For many gamers, like myself, Xbox Live's Avatar Awards are still mythical. I have yet to play a game with Awards, because few games offer them. Perhaps that's because Awards are, at the moment, nothing more than visual Achievements. That's not bad, really, but there could be more depth.
Many people care about XBL Achievements and many don't. That's largely because it's an all-or-nothing scenario in favor of those with lots of spending money (to buy games with) and a long time owning the console. If someone has owned a 360 for a year longer than you, they probably have a higher Gamerscore.
Achievements are also impersonal. If you and I play the same game, we'll typically get the same Achievements for doing the same things.
But what if Avatar Awards were different? What if gamers could compete for them?
What if my friend JoeSchmoe64 and I could voluntarily wager that one of us will get a particular Award before the other? The winner gets the Award, while the same Award is blocked for the loser. The winner could be given the power to unlock the loser's Award for him afterward, or they could agree to permanently leave one with the trophy and the other empty-handed.
If the game included multiple Awards, then Joe might win two trophies while I win two others... and we'd each have something to show.
Keep in mind, Avatar Awards needn't all be complicated models or animations, like a train moving around an avatar's feet. They could be as simple as blocks stacked beside an avatar or a banner draped behind, each signifying a specific achievement.
Honestly, I haven't put much thought into this idea. But the basic idea is that Awards could be made more meaningful than Achievements by allowing players to bet them as stakes or otherwise making them reflect actions that set one gamer apart from others.