April 16, 2024

Holly Braidley
Unlocking success: The power of awards in B2B marketing

Getting noticed and trusted is crucial within a competitive business environment. That’s why we believe awards should form a key part of any B2B marketing programme. Winning awards is a seal of approval, confirming your business’s expertise. And awards are truly powerful B2B marketing assets.

Why are business awards important in B2B

We all look to make our businesses stand out. Business awards serve as a hallmark of credibility, demonstrating expertise in your field. They offer a tangible validation of skill sets and achievements, elevating your reputation and fostering trust among your clients. Winning business awards also boosts morale for the team. They’re great for employee engagement. Read more about the importance of entering awards in our blog here.

Select carefully which awards to enter

OK. So which awards are worth entering, and which are a waste of time? That’s a question we’re often asked. There are so many awards out there, research is fundamental. Be clear on which awards matter to you and that means aligning awards with your business strategy. So if you want to be recognised for your outstanding customer service – enter those awards. If you want to give credence to a team in the business (HR, Finance, Marketing..) enter those. If you want to highlight your business growth, then enter business awards. If it’s about recognition in your industry or sector, research those.  

As well as entering specific awards, take a holistic view of your successes over the last year and apply for awards that showcase your achievements. Be careful here. Avoid ‘pay to play’ awards that entail opting into a paid package. Instead, select an award that is genuine and is either voted for by the public or a judging panel that is impartial and unbiased to ensure that your efforts are invested wisely.

This also means looking at past award winners and assess how credible they are. Check the categories within each award and identify which are relevant to you and your business objectives.

This is a strategy we deploy at Transform and we’re delighted to say that our efforts have paid off. We’ve won multiple awards for Best PR Consultancy over the past three years, and also for our client campaigns and design awards.

Award nomination process

The nomination process itself is a good indicator of which awards to apply for. Does the application ask rigorous, relevant questions with specific metrics? Is it clear and transparent as to what the panel/public are judging/measuring? If the application form doesn't rigorously examine that, then it's most likely not a particularly credible award.

Preparing your entry

We say that there are two parts to a successful awards submission. The first is identifying the story that you want to tell. The second is backing up your narrative with data. Speak to your people internally. Talk to your Subject Matter Experts. Engage people who are customer facing.

• What is going to build your credibility in your award submission?

• What will make you stand out from other entrants?

• What have you done that’s new or different?

• What has the impact been in your business?

Tailor your entry form for each different award or category as they all differ and will be looking for different outcomes. Having a template submission that you enter for everything won't be effective. Think of your audience and write the application as if you were the judge reading it. Judges have hundreds of nomination forms to read — what makes you stand out? What’s the story? Evidencing metrics and clear objectives is essential.

When writing an award nomination form, get everything ready beforehand. What’s the story. What were your objectives. What did you set out to do. How you did it. What you delivered. All backed up by data and information. What supporting information can you provide.

Pressing the enter button

We’ve all been there. Rushing to prepare an entry up until the last minute. Don’t give yourself this pressure. Put a deadline for submission into your diary at least a couple of days before so you have time to ensure that everything is properly entered, the supporting materials are beautifully formatted. And that you’ve had the time, care and attention to proofread your submission. All your hard work will be for nothing if your entry contains typos or errors.

Top tips for award submissions:

• Research the right award for your business.

• Schedule award entry in advance.

Structure the narrative – (Challenge, Solution, Impact)

  • Looking outwards – What are the trending topics in your industry?
  • Are there any challenges and pain points within your industry? – Can you bring those to your nomination? (AI, emerging technology).
  • ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) – Can you incorporate that into your nomination?
  • Bring the nomination to life – Ensure that people understand your business.
  • Compile the data.
  • Design supporting materials (if required).
  • Proof your entry to eliminate mistakes.
  • Enter and press the button.

Internal and external value

Business awards are more than just external recognition. They bring teams together and boost morale. Being shortlisted or winning an award shows each employee’s hard work paid off, leading to a sense of pride and unity among team members. Applying for awards and winning awards is a big step in business growth.

Making the most of an award

The investment of time and effort to pull together an award nomination is not insignificant. Each award takes time and effort. But it’s worth it.

At every stage of the award process highlight your achievements. If you’re short-listed that’s even better. We always say that promoting yourselves on a short list is just as important as winning the award (although we really, really love winning!). And always take the time to congratulate other finalists.

Award organisers often give supporting materials to help with promotion and they’re full of ideas to help you promote the awards. Because this is of real benefit to them.

Publicise the award at every possible stage via social media. Grab the potential to talk to the media using your entry as ideas for pitching the story.

Award Ceremonies

Nobody needs an excuse for a night out, right? Award ceremonies and finalist events are major opportunities to network with people in your industry or community. They’re great to build partnerships and even open doors to new clients.

Showcasing awards across your brand

Awards are a great way to promote your business and your brand. Showcasing to your audiences the calibre of your work and your company. Don’t forget to update your marketing materials when you win awards. Put your awards on your website. Add to email signatures. Include in brochures and overall collateral. And add to new business proposals.

Appreciation every step of the way

Engaging with your employees is crucial when going through your awards journey. It is the team’s hard work, dedication and collaboration that form the narrative of your award. Thanking and celebrating each win with the team reinforces engagement and instils value into each individual’s mindset, driving your team to strive for better.

Read more on measuring success and team appreciation in our blog here.

We regularly write and submit award entries for ourselves, as well as for our clients. If you have any queries or need any support with your award submissions, please do get in touch through the website or give us a call directly.

Want to find out more? Contact us here.

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