Entering awards – is it worth it?
With the raft of notable and varied industry awards on offer today, there are some tremendous Public relations and commercial opportunities just waiting to be gained. Yet for many in the building industry, this low-cost marketing activity will be overlooked.
The reality is that many builders striving to promote themselves further and ultimately win more work will forgo entering awards. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of the many benefits that winning an industry award can bring, or a misunderstanding of what is involved.
For some, the thought of drafting an award submission conjures up images of a burdensome application process that absorbs a large amount of time and effort for your organisation, with little trade-offs.
These days, winning an award, or being nominated for one, can extend far beyond simply hanging a plaque in your office – now you are able to share the news with your followers through social media channels.
Read on for the most compelling reasons to enter an industry award, as well as a handy checklist of important things to consider before taking the plunge.
Evaluation and motivation
The award entry process gives you a good reason to analyse your best work and re-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your company. It allows you to see how far your business has progressed over the years and acts as an incentive to aim even higher for the next.
Many industry awards also provide written feedback on applications, so you have the benefit of receiving an objective opinion from experts in the industry in addition to your own evaluation, whether you are a winner or not.
When you assess your business against the other award entrants, you will recognise areas that may need improvement as well as opportunities in your sector that your competitors have already used to their own success. Don’t underestimate the value of a good ‘pat on the back’ – winning an award is also recognition for employees and can boost employee morale by acknowledging their great work.
Third party recognition
How often have you walked past a local business – restaurant or other retailer – with awards displayed in the window? Recognition by the industry means far more than any clever advertising you could develop yourself.
Winning an industry award provides third party recognition of the outstanding work undertaken by your business. A judged industry award that leads to a winner, finalist or commended award recognises your work and provides the benchmark for the industry’s best.
Attract new business
Receiving an award will undoubtedly serve to raise your company’s profile and make it stand out from the competition. You can use the accolade as a promotional tool by displaying it in advertisements, on your company website, business cards, email signatures, social media pages, newsletters and other brochures.
This will enhance your company’s reputation as an industry leader and, particularly for business-to-business companies, stimulate interest from potential new clients. It can also act as a selling point for new business work as a third party endorsement adds value to your sales pitch.
Increase media exposure
Industry awards are a powerful way to gain positive media exposure for your company and increase prospects for publicity with a newly bolstered profile. It encourages industry-related media to take more notice of your activities and puts your brand on the radar for industry speaker events and other publicity opportunities.
Are you convinced yet? Before you rush ahead and enter your company into an award category, be sure to complete the following checklist of points you need to consider.
1. Can you win and what evidence is there?
Before you submit your entry, you need to be sure that it is worthy of winning an award. Generally, there will be submission guidelines that will indicate the calibre that is required and judging criteria. Consider what other companies in your field have done in the past year and if your work stacks up against the competition.
An award entry will require you to gather evidence and solid examples to back up the claims of your entry. This could mean finding customer appraisals, floor plans, blueprints, lists of subcontractors, before and after photos of projects, endorsements and relevant case studies.
You need to be able to demonstrate how your company has achieved genuine improvement or return on investment and also how your company has done things differently from or better than others in the industry.
2. Which awards and categories should my company enter?
Deciding what kind of award and category to enter is determined by what your company specialises in and what aspects you believe are worthy of an accolade.
Has your company been particularly innovative in one particular aspect of your industry such as building techniques or the use of materials? Has it successfully achieved improvement in areas such as environmental sustainability, planning, design, equal opportunity or efficiency? Have you completed a remarkable restoration project?
Ask yourself which categories your building or construction projects can fall under. There is a plethora of local, regional and national award opportunities for the building industry in Australia which can set your company apart. Considering what awards will actually benefit the overall mission and goals of your company will also help in deciding which ones are worth entering.
3. Who is going to write it?
Putting together an entry often takes time and needs to be well presented, so think about who you will put in charge of writing it. This could be an employee who worked on the project, or an internal or outsourced communications or marketing team that can do all the research and ‘heavy lifting’ for you if you’re tight on time.
4. Is the deadline realistic?
Award entry procedures are generally time consuming and require the utmost thoroughness. Consideration must be made as to whether or not you are able to meet the deadline and have the time to execute it effectively amidst all your other deadlines and work projects.
Aim to put your absolute best foot forward rather than submitting a sub-par entry for the sake of being in the running – there will always be another opportunity next year.