How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

These last few weeks have been totally surreal.

Last year, when the awards industry was planning its 2020 calendar of events, it did not expect to be re-planning them just a few months later, in possibly the most challenging circumstances any of us have ever known.

So naturally, after getting past the initial shock of the arrival of COVID-19 into our lives, and making all the necessary checks on our families, friends, colleagues, customers and connections. And after giving huge thanks for the incredible heroes looking after us all on the front line of hospitals, schools, shops and more, our conversations have turned to business.

The most popular business question I have answered all week is without doubt:

“So what’s happening in the awards industry?”

And my answer has been simple.

“The show must go on!”

Because that’s exactly what I’ve been told by awards organisers around the world. And my goodness they are rising to the challenge!

But before I give you the industry insights, and feedback from some of our most beloved awards programmes, I need to be clear about something.

Awards are NOT about shiny trophies, sparkly dresses, and penguin suits.

Awards are about PEOPLE.

  • The thousands of people who work in awards teams to deliver exciting, engaging awards programmes to recognise the best businesses and individuals across every industry.
  • The thousands of people who work in hospitality and events day and night to create and implement the spectacular ceremonies that bring your teams together.
  • The thousands of people who apply their expertise to every single awards programme with lighting, music, sound, and film as well as the artistes who entertain us.
  • The thousands of people who spend their ‘spare’ time judging your award entries and pouring over the tiniest details to find the right winners.
  • The thousands of people who work in awards, marketing, and PR agencies to support businesses and individuals to raise their profile through winning awards.
  • And the thousands upon thousands of people who work so hard every year in their businesses, departments, and teams to deliver the projects that are so worthy of awards recognition.

ALL these people matter to the awards industry.

And right now, they are ALL pulling together to do quite literally everything in their power to bring you the best awards you will ever experience. Despite the challenges.

Why?

Because we, the industry, are passionate about our purpose.

We are proud of our people and our skills.

And we are positive that we can help you to come through this incredibly difficult time with a stronger brand and a higher profile than ever before, so that you can move into the coming years with all the power you need to succeed.

We know the value that professional, credible recognition will bring to your business. We see the millions of pounds of business that happen at every awards ceremony. We experience the incredible partnerships and friendships made at the events. And we feel the power and energy that recognition gives to YOUR people and YOUR brands.

Right then…so what IS happening in the awards industry?

Adaption. Adoption. Innovation. That’s what.

The awards ceremonies due to take place over the next few months are either adapting and moving their ceremony to a later date, or they are adopting new technologies and innovating to take their celebrations online.

So there is no need for you to miss out on a single trophy, and you might even find that you end up with more time to prepare, and more valuable digital assets to promote you than ever before!

Remember, awards look BACK at what you have already achieved – so you can take advantage of this and use your growth from the last few years to help you get some positive PR for the years ahead.

We’ll also be setting up our training online so you’ll be able to use your time wisely to upskill and prepare for your next award entries very soon too.

Personally, my hopes for when we come through this, are that we will have grown as people, supported each other, innovated for good, and that the awards industry will be recognising people and brands for their incredible and heroic behaviour, resilience, partnerships, collaborations, crisis management and above all else, kindness.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Together we will win.

 

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Strengthening Your Brand During a Crisis

Strengthening Your Brand During a Crisis

Strengthening Your Brand During a Crisis

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

In the midst of a global crisis, this morning I picked up the paper and look what fell out…

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A Saga brochure advertising the company’s “Award-Winning” boutique cruises.

At a time when we all face personal and professional uncertainty, when we are all thinking about the health and safety of our family and friends, and when we quite literally don’t know what our next business steps will be, there it was…Saga’s battle plan.

We have all been hit by the same overwhelming problem, and the travel sector is one industry amongst many that has been thrust into utter turmoil by Covid-19.

Cruises have suffered hugely from the impact and publicity given to outbreaks on board. And the over-50s ‘Saga’ market are the exact people we are being told to tuck away until it’s safe to come out again.

So why on earth are Saga ploughing their resources into beautiful awards-laden brochures that shout about what a great cruise holiday choice they are?

Because they are a very good example of a resilient, resourceful, trustworthy brand, that’s why!

Saga built its brand on “trust, quality, dependability and value for older people”. And in response to the crisis, they are putting themselves in the spotlight to prove that this is EXACTLY what they STILL are!

This is a smart and absolutely necessary marketing strategy because it not only reassures existing customers, it will attract new ones.

The brochure shows beautiful images of cruises. A money-back guarantee. And reassuring, tempting, values-driven messaging that showcases a safe, relaxing, enjoyable holiday. Perfect!

And the awards they show in the brochure are up to date, relevant, and highly regarded so they bring real value and credibility, and are HUGELY reassuring for their customers and contacts.

Well done Saga. We’re all right behind you.

WHAT’S THIS GOT TO DO WITH YOU?

This is a pivotal moment for all sectors, not just the travel industry. And sadly only the most crisis-resilient brands will be able to keep fighting for their place at the top of their sector.

Back in January I shared a blog that showed how the brands who pulled back on their marketing during the financial recessions of the last 100 years were overtaken by the successful brands who were brave enough to shift gears and keep going during the crisis. And I explained how once life was all back to normal, the ones who had waited, had effectively handed over their top spot as the market leader.

AND I DON’T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN TO YOU

This will be one of the most challenging business times of our lives. So as soon as you can, you need to start strengthening your brand by sticking to your marketing strategy and boosting your brand presence as much as you can.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to do this is by winning the best awards you possibly can NOW.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO WIN

The vast majority of business awards will be taking in entries over the next few months, but their ceremonies are not until the autumn or beyond.

In the meantime, many awards organisers have also told me of their contingency plans to go ‘virtual’ or to adapt events that are coming up. So there is no need for you to miss out on a trophy. Here’s a few insights that might help too:

  1. Awards will help to keep your team’s morale up, show them you value their hard work, and give them something POSITIVE to focus on to keep them motivated, engaged and reassured through tough times.
  2. Awards that look at your financial performance will examine your growth in the last 1-3 years (typically). Now in the next few months could take a dip, but that won’t be relevant to your 2020 award entries because awards look BACK to what you’ve already achieved when scoring points! So MAXIMISE the awards you can enter now, don’t leave it until next year when a dip in 2020 could stop you from winning. (I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. There will be other brands you’ll compete against next year who avoided a dip, and even grew during this period – like the companies making hand sanitizer, soap, loo roll, and digital tools!)
  3. Your existing customers, partners and suppliers NEED to hear some good news from you to feel reassured and stay faithful! Becoming an awards finalist, and later, a winner will keep raising your profile and boosting your marketing and PR messages.
  4. New customers need extra confidence to buy from you, so show them you are credible with as many CURRENT awards badges as you can. I can guarantee your competitors will be promoting themselves heavily, so don’t just sit back and let them take all the business because their awards wins are more up-to-date than yours.
  5. All’s fair in love and war – and awards (well, the ones we work with anyway) and frankly, logic says that if everyone else is too busy to enter – your chances of winning will only go up! Take advantage of the fact that your competition could be too distracted to enter and get focused on your award entries so you increase your likelihood of success.

We are already set up for flexible working so we’ve left the office for a little while, but this is your opportunity to book a FREE ZOOM MEETING to chat through your situation, see if there are any awards out there you could be winning, and find out what you need to do to keep your brand strong during the coming year.

And even if you’re not sure about awards and just want to chat to someone who will be positive, give you hope, and a bit of inspiration, I’m very happy to hop on a call with you too. No strings. No obligation. Just a bit of business support from one person to another. Because right now, we all need to do everything we can to keep each other’s businesses thriving. It’s all hands on deck until this particular saga sails into the sunset.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Together we will win.

With my warmest wishes,

Donna

Ps. We’re moving our unique awards training programme into a series of live-learning events you can join from home to get you winning too. These will have a limited attendance for each masterclass so let me know if you’re interested and I’ll make sure we send you the details first.

Pps. And when this is all over, let me show you how your strength and survival can help you to win some excellent Business Resilience Awards. You got this!

 

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