And The Winner Is…

awardEveryone knows about the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and the other awards given out to honor excellence in the entertainment industry. Winning one of these coveted honors – or even being nominated – can be a career maker (unless you’re Milli Vanilli), but not all of them deliver that level of instant fame and fortune.


There are awards for absolutely everything, and our clients are constantly being bombarded with requests to apply for awards or even notifications to let them know that they’ve already been selected as a top performer. It’s certainly flattering to win anything, but before dusting off the old tuxedo or evening gown for your walk down the red carpet, there are a few things to look out for.

  • You’re a Winner. If you get a notice that you’ve won an award that you never even applied for, it’s probably worth deleting the email without even reading it. Once you look a little deeper, you may find that the prize is a certificate, but if you respond there is a strong possibility that the organizers will try to upsell you on everything from an award plaque (for a few hundred bucks) to a premium placement on their web site.
  • Send us a check. While many legitimate awards do require an application fee, be wary of programs that look like marketing ploys. There are tons of online resources to see which are real and which are fly-by-night scams. A great place to start is by looking at previous winners to see how they’ve benefitted.
  • We are ALL winners tonight. Companies that make money by selling goods and services to award winners don’t make a dime from people who go home empty-handed. See what percentage of applicants win before you apply – if the answer approaches 100%, you probably want to walk away.

Even if you come up with positive answers, it’s still not a given that you should apply. For starters, many award applications are time-consuming and tedious, and many require detailed financial information that you may not feel comfortable sharing. But the big question that all companies need to ask themselves is this: Does It Matter? Winning sounds great, but will an award (even a legitimate one) really help you achieve your business goals? If it will help you close a deal, attract great talent, secure financing, or gain market traction, then an award may be worth pursuing. But if these don’t seem like likely outcomes, it may be worth devoting your resources to more productive activities that will help you succeed in the marketplace.

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