I’m not going to lie….entering awards can be an arduous task. Working out which one to go for and which category to enter can be a minefield. When that part is done, actually sitting down and deciphering the criteria and working out what the judges are looking for is another, and you haven’t even written anything yet! Actually putting the hours in to write it, answering each question fully and making sure all claims are backed up with facts, figures and evidence certainly can put people off. It’s understandable why the whole process can be a little daunting, and to be perfectly honest, nominating yourself for an award is just not very British! We generally don’t like to shout about how great we are and we are often reluctant to divulge our secrets in case others snap them up.
I’ve been writing entries for companies and organisations all over the region and across the UK for 15 years now. In that time there has been a notable shift in how the awards are organised with event managers putting huge efforts into the ceremonies, creating informative and attractive websites to engage entrants, signing up sponsors, marketing and promotion and importantly, ensuring entries are judged fairly and treated confidentially. In turn this has elevated the perception of awards among entrants, both old and new, which has led to an increased number of entries year on year and more exposure, PR, opportunities and networking for all involved.
When I talk about the benefits and value of entering awards it spans across the entire process, from the preparation of the entry itself, attending the judges interview, being on the shortlist and of course winning. Yes, there’s plenty of fluffy feel good stuff in there, boosting motivation, rewarding individuals and teams for their efforts and generally feeling pretty pleased with yourself. But there are greater benefits from entering too. Financially, businesses could experience sales growth of 39% or more after winning an award, a supermarket chain announced internet searches grew by over 730% after announcing their award winning gin and it has been said that 80% of buyers will buy from an award winning company over a non-award winning one.
So what else can be gained from entering awards? Writing the entry forces you to look deeper into your business, to find out the all-important numbers and research details that are perhaps getting overlooked. It helps you tell your story which can be used elsewhere in your marketing collateral, and focuses your attention on your achievements and successes which are often not celebrated enough as you are pulled onto the next project. Exploring the questions can highlight areas where you need to improve, whether this is capturing more data, understanding your impact, competitive advantage, customer feedback or adjusting the ways you record important business information and decisions.
Attending the judges’ visits or presentation sessions are insightful and can also be an opportunity to tidy up those niggly loose ends before they arrive. Discussions may also lead to judges offering objective advice to help you steer your business for the future.
Never discount the achievement of being on the shortlist. As the years go on, the quality of entries get stronger, and the competition gets harder. Local awards can attract 50 – 100 entries so to be recognised in the top 20% of those companies in your area is not to be sniffed at. Equally, I have had clients shortlisted for national awards….with 2600 entrants and 400 finalists! To reach this stage is a huge success and even if you don’t go on to win so its important to change your mindset and enjoy the win as a finalist.
Of course winning is ultimately why businesses enter in the first place and its being on that stage, supported by your team, recognised among your industry peers and business colleagues that makes it all worthwhile. Success on the night is addictive so many companies will enter several times to secure that win again and again. Some will win, some will not but by being part of the process you are raising the profile of your town, city or region, you are celebrating all that is good about business today, rewarding brilliant people for their hard work and achievements and expanding your network, customer base and opportunity to market yourself to a wider audience.
Awards are here to stay, whether it’s for you or not. But be warned, your competitors are entering so if you are happy for them to take the limelight and reap the benefits of a 39% or more increase in sales, then sit back and take no action.
Or….you can download your entry forms today, starting with the Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 Awards, get preparing, start writing and experience the success that awards can bring to you in your business in 2021 and beyond!
For assistance and help with your entry for the Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 awards or other awards in the calendar, contact Lucinda White, Director, Pure Awards on 07900 571189 or email [email protected].
In the meantime, click here to purchase our complete guide to entering awards in 2021 for just £10!