Small Biz: How important are awards, anyway?

My company recently won the (Small) Manufacturer of the Year award presented by the Arizona Association of Industries. It was an unanimous selection by a panel of its peers.

Some folks both inside and outside my company have asked me, “What’s the big deal with this award?”, ” Would it have mattered if we didn’t get it?” “Does it really help our bottomline?”

My answer to all the questions is an emphatic ‘YES’. To companies on a shoe-string marketing budget like ours, an award like this is a big deal. Let’s face it, the B2B space, especially the extremely scientific Photonics world that we belong to, isn’t really known for mind-boggling creative ads or spectucular product launch events. All we have is these few opportunities to shine and share our light with our peers.

Awards and any recognition that a company can muster are great. You can’t buy publicity like this. It gives you something to talk about with your customers. It gets the conversation started and gives you yet another reason to touch them. More importantly, recognition by a credible non-partisan organization, helps build credibility and brand awareness.

Let’s look at a personal example, are you more likely to buy a car if the consumer report gives it a high rating? Are you more likely to watch a movie if someone you trust gives it a thumbs-up.
Along the same lines, are people more likely to do business with you if your company gets a stamp of approval by an industry association? Probably.

Companies shouldn’t underestimate the power and value of free publicity, which has more credibility than all the creative advertising in the world that marketing dollars can buy.

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