Awards season is upon us.
Hollywood’s finest have already adorned the red carpet for the Golden Globes, SAG awards and Grammys. The Academy Awards will soon be center stage.
Business owners should also consider the start of 2020 as their awards season.
This is an excellent time to plan on entering some key award competitions that will build your company’s credibility, add leadership and authority positioning, and create earned media and PR opportunities.
While many business awards have value and certainly are worth pursuing, others do not.
Here are five tips to help you secure a prestigious honor and then leverage it for a maximum return on investment.
1. Develop an awards strategy.
Companies should take a proactive approach. They need to do a little research and determine which awards will be most beneficial in helping them grow their brand.
In some cases large, national honors, such as the Inc. 5000, are the only ones worth chasing. For others local awards, such as Fastest Growing Companies, Top Accounting Firm, Best Places To Work etc., can offer a high level of prestige for your client base and prospects.
2. Designate an awards ambassador.
Many businesses make the mistake of putting off award submissions then realize they only have a limited time to get all the materials compiled and submitted.
Designating a point person to be your awards ambassador can ensure that all necessary paperwork is readily or near-readily available. They can also seek out award opportunities in-line with the company’s mission and values.
3. Fine tune focus and costs.
Nearly all reputable awards are given out at no cost or require a small, affordable entry fee. However some ask for a hefty sum just for consideration.
While the sponsoring company certainly incurs some costs with processing and judging applications, those with seemingly excessive fees should be avoided.
Many unknown organizations practically proclaim you have already been named the top company in your category and for an $800 fee will secure your listing and send you a nice trophy. In the long run these meaningless honors have no value for you or your clients.
4. Share your award with your team.
Some companies will spend hours working on an awards application then bury the news once they receive their special honor. They place their plaque or trophy on a shelf in the lobby and then forget about it.
The business owner should ensure that all members of the team share in this success. The award should be shown and highlighted during a company meeting. Those most responsible for attaining the award should be recognized.
News of the award should be posted on the company website and included in the newsletter. The award can serve as vehicle to build team camaraderie, enhance prestige, improve employee satisfaction, and create a buzz throughout the organization.
5. Leverage your recognition for optimal branding and publicity.
Most awarding organizations will attempt to highlight its honored companies. Usually this occurs through a listing in the event program, an ad in a publication, or a template news release sent to the winners to distribute to their local media. However businesses should escalate those efforts.
Winners should post the news of the award, and the accompanying photo and/or video, on its website and all viable social media channels. Company formatted news releases should be created and distributed to the local media, business publications and trade journals.
News of the award can be highlighted in an email newsletter sent to clients. An award badge or line of recognition can be added to email signature lines. A story surrounding how the team made the accomplishment happen provides excellent content for the company blog.
Winning a prestigious award can not only elevate the company in the minds of its employees and clients, but also serve as an attractive recruiting tool.