How to Make the Most of Award Submissions

So you’ve spent hours preparing your design award submission, hoping to win and receive the praise of design peers and potential clients alike. You’ve hit the submit button, off it goes…now what?

Whether you win the award or not, the value of your effort doesn’t have to stop there. From a marketing perspective, the time you’ve spent on your submission has a number of other applications, allowing you to take better advantage of your investment. Here are just a few ways you can capitalize on your award submission.

Get Published

Going through the motions on an award submission forces you to identify the unique aspects of your project and explain them in a concise way. That’s what media contacts are looking for as well! Getting press for receiving an award is often less likely than getting press for delivering a unique project. Take the story you crafted and make it relevant for the media, regardless of the award outcome.

Share the Project with Your Audience

You’ve already written descriptions and gathered the best photos, now get an html email together, add the project to your website, write a blog post about it, etc. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an award before you share the work you’re most proud of!

Involve the Client

As a designer, you may feel great about winning an award, but what about the client? Whether residential, commercial or government, any building occupant would love to know that a.) you think their building is so nice it should be up for an award and b.) it actually won one. Keep them in the loop early, share your submittal with them for feedback and even influence them to share good news amongst their media contacts or colleagues. Getting client feedback during the award process may even uncover some unique benefits about how the building functions that you didn’t think about.

Submit It Again

The final, and perhaps easiest, piece of advice is to repurpose your award submission for another contest or event. Maybe there is a trade-specific contest, a neighborhood home and garden tour, or even an online design contest or forum. There is bound to be another opportunity to update your submission and adjust it to meet another set of requirements. Good luck!

DCN Webinar on Social Media for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Firms – Follow Up

Markitecture was privileged enough to lead a webinar through the Design and Construction Network this week entitled “Keeping Up with Social Media – Focusing Your AEC Firm in 2012”. We had such a lively crowd and great interaction that there were a few remaining questions after Q and A that were unanswered. Below are those two questions, and my written responses to them. In addition to emailing them to the participants, I thought it would be nice to post them for all to see!

Question: Where can you go to get continued education about Social Media?

I first noticed “universities” and things like that pop up about 5 years ago for social media certifications (they may have been around before that though). I have yet to see one that was truly valuable and none that has been fully sanctioned by any major marketing entity that I’m aware of. Going through associations like SMPS, there are plenty of wonderful courses and education sessions during conferences that cover Social Media, and if you’re a CPSM (certified professional services marketer) the courses do count towards your CE credits. The real education in this field is best obtained by interacting though. Look to some of the resources I listed at the end of the presentation to just learn what’s out there and hear what experts have to say. Content that’s published in workbooks and given in classrooms for more than six months or a year is likely going to be outdated – and that kind of goes against what social media is all about.

Question: How would you suggest approaching the issue of management blocking social media access, specifically the sales and marketing team?

Numbers and case studies. I’m not a huge proponent of sharing every study on social media use and it’s positive impacts, but sometimes that is all that management will look at. Share information that is as industry specific as possible and make the business case that “our clients our out there and our competition is talking to them.” Hubspot is great for numbers that are B2B or professional services focused, but ZweigWhite and SMPS both have marketing surveys that discuss Social Media usage as a part of the overall marketing program.

Before preparing your best argument though, try to understand why they’re against it. Is the firm behind the times on all technology? If so, you have a cultural shift that has to happen. If you have people that still rarely use their email and use hand drafting instead of cad or BIM, you’ve got a bigger battle to fight than social media.

If the issue is a concern of productivity, use the numbers, competitive benchmarks and start small – just trying to work with Twitter or one other SoMe channel. You can also try joining a few relevant LinkedIn groups on your own and sharing the email digests from them. Some of the dialogue that occurs in groups is very valuable and can literally generate leads or new key relationships.

The other big common concern is control over “what people will say”. If they’re blocking access completely, that probably isn’t the concern, but it may be. If so there are two major points. 1. If other people are talking about us negatively, they are doing it anyways and by blocking access we are not even hearing about it to do damage control. 2. Develop guidelines that outline what is and isn’t ok for “us” to say. Spend the first few weeks (even though it’s a pain), sharing every post or tweet for a quick review before posting it so management is comfortable with how things are going. They’ll loosen the reigns quickly.