2020: The Year of Virtual Award Ceremonies

2020: The Year of Virtual Award Ceremonies

2020: The Year of Virtual Award Ceremonies

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

Usually at this time of the year we’d be donning our most glamorous black-tie outfits, and attending award ceremonies at some of the most stunning venues. But with all events cancelled we’ve had to adjust to the magical world of virtual ceremonies…

And although virtual ceremonies will never be as good as the real thing, the ones we’ve had the pleasure of attending have been pretty fantastic!

So how are award organisers ensuring attendees will still have great experience in a virtual world?

Online Presentations to the Judges

For some awards, the next step on a finalists journey to the finals is to present to the judges.

In normal times, finalists present to a panel of judges in person to get their story across and put a face to the written entry. But this year, the finalists have had to put their video call expertise to use and present online.

Vitality Health, Vitality, UK Customer Experience Awards 2020, Customer Experience Awards, Awards Finals, Awards Presentations, August Recognition, August The Awards Consultancy, Donna O'Toole

Every year August founder Donna O’Toole judges at some of the top awards and had this to say about her experience judging virtually:

I’ve been so impressed with the quality and standard of all the presentations I have judged this year. Some of the stories coming out this year in the Covid-19 categories have even brought a tear to my eye! Everyone has done so well to adapt to presenting online, and the organisers have done a great job to bring it all together.

Finalist Hampers

Award organisers know we would all rather be in a glitzy ballroom enjoying a glass of fizz, so to help us get excited they have introduced finalist hampers!

At this year’s virtual Lloyds Bank National Business Awards ceremony finalists could receive a luxurious hamper complete with prosecco, pralines and a confetti cannon to celebrate their win.

Just a little something to build the excitement of being a finalist and make the experience special.

NBA finalist hamper, The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, virtual award ceremonies, August Recognition, Donna O'Toole

A-List Guest Speakers

The promise of hearing from high-profile speakers is always hugely exciting! And with the logistics of having a guest speaker physically attend removed, some awards have gone all out to impress.

At the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Regional Finals the finalists were addressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak:

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards notoriously book incredible keynote speakers, and this year they did not disappoint with not 1, but 6 guest speakers. Including Lewis Hamilton MBE, Dame Joanna Lumley, Ruby Wax, Simon McCoy, Steph McGovern, Baroness Karen Brady and Sir Chris Hoy MBE

Lewis Hamilton MBE, The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, Pivot for Purpose Award, iNews, Virtual Ceremonies

Winners’ Speeches

With hundreds of people to seat, wine, dine and entertain at live events we rarely get to hear from the winners due to strict timings of the evening.

The beauty of virtual ceremonies means attendees get the opportunity to see and hear from the people that win, as and when they win!

Generali Insurance Serbia, South East Europe Customer Experience Awards 2020, Virtual Ceremonies, Awards, international awards, awards international, August The Awards Consultancy, August Recognition, Donna O'Toole

Awards are nothing without people. Seeing happy, smiley faces of the people behind the winning projects celebrate their win is a really great moment. Plus, winners don’t need to worry about stage fright from the comfort of their desks!

And if you screen record or screenshot the moment you win, you can share the good news with your teams, clients, shareholders and customers too.

2021: The Return of the Live Event (hopefully!)

No matter how well award organisers have done to make virtual ceremonies fun and exciting, I’m sure we are all itching to get back to live events once it’s safe to do so.

The events industry has taken a huge hit in 2020 with the majority of suppliers and events teams furloughed and out of work since March. And campaigns such as #WeAreEvents are so important to raise awareness of the struggle of the events industry and to highlight the support they need.

We’ve spoken with many awards organisers this year who have shared their experiences of working in the events industry in 2020 and how they all came to agree that the show must go on.

But for now, we’ll continue supporting the awards and events industry, attending virtual events and encouraging everyone to continue entering awards and get the recognition they deserve and reward their teams in what has been a tumultuous year!

 

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2019 New Year’s Honours List

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Continuing to support our clients

Continuing to support our clients

Continuing to support our clients

Company Update

By Donna O’Toole

With restrictions still in place across the world and stricter restrictions coming back into effect across Europe, we want to let our contacts and clients know that we are still here for you.

We are still working hard week-in week-out to support our clients to keep their brands strong and employees rewarded. Creating targeted awards strategies, writing winning award entries and crafting awards presentations for virtual awards judging sessions.

We are still sharing our expert insights, news and guidance with our community.

We are still continuing to run our Awards Accelerator course to empower entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals to develop their own winning strategy and entries.

We are still supporting awards organisers on their 2020/21 programmes to ensure entrants still get the most value out of entering, being shortlisted and winning and we are delighted to see so many recognising business and community heroes during the crisis.

And through our client’s wins we are still supporting and empowering women in Zimbabwe to create a better future – with 80 business training days donated in the last quarter.

Throughout this year (whether in the office or WFH), we’ve been able to support our colleagues and continue providing our services and create positive stories for the teams we work with – allowing them to raise their profile and strengthen their brand in 2020.

Strengthening your brand

We wrote about strengthening your brand during a crisis back in March and the message still stands…

The businesses continuing with their marketing, PR and Awards strategies will be the ones that come out on top.

Award-winning businesses are more profitable, have more engaged employees and stakeholders, and benefit from more valuable PR than their non-award-winning competitors.

Throughout financial recessions, the brands who’ve pulled back on their marketing have found themselves overtaken by the successful brands who were brave enough to keep going.

So to help you through, look at the awards that can be fantastic business-strengtheners. The awards that will raise your profile and boost your business growth despite any crisis.

How to Win Awards in 2020/21

  1. Be Honest – tell the judges you’ve had a tough time, tell them what your specific challenges have been and how you’ve overcome, adapted or created new opportunities.
  2. Focus on the positives – have you continued to provide an outstanding customer and/or employee experience? Awards often look back up to 18 months ago, so if you’ve had good results in that time let the judges know!
  3. Prove your claims – don’t just tell the judges you are diverse, a good employer, provide an outstanding customer service etc. – prove it with evidence!

If you can do all of these whilst meeting the criteria of the category you are entering and in a well-written entry, you will have a really good chance of winning.

We’re here for you

If you need a chat about anything, or need our professional support then get in touch, we’d love to talk to you.

We have a selection of packages and solutions suited to all budgets and tailored to your needs, to ensure you get the guidance you need to win the most valuable business awards.

Find out if you’re ready to win by taking our Business Award Test. In less than 5-minutes, you will know your current strengths when it comes to awards and exactly what you need to do to win.

And head to our blog for our awards tips, latest industry insights and awards news.

 

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2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

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Queen’s Birthday Honours List October 2020

Queen’s Birthday Honours List October 2020

Queen’s Birthday Honours List October 2020

Queen’s Honours

By Donna O’Toole

Frontline key workers and volunteers have been honoured for their contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The list was postponed from being published for the Queen’s official birthday in June until October to allow for all those who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to get the very highest recognition they deserve.

Alongside key workers and volunteers, some well-known faces also received honours.

Manchester United and England Footballer Marcus Rashford for his services to vulnerable children, and to The Body Coach, Joe Wicks for his free national PE lessons during lockdown and donations to charity, both received MBEs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the recipients of this year’s honours are “a testament to the sort of country we are – caring, compassionate and resolute in the face of a global pandemic.” And that “the hard work and dedication of these local, often unsung heroes has helped carry us through.

WHO RECEIVED A  2020 QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOUR

The Queen’s Honours list highlights those people from all backgrounds who have given their time to their community, industry, charities and the country.

This year’s 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list;

  • 1,358 candidates have been selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level:
    537 at BEM
    561 at MBE
    260 at OBE
  • 137 candidates have been selected at CBE and higher
  • 1,069 honours have been given to people who have volunteered in their communities and completed outstanding work
  • 740 women have been recognised in the List, 49% of the total
  • 13% are from a BAME background
  • 6% consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010)

You can see the full lists of recipients here.

KEEPING THE COUNTRY GOING DURING THE PANDEMIC

14% of the total 1,495 recipients on the list are health and social workers.

Just one of those is Felicia Kwaku, from Islington, North London, who has been a nurse for 30 years. As associate director of nursing at Kings College NHS Foundation Trust, she championed the cause of nurses from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

Also honoured are fundraisers who have raised millions during the pandemic, like 100-year-old Dabirul Islam Choudhury who has been made OBE for raising £420k.

Jay Flynn’s viral virtual pub quiz has landed him an MBE for his charitable activities raising £750k whilst cheering people up from around the world reaching up to 180,000 people.

72% of recipients have been awarded for their work in the community, supplying free meals to those shielding, volunteering, and delivering care packages.

And of course, the Cabinet couldn’t forget to recognise the experts working in the Science, Health and Pharmaceutical fields who are at the forefront of studying COVID-19 symptoms, testing and making headway with a vaccine.

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNITION

Recognition is so valuable, it’s valuable to our mental health, our personal progression and serves to inspire others.

We see this every day in businesses and teams we work with, and we know first-hand that the difference some credible recognition makes can be life-changing.

Receiving an Honour from The Queen is the highest official form of recognition an individual can achieve. And as it’s such a prestigious award only those who truly, truly deserve it will be given one.

And every year for the Queen’s Birthday Honours and New Year’s Honours we get so excited to find out who has received an honour and learn more about their fantastic achievements, and we’re always blown away by some of the stories.

You hear about the celebrities and public figures who receive MBEs, OBEs, CBEs, Damehoods and Knighthoods, but the real-life “normal” people who receive honours are where the magic is…

The business owner who has been a thought leader for their industry over the past 50 years, the nurse who has served her community for 30 years, the 16-year-old who has raised thousands of pounds for charity – these are the stories we love to see and read. If you want to nominate someone you know for their incredible efforts you can do so by clicking here.

And listen to our podcast episode on How to Create a Queen’s Honours Nomination below;

 

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2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

read more

Who do you trust?

Who do you trust?

Who do you trust?

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

Did you know that TRUST has now become the #2 reason that people buy, beaten to the top of the list only by PRICE.

I get it.

For far too long, our lives have been dominated by fake news, political u-turns, bluffing, blagging and bad behaviour. We’ve heard the good, the bad, and the ugly tell us ‘their truth’ only to get called out for misleading us five minutes later.

This year, people have lost their jobs, their holidays, and their hard-earned money as companies struggled to deliver on their promise and customer experience went out the window.

In the worst cases, responsibility got shifted around, communications became impossible, and small print was activated to protect companies from paying out whilst their customers’ cries for help fell on deaf ears.

Well, enough’s enough. It’s time to go back to basics, it’s time to remember that old adage:

“Actions speak louder than words”

Now more than ever, consumers need to see and feel why they should trust a company with their money, loyalty, and recommendation. And thankfully there are plenty of companies out there who ARE doing the right thing.

And thanks to websites, social media and online review platforms, it doesn’t take long for a consumer to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to choosing who to trust to buy from, or who to do business with nowadays.

So what can you do to make sure your next potential customer KNOWS they can trust you?

First and foremost, just do the right thing!

Stick to your word. Act with honesty, compassion and empathy. And look after your employees, because they will only be able to (or want to) look after your customers if you are truly looking after them.

In my recent podcast with Ian Golding, International CX specialist and Chairman of the Customer Experience Awards he explains how you can create an award-winning customer experience if you do this one thing now.

And when it comes to winning awards, I judge hundreds of entries, and direct my team to craft even more every year, and I promise you this: talk is cheap. The companies who can prove that they truly live and breathe their values will always win.

So…

Don’t tell the judges that you are ‘diverse’ – be it!
Don’t tell the judges that you care about your employees’ well-being – show it! (hint: fruit bowls and ping pong tables really don’t prove that point!)
Don’t tell the judges you care about the community/environment/charity – invest in it!

You get the picture.

Be real. Be Fair. Be relatable. Be kind. Be transparent, and you will be trustworthy.

Then SHOW your customers that they can truly trust you by using valuable and visible trust signals on your website and all your marketing materials. Add reviews, up-to-date awards logos, feedback and case studies to make it easy for a potential buyer to see what you are doing well, and you’ll see your business blossom. One of our clients saw his sales rise by 30% within weeks of adding a credible awards logo to his website, because that logo implicitly said ‘You can trust us with your money and your time’ to everyone who saw it!

So if you don’t have recent business awards or don’t know if you’re ready to win, head over to our unique Business Awards Test to find out what you need to do to win today.

Of course trust is also an important factor in entering awards, and in my podcast interviews with the UK’s leading awards organisers you’ll hear me question them, explore their processes and find out exactly how their programmes work, so that you know you can trust them too.

Lastly, thank you for trusting me to bring you honest and open awards advice, it’s been a true pleasure helping to strengthen so many brands to come through 2020 with a renewed sense of pride and achievement.

I can’t wait to see you shine in 2021.

 

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You might also like

2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

read more

Awards Open in October 2020

Awards Open in October 2020

Awards Open in October 2020

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

Hello and welcome to your monthly newsletter of awards open throughout October!

Now usually we’d all be donning our best black-tie outfits and heading to glamourous venues for awards ceremonies and celebrations, but with events still not able to go ahead, we’ve had to adjust to virtual ceremonies.

And what a fantastic job the award organisers have been doing!

UK EXA 2020 virtual ceremony

We’ve had the pleasure of attending several virtual awards ceremonies this year, and for all the finalists the buzz of being up for an award is still there. And the excitement of hearing your name read out as the winner is still palpable, even on Zoom!

It’s been fantastic to see teams and individuals getting the recognition they deserve for their work, especially for those winning specific COVID-19 crisis categories.

Winning awards has never been so important. Having a winners logo on your website, marketing and comms will play a huge part in building back better and ensuring your customers that you are the right choice.

Take a look at some awards you can enter right now!

AWARDS OPEN OCTOBER 2020

Think Global Awards

The Think Global Awards are open for entry from individuals, companies, and communities. The awards are a way of recognising achievements and promoting the awareness of thinking globally for individuals, communities, start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, global brands, and large scale international organisations.
Deadline: 30 November 2020

Complaints Handling Awards

These are the only awards in the UK dedicated to recognising complaint handling excellence. Brought to you by Awards International, the UKCHA celebrates the incredible work done by complaint handling professionals – and gives you a chance for recognition!
Deadline: 10 December 2020

Innovation in Talent Development Awards

The Innovation in Talent Development Awards are given in recognition of an innovation that has a measurable impact on an organisation or audience, moves the talent development industry forward, is sustainable, and is replicable. This award can be presented to an individual or a team.
Deadline: 31 December 2020

STOP WAITING. START WINNING.

There are an abundance of awards around the world just waiting to recognise the best businesses in their industry, sector or country.

If you have good results, a good case study or project you are really proud of, the time to enter awards is NOW.

Because if you wait too long, your results will become old news and you’ll miss out.

Take the first step today and complete the Win Business Award Test to find out if you are ready to enter and receive your invitation to our next Awards Strategy meeting!

 

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You might also like

2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

read more