Are You In It to Win It?

For CEDIA members looking for an inexpensive way to get ahead marketing their expertise to potential clients, it’s time to consider a “lifestyle” change.
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Winning a CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designer Award Can Bolster Your Marketing Efforts

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For CEDIA members looking for an inexpensive way to get ahead marketing their expertise to potential clients, it’s time to consider a “lifestyle” change. Any electronic systems contractors that have won an award at the annual CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designer Awards competition will attest to the value of boasting “a winning project” when it comes time for that next bid against a local competitor.

Previous two-time winner Lance Anderson, of Edina, Minnesota’s Admit One Inc., won five trophies this past fall, including Theater of the Year for a client’s Egyptian-themed home theater. Winning, he said, definitely has provided rewards beyond the awards themselves.

“I think, selfishly, anybody wants to be recognized for the quality of work that they’re doing, but more so from a marketing perspective, it’s a differentiator in our market,” he stated. “It’s a feather in our cap that helps us separate ourselves from our competition, and an accolade that’s a demonstration of our technical abilities.”

Anderson said that he promotes his company’s list of winning projects “just about everywhere” he can, from his business cards, to the company website, and on all of his company’s proposals.

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Lance Anderson, CEO OF Admit One Inc., picked up one of his five trophies from Residential Systems editorial director Jeremy Glowacki this past fall at CEDIA EXPO, where his company was honored for “Theater of the Year” for a client’s Egyptian-themed project.

Josh Christian, VP of marketing for DSI Entertainment Systems in Los Angeles, said that his company has been entering the Designer Awards since 2006, motivated by potential company recognition and seeing how DSI measures up against other installations. Christian said that while clients “never get excited” at the prospect of having their home being entered in a contest, winning several Designer Awards gives DSI “instant credibility” with all potential new clients.

“We proudly display our awards in our showroom, and it does start a useful conversation,” he noted. “It is a ‘silent salesman,’ in a sense, [illustrating] our know-how and installation skills.”

Daniel Whitfied agreed that the CEDIA contest helps Mississauga, Ontario-based Sublime Integration to “benchmark” its work against the industry at large, and accolades from the awardwinning projects enable he and his team to more effectively sell its expertise to potential clients.

“Non-biased, independent judgment of work completed is the greatest accomplishment to ‘back up’ our sales team,” he said.

The Electronic Lifestyles Designer Awards competition honors top home technology projects designed and installed by CEDIA member ESCs. The deadline for all entries is May 4 at 5 p.m. (Pacific). Those that complete their entries by April 6 at 5 p.m. Pacific can save 20 percent on their entry fee. For the categories of Home Theater, Media Room, Integrated Home, Hidden Installation, Special Project, Showroom, and Sustainable Lifestyle Installation, entry fees are $190 for the first entry and $125 for each additional entry.

What Are the Keys to Winning in Indy?

This year, CEDIA has moved its entire awards entry process online, taking some of the hassle out of the exercise. Making the process too easy, however, isn’t the point.

“Part of me likes that it’s not easy to enter,” Admit One’s Lance Anderson noted. “It’s a commitment, and part of that commitment makes it that much more of a prestigious award amongst all of the others out there.”

So what is the key to a winning entry? Anderson said that although it’s often hard to figure out why one project trumps another, he thinks documentation (and sending more photos and drawings than are required) is essential to a successful entry.

DSI’s Josh Christian said that great photos are important, as well as “sweating the details” on a project in the first place. “Make sure the wiring is neat on your racks,” he noted. “Highlight something out of the norm that you’ve done on the project, such as how you solved a unique problem that the client challenged you with.”

Sublime Integration’s Daniel Whitfield advises CEDIA members to start working on their entries early and to be truthful. “It truly is a lot of paperwork and a big time commitment,” he stated. “Also, use technical words and not fluff when writing your essay.”

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