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RISMEDIA, March 22, 2011—You’ve heard it before in the media, from companies and individuals: “We’re an award-winning [fill in the blank].” Whatever the language, it catches your ear and your imagination a bit. You’ve seen awards listed on everything from resumes to websites and every other communication possible. But what can they do for you? Awards add positive presence to your brand, especially if the award is from a well-known brand itself. Sometimes it’s explained in more detail, sometimes it speaks for itself. The point is it can elevate you and your company.

If you’ve received relevant awards, always include them in communications—whether it’s on your business cards or LinkedIn, your website or anything else that makes sense and where space allows. You could even add them to the bottom of your e-mail signature. If you have none to flaunt yet, pay attention to solicitations coming your way or investigate some yourself.

Awards can be anything from grassroots employee recognition to the company making the Inc. 500/5000 or an equivalent in your space. Real estate franchises often have a variety of awards to apply for or nominate someone to, and many are accepted at their annual convention. Investigate what’s available in your world. You may be surprised what you are qualified for and how few enter.

A trust factor is also associated with an award winner. The restaurant business generally knows how to capitalize on these opportunities. They know consumers are more likely to trust they will have a positive dining experience if the establishment is proudly displaying awards. The James Beard Foundation awards are the most coveted and honored among top chefs. There are award-winning wines and software, and the list goes on. Just Google “award-winning products” when you have a moment.

In today’s world of hyper-marketing online and consumers making decisions for services measured in seconds or minutes, an edge like seeing an award can make the difference. We learn from a very young age that awards are something to covet—something important that sets us apart. Why not use this leverage in your business life?

Make a list of your awards or ones you feel you should investigate and work toward. Start leveraging your winnings today.

Chris Kaucnik is chief marketing officer for Home Warranty of America.