7 reasons NOT to enter awards

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Industry awards. Who needs them, right? Shows assembled by organisations who are building a business on the industry and its professionals. And with each one comes a set of doubts, disappointments and sometimes misconceptions which tend to undermine the experience of the entrants.

I know what you’re thinking about. There are so many reasons not to enter industry awards. Here’s 7 reasons why you should not get involved.

I Can’t Compete

Creative awards only focus on the biggest players and the biggest agencies. I don't stand a chance against the juggernauts of the industry. Big budgets and productions will always trump simple ideas. Right?

But innovation doesn’t care about budget. It only cares about talent. Sometimes, the smaller and simpler ideas can triumph. You don’t need superb, spectacular displays of how sizeable your resources are to secure a slice of creative immortality. All you need is an idea, and your personal, unique and creative approach to it.

Awards are rigged

It is always the same industry people on the judging panels, the same winners. Awards only ever reward their own friends.

Brand representation, global panels of diverse experts and the democratisation of voting would ensure a level playing field for all. Awards are a stepping stone to success, conceived to help others reach and celebrate new achievements. Equal opportunities to take part in that success should never be denied to anyone.

They are too expensive

Creative industry awards can be prohibitively expensive.

Reaching for creative greatness shouldn't be dependent on the size of your wallet. Anyone should be able to afford entering their work into an industry award, no matter from which path of life they come from. This would ensure greater diversity of voices, stronger inclusion and wider opportunities to all.

What to do with a trophy?

Even if I do win, who needs a trophy sitting on the shelf?

Trophies are natural magnets for dust. What purpose do they serve, if not heightening our self-esteem for a short bit? Sure, they look great. But winning awards can mean so much more. Wouldn't it be better if winning entries and submissions were actually put into the hands of industry leaders and talent hunters – maybe as part of a book? Tens of thousands of copies to the top agencies and brands sounds about right...

Where’s the growth?

Say I win, I'll get some recognition, that's fine, I'll move on with life. Say I don't, I'll move on with life anyway, a little disappointed but none the wiser.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Awards should be an opportunity to learn, grow and develop our own analytical skills. They should foster self-improvement and help entrants, whether they win or not. How about an industry award taking the time to share judges feedback with entrants?

They are harmful to the environment

Like all human activities, awards have a responsibility towards the environment. Executives flying across the globe to pick up shiny pieces of metal aren't helping.

There must be a better way. Industry awards should do their part. Becoming carbon-neutral or carbon-positive is possible today, and it’s not expensive at all. There is the opportunity to help the planet by giving off a portion of the profits to charities working to protect our home, ensuring a healthy environment for future generations.

Who really sees my involvement?

I'll work on my entries, submit, then wait. I'll get dressed up, (get drunk?) hopefully grab a trophy, then go home. I'll put the trophy on my shelf, an icon in my email signature and send out a couple of tweets. Where's the value in taking part?

How about, amongst other things, involving your own network in celebrating your achievements and giving them a way to celebrate with you?

Maybe there’s a better way?


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