Do you have awards apathy?

Personal Branding

By Donna O’Toole

I’m often faced with a little apathy when it comes to talking about winning awards. This usually comes from inside the organisations that don’t quite have the confidence of their bigger, louder, (but not necessarily better) competitors.

I don’t mind though. I quite like a challenge…it makes the eventual win all the more satisfying!
However, it’s somewhat frustrating when I can see the little golden nuggets of potentially award-winning initiatives ignored. When I know that if they were recognised they would boost brand confidence, improve employee morale…and yes, you guessed it, improve sales figures.

Because surprise surprise…proud, happy, celebrated staff make for pretty smokin’ salespeople and brand advocates don’t you know!

So if you or your boss is suffering from a little awards apathy, let me give you an example of a fictional, but fairly typical challenge I face…

  • Company X have had a pretty good year, their turnover has gone up and their profits are moving in the same direction. Nothing massive but it’s all positive.
  • But this wasn’t always the case.
  • Last year Company X undertook a customer service overhaul after noticing an increase in complaints and employee attrition. They talked to their teams, changed software, implemented some new feedback techniques, trained new customer experience champions, and gave their people more power than ever before to make decisions and to stop passing the customer from pillar to post.
  • And guess what…since then complaints are down, sales are stable and growing, and customers and employees are happy. Hooray!
  • Job done?

Well yes, the brand is stronger now. But the employees, the people who ultimately showed up every day and put the plan into action, well they are happy, but they could be happier. They could be shouting about their brand from the rooftops.

Ok so the transformation wasn’t actually rocket science. They ‘only did what their competitors already do’ but the point is this; they did it. They recognised where they were falling down, they made a transformational change, and they are now starting to reap the benefits.

So could this transformation be award-winning? Is it really special enough? Or is this a project much like any other brand is doing and just not sexy enough to win a national industry award?

Contrary to our instinctive humble beliefs that everyone else out there is bigger/faster/better than us; everyone else is ‘luckier’ or ‘more likely to win’. The point is, it doesn’t matter.

Depending on which awards you go for, and which categories you pick, there is a slim chance that you’ll even come up against your apparently ‘better’ rivals. And even if you do, so what?

Did they overcome the same challenges as you, in the same way, at the same time?

Highly unlikely.

Do they have the same staff, who will say the same things about them as you?

Of course not.

Do they have the same special customer with the same individual case study as you?

No!

So why let them beat you to the award before you have even given yourself a chance to win?

Why let your employees miss out on the opportunity to shout about their work and feel proud of their success?

It’s all about your story.

Winning awards is as much a strategic business activity as any other part of your business and marketing plan.

A great example of the opportunities winning awards can bring is beautifully explained here by Alex Marsh on behalf of Close Brothers Retail Finance who trusted us to turn what was for them ‘business as usual’ into a compelling and substantiated story that would go on to win multiple awards – deservedly so for all the hard work they put into looking after their customers on a daily basis.

Take it from me, awards apathy is simply giving up before you have even begun. Sometimes you really do just need to be bold. You need to be in it to win it.

Having said that…don’t just throw yourself into any old awards programme you fancy without looking objectively at your chances, analysing previous winners, and creating your USP for winning THAT coveted award.

Take the time to find out which awards you could realistically be winning and 2017 really could be your year.
Contact me to discover how to start your awards strategy.

 

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