Seven reasons to enter comms awards

Are you proud of your intranet? Is it award-worthy? Want to find out for free?

stevebynghallSteve Bynghall
 @Bynghall is a freelance consultant and writer specialising in intranets, collaboration, the digital workplace and crowdsourcing.

Each year he coordinates the Intranet Innovation Awards, a global awards programme by Step Two. Here he shares his top tips and why you should consider entering.

Over to you Steve…

Awards, awards and even more awards

Rachel’s recent post and infographic on “How to enter comms awards” gave some great advice on the steps to take when entering a competition. It also highlighted just how many contests there are out there.

For example intranets, perhaps sometimes perceived as a less glamorous corner of the internal comms landscape, have their fair share of dedicated competitions.

iia-logo-transparentThe number of intranet-related awards has been increasing in recent years. Some of the most well-established ones such as the Nielsen Norman annual top 10 and Step Two’s Intranet Innovation Awards (which I co-ordinate) have both been running for a number of years.

But recently they have been joined by a number of others run by vendors, or connected to conferences. Some internal comms or digital awards also have categories for intranets.

Moreover what constitutes an intranet and what constitutes something like an Enterprise Social Network is becoming increasingly blurred (Tweet this)

So effectively there are many competitions to choose from.

Further reading: See Rachel’s comms calendar for a complete list of awards.
Further reading: For examples of enterprise social networks, see this list of 400 case studies.

The benefits of entering awards

awards tipsAs Rachel recently posted, entering comms-related awards has a lot of plusses. Here are seven reasons to enter competitions based on my experience of coordinating the Intranet Innovation Awards and the feedback or comments we’ve had from winners and participants.

1. External recognition for your organisation

Obviously getting external recognition for your internal initiative is a plus for your organisation. In terms of intranets or ESNs it shows the company cares about employee engagement, may be progressive and invests in technology. It may reflect on a CSR initiative such as Johnson & Johnson Asia-Pacific’s Making Smiles, Changing Lives campaign which won an Intranet Innovation Awards last year. Many of the organisations who win have scheduled an accompanying blog post or press release to celebrate their achievement.

2. External recognition for the team

Clearly winning an award and being associated with a platform where the quality of the output can usually be viewed also does no harm for your CV. However for intranet and ESN teams external recognition goes a bit further than that as often efforts do not get recognised as much as they should do.

Winning an award is an opportunity to momentarily bask in the sun after what is usually very hard graft on an intranet launch project. A trophy sitting in your department’s area is also a constant reminder of that success.

3. Invitations to speak at conferences and events

A consequence of external recognition is getting invitations to speak at different conference and events. For example some of last year’s winners have been approached to speak at intranet-related conferences in places as far-flung as Denmark and Australia, and it provides great opportunities to network with peers.

4. Internal recognition

Getting internal recognition for support departments such as internal communications or IT is often not as straightforward as it should be. Winning an award and getting external recognition can make this easier by validating the quality of your work and drawing attention to your efforts. It can mean senior stakeholders see you in a slightly different light.

5. Get feedback on your efforts

Winning a competition often leads to opportunities to get some feedback on your efforts. For example we provide some comments to entries which reach our shortlist. Also as details of winning entries also tend to get published, you will likely get feedback from peers too.

6. Networking and seeing what your peers are up to

Most competitions also have the chance to network with other peers through award ceremonies or in other ways. For example we share the contact details of any winners who would like to connect with each other as long as both parties agree. We also publish an annual report with details of the winning entries which all winners and commended entries receive free.

7. Getting a sense of perspective

One benefit of entering competitions which often doesn’t get recognised is that the process of completing an entry form (effectively writing up your own case study) often helps you to put your own efforts in perspective. It can even give yourself some high level insights into your own work, help you to articulate your approach and stimulate fresh ideas. One company who tends to enter the Intranet Innovation Awards each year also once said it helped them to chart the progress of their internal digital channels.

Over to you!

IIAThe 2015 Intranet Innovation Awards have just opened for submissions and will accept entries up until 5 June 2015.

There are five categories to enter:

  1. Core intranet functionality
  2. Social, collaboration and communication
  3. Business and frontline
  4. Enterprise mobility
  5. Intranet rework

If you’ve done something new and interesting with your internal digital channels which has had real impact, then this is the competition for you.

Your entry could be an intranet, an ESN, an HR portal or a digital workplace. It’s completely free to enter, there are no hidden costs at all and you could be the winner of a lovely trophy. Good luck!

Post author: Steve Bynghall.

Thank you Steve. Best of luck if you decide to enter.

The best-designed intranets in 2015

The organisations with the 10 best-designed intranets for 2015 according to Nielsen are:

  • Accolade (The Netherlands), a social housing office for affordable homes
  • Adobe (United States), a digital marketing and media solutions company
  • ConocoPhillips (United States), an explorer and producer of crude oil and natural gas energy
  • Klick Health (Canada), a digital health agency
  • Saudi Food & Drug Authority (Saudi Arabia), a government agency ensuring the safety of food and drugs, biological and chemical substances, and electronic products
  • Sprint (United States), a provider of wireless telecommunications products and services
  • TAURON Polska Energia (Poland), hard coal mining and generation, distribution and supply of electricity and heat; the largest distributor and supplier of electricity in Poland
  • The Foschini Group (South Africa), an independent chain store retail group
  • UniCredit S.p.A. (Italy), a commercial bank spanning 50 markets and operating in more than 17 European countries
  • Verizon Communications (United States), a telecommunications company.

Further reading on All Things IC

First published on All Things IC blog 29 April 2015.


  1. paul osgood says:

    I’d also like to add that enetering awards is also great for team engagement. There’s nothing like the frisson of working together to capture that project, initiative or indeed that nightmare and buffing it up to become a strong award entry.

    It’s also clear that a good proportion of success for award entries is down to the quality of the entry itself. Having judged awards, I’m often astonished at how the judges are expected to be amazed by poor quality entries describing clearly the most amazing pieces of work. Care and attention to telling a great story about sometimes the most straight forward pieces of work often will deliver the differentiating and cut through entry.

  2. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. I think that’s a really valid point, thank you.

    Couldn’t agree more re: the importance of quality and attention to detail, Rachel

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