Awards & rankings: do they really matter?

Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”  It’s true. Reputations are built over a variety of touch points with various stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors and suppliers. One of those critical touch points is awards and rankings. 

Editor’s Note: If your leadership doesn’t support awards and rankings, stop reading immediately.

Do accredited awards and esteemed rankings matter? Yes. They:

  • give you clout and validate the quality of your organization,
  • uplift high-performing employees (retention, yay!),
  • increase the visibility of and preference for your company, and
  • generate additional awareness of your best products and services.

Here are five ways to successfully run an awards & rankings program:

Develop a strategy and embed it into your overarching reputation management program. Connect with business partners to understand their strategic goals, priorities, and where they’d want to be placed in an ideal world. Ask:

  • Are they prioritizing female hiring in the local area? 
  • Are they focusing on promoting their innovation pipeline?
  • What do their customers care about?

Identify a targeted list to pursue, prioritize it, and know when to decline participation. Develop the business case and how it provides value to your company. When identifying awards to pursue, ask:

  • Are you within the same caliber as past recipients? 
  • Is the readership of this listing or outlet someone we’d like to target? 
  • Does the ranking align with our company values and strategic direction? 
  • What’s the cost involved to participate? 
  • Do we have a compelling story to tell based on the nomination criteria? 
  • Will we have the opportunity to influence? 
  • What does the methodology look like (is it legitimate or is it pay-to-play)?
  • Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Ensure leadership buy-in. Executing on an awards and rankings program takes time. It takes effort. It takes resources. If leadership isn’t on board, you’ll spend too much time defending the effort, and not enough time securing wins and placement.

Assign accountability and provide resources. Identify a communications colleague who will drive the strategy, govern the program and hold full accountability for executing it. He or she may delegate to a subordinate or an agency partner, but it will get done.

Celebrate successes. Acknowledge the rest. If you earn an award or a strong ranking, maximize the moment and tell the world through every internal and external channel. Didn’t get the ranking you wanted? Ensure key stakeholders are aware, analyze those companies/brands that performed better, and strategize for next year.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.


By: Katie Regan

Katie Regan is founder and CEO of Kirkpatrick Group and is a communications professional with nearly 15 years of business, PR, crisis and change management communications experience at numerous Fortune 500 companies. She originally founded Kirkpatrick Group (formerly known as Comma Girl) the day following her college graduation, and after moonlighting for ten years, she left corporate America to run Kirkpatrick Group full time. Katie earned her B.A. in communications and English from Robert Morris University and her M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Learn more at