Companies often use international product design awards as an effective tool to promote global visibility of products. To maximize the impact of design award participation requires a strategic approach, but research is lacking that would indicate the optimal way in which to participate. This paper aims (1) to explore the true value and the perceived value of design awards; (2) to clarify core factors affecting strategic decision-making in award participation; and (3) to identify the strategic use of design award schemes to maximize their corporate impact. Four international product design awards were selected from a group of 22, and 36 companies that report more than two awards from these four were selected as a group for investigation. Based on the survey results, further case studies will be followed to identify the consequences of award participation and of winning awards to corporate business and/or management performance. Studying the relationship between the purpose of participation and its subsequent impact will not only help companies to make better strategic decisions, but will also aid award organizers in arranging award schemes in such a way as to encourage companies to participate.