It’s the night you’ve all been waiting for. You’re dressed to impressed with a table of your colleagues, enjoying fancy food and treating yourselves to bottles of fizz. The anticipation is building as the awards ceremony begins. You’re surrounded by industry peers who are all anxious to get their hands on a gong or two. The lights dim and the host returns to the stage. “And the next category for this evening is…”. It’s yours. You join your colleagues in clapping and ‘woo’-ing as your company name is read out along with the other finalists.
“And the winner is…” It feels like you’ve had your fingers and toes crossed forever until finally the presenter puts you out your misery. You’ve won! Your company’s name is up in lights and you are ushered onto the stage to collect the trophy with your team. After all your hard work and preparation, victory is sweet!
The benefits of a win
Once the rapturous applause fades and you’ve got your hands on the trophy, the fun doesn’t stop there. For example, an award win can do wonders for your PR and the win should mark just the beginning of shouting about your achievement. Why? Because research has shown that a staggering 82 per cent of senior business people would be influenced by a relevant industry-award win when buying products and services. 76% also agreed with the statement “awards are important for generating business or improving the value of the brand.”
There are some easy ways to do this:
Write a press release – this doesn’t have to be too lengthy but can talk about your experience at the awards do and express gratitude for your win. Sometimes the award organisers will release the judges’ comments about why you clenched the win over your competitors, so it can be worth including those.
Post your news on social media – you should be careful not to brag, but you definitely deserve to shout about your achievements. Social media sites provide the perfect platform for this as your followers are likely to be existing advocates of your company who will be pleased to hear your news. And why not take photos from the event when you’re all looking insta-perfect?
Display your winners’ logo – your website, email signatures, social media pages and even stationery are all places you should strategically place your winners’ logo (or even finalist logo). You never know who could be looking so you should use any opportunity you can to let current or prospective clients know that you’re top of the game.
Another important benefit of winning an award is boosting team morale. Not only will attending the awards put everyone in good spirits, it also promotes a huge sense of achievement for your team. Your employees will be proud to work for an award-winning company and feel satisfied that their hard work is recognised and paying off. Equally, if you’re on the hunt for other employees, you may find that you’re attracting larger pools of potential recruits because people want to work for the best of the best!
How to bag the gold – some crucial criteria to consider before you put pen to paper
Hopefully by now you’re excited about the world of awards and starting to think of some projects which might be worth a gong, so I’ve put some top tips together to help you put your best foot forward.
Tip 1: Consider who you are trying to impress
This point often gets overlooked but it should be the first thing that’s considered as the answer can influence the type of award you go for. Gather all your stakeholders together and decide who you’re ultimately trying to impress. For example, are you trying to attract new recruits? If so, you should consider awards such as the Employee Benefit Awards or Best Place to Work.
Tip 2: Check the credibility of a potential award
There’s an award for just about anything these days. From renowned industry awards such as the HR Excellence Awards, Corporate Advisor Awards and European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards, to the lesser known British Parking Awards, Loo of the Year Awards, World Post & Parcel Awards and The Plastic Industry Awards.
With so many awards up for grabs, it’s best to check that you’re going for one which is recognised as credible within your industry. It’s easy to do this – just check the past winners. If there’s some household names included in the previous winners, it’ll be pretty safe to say it’s worth going for. Don’t waste your time putting together a submission for an award that no one has heard of!
Tip 3: Find your award-winning story
It seems obvious but to increase your chances of winning, you need to make sure you’re putting your best story forward. Instead of diving straight in with a story about your latest innovation, make sure you consider the impact too. Brainstorm all your achievements this year and pick the project that scores highly on both innovation and impact. It may not be the one that sprung to mind first but it’ll certainly be the one most likely to get you the win.
Tip 4: Remember the three rules
Angle, innovation, impact. Angle, innovation, impact. Keep saying this in your head over and over when the time comes to write the entry to make sure you remember to cover them.
Angle: what’s the story? Remember that judges will read numerous entries so a submission with a clear story will stand out. Start with an opener that sets the scene and try to think about the wider picture.
Innovation: what make the story unique? Superlatives such as the first, the only, the biggest etc. can help you get this point across.
Impact: arguably the most important section, it’s all about making sure you include evidence to back up what you claimed to have achieved. Give quantitative figures, qualitative anecdotes and include graphs in your appendices. The judges need to have the facts in front of them to be truly blown away by your achievements!
Follow these tips and your submission will have a much better chance of making the shortlist and (hopefully) the podium. But it’s important that you plan your submission and allow yourself the time to get it right.
Claire Wilson is content strategy director at Stratton Craig