Industry Awards, great for your brand but are they news?

Everybody loves to get awards. Being named vendor of the year by a magazine or having a leading analyst house name you the most innovative brand in your marketplace (for example) is an extremely positive experience.

In terms of brand building and being a great internal story that increases morale it does not get much better. And quite naturally, when a company wins an award the first thing it’s leadership team often want to do is tell the world via the media. The question is, does the media care when companies win awards?

Certainly, your existing and future customers care, so making sure you incorporate an award win or endorsement into your marketing and sales process is an obvious tactic.

Over the years I have had many organisations contact me about writing a news release about receiving an industry award and the question I ask is always them is the same: “Is this news?”

The fact is, many awards are created by media outlets as a way for them to build solidarity with their advertising community and valued readership. Unfortunately, that means that other media outlets are not going to report on it. It’s simply not in their interest to raise the profile of a competitor organisation. There are always some exceptions to this and that ultimately depends on the profile of the awards.

Imagine calling up one of your competitors to ask if they would mind running a story on their website about a client you just won. You can imagine the kind of response you would get. It’s pretty much how most media outlets feel when asked to do the same thing by unwary companies.

The news angle that many companies overlook however is how and what they are doing so well that is resulting in them winning awards – not the awards themselves. The award is an interesting proof point and might be useful to illustrate a point in an interview, but it’s more likely the journalist will be interested in knowing about the expertise, business practices and insights you bring to the market.

And remember, just because awards are not usually news for most media outlets there plenty of other things you can do to share your good fortune internally and externally with existing and potential customers.

Here are a few quick tips:

– post a LinkedIn update to your company page and suggest staff ‘like’ the post so it is shared with their networks
– tweet about it through your company Twitter account and encourage retweeting
– post an update to the your company online newsroom
– write a blog post and publish the link on relevant social networks
– use the award branding (if permitted) on your website or in email signatures
– send direct mail to customers and prospects to highlight your accomplishments (and potentially their part in helping you win).

Instant gratification – why short term gain doesn’t always work for the long term

Instant gratification – why short term gain doesn’t always work for the long termEverybody loves instant gratification.

Social media, email, mobile phones and credit cards have no doubt contributed to the current culture of instant gratification! I know I do it myself. I’ll send a quick text or email anytime rather than waiting, I’ll tweet or Facebook my thoughts from my mobile rather than waiting to share with someone in real life. We get pleasure from doing something now and getting instant feedback and results.

What’s wrong with that?

In many ways nothing, if it’s working for you in both the short and long term.

Personally I find my best ideas come when I’m disconnected. How often are we disconnected these days? Rarely even on weekends or holidays.

The other challenge that comes from this push for instant gratification is that tasks that aren’t easy or urgent get pushed to the bottom of the pile. This causes business stress as it’s not always the urgent, or quick tasks, that need to be done but the important tasks that take time and focus.

For businesses, the constant pressure to show instant results is dangerous. Teams risk working in a constant state of chaos feeling chronic disappointment at not instantly obtaining the expected results.

I know this is a challenge we face in the PR world. Often sending news announcements or pitches and having people wondering within hours where the coverage is. The risk is that long lead magazines are disregarded, not to mention the importance of fostering relationships – which don’t always result in instant rewards.

Managing the craving for instant gratification isn’t easy. But in the long run, we need to think more about the quality of results and continue encouraging healthy working relationships.