Awards and recognition are a major staple in every major industry, from employee of the week to the Nobel Prize. For most of us, it begins with grade school honors like Best Penmanship, then on to the debate team and college scholarships. The power of acknowledgment is not a new concept and it’s at the heart of what draws people, institutions, governments, and companies to engage and honor the pursuit of excellence in all we do. Human beings always find ways to acknowledge each other because it’s innate to our humanity. In fact, the act of acknowledgment is so deeply connected to our sense of self that it is charged with animated debate that goes back centuries.
The recent emergence of the Voice Arts® Awards, however, is still relatively new to the voice acting industry, and so we continue to illuminate the opportunity it represents for the actors and content creators—for whom it was created—in the scope of awards generally. Aside from being the first and only comprehensive awards program focused on the particulars of an otherwise unseen and largely unsung aspect of the entertainment industry, the Voice Arts® Awards is a nonprofit endeavor, based on the same administrative principles as the Emmy, Clio, Cannes Lion, Webby, PromaxBDA, Webby and other industry awards which are open to the public.
There are many good and special aspects of awards contests. Perhaps the most important is that they have the power to inspire us to pursue excellence in all we do. And, unlike head-to-head sporting events, it is not as winners or losers that we seek to frame the acknowledgment, but as artists putting their best forward. In the administration of the Voice Arts® Awards, it’s not about being better than someone else. It’s about being your best. Here are ten ways to make awards work for you.
1. Marketing is a business expense.
The money one puts into annual awards, advertising, boosting FB pages, etc., is all a necessary part of doing business. As a voice actor, casting director, producer, etc., you are a business and marketing is a necessary expense. Becoming a nominee or winning an award is one of the most valuable and powerful marketing attributes one can promote as part of an overall marketing strategy.
2. Public relations.
There is no better endorsement than that of a third-party who has no vested interest in your success. This is the case when jurors nominate and/or select you as the winning entry. Third party endorsements equal credibility. That’s the power and the mission of public relations. This is why the testimonial is among the most effective forms of marketing. Winning an award is a glistening testimonial by your industry peers.
3. Client relations.
Include your collaborators (director, clients, agents, producers, etc.,) by crediting their roles as part of your entry. This is not only a thoughtful gesture as a member of a team, it’s a savvy step toward building stronger relationships with your clients. If your work gets nominated, that’s a nomination for them as well. Having done award-winning work tells the producer they made a good choice when they hired you.
4. Strategic marketing.
Even before you enter an award, it’s possible to create buzz. Include the credits of the clients and production staff with whom you worked on the project. Let them know about the entry. They will all appreciate your faith in the work. Becoming a nominee also gives you a story to tell; from the inception of the project to submission to nomination to winning to more work, this is your story. Attending the gala (nominee or not) is the epitome of “showing up.” It puts you on the playing field where you can enjoy your newfound status and/or be among the first to congratulate others. Celebrating others is the highest form of networking. And if you’re nominated or win, provide a certificate, plaque, or award for your client. Now your name is framed on their wall or sitting on their mantel. That’s better than a thousand follow-up calls enquiring about work opportunities.
Acknowledgment breeds confidence and community. Gathering the faith and courage to put yourself in the race is how acknowledgment becomes possible. You have to break through some psychological barriers to step into the spotlight. That’s a good thing. This is the cultivation of self-healing as part of your career path and your overall psychological health.
Winning is an amazing feeling that will have you walking on air. And it feels great to acknowledge those who worked with you. Both a nomination and a win lets clients, friends, family, and potential clients know that you’re capable of bringing something special to the table.
7. Empower your inner voice.
Marketing is not only about messages you send out to the world, but also those you send to yourself and your company. It’s about what you’re really made of. When you enter an awards program, you are saying to yourself and anyone listening that you believe in your capabilities.
People like to talk and awards give them a reason. You can assist by engaging press releases, media coverage, bloggers, social media, and more. The recognition of a nomination can carry far and wide, and it allows you to make yourself more visible to the people who can facilitate your continued success. The best thing you can do upon entering, becoming a nominee, or winning, is to talk about it. Yes, “it feels great just to be nominated,” but you’re still a business and the fact that industry experts have judged your work to be outstanding is a story worth telling.
Awards on the shelves, certificates on the walls, and industry buzz is a conversation that can be extended throughout your branding strategy. The perceptive, tasteful promoter can do a lot with an award. Showing up and being a positive influence in the conversation of excellence can become part of how your brand is perceived. Win or draw, you only get noticed when you’re in the race. You want your brand to be known for always being in the race.
Awards create a nexus of excellence. They’re a focal point that draws the attention of those most interested in evolving the art, the industry, and the value of the work to buyers. The value of the work is dependent largely upon those who do it. Raise the bar at every intersection of your network. Think big about the value of your talent. Awards tend to draw those who think highly of themselves and who have the courage to put themselves in the race.
To enter the Voice Arts® Awards, or learn more about the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS™), which oversees the program, go to www.SOVAS.org.