Awards Matter: How Community and Industry Recognition Can Boost Your Brand

Regardless of your organization’s role in health care, awards matter. From best workplace acknowledgments to company and executive recognitions and the categories in between, organizations of all stripes vie for top spots on prestigious local, regional and national lists.

But the sheer range of opportunities can be overwhelming.

Some award programs come with a price tag or may have a lengthy and arduous application process. For organizations with dozens of mission-critical priorities—and a shortage of internal resources—competing for awards can fall to the bottom of the priority list. But receiving a local or national distinction can amount to more than just good PR. When leveraged well, awards can:

  • Boost brand awareness and favorability
  • Attract customers, patients and top talent
  • Build/boost morale and loyalty among internal audiences
  • Increase visibility among potential partners or investors
  • Enhance community and online reputation

Being recognized by independent arbiters and industry leaders can be a winning strategy for your health care organization or business. Here are some tips on how to cultivate a strategic approach to competing for awards.

Use Awards to Accelerate Your Marketing Engine

There’s a lot of noise in the health care space and it can be difficult to stand out among competitors. Promoting an award your organization or an individual team member received is a great complement to ongoing thought leadership efforts, and can help to raise an organization’s profile (even if you have a dearth of news or otherwise have challenges attracting media interest).

Think beyond the traditional press release and leverage awards via multiple channels such as social media, newsletters, email blasts, and blogs. You can and should piggyback on the awarding organization’s PR efforts by seeking opportunities to feature your company on their website and earn coveted high domain backlinks. This will extend your reach beyond your immediate audience, getting you in front of potential patients, customers, prospective employees and even investors.

Research Your Options; Find the Best Fit

There are hundreds, if not thousands of “best of” lists and industry accolades, but not all awards will be right for your organization. Some are spammy money grabs; those are usually easy to spot. Many require an entry or submission fee. Some require minimal research and writing while others require a deep dive and cooperation from several departments to compile metrics upon which you’ll be judged.

Be sure to understand what is requested and how the information will be used. For instance, if revenue figures or growth data is required, is your organization prepared to share that information and, potentially, see it in print? Prior planning and estimating the time commitment will help determine any direct or indirect costs and ensure you’re not wasting precious time, dollars and resources.

Tap Into Customer, Patient and Employee Relationships

Different awards come with different criteria, and some will require input from third parties such as customers, patients, employees or other partners. In some cases, such as Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work, the awarding body might want to speak with your employees or require a certain percentage complete a survey. In others, you may need to be nominated by an external partner or buyer. That’s why it’s important to cultivate relationships across your network and leverage stakeholders willing to help you meet award criteria (and spread the word about your win once it’s secured).

Note: in most instances we recommend avoiding “awards” that require organizations to provide customer lists for advertising solicitations. Acknowledgements from these kinds of outlets rarely produce meaningful impact and can actually strain professional relationships.

Find a Partner Who Can Help

Whether your award efforts have been fragmented or non-existent, employing the help of a communications partner can go a long way toward gaining the recognition you and your team deserve. The awards space is vast and application processes often rigorous, so it can be difficult to make the most of your awards strategy without professional guidance. Your communications partner will have experience preparing nominations and knowledge of key industry outlets that will be valuable in the process. The right partner can advise when, how and where to apply your energy, and help share the news of your win with relevant circles and amplify its impact.

Awards and accolades can be worth their weight in gold for organizations seeking to advance their brand – in the industry or in their own backyard. If you’d like more attention for your hospital, health system or company, email us at