Deliver An Award-Winning Performance


Nothing looks better on an office wall than an award. In many ways it’s a kind of referral - recognition of superiority conferred by an outside authority. It’s also a competitive advantage that can be of great value in marketing.

Watch people visiting any business. If they wait in the reception area they’ll look at the walls to see what’s there. Not at the paintings, but at the awards and other certificates that are on display. An award builds security in their decision to use your company.

Awards are conferred by trade organisations, chambers of commerce, magazines and newspapers, and government agencies of many kinds. They’re generally part of a publicity effort for the organisation giving the award and so tend to be well promoted. This is of great benefit to the winners, naturally.

There are so many kinds of awards you can win; for team members, for your products or services, for your business as a whole and even for your work practices. You won’t join the list of award winners without some work on your part, but it’s surprisingly simple and you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money to earn one of those elegantly designed certificates for your own wall.

Start by looking around for the sorts of award you believe you could compete for - do some research on the Internet and keep an eye on the business and consumer press.

Develop a calendar of application dates early in the year so you can plan your entries and dedicate sufficient resources to the quest. If you think you stand a chance, then don’t be hesitant about entering for the award. Many awards receive surprisingly few entries, which works in favour of those who actually do take the trouble to enter.

Once you find an award contest that you’re eligible to enter, obtain all the paperwork and read it carefully. Be sure to follow all the directions so as to avoid being disqualified on a technicality. Judges like to compare similar entries and if yours is out of line with the others you’ll probably rule yourself out from the start.

Look for clues to the qualities that will be most appreciated by the judges and don’t make any assumptions. Spell everything out and be sure to provide supporting evidence for any claims you make; don’t just say you’ve reduced workshop pollution; state how, and by how much.

Put everything together in a professional submission. If photographs are required the prints should be high-quality and clearly show everything you’re trying to illustrate. Double check all the text to eliminate any chance of spelling errors.

Put a bit of effort into the graphics elements. Use a page layout that enables the illustrations to be presented to maximum effect. Choose a typeface that’s appropriate to the subject - getting too fancy can obscure the content of the submission.

Be sure your entry is received ahead of the deadline. Contests are always beset with last-minute entries so get yours in ahead of time and you’ll stand out from the crowd.

If you’re being judged on an exhibit or trade display, share this knowledge with your team and offer some kind of reward if the business wins the award. This helps keep everyone on their toes and so will improve your chances of winning.

Winning an award can be extremely valuable for your sales and marketing activities as well as team morale. It’s worth putting in the effort to enter as many award contests as possible. And when you do win one, publicise your success as much as possible - including putting the certificate in a prominent place in your office!

Until next week,
Mike Reddy