Why Awards matter?

The Canadian Homebuilders Association, like the ‘Oscars’, offer award programs as a format to showcase the work of our member Builders, Renovators, Designers and Suppliers. Unlike the Oscars, there’s no ‘out of this world’ swag, but there are some beautiful trophies!

I’ve been preparing award entry submissions for many years. Some of them were for projects that I was directly involved in and many that were my client’s projects. I am pleased to have achieved hundreds of finalist positions and dozens of winners for my clients! Each entry is unique, and my focus is always to make that one the winner!

With plenty of available articles and books written on the psychology of ‘winning’, I want to share some of my observations which are more anecdotal, and kind of fun!

My first job in the homebuilding Industry was for a small Marketing and Communication company. One of our contracts was to do the award entries for a large Single-Family Production Builder. Entering awards in the 1990’s was quite different than today, because everything had to be entered on paper, printed photos, newspaper/magazine ads pasted on poster boards and actual brochures. We did 64 entries for that Builder that year and did an all-nighter to make the deadline! Then we carted everything off to the CHBA BC office….

We joined that company the following year and became their in-house marketing and communication department. Award entries were still on our job description and for most of the next decade, we took care of getting the showhomes and sales centres photographed, wrote the project descriptions and all the other pieces required for the submissions. But now, that work was combined with the regular marketing and branding efforts, so managing deadlines became a challenge! The company’s owners believed in the Award program and showed it. Financially, they allowed us the budget to hire professional photographers and to pay for the entry fees. I experienced the true meaning of supporting your ‘Team’ from this project. Our construction, sales and service teams worked closely with us to achieve the best submissions possible. We won many finalist nominations and the company bought tickets for the whole team to attend the Gala event. It was an exciting time for sure, and I experienced what it was like to ‘win’ as a team and to ‘lose’ as a team… the winning felt better!!

Time passed, and I moved along my career path to other companies and the opportunity to expand my passion for marketing in the residential housing spectrum. Ten years ago, I decided to start my own marketing firm and although preparing award submissions was not high on my list of business possibilities, it soon became an obvious opportunity for me. Since that time, I have done hundreds of entries in more than a dozen award programs. I have met amazing, hard-working people who understand the value of striving for ‘award status’ for their work and for their team’s benefit!

An amusing story about a new client happened a couple of years ago. I received a phone call from a builder just 2 days before ‘deadline’ asking about my services to enter a renovation project that he felt was a winning submission. Perhaps my personal lack of sleep that day (award work can be 24/7) or my annoyance that he had waited until the last minute to do something that I valued so highly. Anyway, I told him in no uncertain terms, that he shouldn’t be so foolish as to enter without having the proper photos and spending the time to do a proper writeup. Surprisingly, by the end of our conversation, he agreed to wait and in a couple of weeks we’d meet and make a plan to enter that home in the upcoming award programs. We did just that, and I’m very happy to say that his company and that reno project captured several ‘Finalists’ and ‘Wins’ in all three levels of the CHBA Award programs! You can’t imagine how excited I was for his success. It was an award-worthy project and by waiting that extra time and giving it our best effort, he now has lots of marketing news, excellent photography, and a great story. He recently told me that he has another home that’s ready to go! Can’t wait…..

I met a new client in 2012, thanks to a referral. Their company was quite young, and I had never heard of them but immediately liked their desire to do well! They had called me because they wanted to enter a new luxury home that they had just completed, and they heard that I did good work. Of course, I was flattered that they said that, and I worked even harder to do the best submissions for this gorgeous home. They believed that winning awards could be an important part of their marketing efforts and for the last eight years, we’ve proved that fact over and over again! They have won many awards Locally, Provincially and Nationally and proudly display the trophies and certificates in their office for clients and staff to see. They have built an energetic team, that from day one understands that they are part of an award-winning group! It has been so rewarding to watch this powerful message continue.

It has been such a pleasure to work crazy hard for companies other than my own to help them achieve their goals. I want my clients to trust me to do what I’ve become good at, so they can do what they’re good at. Together, I believe that we can figuratively climb mountains!

Over the coming months, I’ll share some more experiences from the work I do. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a very social person….although you’d wonder at that when I’ve been known to stay in my office for weeks on end during award season. No matter how many clients I’m helping or how many entries are counted, I honestly think that each and every one will win! That’s how I approach my work and then I just get ‘plain old excited’ about the project. Once the award work is over then I’m excited about what we can do to tell the world about that project!!