There are lots of reasons for entering awards. Some are about profile and some are about pride.
Recognition impresses customers, partners, and investors. It can be a differentiator for procurement. It makes your employees feel like part of a winning team and might be a deciding factor for new talent.
Awards should be part of everyone’s PR & Marketing plan but which ones are worth the time, money and effort? When you add up the entry fee, table, travel, hotels and entertainment, you could spend between £3k and £5k on a single awards – so where is the best return on investment?
Having designed, entered and won awards, I believe there are five things to look for when considering an awards or recognition programme:
How transparent is the judging process and is there enough of the right caliber of judges? If it’s a small judging panel for lots of award categories, then the process might not be as rigorous as it could be. Check out the entry form to see how much thought has gone into the process. Is it clear ‘how’ and ‘what’ you will be judged on? How heavyweight are the judges? If the judging panel is made up of respected industry leaders endorsing this, then it’s an award worth winning.
Credible judging is an important factor but what else makes it prestigious? Have a look at the alumni of previous winners to see who has set the standard. Does it have an Advisory Board of influential advocates? They should have done their due diligence if they are endorsing it. If the last ceremony venue, keynote speaker and entertainment had ‘wow factor’ then the organisers are clearly conscious of delivering value rather than cutting corners. You want your team, clients and partners to be impressed, not embarrassed.
Awards are about recognition, so how are they raising your profile? If there is a media partner, know how much press coverage has been generated from the awards and finalists. Check if there is a sustained PR & Marketing campaign through the year with opportunities to coordinate social media around big announcements, like shortlist and winners. Is there an opportunity for finalists to be interviewed, in print or video or both? All of this can be featured on your website, with links from award logos in your email signature to maximize recognition.
Very few awards provide feedback, but those that do deliver immediate ROI on your entry fee. A benchmark or feedback report shows that there is a rigorous judging process in place, it should give you insights that can make you more innovative or competitive, and how you compare to peers within or outside your industry.
What are your objectives for recognition? If it’s to attract or retain talent, focus on Best Companies to work for. If it’s to attract investors, look at Fast Track or the Growing Business Awards. It’s easy to see who you need to beat to determine whether to enter or not.
This year, The Supper Club is partnering with the National Business Awards to support the recognition of exemplary entrepreneurs and Britain’s best scale up businesses. We are also supporting the Growth Investor Awards to recognize high growth entrepreneurs who have optimized SEIS, EIS and VC to scale. Both of these awards programmes have rigorous judging, impressive Advisory Boards, a strong alumni, feedback, and year-round campaigns.
Having run the National Business Awards for several years, and launched the Growth Investor Awards in 2015, I can vouch for the quality, integrity and value of both of these programmes – both for members of The Supper Club and for our overall programme of thought-leadership this year.
While I can’t tell you how to win an award, I can certainly help you to decide if it’s worth entering. So please do get in touch if you’re looking for the right kind of recognition this year.
The National Business Awards are now open.