Successful award nominations can be a hugely effective PR vehicle, raising the profile of your business and subsequently driving growth in sales. They provide plentiful positive opportunities if utilised properly, and give you a head start on your competitors when it comes down to impressing potential clients. Fine tuning your pitch for your award entry can be time-consuming, so it is vital to know exactly which awards to target and what they are looking for from entrants. We took a few minutes out to outline the key benefits and how to give yourself the best chance of submitting successful award entries.
Are award entries worth the effort?
Studies that have taken place have demonstrated the positive impact that winning an award can have. We found this study in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation useful. It used a case study methodology with 10 SMEs drawn from a major business awards competition and noted both short and long term positive impacts. The results demonstrated that, “In the short term, enterprises benefited in terms of enhanced brand identity in their business network and community. This resulted in enhanced sales revenue and enterprise profile. Moreover, internally, winning an award acted as a motivator for enterprise employees, enhancing their productivity and attitudes towards the business.”
What do the stats say?
The IJEI study supports the findings of an oft quoted piece of research by the University of Leicester for the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management, which discovered that large award winning companies enjoyed a 48% increase in operating income and a 37% growth in sales when compared to non-award winners. Smaller award winning companies were also shown to have experienced a 63% increase in operating income, and a 39% growth in sales when compared to non-winners. Two years afterwards, award winning companies had experienced a statistically significant higher return in share value by an average of 24%, and by three years after the award winning companies have experienced a higher return by an average of 36%.
OUR GUIDE TO WINNING
Identify target awards
Over the years, we have encouraged and assisted many of our clients in achieving successful award entries, from regional awards such as The Midlands Business awards, to national accolades, such as the SME business awards, to international recognition in the shape of the global FEA Aerosol Awards. It’s necessary to make sure that the awards that you target are the right ones for your organisation on two levels. The first of course is relevance, and the more specialised they are, the more likely you are to be successful. The other major consideration is ‘prestige’. Is this a reputable accolade that is going to really give you something to shout about, because that is what you really need to squeeze the very most out of your achievement.
Identify key criteria and stick to the topic
This is a critical part of the process. It’s no good telling adjudicators what you want them to know. They’re only interested in what they want to know, so find out exactly what that is. One way of course is to trawl through the criteria and extract key points, deciding how best to then evidence them from the information you have access to. It’s tempting to go off at a tangent and talk about all the lovely and fabulous things your company also does – but don’t! Stick to the script, read in detail what the criteria is for entry and focus on the specific questions the entry form is asking of you.
It’s all about the detail…
Make sure that the information you provide to support your award entry is accurate, relevant, and up to date.
It’s useful to have access to experienced researchers and data analysts when considering entering business awards. Beyond actually extracting and processing data, understanding how best to represent that data, in line with the specific award criteria, is essential to maximise your chances of success. Experienced judges will see through flimsy or outdated information very quickly, and you will slip to the bottom of the pile as a result. Likewise if it does not correlate precisely to the conditions and criteria set out by the awarding body.
You are up against your competitors in the industry so you need to make sure that your entry stands out for the right reasons. You can do this by using a range of resources to bring your content to life using relevant examples and representing your data in a variety of interesting infographics. There’s nothing judges like more than cold hard facts – something they can use to measure you against other entrants. This can be the difference between runners up and winners. all the better if they are displayed in a simple but effective way.
Don’t forget to hype it up!
Use your award win as much as possible – write a press release with images, write a blog and get your success out there. You will often be given an award badge which you can display on your promotional literature, website and more, so go for it and reap those dividends.