But there are other benefits to putting their work “out there” for evaluation. Here are a few of them:
Preparing submissions demands that your studio organize, document and
articulate the value of your work—and that’s a valuable business
“The act of preparing a submission for a design competition requires
revisiting a project and writing a design narrative that validates the
visuals,” says Michael Reed, principal of Mayer/Reed in Portland,
Oregon. “It’s a real learning experience for us because it hones our
communication skills and allows us to reflect on the outcomes.”
Marketing competition: The work can be leveraged for other marketing purposes.
Submissions sometimes can take hours or even days to complete.
Collecting photo assets, crafting a concise project description, gaining
client approval to release the material and responding to other entry
requirements requires a huge investment in time, especially for smaller
studios that don’t have dedicated marketing staff.
That’s why it’s great that your work can do double, triple and even
quadruple duty for you—even if you don’t win. Post it as a case study on
your website, translate it into a shorter blog or social media post,
send out an e-newsletter featuring the project or even use it as the
basis for a press release to local and national media. It also
represents a tidy media package for publication.
Marketing competition: It can be a morale booster, motivator and team builder in your organization.
Taking part in a competition can be very motivating for the team members
involved, especially if you go out of your way to acknowledge everyone
in the organization who contributed to the project’s success.
Marketing competition: Winning = prestige = more clients.
This is the most obvious benefit, of course. No doubt, your ability to
add the words “award-winning” in front of your name or project leads to
attention, respect and ultimately more business.
“We definitely see more potential client interest and ultimately, more
work coming our way due to our awards,” says Anthony Vitagliano,
director of experience design for Digital Kitchen. “There’s no denying
the power of your work being recognized as ‘excellent’ by a highly
respected jury of your peers.”
Marketing competition: Entering means you’re supporting excellence in your field (and that’s good business).
Lea Schuster, graphic designer at RDG Planning & Design (Omaha) says
her team has had success in more than one design competition, but
they’re selective about which ones they enter.
“We try to be selective by asking ourselves if the award is meaningful,”
she explains. “We like to focus on awards that are part of a larger
effort by an organization often providing funding for the group.”
Marketing competition: And again, it’s not all about winning.
“We design to solve problems for our clients and not to win awards,”
says Schuster. She admits that the recognition is ultimately helpful to
her studio’s financial success, but “it means more than that.”
“Sometimes our clients are looking for designers who think differently
in the problem-solving process. Other times a client learns that we
bring more to the table than they originally thought. When we win an
award it instills a subtle level of confidence in our designers and
reinforces for our clients that we will strive to deliver a unique and
carefully considered solution to them.”