In an ever more connected world, the winning of awards and accolades is a very visible way for businesses to attract attention for all the right reasons.
As we approach the autumn deadlines for business awards in many sectors, we revisit some top tips for creating a winning business award entry.
Answer the Question
Many of us have uncomfortable flash backs to school, college or university exams. However, one of the most consistent memories is often the advice to ‘read the question first’.
Business awards are no different. Perhaps the most common mistake when entering is to simply write about what you’re most proud of, rather than satisfying the specific entry questions and criteria.
The good news is that those setting the criteria tend to be fairly transparent in what they really want to see. A glance through the award’s objective and criteria will no doubt highlight a number of keywords and phrases – teamwork, unique innovation, improved productivity etc. These not only need to be present in your entry but backed up by evidence too.
Carefully identify the important qualities mentioned and make sure you directly answer any questions asked, and in the format required.
Regardless of any other strengths you may demonstrate, your entry might not be seriously considered unless you first spell out how you meet or exceed the award’s criteria.
The level of detail required will depend upon the award. For example, an entry to the Queens Award for Enterprise may warrant far greater detail than an award for the local Chamber of Commerce.
However, those vetting entries will likely begin by scan reading – so summarise and consider using bullet points, before elaborating further.
Make appropriate use of the word limit but don’t pad. A punchy application is much more likely to succeed than something long-winded. Include the details which are important but avoid labouring a point. We’ve all had friends glaze over when we describe our latest project at work, so keep to the point.
Avoid jargon or excessive details about your product, service or industry. Depending on the award, those assessing may lack specific sector knowledge. Keep language clear and explain why key details are important by providing simple context.
If you include supporting evidence, make sure you refer to it directly.
Tell a Story
A good award entry is like a trifle, with each layer building up into something irresistible!
Many awards are won by companies who have been on a ‘journey’. Something which began with a challenge, brought out the best of their business and ended in success.
The winners of awards are often those with the most compelling story which supports the award’s objectives. Explain your inspiration, the steps you took and the impact. Stick to the point and only include details which help build the narrative.
Though your submission may be broken down into answering different questions or completing different criteria, take a look at it as a whole and make sure it flows from start to finish.
Find the Pearl
When it comes to a successful award entry, meeting the criteria alone is rarely enough to win. The judging panel will be looking for that certain something which puts your entry above others.
And let’s be honest, they may also be looking for that certain something which helps boost public interest in the awards. Something like a strong human angle, stand-out financials or success which has already garnered media coverage.
Try to identify the factor or achievement which sets you apart. If you’re the first, best or most daring, make sure the judging panel knows.
Statistic are a strong way to communicate success so summarise your achievement with simple numbers. Talk in relative terms as 150% growth sounds more impressive than a £10,000 increase!
Take Your Time
If it’s worth entering, do it well.
Success is often proportional to effort and other entrants may have gone to extremes to craft their entry and the information which supports it.
Leave yourself plenty of time to create a winning submission and make sure you get someone outside your organisation to read it and consider their comments.
Make sure you’ve answered all the criteria, it is concise and compelling, there is a clear narrative and you’ve highlighted the pearl!
If there is scope for visual design, present your entry in a clear, professional and appealing way. If the entry process allows it, include imagery to support it. For example, nothing communicates ‘great teamwork’ like a smiley picture of your team at work!
For more help creating a winning award entry, visit www.fullmixmarketing.co.uk