No matter the sector you work in, there will undoubtedly be an array of industry awards for your business to enter. But are they really worth investing the time and budget required?
The short answer is yes.
Why enter industry awards?
From team morale and building employer brand, to improving the business’ reputation, industry awards can have a real positive effect on a business. Ultimately, you enter awards in hope of winning. However, it may sound cliché, but it’s often the taking part that counts.
More often than not, shortlists are announced across social media or on the event organiser’s website and in some instances in the press, so even before winning, your business is being showcased as a high performer in the sector.
Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of not taking the time to reflect on successes but, by drafting an award entry, you have no option but to reflect on the work that’s been done. This means that drafting award entries are often a great way to truly understand business performance and boost team morale.
When it comes to employer brand, most awards include business and employee specific categories such as ‘large agency of the year’ or ‘young professional of the year.’ These types of categories really help to boost a business’ reputation across the sector. This also goes hand in hand with enhancing brand awareness among competitors.
Let’s not forget, award ceremonies are also great networking opportunities. Some award ceremonies have hundreds of people in attendance, so they’re a great opportunity to network with people in your sector, as well sponsors and industry experts.
What do you need to consider before entering awards?
As with any marketing activity, award entries need to play a part in the overarching business strategy and there needs to be a clear planning process in place to ensure you’re entering the right awards and the right categories, at the right time.
Before you get started on drafting entries, you need to ask yourself what the end goal is. Awards are great for building brand awareness in a sector, while also strengthening employer brand, but without a clear goal, it’ll be difficult for you to decide which awards are right for your business.
For example, if you work for a construction firm that only operates in the North West and you are currently driving recruitment, meaning you’re looking to increase employer brand in the region, then a general national award may not be quite right. Instead, you should be looking at awards with regional categories, or even North West specific awards that can help your business boost employer brand in the region.
Once you’ve identified the awards you would like to enter, it’s time to consider which categories are right for your business and how many categories you can enter based on budget. Top tip: when allocating your marketing budget, have a look at which awards you’d consider entering for the following year and make sure you put budget aside.
The best way to decide on the categories is by taking a step back and thinking about what has gone well during the timeframe stated in the entry pack. Have you launched a new product which has performed really well? Is there someone on the team who is exceeding in their role? Has a project exceeded expectations and delivered great results?
How to make an award entry stand out
Now you know which awards and categories to enter, you’re ready to start thinking about your entry.
Judges will often receive hundreds of entries for each category, so you need to make sure yours stands out. Here are our top tips for drafting a winning entry:
- Make sure you submit answers for each question. You may think this goes without saying, but sometimes there are questions which may fill business leaders with nerves – such as disclosing financials, employee numbers or even budgets spent on campaigns – but by not answering all questions you could be penalised. It’s also fine to add caveats that certain pieces of information are confidential and shouldn’t be shared publicly
- Shout about the results! Judges want to know what impact your campaign, project, employee or business has had on either the overarching business goals or the sector. Make sure you talk about the end results where possible and don’t be modest – have you launched a revolutionary new product that disrupted your sector? Scaled the business considerably? Moved into a new market? Or launched a campaign that resulted in a positive shift in behaviour amongst your target market?
- Avoid jargon. The judges may not be experts in your specialism, so try and keep jargon to a minimum
- Don’t rush! Awards have entry deadlines, so make sure you take the time to plan for each award you plan to enter to avoid rushing the entry. A rushed entry will never be premium quality
- Don’t exceed the word count. Judges often won’t review anything beyond the specified word limit, so try to keep your entry as succinct as possible
If you’re planning to integrate awards into you marketing strategy, here at Refresh we have a wealth of experience when it comes to drafting award winning entries.
If you would like some advice on drafting an award entry worthy of winning, get in touch.