Awards season is fast approaching, and whether you’re a household name wondering if you’ll be picking up an Oscar, or a small company hoping to get a mention at your local business awards dinner, there’s no doubt that hearing your name at the end of those four words is pretty special.
For most awards, however, big or small, there’s a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes to lead to success on the night – and this is where an experienced PR firm can really come into its own.
The first step for success is choosing the right award to enter. Just like an indie film is less likely to be in with a shot of winning Best Picture, but might be a frontrunner to pick up one of the technical awards (which will still substantially boost its profile), the same is true in the business world.
We work with a lot of clients in the construction industry, where there are countless awards events to enter. Obviously everyone wants to win the headline awards at big-name events, but we’ve found it’s often better to focus on a more specific category or event which really plays to a client’s true strengths. Having said that, winning awards is a numbers game, so the more awards you enter, the greater your chance of winning. Being prepared to fail can often lead to success.
Once you’ve decided on the award you want to enter, it’s time to marshal your facts. Assemble competitor analysis, productivity and sales data, profit and turnover figures, analysis of customer satisfaction surveys – facts and figures are your friends. Unlike flowery descriptions and subjective opinion, they can’t be disputed and can make your entry really stand out in a crowded field.
Next up, use the awards criteria as a check list to make sure you’ve got supporting information to meet each point – you’ll be marked down if you can’t do this.
Brainstorm with colleagues to make sure you’ve thought of absolutely everything that makes your entry a winner. If relevant, don’t forget the positive impact your business might have on your customers, employees, suppliers and the wider community and environment.
With facts at the ready, you’re now ready to write your entry. When it comes to this part of the process, the key thing to remember is to keep it simple. While the judges are likely to have knowledge of your industry in general, they may not be familiar with jargon that you use on a day-to-day basis, especially if you’re entering a technical award. No-one likes to have to admit their ignorance!
Plain English is best and if in doubt, get someone who doesn’t work in your field to read your entry for you to make sure it makes sense to them.
Once it’s written, make sure you supply all the supporting documents you’re asked for, including photography. Ideally, your pictures should illustrate the points you make within the entry and, if time and budgets allow, it’s worth getting photos taken specifically for this purpose if they’re not already available. It might be a cliché that a picture tells a thousand words, but it’s no less true for being so.
You might now be thinking that winning an award might be great for your profile but will take up time that you just can’t spare.
The answer, of course, is to ask the experts to put together a professionally-drafted entry on your behalf. We’d be happy to help, of course…