By Erin Heenan, Epos Now
Many companies view awards as superfluous to their main activities, believing their products and services should speak for themselves. This confidence is absolutely key to success. But why not accelerate the journey and share your achievements with prospective new customers and partners?
Channeling that passion and confidence into a strategic awards program gives you a platform to celebrate and promote your business, supporting specific business objectives, and driving your business forward.
Credibility is key to building the trust that supports successful (and profitable) customer and partner relationships, ask any business suffering post-scandal! Building a credible brand from a cold start is difficult and isn’t a quick process. Successfully winning awards, or even being shortlisted in certain awards programs, is a benchmark of excellence. To be associated with certain awards, particularly well-known or prestigious accolades, earmarks your product or service as superior to others on the market. Small and young companies featured on a shortlist alongside big-name businesses can add a huge amount of value. Your business is revealed as best in class comparable to products and services well-established industry leaders. This is a powerful and valuable point of reference for your customers.
Recruit Top Talent
Acquiring and retaining top talent is a challenge in any business. Having a people-focused award in acknowledgment for your training, HR, or employee engagement activities showcases and celebrates your commitment to workplace culture and professional development. This is something that will impress prospective candidates and set you apart from other employers. Regional employer awards are particularly effective when employing locally, as it raises your profile and allows you to spotlight key vacancies within your business.
Everyone likes to be on the winning team. Being part of a celebrated organization is great for making employees feel valued, especially if they get to take part in the celebrations. Awards ceremonies are often the biggest expense and therefore it’s not always possible to celebrate with everyone personally, but acknowledging the team's contribution adds to their sense of pride and achievement.
Above all, awards are a talking point and the stuff PR dreams are made of. Being shortlisted for an award is an opportunity to create a buzz about your business. Awards organizers are businesses themselves, and are always trying to splash their branding everywhere they can. They will often create marketing collateral for you to share. These logos have a lot of leverage and can be used on social media, in email footers, and on in-house promotional materials. If you have a PR company they can really maximize this opportunity, but even if you haven’t, reach out to journalists in your area or sector. They’re always looking for good news stories.
Things To Consider
Once you’ve identified the award you want to apply for it’s important to take into account the time and monetary costs involved. All awards are different. Some have entry fees, others are free. Some awards are simple question and answer applications, others are highly convoluted, requiring a lot of time, evidence, and subsequent presentations or judges visits to support the initial applications. This is why it’s important to plan ahead to meet deadlines and budgetary restrictions. You also have to consider your resource to ensure the person writing your submissions can relay your story in an engaging and factually accurate way.
The biggest expense often comes after the application process once you’ve been shortlisted. Awards organizers are in business to sell tickets and put on a good show. This means tables and tickets can run into the thousands, so it’s not always feasible for the whole team to attend. In these cases, it’s important to manage the expectations of your team to avoid any disappointment
The Last Word
Everyone likes a pat on the back, but applying for awards for the sake of it will just leave you with something on the mantelpiece to dust. Similarly, not acknowledging the value the right awards could bring to a growing business is neglecting a rich source of potential opportunity. Identifying what your business needs to grow will allow you to pursue the right awards to support you in reaching those goals.
Erin Heenan in an in-house content writer for the leading point-of-sale provider, Epos Now. Under her leadership, the software company has won 20+ regional, national, and international awards in 2 years.