The Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association’s (GOHBA) Housing Design Awards have been part of our life/annual rituals for 24 or 25 years — dating back to the (in hindsight brilliant) business decision to join the association in 1990 shortly after I launched my publishing business, and even more fortunate decision to continue the GOHBA membership a year later as a major recession bit into the economy and every cent — including membership dues — counted.
Later that year, out of the blue, I received a call inviting me to submit a proposal to publish the association’s internal newsletter. I asked if this was a competition. “No,” you are the only member in the relevant category, the then-board member explained. The association was living up to its motto: Be a Member — Do Business with a Member.
(Somewhat similarly, about seven years ago, I received another call. “I would like you to propose publishing a renovation magazine for the association,” the then GOHBA Renovations Committee chair told me. After initially declining the proposal (as we had never published magazines, and certainly never published consumer-focused publications), I got the message, assembled a partnership team, and we continue to publish Ottawa Renovates magazine today.)
These examples show the advantages of effective association membership/participation for marketing and business development in the supply sector; the awards provide clues about how you can benefit from marketing through association relationships when you are directly involved in the relevant businesses.
Undoubtedly, the GOHBA Awards provide marketing value far greater than their cost, at least for the winners and especially for the architects, builders and designers who win awards in several categories. The local daily newspaper has been a major sponsor of the awards, ensuring plenty of positive media publicity for the successful finalists.
You can sense the health of the local residential construction economy; more than 500 packed the city’s main convention centre’s upper level. Social media have created a real-time sharing element; with active Twitter feeds as the event progressed.
Lessons to share: It pays to get involved and participate in relevant client-focused associations, and you’ll also do well with your marketing investment by participating and competing in relevant awards competitions, especially if your work deserves winning recognition.