From the desk of Rebecca Peel – Managing Director, Awarded.
Entering and winning the right awards can bring your business many benefits. Not only are they great for attracting and retaining talent, but they also hugely influence client buying decisions as they provide that impartial seal of approval and reduce risk. Not only that but, awarded businesses can experience an average of 77% higher sales growth than non-awarded businesses. And leading M&A and Corporate Finance advisors note that the right awards will add value to your proposition and are an important consideration when it comes to sale.
So, if these are just some of the reasons why you should be entering awards (and more can be found on my website), why are some businesses not winning the awards they deserve, or not even entering them in the first place?
Whenever I speak to businesses about awards, I invariably get one of the following responses:
We’re happy doing what we’re doing
They’re just money-making schemes and we’re not interested
We’ve dabbled in the past with some success, but we don’t really know which ones we should be entering
There’s not much I can really do about the first two. Once people have made up their minds it’s often quite hard to change them – but not impossible. However, it’s the third response that really floats my boat.
Having written award entries for well over a decade, I know what it takes to win, and so here are my top three tips for improving your success rate and winning big.
1. Have a single-minded goal
Every business should know what it wants to achieve; whether it’s a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) that is tangible, energising and highly focused, such as becoming the Nike of your own industry. Or something less visionary, but more practical and immediate, such as repositioning your business to be seen in a different light.
Whatever it is though, it’s important that you’re single-minded about it. You need to treat this as your guiding light, the one thing that will decide whether you should do something or not. And you then need to ensure you underpin that with key measures, so you know when you’ve achieved it, or at least where you are in your journey.
Only when you have this goal can you move on to tip number 2.
2. Publish a plan
Once you know what you’re aiming for, it’s much easier to identify the awards that will help you get there. Each award scheme has its own mission and values, and so then it’s simply a case of marrying up how you want to be seen with the right scheme for you. Ask yourself:
“Will entering this award help me achieve my goal in any way? Are there better ones out there? Are we ready to enter yet? What do we need to do to get there?”
For example, PAC’s Global Awards celebrate craftsmanship in global package brand design and innovation. Its winners are those that have evidenced a positive impact on business performance and brand value, have prioritized sustainability and innovation, and work in a collaborative way. If you’re a package design firm that places innovation and sustainability at the heart of what you do and can demonstrate a positive impact on your client’s business, then entering PAC’s awards is a no-brainer.
Invariably you’ll have a limited budget and you won’t be able to do everything, so it’s really important that you make a plan and stick to it. And don’t let others try to deviate you away from it!
I find it helps to publish the plan so that others can see what you’re aiming for and can get on board. If they understand what the ultimate goal is then they can help to prepare for what’s needed well in advance. And everyone will be happier to avoid those last-minute ad hoc requests.
One such example is my recent work with a brand acceleration agency. Having a strategic plan (that has been executed well and across a team of people) has resulted in improvements across all of its KPIs of increased awareness, talent attraction, retention and team motivation.
3. Be prepared
Regardless of the type of award you go for it’s imperative to really understand what the judges are looking for and play to that. Many publish judging criteria, but others don’t, so you need to look back at the winners from previous years to understand what type of work wins, and what information is needed to make a persuasive entry. Many award schemes publish winners and/or nominees on social media – following them will give you insight into how to present your entry too.
It also helps immensely to have your house in order in terms of case studies. A comprehensive case study that details the brief, strategy, solution and results is a must, but if that doesn’t exist (yet) then the client brief, strategy and design presentations, as well as any results are a very good starting point.
When I started working with one design business, they had partial case studies that were a good starting point but didn’t necessarily contain all the information needed for awards – they often lacked the human element and an emotional connection with the reader. Now they have seven compelling case studies, six of which are award-winning.
By taking a step back and looking at the whole awards process objectively, and by putting these steps in place, you will instantly put yourself in a much better position to win the right awards for your business. And then all that remains for you to do is to shout about your success…
On February 18, 2020, we announced our 2020 PAC Global Award winners in New York City at the ONEOF100 Summit.
For more information on the PAC Global Awards competition, please visit our details page.
Our 2021 call for entries will happen in June 2020. Check www.pac-awards.com for details.
If you’d like assistance with preparing an entry set up for success, please contact Rebecca Peel.
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