The ROI of Not Winning an Award

The awards show is over. You donned you best evening wear and were excited to possibly, just possibly, get on stage to collect that beloved trophy you knew you deserved.

Who worked harder? Who worked longer hours? Who did more for their customers and employees than you?

But then, in an instant, your name is…not called.

You want to “boo,” but instead you smile and clap, like Susan Luchi who famously was nominated for 19 Emmy awards before winning in 1999.

“I am proud to just be nominated.” Liar.

But should you be proud?

In short, of course.

It IS an Honor To Be Nominated

Industry awards competitions, like the BIG Awards for Business, seek to reward the best of the best.

Stop. Read that again, “the best of the best.” Not the best of the bunch. Or the best of the worse. Or even the best of those we could round up.

Just being nominated for an award has merit and a ROI all its own.

Rachael Nedrow unofficially the second fastest female Sport Stacker in the world.

Rachael Nedrow unofficially the second fastest female Sport Stacker in the world.

Let step back, ok way back, to when you were 11 years old.

When your 11, the world of “everyone gets a trophy” fades and the real completion begins. In the United States you’re usually in 6th grade and the competition for sports, girls and grades heats up. Competition at this age is about experiencing the world and developing your skills, regardless the sport (grades, girls or athletics).

The same is true in business.

Awards programs provide you an outlet to experience the world, usually within the larger business industry or your specific marketplace. Take advantage of participating and experiencing that world.

Maximize Your Nomination

Just writing a submission has it’s own ROI. This is a chance to look back on your work. Redefine the value you provide to customers and put it down on paper. This is not trivial work…sometimes it is hard. In fact a whole cottage industry of specialists like Boost Marketing has grown up around programs. 

“Getting into the finals, and hopefully winning awards, is not about what you believe you have done well, but the impact your story has on the judges. These can be two very different things.”
— Chris Robinson, CEO of Boost Marketing

Your nomination regardless of who writes it should be used as a tool in your overall internal and external communications and marketing plan.

You’re good. You know it, so tell the world.

Use your nomination copy as a corner stone in your messaging. Your history and successes should be the stories your tell prospects and customers. Use the materials in internal newsletters, shareholders meetings, as a press release in the local newspaper or as a great customer email. Share your story.

Go To The Awards Ceremony

If there is a fancy black-tie event associated with the awards program, go. This is your chance to go face-to-face with your peers, analysts and…your competition! Get to know your enemy. Putting a face to your competition will give you fuel that can drive and motivate your team.

Competition is a good thing. Self-improvement blogger Shaun Rosenberg wrote, “I know I would have never taken as many chances and learned as much as I have if I didn’t want to win and compete against other great people in this world.”

Competition drives us to work harder and smarter. Without it, you’re a monopoly. While at the event, work to gain insights on how other nominees performed. Network at the event and develop new relationships with others so you can leverage their knowledge, market and expertise. You are paying for this $200 a plate dinner; you might as well gain something from it, other than heartache.

Smile and Get Angry!

Losing stinks, but it also can be a great motivator and a learning experience.

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the nationally renowned, Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School basketball program. In How to Erase the Sting of Losing he wrote, 

“How you handle a loss and deal with adversity speaks volumes about your character, your competitiveness, your commitment to excellence, and determining whether losing will become a habit or the initial spark that ignites success.”

hen I was younger, I loved water skiing and I can remember Mrs. Miglini, mother of one of my friends and world-class ski boat driver, telling me that falling meant I was trying hard and to “keep it up.”

She was right.

If you don’t fail or fall down, you are not trying hard enough. Skin your knee. Pull a muscle. Be ok with failing.

Failing means you were in it to win it. You tried. Not failing usually means you didn’t even try.

So, when your competitor gets up to take the trophy, smile, clap and quietly resolve to beat him or her next time. Go back to your team with a mission, a plan, a strategy for improving your results, so you can go back next year and take home the prize.

Photo by Salvation Army USA West via Flickr


The 2015 BIG Awards nominations are $799 each and due August 18, 2015, with winners notified September 29, 2015.

A $100 Early Bird Discount is available through July 31, 2015.

For complete details including award categories, rules and tips & tricks, request your entry kit.