I first realised the power of winning prestigious business awards back in 1999 when my brother Pete won one of the major awards in the city we both live in.
I had the chance to, up close and personal, see the incredible impact that an award can have on a business. And what an impact it can be!
But before we get into that, let’s talk about how you win.
How to win: Step 1
This step is, without doubt, the number 1 reason many worthy businesses do not win business awards. It’s the most neglected part of the entire process. And here it is.
They don’t enter awards!
Mmmm, bit obvious isn’t it. Even sounds a bit smart by me! But it’s true! Consider this…
There is a major business award in the city I live. It goes for 4-5 months. each month there is a category winner for the various categories (6 in all). At the end of the year the category winners go up against each other as the grand winner for their category. Those winners then are judged for the supreme winner.
My experience over a number of years with these awards tells me that they don’t get a lot of entrants.
That experience of mine I’m talking about includes award organisers phoning me up and saying, “Brendon, we haven’t got many entrants for category A. Do you have any clients you want to nominate and put a proposal forward for?”
Step 1 is enter the award you want to win.
How to win: Step 2
Make it as easy as possible for the judges to select you.
- I’ve seen entries for awards that request a 500 word application, run to 4,000 words.
- I’ve seen award proposals handwritten and presented on dirty paper.
- I’ve seen award proposals that did not address one- (1) criteria that was requested.
Judging awards is a difficult thing. The judges not only have to find the most worthy winner, but the result has to be completely transparent.
If an award committee asks for a 1,000 page typewritten application, then that’s what they should get. If it’s 100 words over, that’s one less reason to give you the win.
It goes without saying that your proposal must be beautifully presented, flawless and stylish. A graphic designer can turn your boring word document into a work of art. And here is the time to do it.
It’s also important to make it as easy as possible for the awards team should you win. We’ll include a high resolution logo, a backgrounder on the company and its history, and a contact person for further information.
Maybe, just maybe, the judges see all that and think, “If these guys win we have to do less work chasing up all this information for the media and our graphics people.”
How to win: Step 3
- Give the judges exactly what they want.
Here’s where you need to do some detective work. But it’s work that can pay off.
If we develop a proposal for a client to enter an award, we’ll take a very close look at who the judges are and what areas of specialisation they represent.
If 2 of the 3 judges are Quality Assurance experts, then we would certainly put our client’s quality assurance commitment as a central theme of the proposal.
If the selection panel included a know environmentalist, then our proposal would address the issues of environmental awareness, recycling and the company’s commitment to the environment.
It’s common sense. If people have a particular interest or specialty they will be drawn to that proposal with which they can connect.
I’d like to thank the Academy
“…and my mum. Wow!! I can’t believe I’m here. I just don’t know what to say…”
You’ve won! Congratulations. Okay, what’s next?
Firstly, have a drink to steady your nerves. Now have another 10 or so to celebrate your win! Because in the morning you are going to start on a campaign that ensures you get the most out of your magnificent win as possible.
You should win business awards because it will equate to more profits for you!
People attach enormous credibility to awards.
Now is the time to leverage your win as much as possible.
Your strategy might include:
- Media Release to every relevant media in your industry
- Direct Mail campaign to your customers announcing the win (see below for an example of what you might write)
- New signage
- A party with your customers celebrating the win
- Attaching the words “Award winning” to any marketing collateral you develop for the next 50 years!
- Display the awards for all to see
- Announce the award on your web site
- “We’re a winner sale” – boastful but true!
Awards bestow instant credibility and integrity on your business. It’s like a fantastic third party referral from someone whom your customer respects saying “Buy from this business with confidence. We’ve checked them out and they are one of the best around.”
Award wins are great
Award wins are great because they provide incredible recognition and credibility for your business. Once you win an award you need to leverage that win as much as possible
Example letter to customers announcing your win:
We take great pride in developing a quality business and do appreciate you recognising this through your continued support. Your patronage means a lot to us as we have grown the business and tried to become the best business we can.
You might not know that on Saturday night we won the Best Business Award. It was a terrific thrill for us to be recognised in this way and I am writing to say thank you for your help in making it possible.
Without wonderfully supportive customers like yourself we wouldn’t have a business, let alone a business that has received such fantastic recognition.
Give all the credit to your customer
What you have done in your letter is give all the credit to your customer. That will make him feel a part of your business. He’ll feel a sense of ownership. And that’s great.
You’ve also reinforced that you are a quality business (you told him outright) and you praised him for having the good sense to recognise this.
Enter awards and you will win one. once you win one, leverage that impressive win as much as possible
Good luck with your entry!