To enter awards or not, that is the question

Over the past few months, we’ve drafted many winning award entries on behalf of clients in a range of sectors. The list includes regional, national and international awards such as the Actum Private Equity Awards, North West Leadership Awards, Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Awards, North West Property Awards, Safety4Sea Crew Welfare Awards and many more.

Each award entry takes time and effort to put together but is it always worth it?

In this piece, we look at the pros and cons of entering awards and give some sound advice.

As an agency, there’s barely a day that goes by that we aren’t offered the chance to enter an award, either on behalf of our clients or for ourselves. If we took up all the offers, we could have a member of the team writing awards pretty much full time, for the next six months.

The pros

There’s no doubt that winning industry awards can be a huge accolade for your company; a way of promoting your expertise and setting your business apart from its competitors. Award nights can be hugely motivating for staff, helping foster a sense of pride and camaraderie. They can also be a great tool for marketing your business, providing you with a raft of content for social media and your website. It’s always good to get a pat on the back and external confirmation that you’re doing a good job.

The cons

Writing a good award entry takes a huge amount of time – evidence has to be gathered, often from a number of internal stakeholders, and third-party endorsements sought, not to mention securing sign off of the final document.  If you’re a small team, this time investment can impact your business and its clients. Another downside of award entries is the cost – not just of entering, but of taking a table at the awards night. If the team is excited about the prospect of winning an award, they’ll definitely be deciding what to wear before you can say ‘shortlisted.’

Think strategically

So, when you get an email asking if you’d like to enter an award, should you go for it? Our advice would be to do your research, think strategically – what are you hoping to get from winning the award? Winning one great award, is better than winning three less credible ones –   sometimes less is more. Before hitting your keyboard, ask yourself:

  • Who is organising the awards – is it a credible organisation or publication? A big telltale can be the number of categories, if the list is as long as your arm with questionable award categories, you may be best giving them a wide berth.
  • Who won the award last year? Checking out past winners is a good indication of credibility – do you consider previous winners your competitors? Would you be proud to be mentioned alongside them?
  • What is the cost to enter? If it’s extortionate, chances are, the awards are more about making money than celebrating success. Check out the cost per entry and, crucially, what the cost would be to attend the event should you be shortlisted.
  • Who are the judges? Do you hold them in high esteem? If the panel are made up of people you’ve never heard of, alarm bells should start ringing.

So, instead of jumping in feet first, entering every award that enters your inbox, be choosy, do your research and ask yourself why you’re entering. The right ones can be worth their weight in gold, but the wrong the ones can be a huge waste of time, effort and expensive.

Need help with your award entries?  Contact Victoria.