For anyone who’s entered an award competition and was dissatisfied with the time spent, results, or just plain overwhelmed, Brave Dog is an award management team that provides award consultation and implementation. Rather than shuffling to complete the job in house, or handing over the huge PR responsibility to an intern, we handle your award competitions A-Z.
With every call, meeting, and run-in, I get this question: “Ashley, how do you guys work?”
To make it simple, I often compare Brave Dog’s award process to dating.
The initial awkwardness of “huh, awards people?” leads to interest, then a first date, follow-up calls, bliss, and then a full-blown relationship. Seriously funny, but seriously true.
Picture this: you just broke up with your boy/girlfriend because they just were not living up to your expectations. You consider downloading Tinder, OkCupid, or Scruff… you know, just to take a peek and see what’s out there. Within minutes, your account is created, you’ve selected a cute and sexy profile picture, struggled to write a bio, and boom, you’re already getting matches. Who’s Buster? Cute smile. Do you swipe right to show interest? Or swipe left to dismiss it? Wow, a top executive at Brave Dog. Intrigued?
Awards assessments are a lot like dating apps. Still with me?
Let’s assume you swiped right for Buster at Brave Dog…
When friends and family ask what I do for a living, I’ve finally boiled it down to this one liner: My company helps other companies get awards for their work. But when you dive into a conversation with a prospective partner, you have to explain further.
Yes, we’re awards people. The founders of our company were top executives at PromaxBDA, had a Zuckerberg moment and quit their jobs to start Brave Dog out of their kitchen. Here we are some eight years later, smack-dab in the middle of Hollywood. Sure, it’s slightly awkward when people mistake us for an animal shelter. Our name came about when our founder Stephen took out the day’s stressors at his local hangout, a neighborhood pub called Brave Dog. Long story short, Buster became our mascot and Brave Dog became the name of our awards consultancy. It just stuck.
Once you understand what we are in the business of doing, you can better relate to why our company exists. Whether you need a 12-month award strategy with a budget to present to upper management, you’re struggling to find the time to complete award write-ups and videos or competitions, or you’re flat-out not getting the results you thought you deserved, there is a rhyme and reason for everyone. Are we a match?
Like most relationships, the first date is typically the ice breaker. In a perfect world, you get a read of someone’s intentions and overall compatibility for a future life partner. Every partnership formed in the Brave Dog house is always a relationship we mutually develop and which we want to be a part of.
When sitting down for our first date we like to ask, “Why do you want to win awards for your company?” “What are your goals?” “What projects are you most excited about?” From there, we can collect the necessary intel and project assets to complete an Awards Assessment—a 12-month roadmap outlining suggested new and/or established competitions, with recommended categories, forecasted entry requirements, deadlines and associated fees.
Once complete, you walk away with the roadmap (consider it yummy dinner date leftovers from that swanky restaurant you’ve always wanted to try), with the choice to leverage Brave Dog for continual support: case study write-ups, video explainers, submissions, and more. It’s really up to you and where your company needs the helping hand.
However, some of our first dates request a one-off competition A-Z (strategy, write up, submission) instead. We call this stealing second base—and we’re cool with it. Once you’ve utilized us for one competition, we know you’ll be back for more.
Now that we’ve completed the 12-month Awards Assessment or one-off competition, our partners have a good feel for our communication style and the way we work. They’ve most likely established a pretty good relationship with one of our Account Services members and are starting to feel the relief before the dreaded awards process. Ahh, bliss.
Open Relationship or Engaged
The time has come and things have gotten more serious. We finally sit down and have the “what are we?” talk. Best part … it’s totally up to you!
Open Relationship: You’ve loved the work produced and vibe we share, but you are unable to date Brave Dog on a monthly basis. Cold feet happen, and that’s okay! Maybe you have only a handful of projects a year. Or maybe it’s too much of a commitment. Either way, we’ll send you sweet nothings (reminders of new competitions and category recommendations as you continue to develop your projects). Say the word and we’re there to help.
Engaged: Partners that get down on one knee are looking for year-round A-Z support, or as we call it, a monthly retainer. Our role is to be there for you through thick and thin. We’ll support your goals, yet also be direct and forthcoming in our recommendations. Just like an engagement ring, the cost of the monthly retainer depends on the number of projects we are strategizing, writing up, and submitting. More projects, bigger the carat—classy not sassy!
Want to see if we’re compatible? Swipe right, double tap, poke or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Ashley Tolusic is the Director of Biz Dev at Brave Dog. Her background in sales and working at creative agencies has fueled her fire to connect with other creative teams who may be struggling with the awards process. She’s obsessed with kittens, fancy coffee drinks (or wine if it’s after 6!), and hell-bent spin classes.