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Should Your Business Accept Fake Awards?

A few weeks ago, I was over the moon to hear I’d been selected to win an award in recognition of my achievements in marketing for my clients! And, even better, I’d been nominated for it by someone!

It felt really good, and I am very proud of the work I’ve done this last 12 months. I squealed to my kids, “mum just won her first award!!” and they were soon celebrating with me too.

But, it soon started to feel ‘a bit off’…

The category I’d been awarded was “most affordable”, but I questioned how the ‘judging panel’ had come to this decision. My clients certainly wouldn’t have been discussing budgets with them – in fact, the awards team couldn’t tell me who had nominated me in the first place. And their answer to my enquiry about the judging panel and their ranking process was similarly vague.

Price indicators are visible on my website but, whilst I’m not charging top tier fees for my services, I’m not a low-budget option either. I’ve priced my services to be competitive, but also to be reflective of my years of experience, skills and personal attention-to-detail my clients benefit from.

Promoting this award win would almost certainly send out the wrong message to my audience. I explained this to the awards team, and they quickly replied to ask, ‘what would you like your award title to be?’

An unusual accommodation, I thought… I suggested ‘best full-service marketing’ and they granted my wish. I had complete control over this ‘award’, it seemed…

The next step? A new ball gown for a glitzy ceremony? A press announcement to put my business name in the spotlight?

Nope, the next step was to select which ‘package’ I wanted to buy, ranging from £535 to £4,495! Oh, and they don’t hold an awards ceremony…

Honestly, I was torn.

Half of me was eager to accept this award and promote the heck out of it – I do deserve this title and I have got some brilliant results this year, for clients who are very happy with my service. But the other half of me knew, deep down, that no-one had really looked at what I’d delivered and selected me for the first-place pedestal out of a group of other brilliant marketeers.

Awards are a brilliant signal to website visitors, social media followers, your entire network – they give your business credibility and earn trust. Of course I wanted the trophy!

But, ‘bought awards’?

Maybe my website visitors wouldn’t know, but I certainly would, and my peers were probably also clued up to this awarding body’s tactics too. The initial pride I felt at being awarded this ‘accolade’ now felt rather embarrassing and I decided not to purchase my slice of vanity.

The moral of my story?

Accepting an award from a company who operates this same ‘selection’ process is entirely up to you, but I would argue that your work speaks for itself to your clients, your network, your prospects, and yourself.

Keep sharing those success stories, keep showing your skills and sharing your knowledge to support others. Ask for genuine reviews from those you have helped.

That’s how to keep the warm glow alive and be a real winner…

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