How to Use Awards to Build Authority

When I see or hear of clever marketing initiatives, no matter what the industry, I love to share them. I believe there is always something to learn, even to adopt in our own marketing and brand strategy, from others. This one comes by way of a designer in Sweden I met in an international mastermind group. Don’t miss my Brand Therapy tips and takeaways at the end!


There’s a reason magazines, industries and organizations create awards programs. Awards build influence, authority, and audience, not to mention content. Can they do the same for a small business or an entrepreneur? Here is how to use them to build authority fast.

Jennifer Carlsson, the 28-year-old owner of Mintoiro, a Swedish design firm specializing in the beauty market, announced the winners of the Mintoiro Beauty Design Awards 2020.

It was the first year of the awards, and of her business. Mintoiro is the name of her awards and her newly “minted” design firm. She began Mintoiro (which means “mint color” in Japanese) in 2020. The name is a nod to the name she went by as a fashion blogger — Mintyfrills. And if you think creating an awards program the same year you begin a business might take a lot of work, and chutzpah, you haven’t met Jennifer.

Her stated mission to work with “conscious independent beauty brands to take market share from the big corporation by doing better” begins with knowing her market inside and out. To accomplish this, she spent hours doing deep research on beauty brands the result of which was a spreadsheet of more than 5,500 brands and what their stance is on cruelty free testing, if they are vegan or not and how “sustainable” they may or may not be and more. She then applied her skills as a former fashion blogger to write articles and brand design studies on some of her favorites. Here is a snippet of one she wrote on Beauty Pie …

build authorityThe 2020 awards arose from this type of research and were based on product type – moisturizer, foundation, lip balm, serum, etc. She gave out 20 awards to 14 companies (with some winning multiple awards), produced a web page for the awards and profiles of the winners, sent out finalist letters with digital badges that said Mintoiro Beauty Design Awards 2020.

Applying the Marketing Rule of 7

Jennifer’s first step in becoming known was a big one in terms of marketing philosophy. It’s part of the “Marketing Rule of Seven,” a concept that’s been around a while, originating before cable TV. Simply put, the rule posits that your prospective buyer needs to hear or see your marketing message at least seven times before they are aware of you enough to buy from you. Make that 77 times now in the day of streaming and social media.

build authority

Jennifer gets that. “As a strategy for my brand, it’s a long game,” she admits. But she is looking forward to the 2021 Awards and already fine tuning them. In addition to concrete criteria, she would also add intangibles such as innovation and user experience. “Looking back, I would have judged some of these products differently if I had seen them. For instance, how does the jar to feel to open? What is the experience of holding it?” She’ll still judge on merit but will now also ask for samples of the product to better judge all aspects of the packaging design.

There are no rules, no timeline for when a company or an entrepreneur can begin to build authority. In fact, the sooner the better. Marketing today requires bold moves and creative and quick action. While Jennifer lives her brand color palette surrounded by the soft, fun colors of the world of Mintoiro, she also has started developing quite an edge on the competition.

Three Brand Therapy Tips you can takeaway and use from the Mintoiro Awards

1. AWARDS How can you start an awards program for clients, your team, your creative partners? Even if the awards are small in categories and perhaps self-curated, a little recognition goes a long way.

2. KNOW YOUR MARKET Spreadsheets are not everyone’s thing, but can you do a deep dive into the clientele you want to attract and work with? How many corporations do events, what type of events, where, and what is a trend you can help them identify? Create your own R & D and then put them in a blog or newsletter citing trends that will help your prospective buyers.

3. THE POWER OF A BLOG Jennifer wrote up “Brand Design Studies” on her blog that portrayed her immediately as knowledgeable and an authority on the subject of beauty packaging. This is something we can all do … a restaurant review by a caterer, a style guide fro a florist to colors of the season, a review of the Oscars or other big awards by an event producer, and so on. Repurpose that content in your your newsletter too! Or vice versa. For instance, I always follow my newsletter with the same content on the blog a day later so I can share it with my audience several ways.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Leverage what you know. Give back. Just start. All lessons we can take from Jennifer’s awards initiative.

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