Why you need an awards strategy for 2023

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Winning is a great feeling, so have you thought about your awards strategy for 2023?

Winning boosts your reputation, positions you as the ‘best’ in your chosen category and definitely has the feel-good factor. Research carried out from Shape the Future and Awards List also found that industry awards do make a positive difference to purchasing decisions, with 82% admitting they’re influenced by wins when choosing which products or services to buy.

But a win doesn’t happen by accident.

Awards: a strategic approach

If awards are important to your organisation, the number one tip for winning is to make sure you have a strategic approach to awards. This allows you to maximise your investment of money, time and resource to give you the best possible chance of glory on awards night. In the same way you set out success criteria for a marketing campaign or communications initiative, you should be able to articulate why awards matter in your business and industry, which of your key audience’s awards matter to, and why winning matters more.

Which awards to enter?

As part of a strategic approach to awards, there’s the big question of which awards to enter. There are in the region of 4,000 different sets of awards in the UK alone, each with around 10-12 categories. That’s over 50,000 possible entries you could make, so how do you narrow it down?

A useful question to consider is who your award success will impress. Is it clients, prospects, industry peers or perhaps even internal stakeholders? Understanding this will help you narrow the options by thinking about which sets of awards hold the most kudos amongst your target stakeholder group and therefore which ones are worth considering.

It’s also good to have confidence that the awards you’re considering are robust and transparent in their judging. Look for the Awards Trust Mark for independent verification. Our chief wordsmith, Louise Turner, is on the advisory board of this not-for-profit accreditation scheme.

Best practice for entering awards

At this point, it can be useful to do some research around best practice for entering awards to understand what great really looks like and even who the past winners were. This will help you think about categories you want to enter and the important things to be aware of when crafting your entry.

Awards broadly fall into four categories: business or project, people or team, innovation, and everything else.  Crucially, awards recognise exceptional so this really is one of those cases where you need to critically assess whether what you think could be an award-winning entry really is.  Good isn’t always good enough; the bar will be set high, so be selective about where you want to focus your efforts.

In any set of awards, there will be times where there’s a really nice fit between a category and the story you want to tell.  However, you may also find at times that it requires a little creative thinking to ensure you can deliver an entry that matches the category criteria whilst staying true to the story you have to tell.

When you have all of these thoughts worked out, you have yourself an events strategy.

Prepare for your 2023 awards entries

With 2023 around the corner and a fresh year of awards to target, here’s how you can best prepare yourself for success:

  • Benchmarking is crucial to demonstrate change so take time to get regular data snapshots that will help you evidence progress
  • Evidence is your best friend in awards so make sure you are backing up your claims with data, testimonials and reference points, all of which you can start to collect in advance of your chosen set of awards opening for submissions
  • Work backwards from the deadline to make sure you have ample time to prepare your entry as deadlines always come around quicker than you think

At Awards Writers we recommend leaving at least six to eight weeks for each entry, especially if you are working with us as your partner. It takes time to assess your proposed entry against the award criteria, to understand your story and to connect with any other stakeholders who are going to contribute to the entry. Time is your greatest asset with awards; we all want to avoid the last-minute panic of a looming deadline or running up against the clock.

With proper planning and execution, bringing your awards strategy to life doesn’t need to be stressful or complicated. It does, however, need to be organised so what better time than now to get started?

If you’d like to talk to us about your 2023 award strategy to see how we can help, you can get in touch here or give us call on 0208 7207307.