Why Awards Should Be Part of Your 2020 Business Strategy

Not many companies are aware of the value of awards, and I often see many businesses producing amazing results for their clients but not being recognised for their efforts.

Joining StrategiQ in 2018 from a PR background, I’ve always had a passion for the value, reward and recognition that a considered awards strategy can bring to a business. So, as we have been on the receiving end of some fantastic accolades recently I thought it only fair to share some of our secrets, the method behind the madness so to speak.

So, if you find yourself in the “should I, shouldn’t I?” boat, you may well be missing out, but on what exactly?

Why should you consider awards?

Awards aren’t just about the fancy trophy, certificate or logo on your website. Winning or being shortlisted for awards can positively impact you, your clients and your employees.

Increasing Credibility Via Social Proof & Authority

A business award nomination, shortlist, or best case, a win is a third-party endorsement of your business. As per my article on psychological persuasion and influence, in social proof, individuals are more likely to approve of, like and trust things that other people do. This, combined with an award logo or trophy, tells others that you are the best at what you do and have external evidence to back this up. You can also use this in pitches and presentations to win new business.

Attracting New Business

Awards are an easy way to gain positive PR and be featured in industry, local and national news. They also raise awareness of your activities which impress existing customers and potential employees. As such, there is a massive ROI for winning an award because it can open doors if you are looking to try new supply channels, network with new contacts and break into new markets.

Benchmarking Your Company

A key benefit I discovered while gathering information for business and best employer award applications was that the application process gave the leadership team at StrategiQ, myself and the team as a whole the opportunity to look at the business from a different perspective.

This led us to identify areas of opportunity and growth including innovation, customer service, employee satisfaction and marketing, as well as web and product development. This, in turn, led us to be shortlisted for many awards, including winning the 2019 EADT’s Best Employer Award. So, if you’re looking to transform your company, looking at award criteria is a good place to start.

Motivating Employees & Encouraging Recruitment

Awards don’t only recognise the company, they recognise the efforts and achievements of the team around you: your employees. But why is this important?

At StrategiQ’s January 2020 strategy day, our whole team was introduced to Motivational Maps, which identify what motivates us in life and in the workplace. For some, they feel energised when receiving awards and accolades because it is an indicator of positive performance and motivates them to succeed.

So, winning an award can not only boost staff morale, it can also reinforce and improve motivation, as well as validating your employer brand among new recruits, so you can continue to attract the best talent.

How do awards enhance marketing strategies?

Besides key business benefits, awards also enhance marketing strategies by providing:

Link Building Opportunities

Google and other search engines treat links like popularity votes. Winning awards can provide you an opportunity to have links on reputable websites with high traffic, which can help your organic search rankings.

Content Marketing Ideas

Sometimes it’s nice to fill your blog feed with positive news about you and what you’re doing well to break up all of the thought-leading content. As such, awards are great for local news and can provide your blog feed with additional material.

Social Media Engagement

Since most awards have a social media account, winning an award could improve engagement levels for your company’s account, whilst driving leads and traffic to your website.

Brand Awareness

All of the content and social activity around awards can help people learn more about your brand and could drive traffic to your site.

What should you be thinking about ahead of planning an award strategy?

Now that we have covered how awards can benefit you, here are some things you need to consider before making the leap.

Award Types

No two award events or types of awards are the same. The key industries that we can provide research and insight into regarding award opportunities and competitor research around awards includes:

🏆 General Business Awards

These are regional, local and national awards as well as awards hosted by reputable magazines and publications, which have overarching market-general categories, or, are related to employee satisfaction, best business practices and sustainability.

🏆 Business Leader Awards

These are individual specific awards to highlight those who have made an impact on others around them.

🏆 CSR

There awards are related to charitable actions and corporate social responsibility.

🏆 Industry Specific

These are industry specific expertise related awards and can be broken down to include:

  • Construction & Architecture
  • Customer Contact, CX
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Financial Services
  • Health & Social Care
  • Hospitality, Sport & Leisure
  • HR & Training
  • IT & Telecommunications
  • Journalism, Publishing & Media
  • Legal Services
  • Events
  • Planning & Property
  • Products & Manufacturing
  • Public Sector
  • Retail and Consumer Goods
  • Supply Chain
  • Third Sector
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Travel & Tourism

Key Considerations

Awards should be anticipated ahead of time and categories are often released only three months prior to the submission date. However, we have provided some insight into the current award market including a few common notable observations:

  • You may not be ready to compete for an award yet – we will be honest with you on whether we think you are ready and, if not, consult you on what you can do to compete next year.
  • Awards require a great deal of effort – you should be ready to be questioned and provide answers to your marketing team. This will give you the best chance of winning.
  • Not all awards are created equal – we have analysed a few hundred awards, reviewing backlink profiles and previous winners to verify their validity.
  • ROI is an important metric for both your company and your clients – most awards we enter for clients request this metric in some shape or form.
  • Employee and customer testimonials matter. You should always be collecting these.
  • Some awards offer the opportunity to be featured in a magazine or article, so you will need to be ready to be interviewed or write an article for the publication.
  • All awards will provide you with a graphic card that you can use for promotion and may require updates to your email template or website. You may also be required to create a social campaign if there is a public vote.
  • In terms of cost, the average price for awards is between £250 and £400 per award per category – some are free. The average price for a table at an award ceremony is between £1500 and £5000 depending on the size of the event and number of people who attend on your behalf.

How can we help with your award strategy?

Award Research & Strategy

Prior to making any decisions regarding award submissions, we would hold an initial meeting to discuss what you would like to accomplish and the types of awards you would like to apply for. This will provide us insight into the types of awards to research in order to create the best award strategy within your chosen budget. Some things we will cover:

Budget Management: What is your total award budget?

Award Strategy Objective: What do you want to accomplish by entering awards and how will these influence your overall marketing strategy?

Project Management: Once we decide on a strategy, a project will be built out and we will create an award calendar/milestones document that will be shared with you to keep you informed of the process.

Award Application

The award creation stage outlines actions for crafting the award entries, while award aftercare is everything that occurs once you are shortlisted or win. Once the entire award process is complete, we will conduct a debrief and there will be an opportunity to give and receive feedback.

Phase 1: Award Creation

🏆 Step 1: Award Strategy

Together, we will put together an award strategy outlining the awards you will apply for, the budget, the components and key dates.

🏆 Step 2: Category Analysis

We will analyse the requirements of each award category and strategically put together a checklist of questions for you to answer.

🏆 Step 3: Content & Design

After receiving your information, we will write your award submission(s) and design any supporting material needed.

🏆 Step 4: Proof & Submit

You will proof the entry and confirm that you are happy with it. Once confirmed, we will create accounts and submit on your behalf.

🏆 Step 5: 2nd Stage Prep

Some awards involve a second stage of judging, typically a face-to-face interview or presentation. This is also something we can assist with.

Prep 1: The Presentation

Certain awards may require a presentation or additional information to be created. We will write the content and design a slide deck or other medium for you to use.

Prep 2: Judge Analysis

The purpose of a judge analysis is to give you psychographic and demographic information on who you will be talking to or judged by, so you can be more persuasive.

Prep 3: Shortlist Audit

To be prepared in the second stage, we can evaluate your shortlisted competitors to provide you with more knowledge on who you are up against and where your “gaps” are.

Prep 4: Interview Prep

We can help you prepare for your interview by doing a mock interview and providing you feedback on your statements and body language.

Phase 2: Award Aftercare

🏆 Step 6: Point of Contact

As we will submit on your behalf, we will be the first point of contact to receive feedback regarding your submission.

🏆 Step 7: Content Marketing

If you are shortlisted or win an award, we will write a blog for your website and a press release for local and/or industry publications.

🏆 Step 8: Social Media

Most awards have their own social media hashtag and account to follow. We would engage with these accounts and share your success during both stages.

If you are looking to expand your marketing strategy and add awards as an opportunity in 2020, please get in touch with your account manager today.