Every company dreams of becoming ‘award-winning' and, with a certain amount of effort and a solid awards strategy, this could become a reality. As co-organisers of the 2014 Uckfield Business Awards, which opened for entries this week, here are our thoughts on what it takes to win.
Entering an award is a time-consuming business but, if done properly, it's a good way of really focusing in on what your company does particular well. It's also a great way of generating case studies from your most loyal clients.
You will find, as well, that once you've entered one set of awards, you'll have certain elements ready to be adapted for another programme. That said, each award you enter will have its own criteria and expected input - so don't assume it'll be a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Getting some professional help with your award entry is a good idea. You might think that you or your marketing team have produced a fantastic effort - but it's always worth sending the entry to somebody who hasn't worked on it and doesn't know your business well, to at least proof the copy and give you an outsider's opinion about your efforts.
At the other end of the scale, you might simply have no idea where to start and a copywriter or journalist would be happy to spend an hour or so interviewing you about your company and organising a chat with some of your clients for those all-important testimonials.
Not only will entering an award help you to focus on your business - but being nominated for an award or, even better, winning one, will be a great profile-raising opportunity. It's up to you, though, to make the most of what comes your way.
If you are nominated for, or win an award - make sure you maximise any PR exposure. Share the news on social media, add the award's programme logo to your website and on your email sign-offs. Don't be afraid to blow your own trumpet; it's great to be recognised for your hard work, so make sure that everyone knows what your business has achieved. Also share the news with your local media and industry journals. The only limiting factor to this is if the awards programme has been organised by a media company. If this is the case, then you might find that competing industry magazines will not want to share the news.
Any resulting PR around your award will help to raise your credibility as a company - within your industry and your locality. The news will also motivate your employees, who will feel proud to work for an award-winning company and it'll also be attractive to potential employees, helping you attract fresh talent to your firm.
There are an increasing number of award programmes out there - whether local, regional, national or industry specific - and there is bound to be one for you.
At The Marketing Eye, we've gained a great deal from our involvement with the Uckfield Business Awards and really enjoy supporting the local business community in this way. If you'd like help with an awards entry or advice on how to make the most of an awards win or nomination, please get in touch.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.