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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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

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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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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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2019 New Year’s Honours List

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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!

International Customer Experience Awards, International Customer Experience Awards winners 2019, Business Awards, Customer Experience Awards, Awards International, business awards, August The Awards Consultancy, Donna O'Toole, Awards Judge, Awards Expert

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

International Customer Experience Awards 2019, International Customer Experience Awards Winners 2019, Internationl Customer Experience Awards, Customer Experience Awards, International Business Awards, Awards International, Donna O'Toole, August The Awards Consultancy, Awards experts, how to win awards

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.

International Customer Experience Awards 2019, International Customer Experience Awards Winners 2019, Internationl Customer Experience Awards, Customer Experience Awards, International Business Awards, Awards International, Donna O'Toole, August The Awards Consultancy, Awards experts, how to win awards

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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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 Throughout Spring

Awards Open Throughout Spring

Awards Open Throughout Spring

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

AWARDS OPEN THROUGHOUT SPRING

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for many businesses. We’ve just entered into a new financial year, extra daylight hours naturally boost everyone’s moods, and warmer weather is just around the corner.

It’s also an extremely busy time for awards.

There are hundreds of awards open for entries across every industry, and it could be the last chance for you to submit and get recognition for the projects you completed in 2018.

Can you afford to miss out on valuable recognition for another year?

We’ve picked just 3 awards that are open now – you can find out more below and explore the categories that give you the best chance of winning, or get in touch and we’ll help you select the right awards for your business.

And don’t worry if your business doesn’t fit into these awards, we work with awards in every industry, across the world. So get in touch and we can create your bespoke awards strategy detailing every award you could be entering and the perfect categories for your business.

AWARDS OPEN THROUGHOUT SPRING

Lloyds Bank National Business Awards – The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in the UK business awards calendar. The awards look to celebrate British businesses of all sizes, who are doing fantastic things in their industries. Categories include Business of the Year, Startup of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Business Enabler of the Year to name a few.

This year we have partnered with The National Business Awards as their official award consultants. Friday 26th April @ 11am Donna O’Toole, August CEO, will be hosting a webinar giving you her top tips and secrets to writing an award-winning entry. Register your interest here

Deadline: 7th June 2019
Finalists Announced: July 2019
Presentation Stage: September 2019
Finals: 12 November 2019

Customer Experience Awards – The Customer Experience Awards have grown to become one of the biggest customer experience events in the world. 2019 marks the awards 10th anniversary and promises to be a fantastic event. The awards celebrate and recognise the organisations who are delivering outstanding CX through their everyday operations, employees, or technology. Categories include Customers at the Heart of Everything, Customer Experience Training, B2B CX, Use of Technology and CX Professional of the Year. With 23 categories to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities for you to win.

Early-Bird Deadline: 31st May 2019
Deadline: 28th June 2019
Finalists Announced: 10th July 2019
Presentation stage and finals: 10th October 2019

PR Week Awards – The PR Week Awards are back for 2019 to showcase and celebrate achievements in PR and Communications across all industries. The awards recognise the best campaigns, people, organisations and agencies with categories to suit all. The awards attract PR experts, successful agencies and PR teams from all over the UK, and are one of the big PR industry awards to win.

Early-Bird Deadline: 23rd May 2019
Deadline: 6 June 2019
Finalists Announced: June 2019
Presentations/Site Visits: July 2019
Finals: 15th October 2019

HOW TO WIN AWARDS

If you’re ready to enter awards, the time to start is now! You can read our tips on how to write a winning award entry here, or contact us today. We can provide expert consultancy, create your awards strategy, write your entries for you, and even create and coach you through presentations to the judges – everything that will give you the best chance of success.

So if you want to become a winner, contact us today.

 

 

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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