Why bother with competitions?
Award winners reap much more than praise

decorative concrete competitions can give award winners many benefits

The decorative concrete industry continues to evolve. Subsequently, it’s exciting to see where it started and imagine where it’s headed. However, contractors often overlook one of our industry’s under-utilized evolutions — an array of gainful awards available when entering decorative concrete competitions.

Many decorative concrete manufacturers have specific industry awards programs for their products. Additionally, almost every association has some sort of awards program. My favorites include:

  • Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) – My local chapter has an Ace Awards program. It has special categories just for specialty contractors.
  • American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) – It has a Safety Awards and a Decorative Concrete Awards program.
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI) – Again, my local chapter has a “decorative concrete” category.

But there are many more out there that are worth plugging into. Check with your regional and national associations and see what awards programs you can enter. Who would’ve thought 30 years ago that “decorative concrete” would be so widely recognized to support so many awards programs?

Top three reasons to enter

Before I dive into what makes an awards entry a winner, let’s first discuss why. I won’t lie — putting together an entry takes time. You need to write the story, fill out an entry form and have decent photos that showcase your work. All those pieces don’t come together on their own. But trust me, the time you invest will pay off in the long run.

Here are the top three reasons to submit an entry to an awards program:

  1. Local or national recognition — Who doesn’t like a big pat on the back for excellent work?
  2. Client and employee recognition — Speaking of a pat on the back, guess what? You weren’t the only one who made the project happen. Clients and your employees deserve recognition and praise for their work, too. Happy clients will hire you again and maybe send a referral your way. Happy employees will keep producing quality work.
  3. Marketing potential — With most awards programs, marketing collateral usually comes with it. Many groups feature winners in a newsletter, a magazine, industry press releases, multiple websites and more.
Return on investment multiplies

Because ASCC’s Decorative Concrete Council Awards program is coming up, I’ll use it as an example:

  • Cost of entry for non-members: $90 (cheaper for members).
  • Cost of your time to put together: About $300 in time. Plus the cost of a professional photographer, if needed.

Now let’s consider the return on your investment for entering decorative concrete competitions:

  • ASCC posts the winners on its Decorative Concrete Council website.
  • At its annual conference awards ceremony, the association recognizes winners before an international audience of your peers.
  • ASCC recognizes winners on its multiple social media outlets (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest).
  • Concrete Construction posts the annual winners.
  • Concrete Decor posts the annual winners.
  • For Construction Pros posts the annual winners.
  • Concrete Network posts the annual winners.
  • Concrete Engineering International posts the annual winners.
  • ASCC also sends out so many press releases about the award winners I can’t keep track of them all!
  • The ability to post the award on your own website and issue your own press releases.
  • You can brag about it on social media.
  • You can use it as a marketing piece that identifies you as an “award-winning company.”
Effort won’t go to waste

Have you ever priced advertising and hiring a marketing agency to promote your business? If so, you know the ROI far exceeds the entry fee. Even if you include the cost of your time and the photographer’s fee. There are many more reasons to enter. But recognition and marketing potential should verify the value of entering.

You may ask, what if I put all that effort into the award entry and we don’t win? Well, you’ll come out on top regardless by reaping benefits from putting the entry together. By gathering photos and writing a story about your project, you forced yourself to put together great marketing collateral. The photos and narrative will make a great project portfolio for your website. You can also use it for any print marketing you do.

Additionally, you can use the story and photos on social media to promote your brand. I also recommend sharing them with your employees and clients. A well put-together package can recognize the great work of your team, internally and externally.

And, besides the marketing collateral, it also helps you develop and fine-tune your award-entry skills. You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Each completed entry in decorative concrete competitions better prepares you for the next competition.

NOTE: Part 2 of this article covers tips on how to win an award for one of your projects.

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