It’s possible some might feel industry awards are a bit self-serving – patting oneself on the back for a job well done.

However, those organizations that take pride in the process might receive something much greater than agency self-aggrandizement. The reality is that industry awards often make the work itself better.

For agencies at which award entries are part of the standard operating procedure, there is a resulting orientation toward certain key behaviors that can elevate an agency’s overall performance.

1. Focus on Results

Strategic agencies should always incorporate measureable outcomes into the onset of a communications program. But we’ve seen that those who go through the award-writing process and have an understanding of what judges perceive as a job well done can also better understand what will move clients.

We encourage teams to not just meet client expectations but also wow them with something unexpected – and if it’s an award winner, we know others will agree results were above average.

2. Drive for Creativity

Delivering a genuinely creative program is an incredibly time consuming process. Beyond just developing an original concept, smart strategy and flawless execution are imperative. That said, rigorous creativity shines in the context of both the marketplace and award programs. It’s much easier to develop a compelling case study when a program has creativity at its core.

3. Continuous Improvement

Awards can serve as an archive of the agency’s best work. This is a great tool for articulating the agency’s perspective and value to clients, and it’s also great motivation to strive for the next winning campaign. It’s not enough to replicate the same successful program year after year for an award program. It’s critical to improve upon what’s come before. Looking back at award winning programs provides the benchmark for what should be even better going forward.

4. Disciplined Account Management

If there is someone out there who loves filling out award entries, I’ve not met them. That said, it’s a much easier process when a level of discipline is applied to the account management process. When budgets are tracked, drafts saved, milestones noted and correspondence organized, compiling information for an award entry is a much more relaxed process. And, as a happy coincidence, the account itself tends to run more smoothly as well.

So list the awards, display the statues and revel in the wins. Celebrate not only because the agency has been recognized for program excellence, but also because it’s a better agency for having entered in the first place.