlier post.
When should I enter awards?
At Crenshaw, our conferences and awards department flags award opportunities as they come up, based on submission deadlines. Media outlets like the Drum and Digiday have published award calendars similar to ed-cals for their numerous programs that run through the year. Over a period of a couple of years, an aggressive B2B company can rack up enough wins to populate an awards page on their website, or a crawl across the bottom of its home page, dazzling business buyers with a litany of laurels trumpeting their solution or services, workplace culture, or individual executives.
For info on how to write a winning award submission, see this earlier post. Now let’s get that trophy case filled with hardware!