How the Awards of Excellence Serve as a Marketing Tool - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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How the Awards of Excellence Serve as a Marketing Tool

Entries are currently being accepted for NALP’s Awards of Excellence, which recognize the best projects in commercial and residential landscape and lawn care installation, maintenance, and design. Award entries will be accepted through August 5, 2020.

Kelly Baccash, marketing coordinator for Hoffman Landscapes, based in Wilton, Connecticut, shares why they participate every year.

“We are always on the lookout for which properties and projects we manage that are truly exceptional,” she says. “We relish the opportunity to show off for our peers in the industry and see what other firms across the country have been up to. We always come away from the Awards ceremony inspired by the winning properties and projects, and we hope our work does the same for others.”

Why Should You Enter?

Baccash says both their clients and their employees enjoy being connected with an award-winning company. They provide the client with the award-winning property a photo plaque to display in their home. She says their employees are incredibly proud to participate.

Photo: Hoffman Landscapes

Additionally, winners tend to see media coverage after earning awards. Baccash says they encourage other members to participate and market their win as it is such a powerful tool.

“We have been very fortunate to have NALP award coverage picked up by a variety of local news outlets – from the area ‘moms’ blogs, to printed newspapers, to local television news stations,” Baccash says. “We’ve been very lucky that the news of our success has been publicized as much as it has, and we almost always notice a spike in calls in the weeks that follow.”

“Our national association’s Awards of Excellence program is an outstanding way to show off your work, craftsmanship, passion and abilities as an organization to other industry professionals,” says Neil Bales, COO and principal of LandPatterns, based in Dallas, Texas. “It’s also a wonderful tool to promote the quality and type of work your organization can perform.”

COVID-19 Considerations

While this year isn’t a particularly normal one, Baccash says they still plan to enter in this year’s Awards of Excellence.

Photo: Hoffman Landscapes

“The world needs some semblance of normalcy and we’re lucky to be in an industry that promotes beauty, which we all so desperately need right now,” she says. “We are already narrowing down our list to decide which properties to submit!” Hoffman Landscapes has already begun to schedule photoshoots this year.

“As a company, we’re taking extra safety measures to protect ourselves and our clients, including handwashing, keeping shared surfaces clean, and wearing masks,” Baccash says. “Our clients have been very appreciative of our efforts and are happy to have our team come to capture their property on film. They may opt to remain inside and wave from the doorway as we’re coming and going, but so far they’ve been very happy to see us and accommodate our efforts.”

What Judges Are Looking For

If you aren’t sure exactly what projects to submit, Bales, one of the judges, says they are looking for top-quality projects that show levels of excellence and details that set the project apart from ‘mundane’ projects.

“We look for short and concise descriptions that tell the details and difficulty of a project, with pictures that walk you thru the site as if you were there in person,” he says.

Depending on which category you plan to enter in, the exact judging criteria varies and is listed on the entry page. The Judges Awards is the highest of the Awards of Excellence and is given to cream of the crop projects.

“These projects show a great level of detail and have all the ‘little things’ taken care of (i.e. no leaves on the ground, gravel freshly raked, crisp mow lines, top-level plant materials on installs, etc.),” Bales says. “Detail on these projects is really key to setting themselves apart.”

Hoffman Landscapes earned the 2019 Judges Award for their Greenwich Estate in 2019.

“Our team works so hard to keep that property meticulous, the homeowners are wonderful people, and we were so honored that our peers in the industry saw the same wonder in it that we do!” says Baccash.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.