Agency Awards - Worth the effort?

We WON an agency award! Should we feel good about it?

Reflecting on our visit to Cannes, France last year where we were fortunate enough to collect a Silver Dolphin Award for a celebrity web series docu-type event video we did for one of our clients, it got me thinking about the importance of awards for agency work.

Actually, I have never been a big awards guy. I’ve always thought that the end goal of our most important work is the success of our clients. Prior to this award we’d won two, both submitted by our client.

My struggle was that it should always be about the client. They pay us to do the work, yet we are getting much of the credit. In fact, at times the work is highly collaborative. At the end of the day, we are already measured by the success of our work BY our client.

Maybe I was short sighted - looking at the wrong question. I was thinking it was an “either/or” question rather than an “and” question.

Can we do good work AND celebrate the work together?

Of course, the answer is yes. I had been looking through the wrong lens.

The award is a reflection of the work we do WITH our clients not FOR our clients. Is that semantics, maybe? Maybe it’s a value statement, not sure.

We need to celebrate with them, as it’s a validation of good collaborative and creative work. It’s also a source of pride for staff both client side and agency side as it is a validation of the interactions you have had, the long days and (sometimes) sleepless nights trying to make the work amazing to achieve the client’s objectives.

There is the obvious PR value that comes along with an award and maybe that’s why we need to do it. No apologies for trying to secure more business, of course. And the award process furthers the client message, which is always a good thing.

When we attended the awards ceremony in Cannes I was sitting next to the client of a nominated agency (also present) who won and I asked him how he evaluated the awards. His comment was:

 “The awards are simply a third party validation of the good work, but it starts with the trust we have in our agency, without that, awards mean nothing to me”.

 I am so glad I asked him that question. He went on to say:

 “It also helps when we need to get un-budgeted items approved up the chain in our corporation since our name is on the trophy too”.

 There are obvious agency benefits that come along with being acknowledged for these types of awards. With the recent announcement of our win, we have already received positive exposure and feedback, which will continue to benefit our agency.

I do, however, remain cautious and understand there is a risk that the award is the end goal and agencies can easily become caught up in the chase for more awards. It’s critical to remember the focus needs to begin and end with client success as paramount.

When it becomes about the agency and not the client, I think we end up on a very slippery slope.

What are your views about submitting awards for the work you do?

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Twitter:          @alanmclaren