We are proud to announce that Williams Whittle, along with the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), has won top honors in the Public Service Announcement category at the 2016 PR News Nonprofit PR Awards. The awards honor those “holding the key to best practices in the nonprofit communications arena”—both the “smartest communications initiatives and the people behind them.”

Williams Whittle created a PSA campaign to promote AICR’s “CANcer PREVENTion: Together We Can” initiative during Cancer Prevention Month which is featured every February.

“We are very proud of this empowering campaign because it translated our message in a creative way and helped us utilize a new distribution channel to reach a younger target audience. Our vision is that it will inspire people to make healthier choices in their lives to reduce their cancer risk,” said Deirdre McGinley-Gieser ‎Senior Vice President, Programs & Strategic Planning.

I wrote the awards submission and was there to accept the awards plaque on stage at the PR News reception in March. I was very proud of being recognized for our partnership with AICR that led to some award-worthy work. But, it got me thinking, does anyone else really care about awards?

Last time we won an award, I wrote that it was nice to be recognized. It’s true; it feels great. We work hard to create advertising that not only generates “business” for our clients and sets them up for success, but also work we’re proud to stand behind as our best. I can honestly say, we never once talked about how we could make it awards-worthy while we were in the midst of creating the campaign, but just like a “thank you” for holding the door open for someone, it is nice to get some recognition after the effort we put in.

There are many awards, like the PR News Awards, that are about a lot more than just creating “pretty” work. The PR News Awards are about effectiveness (1/5th of the entry is about Success and Results) just like the Effie Awards (recognizing marketing communications that contribute to a brand’s success) we won in 2009 and 2013. It means we didn’t come up with just a big idea, but one that was fueled by strategy that touched the drivers of our target audience. Who doesn’t want to be part of a campaign that has brains and brawn?

I’d like to think that even if no one may care about the specifics of our award, it builds up our credibility as an agency. When we made the decision to specialize in nonprofit work in 2012, it was a huge risk. We let go of some clients, turned away others and pursued new clients in our niche. But just declaring we were specialists may have not been enough. I believe, even though we’ll never know for sure, that when new clients come to us with their challenges, it’s because they think (and know) we know what we’re doing. We have experience; experience that has been recognized by our industry peers as some of the best. If I were on the nonprofit side, I would think I’d like to work with people who had been singled out as above the rest for their work.

Which leads me to my last point—who doesn’t like to associate (personally or professionally) with a winner? If you didn’t know anything about our agency history, our past clients, our work ethic, our creative chops, at least you know we’ve been elevated to a level that is worthy of acknowledgement—and that is a better start than just name recognition. I’d like to think it gives us a leg up from the start of any new client relationship.

Yeah. Sounds like I may even need convincing that anyone besides me and my close merry band of loyalists (including our clients) think that an award really matters. But, I don’t. I believe, I promise. (Especially after writing this!) All I really want is a pat on the back after a long work day (or a month…or a year).