Awards Programs have their Advantages

My good friend and mentor, a successful Aspen builder, had the honor to receive a prestigious award recently and be recognized as Builder of the Year within the industry. It was my pleasure to be in attendance and congratulate him. I was reminded of how much status such a designation conveys to the public and prospective clients.

Reasonably, it requires first that you submit your work in order to be selected for this or any award. It’s surprising how few of us take the time, energy and dollars to do so. And yet, most of us have experienced award events where only one or two entries are submitted, someone takes home the honor and we know that our work could have really shone.

We are selling a product, and promoting it through good photography is a great way to capture interest. Photography will probably be your biggest investment. Share the expenses as well as photo rights with participating professionals on the project and significantly reduce individual costs. You’ll also be cross-pollinating so your company is recognized in various professional disciplines if they use the photos too.

A print ad with photos will draw the reader’s interest and express the architecture/construction visually more effectively than descriptive copy. Print advertising is expensive, but you can get your photos published by being in contact with publication editors. Many magazines actively solicit individual photos that will enhance a storyline. You don’t have to document the whole house. Sometimes a small vignette of an architectural element will be perfect.

Building a project portfolio is key, so talk to your custom clients during design or construction and prepare them for your future request to take some shots. Many clients are happy to have their homes photographed, especially if you provide them with a CD as a courtesy and limit usage of photos to in-house promotion.

Once you have the photography, commit to no fewer than two award entries each year. There is a multitude of opportunities through industry organizations such as the AIA, NAHB and ASID, on local, state and national levels. National industry publications also promote well-recognized award competitions and publish the winning projects.

Apart from product, there are awards for outstanding performance in company organization as well as for individual achievement such as in sales and marketing. Advertising collateral, such as print advertising and websites, has great potential for award placement. Submitting multiple entries to one competition and placing across the spectrum of product, people and print could culminate in a coveted Builder of the Year award.

A great way to get an insider’s look into an award program’s judging process is to volunteer to be a judge. Organizations are always seeking to expand their list of professionals for judging, especially architects, who bring design credentials to the judging table.

“Award Winning” equates to a world-class accolade and communicates that you and your company are among the best. It can boost your image and your business, and is a big deal to the public, your potential clients and buyers, and your lenders. Be your own best promoter and include “Award Winning” in all of your advertising.

It’s a fact that all of us have the opportunity to be awarded “House of the Year” or “Builder of the Year” in 2009 and possibly be on the front cover of a magazine. All we have to do is enter.