Entering business awards: What difference does it really make for your company?

To many SMEs, getting adorned with shiny accolades is all pomp and circumstance. But from networking to sales, just being nominated can bring substantial success

Entering business awards: What difference does it really make for your company?

Winning trophies is fantastic. But truthfully, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the glitz and glam, involving your organisation in awards programmes boasts many additional benefits. Whether it’s picking up new business, rewarding your team or understanding your own company better, the experience of many organisations shows you don’t have to win to get great return on investment.

So let’s break down the most common benefits of entering for awards and how your business can benefit both internally and externally.

The ultimate marketing opportunity

Just being shortlisted for an award is fantastic publicity for your business. It associates your brand with excellence and gives another reason to shout from the rooftops about what you’ve been doing well.

In fact, today’s award programmes typically offer publicity tools such as social media logos and press release templates. Developing a marketing plan depicting your team’s journey from nomination to ceremony will make the most of the many public relations opportunities on offer. 

A unique understanding of your business

As any teacher will tell you, explaining something from first principles helps crystallise your own understanding. Although the process varies slightly, most major awards require a written description of your business initiative. Remember, awards judges are normally industry experts but not company insiders, meaning you should explain things differently than usual. 

When you justify something to a third party you discover what’s truly important and have to think about your business holistically, which is both beneficial and refreshing.

Meet the stars

At its core, award ceremonies gather like-minded individuals under one roof. The setting is more sociable than conferences or other business events which makes networking more enjoyable – but no less effective. 

Some awards are very niche, meaning most attendees are your industry competitors. That’s useful in its own way but others are cross-sector, such as the UK Customer Experience Awards. At events like these spanning the whole economy, you can touch base with a spectrum of potential clients as well as keep an eye on how your competitors are doing. 

Make the team proud

Seeing a whole team gather to collect an award is a memorable sight – their camaraderie is inspiring and it’s clear how much the victory means to them. 

But whether you win or lose, bringing your team to an awards ceremony is a great way to show you appreciate their efforts. The glamour of such events makes them enjoyable social outings as well as business opportunities, meaning staff really appreciate the gesture. 

The stamp of approval

Winning or being shortlisted for awards is a high-level endorsement of your brand. It means business experts have evaluated your initiative and decided it deserves official recognition. This in turn boosts employee experiences, convincing them they’re working at the right place as well as improving clients’ perception of the brand. After all, if you’re a customer-centric business and your customers care about awards, why wouldn’t you? 

Sell it large

Together, all these benefits – better marketing, more enthused teams, greater credibility and so on – ultimately mean enhanced business performance. But the extent you’ll directly see increased sales depends on your marketing strategy’s strength.

For maximum impact you should locate your awards victory or shortlisting in your company’s own compelling story. You can then end up in a positive feedback loop: winning awards drives up business, which in turn helps you win awards. 

Awards are a fantastic way of getting publicity, meeting influential business leaders and getting recognition to drive future business. From an internal perspective you can show you value your team’s efforts, building confidence in their abilities and improving future performance. What’s more, the entry procedure ensures you reflect on your business in a constructive way. This means you can get a substantial return on your investment whilst learning about your company and industry. To anyone, that should be a win-win. 

This article comes courtesy of Awards International, the awards programme organiser

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