The What, Where and WHY: Applying for Industry Awards

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Let’s face it – recognition feels good. Everybody likes to win an award and be told that they’ve done a great job. When you were young you may have been recognized for outstanding grades or performance in extracurricular activities. But when it comes to industry awards, it's different. Typically, your company or team isn’t just handed an award – you have to apply for it. And while an award submission may be some additional work on your plate – rest assured it’s worth it.

The Why

Why should your company apply for an award? Well, there’s several reasons. Let’s start with visibility. When your company wins an award it’s like handing over gold to your marketing team. Social media, a press release, a blog post, an email to your customers and partners – it’s all par for the course to socialize your win. And, that kind of publicity can easily translate into new business given your newly-awarded third-party credibility. If that’s not enough reason to spend your time on an application, consider how a company award would affect employee morale. Everybody likes to be handed a gold star every now and then and by recognizing an internal team you’re not only honoring those who did the work, but you’re setting a standard that everybody else will likely want to achieve. Deciding your why is the first step. When you’ve determined your objective, you can move onto who and what you should submit to meet those goals.

The What

Here’s where you do some research. Find out what award you want to apply for and what work you want to submit. For example, the AITP Chicago Chapter is currently seeking nominations for The Most Effective IT Team. If your why (see above) was to recognize your internal team, then this award may be a good fit. There are awards out there for outstanding individual performance, team performance, technical projects and customer service. Most selection committees will want to see a project from start to finish, including the initiative, the process, the progress and your results.

The Where

It’s always a good idea to think local. Come up with a short list of awards that fit your criteria that are local to your region – in your city and/or state. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at your competitors. Have they won any local awards? If so, maybe you should be applying for those as well. Another great way to determine where to apply is to scope out trade magazines and professional association websites and browse social media. If you’re still not finding what you’re looking for, try searching Awards Finder.

The Next Steps

Once you’ve submitted your entry don’t just sit around and wait for the results. You can promote your entry. If you’ve made the next round, promote that. Use your social media platforms and leverage your involvement in your marketing campaigns. If you win, promote even more! Put the award logo on your website and marketing materials. Issue a press release and send an email to your customers. After all, what’s the point of winning an award if nobody knows about it!

Work in Chicago? Have a great IT team? Nominations are now open for the AITP Chicago Chapter’s 2019 Most Effective IT Team Award. This award recognizes high performing teams that have done an outstanding job of improving the success of their companies’ business. Learn how to nominate.