What is the first thing that comes to mind when considering awards? Red carpets and shiny trophies? A heartfelt acceptance speech? Adding to your trophy case? Sure, the glamour of awards come to mind, but it is not the whole picture. Investment in award programs is essential to continued company growth and awareness. The impact of receiving recognition from a third party (i.e. industry peers, analysts or media) accelerates your communications program far beyond what you could say about yourself.

Award programs are an essential element of your communication strategy that should align with your company identity and business goals.  Furthermore, the content development and processes that are an integral part of each award are a specialized knowledge and skill set unto itself. Looking for an increased presence in your local market? Consider a pursuing a growth award with a local business newspaper. Interested in highlighting the strength of your executive team? Consider submitting your CEO for an award that recognizes his/her contributions to the industry.

Last week Airfoil clients, MobiTV, Inc. and Parrot were recognized at the 2011 Edison Awards for their achievement in product innovation. Inspired by Thomas Edison himself (inventor of a little thing called the light bulb), The Edison Awards look to identify innovation from visionaries in the United States. MobiTV, Inc. was the silver award winner within the Media & Communications category for its industry best mobile media technology platform. The platform, MobiTV AMP, is a culmination of a decade of work that began with a vision to literally place television at peoples’ fingertips. Parrot earned the bronze award within Electronics & Computers in the Location Technologies segment for the AR.Drone, a flying quadricopter. Consumers can fly the AR.Drone using an iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad and through augmented reality technology can bring the world around them into the gaming world.

Want another reason to pursue awards? Adding “award-winning” before your company or product name has a nice ring to it, but from a strategic standpoint, awards are big part of establishing and maintaining category leadership.  The marketplace uses awards and other accolades as indicators of company/product quality, performance and/or stability and companies that lead their respective categories often have built that position, at least in part, through pursuit of awards. 

— Kali Fry is an account coordinator at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.