How often do you find yourself looking for credibility before making a new purchase? When you want to watch a film, most likely you’ll check the rating on rotten tomatoes or how many stars your favourite film critic awarded it. The same can be said for businesses.
By Liz Smailes, Marketing & Communications Officer, Skipton BID
Do you have what it takes to be a winner?
Hear the words “Oscar Academy Award Winner” and immediately you trust that the film will impress and entertain, purely because of the credibility bestowed by its nominations. Oscar award-winners are, by the simple virtue of their selection, deemed to be the best. Not everyone will necessarily agree, but it’s via that red carpet moment and the stage acceptance speech that we come to know popular and successful actors, actresses, musicians and the like through these award-winning nominations and achievements.
Awards are a great way to reinforce opinions about an organisation or business, establish expertise and thought leadership in the market place, as well as endorse creditability for a product or service. Before making a new purchase, you will research what the reviews say and how it ranks in the star-rating. Winning awards for your own company can help you generate new business and, who doesn’t want to say they are “award-winning” when speaking with media, partners, potential employees and customers?
Winning Doesn’t Come Easy
Award application processes are often time consuming, sometimes difficult to write and if you’re even half-way successful to being shortlisted as a finalist, you have to pay for at least a couple of people to attend the awards ceremony and may not come home with the final trophy. So why bother investing all that effort, time and expense into entering awards?
Firstly, if awards didn’t require a fair degree of effort, then they would be meaningless. Secondly, the benefits of just being shortlisted for an award can be far-reaching, for both a business and the team. Thirdly, preparing for the submission process is a great way to assess where your business is at and what it could do more of.
Now, perhaps more than ever before, is the time to distinguish your business from competitors. It is crucial for any business to gain recognition for its outstanding achievements and innovative services or products.
How Do You Find Out About Awards?
Discovering appropriate awards for your company can be difficult, but using an outside source may help the process. If you don’t have a PR partner keeping an eye out for you, you can do research using online tools to find information about a variety of award programs. The free “Boost” service lists awards across all manner of industries with 1-2 month deadlines for entries.
We’ve selected a couple of examples from Boost’s extensive list, that some of you might like to submit an entry for either this year, or plan for next year.
The Family Business of the Year Awards were created by Family Business United to celebrate the UK family business sector, to recognise the diversity of family firms across the country and to celebrate the contribution that they make.
“We are looking for family firms, irrespective of their size, family firms that use their family nature and values to build successful businesses and represent great ambassadors for the sector as contenders for these awards.”
Nominations for the Family Business of the Year Awards 2021 open in September 2020.
The Small Awards, launched in 2017, targets the whole small business sector focusing on businesses often overlooked by other awards.
Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Winner?
Qualify the opportunity. It is critical for organisations to first qualify the award opportunity and determine if the award is appropriate and worth the time. Will news of the award reach your target audiences? How will winning this award help your organisation reach its business objectives?
Determine criteria. Put yourself in the judges shoes and ask the question, “What will it take to win the award?” Do you have the credentials? Who are you up against? Being ambitious and reaching high is important, but be realistic.
Understand the judging process. How will winners be selected? Will a committee look at nominations and if so, who will be on it?
Be creative and tell your story in a narrative form. Award nominations have a greater impact if you can tell your company’s story in a creative and narrative format. To help accomplish this, include personal anecdotes, volunteer activity and supporting documentation that will help your nomination stand out in a creative way.
- Visibility. Awards can help garner a significant amount of visibility in a certain market or industry, as well as attract new customers by giving an organisation an edge over its competitors.
- Validate. Awards speak volumes about a company’s products or services and substantiate their credibility. Even an award nomination can be helpful because it validates a company’s leadership in its given market and proves it is ahead of the game.
- Testimony. Winning an award or even being nominated serves as testament to a company’s work ethic, dedication and unique specialty. New customers will likely consider a company or organisation’s work over another if it has won an award. Furthermore, current customers may view the award as a good thing, reinforcing their loyalty and willingness to share information about a product or service.
- Reputation. An award can improve the perceived reputation of a company to the general public, new customers, investors and the like. Recognition may transform a company’s reputation from “ok”, to excellent.
- Differentiate. An award sets a company apart from competitors and differentiates the quality of its achievements and services from others. An award helps a company stand out for excellence over and above many other businesses in the same industry.
Recent Award Successes for Skipton Businesses
Merritt & Fryers won the 2019 National Builders Merchants Awards – Showroom of the Year (for their fabulous new showroom upstairs).
Director, Rachel Fryers, says, “I submitted my brother’s department for the awards – he manages our showroom – but didn’t tell him, I just thought we ought to give it a go. When we were shortlisted I had to confess my actions. We had a couple of days in London, which was lovely, attended the event… huge; and won!! My brother would never put himself in for this, but the support he has had all along and since then – suppliers always want to work with winners – has helped him believe that what he and his team are doing really is quite exceptional! We beat the big boys to this. By that, I mean the nationals!”
Beating some tough competition with lots of entries, Skipton Boat Trips and The Rendezvous Hotel Skipton have been shortlisted in the county’s prestigious White Rose Awards, hosted by Welcome to Yorkshire. Congratulations to both businesses and we wish you all the best for the finals later this year!