Viewpoints: Awards aren’t just for Cannes

Well, the Cannes Festival of Creativity is over for another year. It gets tougher to win a coveted Gold Lion each year, but there are plenty of other opportunities to gain industry recognition for your work. In Hong Kong and wider Asia, our own industry awards season now stretches from January to December as the number of awards programmes continues to increase. I for one am certainly not complaining about that.

Awards success requires a coordinated effort, recognition of the time required to put a winning entry together and a well-thought out strategy of which award show and category to enter. With the amount of time, effort, and let’s not forget money, required it’s easy to deprioritise awards in favour of “more important” day-to-day activities. This, I think, is ignoring the value award wins can bring to your organisation.

Everyone loves recognition for the work they do and it is a powerful motivator. On an individual level winning an award is a great career building milestone. Management can proactively harness this and build awards into performance appraisal goals.

At a group level, winning awards is great for team building – providing awards aren’t just celebrated by those picking up an award on the night, but the win is also duly recognised by the whole team back in the office.

People want to continue working for award-winning teams so awards should be built into your talent retention strategy. Awards also attract talent so joining an award-winning team should be flagged in your recruitment materials.

From an agency perspective, awards also attract business. Awards bring visibility to your firm and help potential clients quantify the value of the services you offer. This is particularly valuable for small firms as it helps them “measure up” to their larger competition.

As much as we would like to be, the reality is that we are not all working on campaigns worthy of a Cannes Lion every single day. That doesn’t mean to say that we’re not working on award-worthy work. Different shows have different categories and different areas of market coverage. All of these impact your winning chances. To take an analogy from the Oscars, as Leonardo DiCaprio knows only too well, it is difficult to consistently win each and every year, but he got there in the end. Inspiration to us all.

Simeon Mellalieu is partner, client development Asia Pacific at Ketchum. He is also vice chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (CPRFHK).