24 January 2019 | Cathy Hayward
What are the benefits of winning awards? Do awards offer any strategic advantages? What opportunities do they create? Or are they just a waste of time, money, and energy - an expensive ego trip?
Beyond the joys of public recognition, leading firms leverage awards for ongoing improvement in their organisations. Here are six reasons how industry awards add value:
1) Enhanced quality
Because the work produced is representing the organisation, people are motivated to
- Pay more attention to detail
- Become more innovative
- Perform better
2) Business benchmark
The application process encourages an outside-in view and comparison with competitors. This helps people to think more constructively about areas for improvement.
3) Point of difference
Having both award nominations and award wins sets you apart from your competition. Each award entry is a valuable learning exercise in itself.
4) Targeted showcase
Award entries can be targeted in specific industry sectors and also cross sector areas of specialisms e.g. business excellence, customer service, employee engagement etc
5) PR opportunity
Industry awards create the opportunity to share the story with communities at a number of levels e.g. within the organisation, industry sector, subject matter experts etc
6) Team building
Entering awards reinforces the importance of everybody's contribution to the cause.
The key is to make the most of the process, both to bolster morale and pride internally and to promote the business as an employer of choice and leader in its field externally.
Magenta recommends the following:
During the award-writing process:
- Communicate to all relevant parties that you are keen to enter an award and garner views on the most relevant awards to enter. People will feel engaged, even if they don't have any ideas.
- Once you've decided on the right awards, involve the relevant teams in contributing content to the submission and reference individual/team work where appropriate.
- Involve customers through testimonials in the submission.
At shortlist/finalist stage:
- If the submission is shortlisted/ announced as a finalist, then communicate this news internally and externally.
- Write a press release about the awards shortlisting, including a case study of the project. Even if it doesn't get picked up as a piece of news, a journalist might be interested.
- Many awards judges require a presentation as part of the process. If possible, bring a client to the presentation to cement the relationship with them.
On the awards night:
- Think about who you want to invite to the awards dinner: clients and senior members of the team are a given but consider promising junior team members too.
- Publicise your involvement by regular tweeting.
- If you don't win, say nothing publicly. The last memory of the awards in the public eye should be positive - the shortlisting.
- If you win, tweet images of the team accepting the award and celebrating (with moderation!).
- Your communications/PR team should have a press release and hi-res images ready to go. Offer key personnel up for interview with industry press to discuss the project in more detail.
- Work with the awards organisers to see what other publicity may be available.
- Personally communicate the news to your clients.
- Conduct your own PR campaign by approaching industry press.
Learning the lessons:
- If you win an award, don't just slap yourself on the back and move on. Most awards allow entrants to get feedback. It's worth asking what made your project stand out and what you could do to be better in the future.
- Use that feedback constructively within your organisation.
To download Magenta's guide to writing a winning award entry, or to qualify for a 10% discount, visit - https://www.magentaassociates.co.uk/magenta-guide-how-to-write-a-winning-award-entry/
Cathy Hayward is managing director at Magenta Associates