A few days ago I wrote an article on this site about business awards and how they were a 'con trick'. I have just spotted another fantastic article on the internet by American business expert Rebecca VanDenBerg that is saying a similar thing to me - and giving a slightly different perspective on the subject. Rebecca's article brilliantly explains why chasing business awards is not only a waste of time, it's also actually bad for your business. I have reproduced it here and I acknowledge Rebecca VanDenBerg as the owner of the copyright in this article.
“Award Winning Agency” or “Awarded Best in Class!”
You see these headlines in marketing and advertising all the time from cars and trucks to restaurants and marketing firms. But what does it really mean?
Nothing. Nadda. Ziltch.
In a service oriented business like mine, focusing on awards instead of the client is a big mistake. Does bragging about awards add any value to the customer. NO! It’s all for show. To stroke the ego and at the root of it, PRIDE.
Last week there were two top news stories that included the topic of awards and trophies that resonated with my belief.
First, NFL Football Player James Harrison, a linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, posted a photo to Instagram showing participation trophies his sons had received that he planned to return. His reason - he wanted them to earn trophies, not be given them for "doing nothing."
The fact is awards can be created and given out to anyone for anything and sometimes for nothing! The value in awards has strayed from rewarding hard work and effort into giving praise for just showing up and not always doing anything spectacular. Awards are too easy to come by in today’s world to put too much value on them.
The second story goes much deeper. Kathy Lee Gifford gave a touching tribute to her husband, Frank Gifford, who recently passed away. You can watch the full clip here.
In the tribute she says: “If someone wanted to see his trophy room, he took them straight to show them the stone”.
The 'stone' she was referring to was a stone he brought home from a trip to the Holy Land where they visited the Valley of Elah and the Brook of Elah. The Brook of Elah is the place where the shepherd boy David gathered his five smooth stones to battle the giant Goliath.
He didn’t take them to see his NFL Hall of Fame award or Emmy’s or Super Bowl Rings. He took them to see the “most important” one first! The lesson from a man who had lived a full life, understood and valued what was most important to him. That stone represented knowing and believing in a living God. I so much admired hearing how he valued this simple stone over the many awards that he did earn in his career. It showed the heart of the man and what he valued most.
What do you value most? Are displaying awards and trophies important to you? Do you choose to use these awards in your marketing and advertising? When we talk about branding we often talk about telling your story. Does the most important part of your story often includes awards and trophies?
When I was growing up, showing livestock, competing and receiving awards was a regular occurrence. Even as a teenager, I quickly learned the difference between the awards that were easily obtained or the ones that require the most effort, work and preparation. Yet over time those trophies and awards lost value - I guess you call it maturity! But do you know how many of those 100’s of awards I kept?
And it’s tarnished and packed away in some box in my basement.
Guess how many awards I have displayed in my office?
I don’t display awards or spend time entering contests because trophies and awards aren’t going to sell any more socks or hair bows for my clients. They aren’t going to solve any marketing challenges or teach me how to code a marketing email. All they will do is stroke my prideful ego.
It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday! Having a commitment to continuous learning, researching, and striving to get better is the key to good business.
About the Author
Rebecca VanDenBerg is an entrepreneur and hockey mom! She has been building websites and designing print media since 1999. She believes in constantly improving her skills - and in the world of technology, she finds new ideas, methods and tools exciting!
For more details visit: www.rebeccavandenberg.com