About two weeks ago (see Announcing the Be2Awards 2011), I launched the website for what we believe are the world’s first social media awards for “The built environment” (ie: architecture, engineering, construction, facilities management, property, etc). Nominations began to trickle in, and as Friday’s deadline approached there was a final flood, and I have just spent two days sifting through over 100 nominations across an initial 17 categories, including a couple of new awards suggested by users.
As Be2Awards organiser, I am of course a bit biased but I think we have achieved our initial objective of identifying a substantial range of examples of good practice in the use of various different forms of social media and technology across the industry, embracing blogs, Twitter, use of Facebook, LinkedIn and other community platforms, plus various industry-specific applications.
However, I was a little disappointed that the construction PR and marketing communities don’t seem to have capitalised upon the opportunities. Most B2B communications professionals know that industry awards can be a great way to raise the profile of a company, product, service or individual, and there has been considerable enthusiasm about most of the categories. But despite some encouragement from (among others) CIMCIG‘s Ross Sturley, the Be2Awards PR campaign category attracted a paltry two entries, and the marketing campaign category just three; as a result, PR and marketing has been merged into a single category with five contenders braving the online voting stage which started yesterday. And it has proved challenging to get sponsors on board, despite the good opportunities to boost brands’ online visibility through a social media awards event (many thanks, meanwhile, to HP, Asite, Building, CADline/Dynamic Maps, Cambridge Open Systems, Pauley Creative and TCS Digital World – so far!).
Why the poor response?
- Was it because these awards have yet to grab the attention of AEC industry PR and marketing professionals?
- Are the awards too “niche”?
- Are there still too few examples of good Web 2.0 practice that might be nominated for an award?
- Was the time-frame for nominations too short?
- Is the process of online nomination and voting too open?
- Or – given that many awards programmes are backed by industry publications (meaning content for the cuttings book) – does an independent, community-driven initiative seem less attractive?
I don’t know the answers, but I suspect a combination of all these factors may have played a part. However, perhaps now that we have inaugurated the Be2Awards, we will get a better response from the industry’s PR and marketing people second time around?
[Incidentally, I have been nominated for an award in the best use of Twitter category – so if you have found my Tweets useful, please vote. 🙂 ]