Why Awards Don't Matter
My bio says I have won a few awards along the way, and that is true. I have won advertising, design, and marketing awards in three different countries and countless categories. Like any other young creative, I was driven by that desire to be the best and have the trophy to prove it. I reveled in the ceremony and circumstance. Who doesn’t love a free 5-star meal? I basked in the prestige that came with an award and nothing makes a creative resume shine like a laundry list of accolades.
But that all changed shortly after one of these prestigious events. One of the agencies at this particular event won no less than four awards for a big-budget campaign they created for a major client. Many of the other agency creatives were more than a little envious, not only of the four awards but also the massive advertising budget that the agency had to work with. On that night there was a lot of gloating and cheering, and the client was all smiles.
Three weeks later the client fired the agency.
That news came as a shock to me. Why would a client fire the agency that had just won a fist full of very prestigious advertising awards for them?
A short while after I ran into one of the marketing ladies from that company. My first question to her was, why did they fire their award-winning agency? Her answer was simple. The campaign cost a whole lot of money and generated almost no additional sales. The agency had created a flashy campaign that did not move the target audience. Not one bit.
You see, the awards work like this. A number of creative people appoint themselves as judge and jury of their own creative work. The bigger the better. The more colorful the better. The more clever the better. They get all dressed up, pat each other on the back, hand over shiny trophies, and get down to the serious business of partying. But nowhere in that process does anyone consider The Client or The Target Audience. At no point do they stop to ask what the campaign achieved. Very few awards are based on the outcome. Very few trophies are handed out for Return On Investment.
A very dear (multi-award-winning) friend of mine best-described award season with a quote from Shakespeare.
“… full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
At the end of the day, shiny awards mean very little. Our job as creatives and marketers is to advance the sales, improve the profile and grow the business of our clients. It is not to improve our own image on the back of a client’s budget. It is not always glamorous work. Actually, it's rarely glamorous. It can be both hard and tedious, but it is what we do best. It is that client success that drives us, not the bright lights and bowties.
That laundry list of awards on a marketing agency’s landing page is impressive. But here is the question to ask: Is their main aim to grow that list of awards, or grow their clients’ business?
Your brand is the face of your company. The first and last thing a client sees with every interaction. Donovan, Creative Head at JPC, will help you navigate the challenges of effectively Branding or Rebranding your company.