The Strategic Advantage to AEC Industry Awards

Winning an award gives you an opportunity to celebrate with team members and clients long after the project is complete. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Building Congress, Patrick Delany Photographer.

Winning awards for your firm, a project, or individual staff members can be exciting, but focusing on the strategic marketing benefits will bring about the best results and help convince firm leadership to invest the time and money required to submit for awards.

In this first of a series of articles, we delve into the strategic marketing benefits of AEC industry awards. Future articles will discuss how to find and select programs to enter, put together a winning submittal, and garner bonus public relations and marketing results from the effort.

Before we dive in, let’s clarify what we mean by AEC industry awards. Awards can be earned for a variety of accomplishments. The first that comes to mind might be design and project-based awards. But, there also are awards for contributions to an organization or industry, best and top lists, team collaboration, education and mentorship, thought leadership, professional achievement, and emerging talent.

While some of the benefits to awards submittals are evident, there are several that may get overlooked. The main strategic advantages to awards are:

• Demonstrate to clients that you value their project and provide another opportunity to stay in touch with them long after the project is done

• Support your client’s brand and goals and position them as thought-leaders in their industry, supporting client retention

• Position your firm and/or its professional staff as a thought-leader in the industry, giving you a competitive edge

• Provide independent, juried proof of your qualifications and accomplishments, supporting business development and staff recruiting efforts

• Widen reach of public relations benefits, much of it free, through the awarding organization’s website mention, blog articles, social media posts, press releases,
sponsorship, awards ceremony and awards book

• Acknowledge and validate past achievements of your staff, aiding in employee retention

• Educate clients, colleagues, and the public about standards, innovations and advancements

• Present additional marketing opportunities (such as, articles, blog posts and workshops) on your own, professional organizations, and media channels, expanding
the value of effort to gather and present the award submittal

Your firm, staff, and client accomplishments should not go un-noticed. While award submittals take time to strategize and prepare, they can result in long-term, strategic benefits of personal and firm pride, brand awareness, business development, client retention, and recruiting efforts.

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