Why Awards Should be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Why Awards Should be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Why Awards Should be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

From Start-ups and SMEs, to huge global organisations we all have and need a marketing strategy. And no matter your budget, awards should be included.

Awards can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to marketing. But an awards strategy can help to boost your business and brand awareness, all at a low cost with big impact.

A professional awards strategy will;

  • Help you choose the most valuable awards with the biggest return on investment
  • Help you decide the most relevant categories you are most likely to win
  • Help you manage and meet all your deadlines
  • Help you establish a workflow (for gathering vital evidence etc.)
  • Help you budget for the whole awards process (entry fees, ceremonies etc.)

So if you want to; enter awards you have the biggest chance of winning, raise your brand’s profile, recognise your team’s hard work, stop missing important industry awards, and put an end to submitting rushed last-minute losing entries…

You need an awards strategy! And if you’re not sure how to create one, we can help.

Here’s why awards should be part of your marketing strategy;

1) RECOGNITION

Whether you’re a winner, runner-up or a finalist, the third-party recognition you receive is invaluable. It will reinforce your marketing messages and raise your profile, so when you say you’re the best, you can prove that you really are!

Winning an award shows your existing customers you are trustworthy, reliable and a good business to spend their money with. And for new customers, being award-winning will give them a reason to choose you over their competitors.

Also, an award win, or finalist announcement will impress existing stakeholders and shareholders, and can be an effective tool to win over prospective investors.

2) ADDITIONAL PR COVERAGE

Becoming a finalist of awards with connections to local, national and industry press means you can benefit from FREE PR, saving you ££££s!

Awards such as The National Business Awards in 2019 partnered with The i, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post. Similarly, The Amazon Scale-Up Awards are organised by Business Leader Magazine. Both awards publish finalists and winners in articles that reach a huge readership.

Industry trade magazines often run their own awards programme and will publish you as a result of your participation – getting you valuable industry coverage.

3) LOW-COST LOW-RISK MARKETING

Marketing campaigns usually require a big budget. But entering awards is a relatively low-cost exercise that has a fast impact on your results.

Depending on the awards programme, entry fees can range from being free to a couple hundred pounds. By creating an awards strategy you can make decisions on which awards to enter based on your budget.

If you win, you have spent a small amount and achieved a huge result. If you are a finalist you have still gained valuable exposure. And if you don’t win this time, you will learn from the experience, and it won’t affect your bottom line.

4) BRAND AWARENESS

Awards can present some fantastic opportunities for networking, partnerships and sponsorships. All of which will increase your brand’s exposure and awareness in your chosen industries – which is a great way to find new customers and partners.

Award ceremonies are huge events attended by CEOs, business leaders and decision-makers.

If you want to grow in an industry you supply, getting yourself invited to an awards ceremony where your ideal customer will be is the perfect opportunity for exposure. You can network and create relationships with the brands you are interested in, either as clients or as collaborators.

Sponsoring and partnering with an awards programme will require a bigger budget, but if you choose the right event for you it can have a huge ROI. Again, having an awards strategy can help you decide the best opportunities for your business.

5) PROJECT MANAGEMENT

When you make awards part of your marketing strategy, an awards strategy will help you manage your time and the entry process.

We get so many enquiries from companies wanting to enter an important industry award where the deadline is as little as a week away! Usually because they have received a final deadline reminder and it was not part of their marketing strategy.

Depending on the length of the entry, the project you are entering and how many people are involved, you will need to plan in how much time is needed to gather the evidence, create the story and complete the entry.

With an awards strategy in place you can plan time for each step of the entry process; writing a first draft, editing, second draft, final edits, signoff and submission.

Planning time for all these steps will radically reduce stress and improve the quality of your entries, giving you a much higher chance of success.

HOW TO WIN AWARDS AND BOOST YOUR BUSINESS

Entering awards takes time, energy, and requires skill but it is worth it!

If you are ready to enter awards contact us to find out how our award writing experts can take the pressure off and write your entries for you. Or read our tips on how to write a winning award entry.

Take advantage of our full bespoke awards package where we can create your awards strategy, write your award entries and support you throughout the whole process.

9 out of 10 clients win when we fully support them with our full awards service.

Get in touch today for your free consultation and find out how we can help you build your brand through awards recognition.

 

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Personal Branding for Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Personal Branding for Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Personal Branding for Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

We were honoured to be invited to the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator Brighton Hub to talk about the importance of awards for personal branding and thought leadership.

Hosted by Natwest Entrepreneur Development Manager Kristina Pereckaite, the #PowerUp your Personal Brand event was a wonderful opportunity to talk to aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders, giving them actionable takeaways to improve their personal brands.

WINNING AWARDS TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

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August CEO Donna O’Toole took to the stage to inspire the room to take their personal branding seriously and enhance their reputation!

Donna shared her entrepreneurial story and demonstrated how you can use your unique story and business results to win awards and raise your profile, no matter the size of your business.

Gaining external credibility and recognition from awards verifies your achievements and gives you third-party credibility, which instils trust in your expertise and ultimately business. Winning awards gives you valuable PR opportunities, fantastic networking events, and provides a step-up to the next level in your entrepreneurial journey.

PERSONAL BRANDING 101

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The panel consisted of five personal branding gurus. All focusing on their own area of expertise;

  • Donna O’Toole our very own awards expert, talked the audience through getting into the right awards competitions and how to write your entry for the best chance of winning.
  • Kerry Watkins founder of Social Brighton ran-through some thought-provoking activities about the impact of personal LinkedIn profiles on your personal brand.
  • Jude Bolton, founder of Speaking Works demonstrated the importance of voice, breathing and balance when public speaking or presenting in business pitches.
  • Louise Stevenson, CEO of Speakeasy Coaching demonstrated how to exude confidence when speaking, and how to inject humour for audience engagement.
  • Personal Branding Coach Vicky Booker explained how physical appearance (clothes, make-up, grooming etc.) impacts on how you are perceived, and what message your image gives to prospective customers and partners.

It was great to hear from each one of the fantastic speakers. Everyone in the room was excited to take their hints and tips and start improving their personal brands and we are looking forward to seeing the accelerator entrepreneurs start winning awards for their achievements soon!

 

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International Customer Experience Awards Winners 2019

International Customer Experience Awards Winners 2019

International Customer Experience Awards Winners 2019

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AWARDS WINNERS 2019

We were thrilled to attend and judge at the 2019 International Customer Experience Awards Finals held in Amsterdam.

Inspiring international organisations are recognised for their exceptional customer experience. SMEs, large global businesses and professionals from all industries compete to win.

If you’ve innovated, transformed or are leading your industry in CX these are one of the awards you need to win!

PRESENTATIONS TO THE JUDGES

The awards follow the same format as the UK Customer Experience Awards.

Finalists present to the judges during the daytime event before finding out the winners in the evening. So no need to wait months to find out if you’ve won.

Presentations are 15 minutes long with an additional 15 minute Q&A with the judges. The judges’ questions help to bag some last-minute points you may have missed in your presentation and could be the difference between Gold and Silver!

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Our CEO, Donna O’Toole was part of the judging panel for Most Effective Customer Experience in Social Media category this year. She said,

“It was great to be a part of the international customer experience awards and to see some of the incredible customer experience transformations being made across the world! It’s great to meet the teams behind them and hear exactly how they have made a mark on their businesses and customers.”

“Judging the entries is always an interesting activity, and seeing the hard work of the entrants come to life in a face-to-face presentation is a real privilege. It’s an incredibly revealing process; there is nowhere to hide when it comes to the judge’s questions, but the best teams always shine bright in the end.”

Attendees were invited to watch the finalists present to the judges. A fantastic opportunity to gain insights into the current customer experience trends (and check out the competition).

Throughout the day the venue is a hub for networking, sharing a coffee and lunch with colleagues, and connecting with sponsors.

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AWARDS WINNERS 2019

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Winners included Telkom Indonesia, The Holly Private Hospital, Dell, HP, KCB Group and many more very happy teams!

Silver awards were given to the very close runners up who included Shell, Caterpillar, TUI Benelux and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

And there are even bronze awards for the very best of the rest, including tado, E.ON and Sberbank.

We would like to say a huge congratulations to all the winners at this years’ International Customer Experience Awards, and to all the finalists. And a huge thank you to Awards International for organising such a successful event.

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WINNING OPPORTUNITIES

The awards don’t stop there.

Two weeks after the event, all finalists receive a feedback report from the judges, providing invaluable insights and comments on where they excelled, how they compared to the winner, and where to improve for next year.

The International Customer Experience Awards will open again in 2020. But before they do, winners need to be shouting about their win. And finalists, we’d love to hear from you!

We can help you to understand where you dropped points and what your next steps should be. Contact us today to book in your free consultation call.

And we look forward to the 2020 awards which promise to be bigger and better!

 

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Gatwick Diamond Business Awards Winners Moore Kingston Smith

Gatwick Diamond Business Awards Winners Moore Kingston Smith

Gatwick Diamond Business Awards Winners Moore Kingston Smith

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

In 2018, the Moore Kingston Smith Redhill office wanted to recognise the hard work that had gone into their employee engagement and wellbeing activities over recent years.

Their clients and employees were happier than ever. Their initiatives were working brilliantly internally, but the wider business community did not know of their progress. And they were ready to shout about their success.

Paul Samrah, Partner, Moore Kingston Smith LLP explains; “We got in touch with Donna because we wanted someone to look at our business objectively and tell us if we were doing something different or exceptional. We were doing so many different things to benefit our employees and customers, but we didn’t know which ones to pick out or where the focus would be from an awards perspective.”

DEVELOPING AN AWARDS STRATEGY FOR MOORE KINGSTON SMITH

Moore Kingston Smith is a leading firm of accountants and business advisers. The Redhill office is a local hub of 4 partners and 30 staff. With over 18 years of experience serving the Gatwick Diamond, Surrey and Sussex area.

Their clients and employees are often also based in the South. They wanted to show they are a great employer and business to work with. So it made great sense to focus on winning a highly-regarded local award that would touch the surrounding business community.

The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards were the perfect fit. The awards celebrate people and businesses in the ‘Gatwick Diamond’ area who are innovative, inspirational and committed to the region.

GATWICK DIAMOND BUSINESS AWARDS – EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR

We made it our business to find out everything about Moore Kingston Smith’s excellent employee culture, digital transformation, wellbeing initiatives and so much more. They had a really strong story, with great results to back it up, and so the work began…

It was our job to take all their hard work and ensure it was clear and easy for the judges to identify what made them stand out. Hitting all the important criteria points and shining a light on their employee initiatives in a compelling and unique story.

The result? Moore Kingston Smith were crowned Employer of the Year at the GDB Awards!

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The Redhill team were delighted and surprised to win. It meant so much to them to have the external credibility of the awards shine a light on their work.

Team morale was immediately boosted. They were proud to be part of a business who really look after their employees. And now they’re even more determined than ever to keep it up and stay the best!

Paul spoke on behalf of the team in his feedback, saying:

“We’re very excited to win Employer of the Year at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. We value our team members, who are valuable assets, and actively support them with career development, modern working practices, family-friendly initiatives and regular social activities.”

“Aspiring awards entrants would do well to engage with Donna & her team at August to significantly enhance their entry. Thank you again Donna”

Thank you Paul! And huge congratulations to Moore Kingston Smith! Not just for winning the award, but for truly being a fantastic employer and role model to other businesses.

 

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How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

 

Congratulations, you’ve been shortlisted as a finalist!

Next you have to present to a panel of judges and show them why you should win. No pressure. 

Your presentation could be the difference between whether you win or lose, so it’s important to get it right.

We know how to create an award-winning presentation. 88% of our clients win the awards we create a presentation for. 

Plus August CEO Donna O’Toole often chairs judging panels, she’s even won an award for it

So here are our top six tips on how to create an award-winning presentation.

It’s all in the planning


‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’

Before you start, find out as much information as possible; 

  • What is the judging criteria
  • How long should your presentation be
  • Is there a Q&A section
  • What equipment is provided
  • How many presenters are allowed

Now that you know everything about the process, you can begin to create your presentation!

Presentation Tools

 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all presentation tool. You need to choose what you are comfortable with.

If you’re an experienced speaker you could stand in front of the judges and deliver your presentation. Or you might bring your team. Whatever works best for you, and the category.

Video always works well in a presentation. But it needs to fit the criteria and score points.

Every minute you are presenting is valuable. So do not add video as an excuse to fill time, the judges will work you out.

And always have a plan B.

Bring handouts when you are using a PowerPoint and don’t panic if your video doesn’t play. Saving your presentation to a memory stick as well as a laptop is always a good idea too.

Death by PowerPoint

 

We’ve all had to sit through a PowerPoint presentation that goes on and on and on…

‘Death by PowerPoint’ is an easy mistake to make.

Judges can’t listen to you, read a slide and score you all at the same time (they’re only human after all). Your presentation is a visual aid and should enhance what you are saying.

Make it on brand, simple, clear and concise.

Listen to David JP Phillips TED talk on how to avoid ‘death by PowerPoint’ and get some handy tips.

Your Presentation A-Team

 

Your presentation team will represent your business, so you need to pick the right people.

Consider the category, who is available on the day, who knows the project or business best and who is confident in speaking and answering questions.

For example, if you’re shortlisted for Team of the Year make sure the vital team members are present. Or if you’re shortlisted for Company of the Year for your industry you will need to have people who know the business well.

The judges can ask very specific questions and you should have the best people in the room to answer them and score extra points.

And remember everyone in the team needs to have something to say and bring value to the presentation.

You won’t get away with bringing someone to stand there and look pretty. Or give the talkative, confident team member all the lines – the judges will see through it!

Create your Winning Content

 

So you know the judging criteria, how you’re going to create your presentation, and your team. Time for the content!

Start with an introduction outlining your story and the conclusion it will lead to. Highlight the important points, objectives, actions and results.

Remember the judges have already read your written entry so don’t worry about spoilers!

Use the criteria to structure the content and address each point fully. Videos and images will make an emotional connection with the judges. Graphs and tables will provide evidence and show off your results.

To conclude your presentation tell the judges your biggest results and achievements again. And end with a passionate, rewarding and positive conclusion.

“Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” – Aristotle.

Present with Confidence

 

Our tips for building presentation confidence are based on the four Ts;

  • TED
  • Team
  • Transport
  • Technology

Watch TED talks for advice on how to present confidently. TED speakers are infamous for giving powerful, emotive speeches and captivating their audiences. Where better to get some presenting tips from than watching the pros?

Practice, practice, practice.

Learn your lines, choose your order and rehearse.

Recording your team rehearsals is a great way to find sticking points and where you need to improve. Now’s your chance to fix these issues before the big day.

Don’t leave the transport and logistics of the judging day to the last minute. To be confident on the day you need to be calm and relaxed. So don’t allow a delayed train to get you in a flap!

Arrive with plenty of time to spare and you will be able to keep yourself calm and collected.

When you are using tech, make sure you have everything you need (leads, cables, speakers etc.) and that you are confident using it.

If you are ever in doubt about what you need always contact the awards organiser. They want to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Need a hand?

 

You’ve done so well to get to the finals, your presentation is the final hurdle to getting your hands on the trophy!

Use our tips to create your own award-winning presentation, or get in touch!

We will create your presentation for you and coach your team through it. Giving you the best chance of winning, saving you time, and putting your team at ease.

Get in touch if you are a finalist and would like some help with your finalist presentation.

 

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2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

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