How awards programs can recognise excellence in architecture

Architecture is much more than a building on a plot of land. It reaches beyond the necessities of shelter to strive to become a work of art and a reflection of our zeitgeist. Recognition of good work helps evolve the industry and foster credibility for new players. It can also help inspire future generations to find their own voice and learn from the giants who came before them.

“For many people and organisations, winning an award can be critical in gaining exposure and an edge over other firms’” said Carl Turner, client success manager at Award Force, who works to help architecture awards programs succeed.  

“Recognition from a prestigious award can provide confidence for their customers that they’re making a sound decision to commission their services.”

But building and maintaining a successful awards program is no easy task, especially for smaller-staffed firms and companies.

Awards 101

What does an awards program look like? A program has more moving pieces than a bag of Lego, which is why it’s important to plan the program carefully.

While awards programs come in all shapes and sizes, there are common elements:

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  1. Submission: people create their own entries or nominate someone else

  2. Assessment or judgement by a group of experts or by public voting

  3. Feedback: entry confirmations, entry feedback + results, and winner announcements

  4. Management of the program: collecting + organizing data, communicating with entrants, judges, sponsors and internal teams, and program reporting

Your program’s success will depend on the nature and goals of your specific program. But, there are some common measurements, such as:

  • Volume increases: # of entries, entrants, judges, sponsors, people attending the event

  • Revenue increases from paid entries, sponsorships, event tickets sales

  • Stakeholder feedback from happy judges, entrants, board members

  • Reduction in support call volume, direct costs from printing, travel + resources; resources required to manage workload

  • Positive brand representation

  • Increased media attention + PR coverage

8 Tips for award program success

1 Build a strong foundation

Choose an awards system to streamline the management process. Award Force, for example, provides exceptional experiences to all program participants. The platform encourages more submissions from entrants, provides judges with an easy and seamless experience, and powers program managers with all the tools they need to keep everything running smoothly and stress-free.

2 Design a smart entry form

Help entrants by designing entry forms with a logical process. Only ask questions relevant to the category and provide helpful tips throughout the entry. Consider word or character limits on the entry criteria to keep entries succinct and focused and make life easier for the judges at the same time.

3 Restrict attachments

Limiting the number of attachments in an entry makes it easier for the judges and also levels the playing field between larger and smaller firms. Plus, you are more likely to get higher quality images and supporting documentation.

4 Invite industry pros as judges

Using VIP judges is a great way to infuse credibility and market your awards program. These could be leading architects or industry experts. Highlight the judges’ bios on your awards page and integrate them into your marketing plan.

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5 Have a clean + topical theme

A professional looking theme plays a large part in how people perceive an awards program. There should be consistency throughout, from newsletters to the marketing website to your social media posts.

6 Provide visibility to sponsors

Give your program sponsors visibility and a dedicated page on your website. With Award Force, for example, sponsor logos have high visibility on registration, entry, and judging pages.

7 Showcase past winners

Be sure to feature past winners in a gallery on your awards page to help inspire new entries and to continue to bring recognition to winners and/or finalists.

8 Provide an easy-to-display award or certificate

Don’t overlook the actual, tangible award for your program. Make it easy for winners and finalists to showcase their recognition, both digitally and physically.

Award excellence, beautifully

The architecture industry is intrinsically very visual and an awards program provides a way to celebrate the beauty and innovation required for excellence.

But, we know, awards programs are hard to manage. If you need help, schedule a demo with Award Force, the leader in award management software, used by organisations from around the world.

You’ll be able to easily manage your awards or recognition program and create a great experience for your entrants, judges and program managers.