John D. Sanders, Ph.D.,
Let’s face it: everyone likes to receive an award. In fact, just about everyone enjoys participating in ceremonies (if they’re not too long) and in helping with the determination of the winners. Thanks to such high profile institutions as the Academy Awards of Hollywood and the Miss America contest, award presentations have become a part of the American culture.
In business, awards have also become part of the culture. Winning an award that has industry recognition is an excellent marketing tool to separate a product or service from the pack and provide a sales advantage. Some may consider this "hokey" but it’s really good business.
In my last decade in the publishing arena, I’ve been a real advocate for awards programs-- and most publications today consider such activities to be a major part of their own marketing programs. When we were able to establish a certain award with industry recognition, then the companies winning the award could be expected to advertise around the presentation. And, we created various lists to identify companies, products and individuals. It turned out to be valuable for everyone involved. Judges enjoyed the process, individuals were excited, companies spent money, and readers always noticed. However, such programs usually take time to become established so that the participatants, sponsors, judges and consumers all develop a necessary respect for the award and its meaning to the part of the universe that is concerned.
One of my long time friends in the information technology industry, whose company is a participant in the federal minority business program, publicly states that a significant part of his business plan has been to participate in as many awards programs as feasible-- to establish his company as a respected leader in the field. Those activities became an integral part of his company’s overhead, but the marketing advantage proved to be very worthwhile.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium has also recognized the importance of awards, and has established certain technology transfer programs to recognize individuals and agencies where extraordinary results should be promoted. The newest award approved by the FLC is the "Laboratory Director of the Year Award", sponsored by the FLC National Advisory Group-- to honor those laboratory directors who have contributed most to the overall enhance of technology transfer in economic development. Primary accomplishments to be considered are related to the transfer of technology from the federal laboratory system to industry- including support of FLC activities, internal accomplishments, industry involvement, encouragement of technical implementation, and community service. Nomination Forms will be distributed over the next few months, with submissions due by September 30, 1997 for the awards to be presented at the annual FLC Meeting in spring 1998. The FLC National Advisors Group (of which I currently am a member) plan for this award to grow in importance to increase the exposure and involvement of both the advisors and the laboratory directors in the technology transfer process and the FLC.
Take advantage of awards that can fit into your marketing program. Become more active in industry associations, contact publications, and identify leading products and services that utilize awards in their marketing programs. Take the time and effort to participate. The whole process is rewarding, and winning an award should provide a strong step forward in any business plan.
I would appreciate comments; contact me at Technology Business magazine: phone: 703-610-8787; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: www.johnsanders.com.
prepared for the June, 1997 Issue of the FLC NewsLink