Calling winners — and non-winners — in the 2012 SD Times 100

Every year, I look forward to the judging and unveiling of the SD Times 100. The editors of SD Times and spend literally months discussing the state of the industry, talking about leaders and innovators, where things are heading, who made the most impact, and which companies and projects truly made a difference.

We tweeted out the 2012 SD Times 100 on Thursday, May 31, and posted the results online the following day. Subscribers to SD Times could also read it in their June issue.

But just like an exciting horserace is followed by picking up litter around the viewing stands, so the week following each years’ SD Times 100 is filled with responding to queries by corporate marketing departments. Why, oh, why, didn’t we chose them?

Here is an email from a nice, but unhappy, PR professional:

Hi Alan,

Are you in charge of the SD Times 100 awards? I’m just curious if you can give any feedback on my client (redacted) not making the list but (competitor) has made it now twice in two years. Just want to know if it’s the criteria not being met or any kind of feedback would be helpful to go back to them with.

My response was short, and to the point, but sadly wasn’t what she wanted to read:

Thanks for your email. I’m one of the team of judges of the SD Times 100.

As a matter of policy, we never comment as to why a company was not named to the SD Times 100 — any more than the Oscar judges would have an official reason why a certain movie wasn’t named as Best Picture.

To help explain why, let me share two links from my blog. They give you a much longer, fuller answer to your question.

I know that’s not the feedback your client is looking for, but that’s the best we can offer.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
1 reply
  1. Paul N. Leroux
    Paul N. Leroux says:

    Being a PR guy, I sometimes find myself in the position of your unhappy PR professional. My colleagues will question why x, where x could be a person, product, or company, didn’t win the award for y. And they want an answer. (I realize that the SD Times 100 isn’t an awards program per se, but bear with me.) My initial reaction — which I typically manage to suppress before it sees the light of day — is to roll my eyes and sigh. In many cases, though, the person(s) asking are themselves being asked why x didn’t win. An answer is what they need. And it’s not as if the question is unreasonable. Knowing why one “failed” at something might arm one for success next time around. So I smile and say that I’ll make the phone call.

    Fortunately, the person at the other end of the line is typically well-equipped to handle the question. Like you, they’ve been asked before. They have an answer ready. Sometimes, the answer is even helpful. I thank the person for their precious time. I share the answer with everyone who was asking. The issue has, to one degree or another, been addressed, and we all get back to work. But you know what I think? We should ask for an explanation whenever we win something! Because wouldn’t that information be even more helpful? 🙂

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