As the media landscape continues to shift, PR and marketing professionals must find new ways to create brand awareness and market organizations in their industries as leaders. Awards programs are a great way to achieve this kind of awareness and positioning, and there are nearly endless opportunities for companies to gain third-party recognition. Whether product and technical awards or executive and best workplaces lists, there is an art to a winning submission. Here are four tips for crafting a standout submission that will better position your organization for a win.
Tell the best version of your story for each award
Most companies are doing so many amazing things that it can be a challenge to decide what to include in your submission. While all company achievements are worth celebrating, when crafting a submission for an award focusing on the prompt and guidelines will help keep you on track to a winning submission. It sounds simple but it's important not to cram every company and professional milestone into a submission, as it can become overwhelming and not resonate with the judges. Focus on the topic at hand and answer any questions they outline in the category. This will keep you honest and in line with what the judges will be looking for.
Know what to say on the record—and how to say it
Award submissions can be a toss-up of how much proprietary information to disclose. In most cases, you should assume that any information shared in the submission can be made public by the award organizers, unless noted on the application. Sometimes those stats that private companies would like to keep off the record - such as revenue, customers and department growth numbers - could make a difference in a win.
While it's understandable that private companies might not disclose those figures, finding creative ways to articulate that information may help persuade judges. Instead of outright saying numbers, think about framing them differently. For example, we can say percentage growth in revenue and employees, a percentage increase of customers in a particular sector versus saying the number outright. This will still demonstrate a valuable stat for the judges while keeping the actual numbers confidential.
Invest time into visual assets
Sharp visual assets can add value to any award submission. If you want to stand out and impress the judges, try investing time into creating a few visual assets for major award categories: product, people, and best workplaces. This can include short videos or professional images of employees at the office or events, snapshots demonstrating product functionality, or infographics demonstrating industry challenges and the solution’s value.
Visual aids will enhance the presentation and thoroughness of your application and demonstrate to the judges why you should be taken seriously, and potentially answer some questions they may have. And as a bonus, these assets can be repurposed across multiple awards and even on social media channels. It’s an investment that can have long-term ROI.
Gather those testimonials
Of course, award submissions are meant for companies and people to brag about themselves and their accomplishments. However third-party validation could also tip the scales in your favor when it comes to the judges. Not all awards will ask for testimonials, whether it’s a customer, colleague or industry endorsement, but it is good to be prepared ahead of time.
Take the time at the beginning of the year to gather 2-3 meaningful testimonials for submissions throughout the award season. Be transparent to those offering testimonials if you plan to submit them for multiple awards because they are often contacted by award organizers. Approved content will allow you to avoid the awkward, last-minute asks of customers and other stakeholders. Further it removes the onus of asking someone to do you a favor to immediately address an emergency of your making. This is especially true when a customer relationship is in play. And you’ll be in a much better spot to deliver the submission on time.
Crafting a winning award submission can be a labor of love, but the pay off is worth it when you start winning. Add these tips to your awards strategy playbook to be prepared and hopefully come out on top for your organization. Contact the Look Left team to see how we can help your organization level up or establish an awards program to meet your goals.