Would you want to win a beauty contest?

Would you want to win a beauty contest for your business? Or to put it another way, is an award as valuable if it has been won based on a public vote rather than judged? It’s a question I found myself musing over last week while at the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards.

At that kind of award ceremony – which honours children and young people who face struggles on a daily basis that most of us can’t imagine – it wouldn’t matter to me at all whether the winners were voted for or chosen because they were all exceptionally deserving of the accolades heaped upon them. It is truly one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. Even though this was my third time at the event, that emotion doesn’t fade.

But in a business context, my answer to the question is a little different.
My view on the best kind of business awards to win
If it was me, I’d want to win an award which signalled the quality of my business. If it was me I’d want to win an award which was genuinely an independent verification that our work, our service or something about our business was better than many others (on that occasion). If it was me, I wouldn’t want to lose to a business only because it was better able to leverage votes.

That’s my view based on the approach I would take for my business, because I would want someone to see I had won an award, check out how the award had been decided on and see that we hadn’t just won a popularity contest.

And yet, as I always say about awards, what matters is the strategic reason for [...]

By |October 18th, 2018|Awards tips|0 Comments|

Our new award tips for The Telegraph

We’re delighted to have been asked to provide expert tips on award entries for The Telegraph’s new awards, the Trade Awards.

Earlier in the summer we were contacted for insight into what makes a great set of awards as part of their research and as a result were asked to put together our tips for companies wanting to enter.

You can read the tips here.

The new awards cover 10 categories for small businesses with international ambitions. They close on 31 July, so there’s still time to put an entry together if you hurry!

Our NHS guide to internal awards ceremonies

Following the success of our guide to writing award entries for NHS communications teams and the accompanying training course, we were commissioned to write a guide to running internal awards ceremonies.

The document – A practical guide to running internal awards in the NHS – outlines the business case for organisations to have their own awards ceremonies, highlighting the strong evidence that increased employee engagement leads to better outcomes for patients. It then covers everything an organisation would need to consider and plan for when creating a set of awards, with suggestions about categories, judging and the awards ceremony itself.

Chief wordsmith Louise Turner said: “We were delighted to once again offer our expertise to the NHS to help them harness the power of awards.

“The business case for running staff awards, in the NHS especially, is backed by many academic studies. The increased levels of staff engagement that internal awards can generate are critical to improving patient care and outcomes.

“While written for NHS organisations, the guide could be used by companies in any sector as a step-by-step approach to planning, creating and running their own awards.”

 

By |June 21st, 2018|Awards tips|0 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Finding the right award – and some interesting alternatives!

Finding the right award – and some interesting alternatives!

Awards span pretty much every industry and activity, and come in all kinds of styles and sizes – from local to international, and professional and slightly unusual.

No matter how niche your business, or how common your services, there will undoubtedly be an award that you’re suitable and eligible to enter… but how do you choose the right one?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing the right award(s) – for more on how to find a good award, read our other blog here. Our top tips are to consider:

Your industry – when it comes to your industry, what really matters? What are the defining characteristics of what you do, and what are things that are most important to your stakeholders? What awards reflect these factors or exist in your specific industry? This is a great place to start looking!

Credibility – not all awards are created equal, so do your homework! There are some awards that are essentially little more than a money-making model, and won’t carry much kudos. Some awards may be hard to win if you’re not part of the network that ultimately decides your fate – think ‘old boys’ club’ and you get the picture! You need to ensure that the award is transparent and credible, otherwise it won’t bring any value in the long-run.

Judgment day – what’s the judging process? Are there different stages or ‘knock-out’ rounds? Will the judges require further input or evidence if you’re shortlisted? Will they want to meet with you face-to-face? Find out and make sure you’re prepared.

Timeline and timing – think about submission deadlines, award ceremonies and the time investment required by yourself and colleagues, and make sure you don’t have other commitments or [...]

What makes a “good” award?

We’re often asked what a good award looks like. There’s no generic answer, as the right award for one company won’t be the right award for another.

Awards are time-consuming and costly, but they are also brilliant for raising morale and your profile. You need to make sure that you’re entering the right ones and not wasting time and money on the others.

So how can you tell a good award from a bad one?

Are the awards transparent?

You need to be certain that you’re on a level playing field and that awards aren’t just going to be handed out to the biggest advertiser or the people who are mates with the top judge. So make sure you can see information about how entries will be judged and who the judges are – lots of people independent of the organisation running the awards and acknowledge industry experts are good signs.

If you’re invited to the awards ceremony just for putting an entry in, it’s likely the awards are more about making money than about serious industry kudos.

Do the people you want to impress care?

Entering awards should be a central part of your marketing strategy with an identified audience for who you’re trying to impress. You should only go ahead if winning that award will make the right impression on them. Otherwise you’re just wasting time and money.

We recently advised a potential client not to enter any awards as their prospects wouldn’t be at any of the ceremonies and wouldn’t care whether or not they won. It might have cost us work, but it has built trust in our brand in the medium term.

Where can you find good awards?

We usually start with professional industry bodies and trade magazines as, in our experience, [...]

By |March 27th, 2018|Awards, Awards tips|0 Comments|

Are award winners born or created?

A common question that comes up when thinking about business awards is what comes first – the award or the project? We find that it’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, and can work either way.

It may be that you’ve recently been working on a project that’s delivered some incredible results, and you’re sure that there has to be an award out there that it would fit perfectly. On the other hand, a specific award or type of award may have popped up on your radar, and you’re reviewing your current and recent successes to see if there’s something you can work around the criteria.

Creating an award opportunity

If you’ve decided the time is right for an award attempt, you need to consider your strategy. Why have you decided you want to enter an award? Is it to gain industry recognition? As another potential string to your marketing bow? Is it to help you stand out to the big players and help clinch some better clients?

Think about who you want to impress, and what type of award will help you to do this. Customer service awards can be a great way to back up any claims you make about your care standards. Alternatively, you might want to target an industry-specific award to help you rise up the ranks and build relationships with other key businesses.

When you’ve identified an award you want to target, you can:

Look at the application criteria in-depth
Investigate recent projects or process changes that would fit the criteria
Compare your achievements with previous winners to assess the benchmark
Identify if you can gather the information and evidence required
Start tailoring your submission towards the specified [...]

By |November 21st, 2017|Awards, Awards tips|0 Comments|

Creating an efficient award entry sign-off process

Creating an efficient sign off process

It’s always a race to meet award deadlines, so you need to plan well and create a process that ensures you meet all the objectives. This includes making sure everyone who needs to offer input has had their say, with time to check and agree any amendments – and all without compromising making the submission date!

Once you’ve developed a process, you’ll find subsequent entries much easier to manage – and everyone will be reading from the same hymn book.

Tips for creating an award submission process

Here are the golden rules for getting your submissions signed off, and sent off, in time:

Identify the owner – one person needs to take ownership of the award entry, whether you’re doing it yourself or using an award writer. They don’t necessarily have to know the detail of the project you’re highlighting, or get involved in all of the individual processes, but they doneed to co-ordinate them.
Agree involvement – from the outset, agree who needs to involved in expressing an opinion or signing off the entry. Don’t just limit this to people in your organisation: include any partners in the project and any client which may feature in the entry.
Balanced input – It’s likely you’ll have two levels of people involved – those who can provide detailed information to support the award criteria, and those who can provide a strategic view. You’ll need both groups to participate in the process of putting the entry together, and also in signing it off.
Organise senior engagement – the higher up the chain you go, the harder it can be to find time to commit to fast turnarounds. Make sure that senior managers and directors schedule time [...]

By |October 30th, 2017|Awards tips|0 Comments|

Saying no to award submissions

Last month we said no to a major international car manufacturer which wanted us to write an award about one of their new initiatives. You might wonder why we chose to say no, so here are five good reasons.

While a successful award submission can do wonders for your reputation, it’s also important to know when to say no. On the surface a particular award may seem like a golden opportunity for your business, but you need to be certain that it’s worth applying for. Applications generally involve a considerable investment of time – and sometimes money – both precious commodities that you don’t want to waste!

So when should you turn your back on a potential submission? Here are our 5 top warning signs that you need to say no…

1. Evidencing impact

Judging panels are looking for clear evidence that your involvement delivered a significant, positive impact on the project/customer. The case you’re thinking about putting forward may fit the criteria to some extent, but if it’s not genuinely impressive and easy to back-up with hard facts, then there’s no point entering. Most awards are run on an annual (or other periodic) basis, so if you’re not quite ready, wait for a year and put plans in place to gather evidence on a qualifying project throughout the next 12 months – then next year, you’ll be ready to roll! It may just be that the impact of the project is hard to measure in the short-term, and you simply need more time to collate data for evidence.

2. Achievements and expectations

Research always pays, so take the time to have a look at previous award winners so you can identify the benchmark you need to meet or exceed [...]

By |September 21st, 2017|Awards, Awards tips|0 Comments|

Customer service awards – anyone can be in it to win it

One common factor that all businesses share is customer service – whether you’re B2B or B2C, you have to manage your clients and the way you communicate with them.

The great news is that no matter how diverse or niche your services or products are, there will always be a customer service award that you’ll be eligible to enter. The downside to this is that competition can be fierce – so if you fancy having a crack, preparation is key. Here’s what we suggest if you’ve got your eye on a customer service award.

Be strategic about your services

To ensure you have the right credentials for customer service awards, you have to start with the basics. Review your service values and develop a strong delivery strategy – this will prove to the award panel and your clients that you care, and will encourage great feedback, an improved reputation and support should you need it for a vote-driven.

Why not arrange for some mystery shopping? This can be as simple as getting friends and family to send an email or make a call, or you could use a dedicated mystery shopping agency.

Be strategic about your stats

They say if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. As you roll out your all-new customer service standards, keep an eye on the numbers. Collate data on customer engagement and satisfaction – you’ll probably need a way to collect this from your customers – track call handling, response times, query resolution and anything else that you can measure. These statistics will start to show where your real strengths are, how much improvement you’ve made and what you need to work harder on. Above all, they can be used as supporting evidence [...]

Creating an efficient awards sign off process

It’s always a race to meet award deadlines, so you need to plan well and create a process that ensures you meet all the objectives. This includes making sure everyone who needs to offer input has had their say, with time to check and agree any amendments – and all without compromising making the submission date!

Once you’ve developed a process, you’ll find subsequent entries much easier to manage – and everyone will be reading from the same hymn book.

Tips for creating an award submission process

Here are the golden rules for getting your submissions signed off, and sent off, in time:

Identify the owner – one person needs to take ownership of the award entry, whether you’re doing it yourself or using an award writer. They don’t necessarily have to know the detail of the project you’re highlighting, or get involved in all of the individual processes, but they do need to co-ordinate them
Agree involvement – from the outset, agree who needs to involved in expressing an opinion or signing off the entry. Don’t just limit this to people in your organisation: include any partners in the project and any client which may feature in the entry
Balanced input – It’s likely you’ll have two levels of people involved – those who can provide detailed information to support the award criteria, and those who can provide a strategic view. You’ll need both groups to participate in the process of putting the entry together, and also in signing it off
Organise senior engagement – the higher up the chain you go, the harder it can be to find time to commit to fast turnarounds. Make sure that senior managers and directors schedule time in their diaries well ahead of time so they [...]

By |January 7th, 2017|Awards tips|0 Comments|