A new company launched into the professional security industry, one that most in the industry knew little about. While the name was new, this up and coming security technology business had more years of experience behind their management team than many well known competitors. The new name was a result of a merger of two established brands; so while the new company had the engineering brains of a well established firm, no one knew their name in an industry where reputation was everything. The solution? Strategic awards that educated the market about their brand.
Through a series of “big wins” in the security world, the new company was able to successfully make the transition from an unknown entity to a brand respected by the public for their top engineering talent and innovative products. This shift in perspective gave the brand the credibility it needed to become a respected name; which directly impacted sales and the breadth of the consumer base.
Similar to events, and B2B PR Strategies, not all business awards are created equal. While the benefits of the business awards can be limitless (consider free marketing, increased credibility, and attracting top talent) choosing the right award for your company to enter is crucial, and oftentimes, game changing to the success of your firm.
How does a company navigate this kind of success in the award sphere, when the volume of awards available multiplies each year? Will these awards “move the needle” to advance my company’s business objectives? What happens if a company does not win? These questions are relevant, and the answer lies in three basic criteria that ensure a business award “win” is worth the cost and effort. Most importantly, it allows for business awards to create a significant shift in the company’s bottom line – just as it did for the up and coming security company.
Whether we admit it or not, the press coverage an award receives is a big reason companies submit an application. Sure, awards can boost employee morale and the company can complete their own write up on the award win, but if a major publication would like to create a story about the award and the winners, all the more reason for entering!
When evaluating an award based on press coverage, consider the type of publicity you want. The Triangle Business Journal Awards are a great example of local coverage. This coverage is a way to get your company’s name in the community where you operate, show you are an active member of the local economy, and can help recruit and retain top talent.
AgTech companies headquartered within the Triangle Business Journal coverage area are a prime example of local press that can help boost local appeal and community centered focus. The variety awards the Triangle Business Journal offers, such as Life Science Award, call attention to the up and coming tech companies, and provide local notoriety in a region often defined by its agricultural influence. At the end of the day, the coverage in a local journal often results in interest from other local publications, and increases community brand awareness.
Another example of viable press coverage is within the industry trade press. These types of awards will highlight you, your company, or your product in the market sector in which you are working, whether that be in home security or venture capital. When evaluating which awards your company plans to apply for, do a quick search to see what publications covered the award last year, what was said, and which companies (if not all!) were highlighted in the write up. Will this win be noticed by customers or others influential to your business?
A key for anyone who wants to bring home the blue ribbon from a business award: remember that specificity is key! It may seem easy and relevant to apply to an overarching “best company culture” or “best workspace” nomination – but keep in mind that these broad categories are relevant to the masses and attract lots of competition. Ensuring that the award you apply for aligns with your business goals allows you a greater opportunity for success.
One venture firm aligned their business award applications with the specific goal of demonstrating the firm’s deep bench strength. Their strategy was simple – apply for awards where junior partners were viable competitors (think 30 under 30 awards, and the like). The purpose of this strategy was to show it wasn’t just the executive team making waves, but the up and comers, as well. What resulted was impressive recognition for these junior partners, as well as a positive shift in perception for the venture firm as a whole: this was a company brimming with and attracting new talent. The award successfully aligned with the company’s strategic goals.
The objective when choosing an award that defines these goals is to get specific. Don’t apply for the “best app” award. Apply for the “best iPhone app for kids under twelve.” Don’t apply for “Best Restaurant,” apply for “Best Pizza in Seattle.” This strategy not only gives you a better chance of winning, but also requires your company to take time and ask themselves, “What am I really good at? What’s my company’s competitive advantage? What makes my company unique?”
Another approach when evaluating what aligns with your company is to consider which awards your competition has won or applied to. That provides a great jumping off point when assessing which awards are accessible to your company (and give your competition a run for their money!)
Business awards are often expensive and time consuming to enter – so ensuring that there are benefits with winning (and even simply entering) the award is crucial.
Consider TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Pitch Competition. You don’t need to win the competition to reap the rewards (though the prize money is definitely a nice perk). All of the Battlefield Contestants receive a free pass to TechCrunch Disrupt, access to private events, as well as the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of judges for a chance to win some working capital. At the end of the day, win or lose, participants who enter this award come out victorious.
But we can’t forget the benefits for those who actually do come out on top in these prestigious awards. Scaled Robotics, a robotics construction company, won the Battlefield Berlin pitch competition in 2019. This success has resulted in over $2.2 million in capital raised to date. Keeping an eye for the potential upside of an award will help you stick to competitions that provide significant benefit to your business.
It is also smart to keep in mind that there are also awards out there where winners will be required to attend an (often pricey) event in order to officially receive their award. While there are some very prestigious honors out there that require attendance in order to qualify – it is important to read the fine print so you know what you are signing up for, and what it will cost you and your company if you do find yourself named as an award winner!
Going Home with the Gold
While the ultimate goal of all of these awards is first place, if you choose your submissions strategically, you can be guaranteed that everyone goes home a winner. Through careful assessment of press, alignment and external benefits – your company’s application for a business award can boost company morale and help to define goals and expectations, all while putting your brand in front of potential customers and clients.
Interested in learning how to develop an awards program that will execute on your company’s business objectives? TenorPR has insight that ensures each business award benefits your company beyond the trophy. Let’s talk.