Industry Awards: A Value Chain?

January 26th, 2010

I just want to know one thing.

Who manufactures the award seals for FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For – the ones Continental sticks on their planes?

Now, why would I want to know that? Beyond generally being fascinated by the genesis of things, complete with theoretical re-enactments of the board room debates (“Don’t you think creating seals for our planes is taking things a bit too far?” “Actually, I think winning an award this big and not putting it smack in front of every single customer would be taking things too far.”), those seals represent a value creation chain of sorts that I find intriguing.

A publication decides to create an award. They hire staff to develop and manage the award program. Marketers develop a brand; they put graphic designers to work on a logo. Programmers develop an online submission mechanism. PR professionals are engaged to promote the poop out of it.

Companies vying for a spot on the list get their PR/HR teams in gear, possibly hiring and/or outsourcing the project fully or in part: more jobs created. Then regular folks and leadership at the candidate company are enlisted to collect, process, analyze and/or write about facts, figures, outcomes. That’s a lot of work hours devoted to something that won’t earn the company a penny.

Or will it?

We’ll never know. If you’re reading this blog then you likely already know (perhaps far too well) that the value of winning an industry award can’t be measured – precisely, scientifically, perhaps even at all. But you know the value is there. And so do the people who manufacture the award seals for Continental.

Stay tuned for more in a future post.

    • Michael P. said:
    • It really is pretty astonishing how big an industry it is and how far the impact ripples. Awards and social media are similarly slippery – huge, growing, making an impact, tough to measure and justify spend.


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