Are awards worth the time and money they’d cost me?
If you can’t answer this question, give me a few minutes to explain why not investing resources for awards isn’t an option. While you’ve invested time and money in developing your business, people outside your company don’t know what you’ve actually accomplished, where you’re headed, or how legitimately you’re perceived within your industry.
You deserve to be recognized for your creativity, leadership, and experience, and awards are a key component in moving your company brand forward. Every agency, business, and entrepreneur experiences different benefits from awards, but there are some common ways you can leverage awards to grow your business.
Win Prizes to Help Your Venture
Not every award comes with a cash prize, but there are some competitions that can carry thousands of dollars’ worth of reward for winners. Even if your company is well-funded, prizes add value. Don’t limit your thinking to cash, either. Many opportunities bring you equipment, services, or other rewards that can be just as — if not more — valuable than money. Be smart and take advantage of opportunities that can help your bottom line in a very direct way.
Build Company Brand
“Branding” encompasses everything from company morale to reputation to customer expectations. Awards increase your chances of creating and maintaining a positive brand image. Awards also give prospective clients insight into the trustworthiness of your brand — they give you name recognition before you’re well-known.
Become an Industry Thought Leader
Great organizations are led by industry experts who drive change, not follow it. If you’re recognized by different organizations, you help identify yourself — and your company — as a thought leader in your industry. Whether it’s a local Entrepreneur of the Year award or acknowledgement as the top innovator in your industry, your achievements help your company’s reputation.
Recruit and Keep Top Talent
Whether you’re a big-, small-, or medium-sized company, your most important resource for long-term success is your people. Sure, there are always people looking for a job, but attracting talent that can influence the future of your company is difficult. The best want to know they’re working for the best. Strategic awards that honor your company as the industry leader with a great culture can position you for success when trying to compile a top-notch team.
Gain Credibility among Peers
Awards shine light on your company’s successes and increase your credibility among peers as an industry leader. Think about the last book you read. Why did you read it? Was it on a New York Times bestseller list? Had it won a recent award? Awards and third-party accolades build credibility behind who you are and what you stand for.
Attend Networking Opportunities
Oftentimes, winning an award involves a live announcement ceremony. This is an ideal opportunity to brand your business — and yourself — as a leader in the industry, grow your influence, and build your credibility in person. Even awards that forgo the live event present a great opportunity to network with other winners and awards sponsors, as well as the judges, editors, or individuals who selected you. Think about it this way: You were just recognized as the leader in what you do, in front of a group of peers, potential clients, and investors. People will want to talk to you, and you should take advantage.
In the end, a strategic awards initiative can be used to your benefit in a variety of ways. The important thing is to stay on top of opportunities, create a long-term strategy that gives your company a well-rounded approach to building your brand, and leverage awards in your sales approach, marketing materials, and conversations once you’ve won them. With these steps, applying for awards will be worth the time and money, every single time
SOURCE: B2B Marketing