Posted: 3rd February 2016
There are lots of business, charity, tourism and community awards being launched at the moment but when I ask my contacts if they are applying, the usual response is ‘No’. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in particular, don’t seem to have time and the fear of disappointment means they can’t see the benefits. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and research* to suggest otherwise.
A study in 2014* showed the value and impact on SME’s derived from winning business awards were both short term and long term and that there is tremendous PR value in entering and winning an award.
Organisations are worried that they won’t win and that is seen as a failure. But far from it, even the process of entering the awards can be good for organisations and staff.
So what are the benefits?
The research and evidence gathering helps with the identification and greater understanding of key performance areas and the recognition of best practice. It can also highlight areas where improvements are needed.
There is increased customer awareness, recognition and credibility which increases customer trust and loyalty.
Awards can create a ‘buzz’, leading to better engagement with staff, greater inclusion and productivity. The efficiency of staff can even increase from an enhanced sense of pride and absenteeism can fall.
Additional press coverage and free publicity for both Internal and external publicity. A good news story to share on web sites and social media. Additional benefits can come from displaying the award in staff and public areas and on all business communications and corporate documents.
At award ceremonies there are opportunities to take staff, customers or influencers with good prospects of meeting new or renewing old acquaintances regardless of being shortlisted or winning.
Positive changes in your sector nationally and in your local area and region including competitors, suppliers, the general public and stakeholders.
Better quality applicants, attraction and retention of talent.
Whether this is an increase in sales, ability to get grants, loans or bring in sponsorship. For SME’s it could increase in the value of good-will in the business and credibility with financial institutions.
By selecting the category carefully you can create a niche and generate good news stories that make you stand out from your competitors. From sustainability to green awards, from contribution to society, education, training and young people to improving the lives of others, show how you are making a difference.
If you exploit the short term and long term benefits of winning an award then all the above can contribute to improved competitiveness.
Here’s some WiRE members that have excelled in their field and won awards.
Yes it can be fairly challenging and time consuming but winning or being shortlisted is a big bonus and in the case of some local awards you may not be competing against too many other entrants. So what are you waiting for?
Kim Gilmour Connect Consultancy
*’Fool’s gold? The value of business awards to small businesses’ – Paul Jones, Joanne Scherle, David Pickernell, Gary Packham, Heather Skinner and Tom Peisl ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION Vol 15, No 2, 2014