They say ‘it’s an honour just to be nominated’, but who doesn’t love winning?
When it comes to promoting your company’s strengths and putting talented individuals in the spotlight, dedicated industry awards can be a great way to showcase achievements, boost brand reputation and add further credibility to a value proposition.
For prospective customers, it’s proof that a business is recognised in its field as one of the high achievers. Today, they can fit effortlessly into a wider marketing strategy as a way for businesses to showcase their products, services, and overall excellence to potential customers, partners, and other industry stakeholders.
Taking home gold in established industry awards can help to establish credibility and trust with potential customers. In the right category and program, recognition as a reputable industry organisation can serve as a valuable endorsement of a business’s capabilities and quality of work. For B2B businesses, which often rely on long-term partnerships and relationships with other businesses to power commercial success, this is absolutely invaluable.
Of course, there’s also the exclusivity and caché that comes with scooping top honours at an annual industry event. It can provide a strong platform for showcasing a product or service in a way that more traditional advertising paths can’t achieve alone.
One of the biggest challenges in creating a win-worthy entry is distilling a product, service or brand down into just a brief snapshot. A compelling entry must sell a story or an idea to a panel of industry experts in just a short window of time, which can be tougher than it sounds!
At Marketing by PHD, we work with our partners to draft excellent attention-grabbing award entries by not only understanding how to pull out a strong value proposition that connect with judges, but also knowing our core industries in-depth.
Of course, along the way, we have learned a thing or two about crafting a gold-standard award entry and handle the process for our clients from end to end – so what tips do we have to share?
Not all awards are created equal!
When looking for promote an eye-catching product or service, it’s all too tempting to enter every award program going. Some are also free to enter, which can seem enticing.
However, not every B2B business award program is going to be relevant and value-adding. A trophy for the office and a new logo on the website may be enticing, but if it’s not connecting with potential customers and bringing commercial impact, it’s likely not the most effective route to channel your time, budget and marketing efforts.
Instead of a ‘scattergun’ approach, be selective. Identify the awards that are meaningful for your industry. Focus efforts on those that bring prestige, and those without a ‘pay to play’ image.
First impressions are everything
Your entry is your ‘shop window’
We make decisions in a short space of time – and that includes judges! Take time to craft an entry that showcases your product or service in a way that flows and connects directly with the needs of the market. Focus on the key areas that set your entry apart from the market, and be sure to include specific results and metrics – data always helps to tell a great story.
When submitting to multiple entries through the year, it can be tempting to create a ‘catch-all entry’ to be copy-pasted, but we don’t advise doing that! Each award programme has distinct criteria, formats and word counts. By writing for the specific audience and judging panel, entries can resonate on a deeper level and present a better case to win.
As such, try to give yourself as much time as possible to create the entry. Award calendars are typically released early on in the year and for many programmes tied to specific publications, the issue following the event. While prize-worthy last-minute entries can be done (and we’re no stranger to these requests at PHD!), working well ahead of schedule gives more opportunity to iron out creases and find extra opportunities to impress.
Home in on in the ‘why’
Demonstrate true market knowledge
It’s one thing to describe what an innovative product or service does, but don’t forget to set the scene and explain the why.
This is particularly important in awards judged by panellists from the industry, who are likely au fait with the challenges of the industry, but benefit from understanding the unique perspective of your business and the viewpoints that lead to your award entry’s development.
It can feel like a very fine line to walk – explaining market context without reading as patronising or too basic. A good rule of thumb is to sense check the entry with a diverse cross section of the business, from technical to sales and marketing. Does the entry get straight to the heart of the value proposition? Is the description clear without being too simple?
Tied in directly to this – have data at the ready! It’s always important to ‘sell the sizzle’ and include subjectivity, but statistics can be a powerful tool on contextualising these points.
A dedicated marketing partner, such as PHD Marketing, can work with almost anything when it comes to presenting data, so be sure to have statistics at the ready!
Don’t underestimate your imagery
Keep an up to date media library
A picture tells a thousand words – and we always advise our clients to maintain a good media library of images and video.
As well as strengthening marketing collateral, the majority of B2B industry awards ask for images or supporting documents to strengthen the entry, instead of just uploading company logos.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a pure product focus – the team behind the product or service, or shots of business departments hard at work, can be a great storyteller.
The right images with your B2B award entry can help the content jump out for judging panels and industry experts, and for those that come with brochures or industry publication special editions, they’re critical for capturing the attention of prospective customers.
Shout about it!
Leverage your award win
Award wins are fantastic news for your team, your customers – and those businesses you’re looking to connect with, so be sure to leverage it to its full potential.
At PHD, we always encourage our clients to make the most of every opportunity! In addition to engaging social media announcements, a press release to industry publications may be a good fit. Why not construct a blog that outlines the award win and explores the product or service in more detail?
Use the feedback!
Valuable insight brings continuous improvement
B2B industry awards are an important chance to connect with experts from your industry in one place, and that brings its own advantages. Whether successful in taking the gold or not, we always recommend requesting feedback. Not all awards are able to provide specific feedback on entries, but it never hurts to ask!
Input from the panel on what worked, or didn’t work, can help to improve future entries and provide valuable clues on how to make the next entry more effective. Plus, don’t only focus on areas of improvement – understanding what was great about your entry is just as important.
In addition, non-partisan feedback can be useful in wider terms. If an informed industry expert has questions that were not answered in your ‘snapshot’ entry, perhaps there overall messaging and value proposition needs to be sharper.
At PHD Marketing, we know awards. As skilled storytellers in the B2B landscape, we understand what it takes to put our clients’ expertise in the spotlight and give products and services a chance to shine on the world’s stage.
Why not get in touch with our team today to learn more?
To learn more about the benefits of working with Marketing by PHD for your brand’s marketing and communications needs, speak to our friendly team today at [email protected]