Do Awards = Legitimacy?

Do Awards = Legitimacy?

During my years in this business, some of the work I have been involved in has won awards from industry organizations.

Even though this is true, and I could claim to have been responsible for a variety of award winning campaigns; it appears to me to be a little too boastful to make the claim that I am an award-winning brand strategist.

The reluctance I have with this scenario is related entirely to the focus or intent of the awards themselves. Agencies like to trumpet the fact that they provide award-winning service, even going as far as placing their little statuettes in the boardroom for future clients to see.

But really, what is the purpose of the award and who has really earned the acknowledgment?

  • Do I get the award because I was able to convince the client to try something new?
  • Shouldn’t the client get the award because they had the courage to try something different?
  • Or maybe the creative team deserves the singular recognition for finding a way to interpret the new direction into an ad concept?
  • Or, finally, does the supplier deserve the credit for creating the vehicle that best displayed the concept?

The true answer is that no one individual won the award. The amazing concept and creative that led to positive results for the client was the result of a series or chain of activities in which each member of the process played a significant role. It was in fact, truly a team process.

To claim as an individual (or as an agency for that matter) that you are the direct award winner would be wrong and misleading. If that was my award, could I repeat that process and result again with the very next client – if the client wasn’t as open and if the designer didn’t interpret the goals properly?

After 25 years in the business I am not interested in chasing industry awards to validate my ability to future clients. And I am more than a little proud of working at an agency that hasn’t “applied” to be considered for these types of awards in a long time.

For us, the “award” at the end of the day is in realizing that the solution we have created for the client actually provided the outcomes they were looking for at the start of the campaign. And that realization is better than any glass trophy – because it makes the client happy and it proves the work we are doing is helping to deliver results.

I will take that any day!