01.04.2015

Awards Countdown: Experts Share Their Tips

Past BDAV Awards winners provide some feedback about the BDAV Awards process to Verity Campbell

In early 2015, Verity Campbell contributed the following article, which is still relevant and timely…..

Verity said: “I’ve been running an email series over the last few weeks about writing awards. Alongside messaging, photography and writing tips, the series has included a number of interviews with BDAV members who have judged awards and/or won them. These lovely folk have generously shared their tips and experience to help you create better award entries.

Given the BDAV’s annual awards close soon, I’ve included the following gems from the interviews to provide you with last-minute support:

Why should you enter the BDAV awards again even if you’ve entered umpteen times before and never won?

“Keep going and keep trying, and eventually it will pay off. There have been years when we haven’t won, but we’ve entered every year anyway. Back yourself. Be proud of what you do and be prepared to put it on the open stage.”
Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson Design, and multi BDAV award winner

“Going through the award process has its own value… It forces you to reflect on your work, which we often don’t take enough time to do, and it changes the perception of your work because you’ve committed to it by making it public.”
Ingrid Hornung, CHI Building Design Studio, BDAV judge and award winner

“Putting in awards is an opportunity to check in on the project. We go back to a client we may not have spoken to for ages and find out how the project is going.”
Sven Maxa, Maxa Design and eight-time BDAV award winner

“The materials you put together are also great for marketing – you have everything you need done.”
Fleur Pitman, EcoSelect, four-time BDAV award winner

What do you need to do to win?

“It’s good to have the photographs with you when you put the award together, but I think that when the judges are looking at the images they rely heavily on the words. A pretty picture is one thing but to know the reason behind that picture is another.”
Sven Maxa, Maxa Design and eight-time BDAV award winner.

“Don’t put in your best houses. Choose projects that are different, that have an angle or a challenge that needed to be overcome.”
Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson Design, and multi BDAV award winner

“Include client responses to the project. They offer a different perspective and are enthusiastic advocates for your work.”
Ingrid Hornung, CHI Building Design Studio, BDAV judge and award winner

“Make sure you include supporting data, the backup information. Don’t skimp on this.”
Fleur Pitman, EcoSelect, four-time BDAV award winner

“Get someone to review your entry, or at the very least discuss what you have written with someone else.”
Ingrid Hornung, CHI Building Design Studio, BDAV judge and award winner

What difference does winning make to your business?

“[Winning awards] has been huge for my business. I think that because I have won awards it gives people confidence to come forward. I’m still getting calls – my business has grown about 20%.”
Fleur Pitman, EcoSelect, four-time BDAV award winner

“Winning awards has made an enormous difference to my business. These days every client shops around and speaks to a number of designers before they make up their mind. But when I talk about the awards we have won at the end of that first meeting, I see their eyes light up. It’s the icing on the cake – they make the decision to go with us.”
Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson Design, and multi BDAV award winner

“Winning awards has been really good for us. With the Nunawading house, for example, we started to get traction with bloggers, then Inside Out magazine – it snowballed. We still have people contacting us two years later.”
Sven Maxa, Maxa Design and eight-time BDAV award winner

“One of the key differences I’ve noticed [through winning awards] is that I’m now getting about 90% rather than 70% of the work that I quote.”
Fleur Pitman, EcoSelect, four-time BDAV award winner

Why attend the Awards night?

“Most members don’t realise the important spin-offs the Awards night brings, aside from the possible thrill of winning. The Awards night is a great opportunity to meet industry reps and suppliers. They are an invaluable source of knowledge in their particular field, and have fantastic advice you can tap into when you need it. At the Awards night you also meet people in the industry and you can develop a network of designers you can ring up and say, “Hey, have you dealt with this council?” etc. You can’t survive on your own; you need a network around you.”
Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson Design, and multi BDAV award winner

A thousand thank yous to our interviewees.

And best of luck with the Awards!

Writing, marketing and communications for design businesses. Join Verity Campbell’s weekly newsletter for new ideas, tips and advice for your building design practice. Sign up at www.veritycampbell.com.au/newsletter

Verity Campbell Communications: www.veritycampbell.com.au