How important do you think it is to win awards for your business? To go up against your direct competition and differentiate yourself - and gain credibility within your sector........
Within the business community there are numerous awards across the country - but which really add value, which are worth the resource and commitment and which are really going to have a long term impact on your business?
Last week I attended the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) Awards Lunch in London with companies and individuals from the recruitment sector being recognised for their achievements over the year. An insightful event, and fantastic to see the advancements that the recruitment sector are making in both innovations and reputation.
With a slightly different angle, last week, Sellick Partnership hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the fourth year of the Manchester Professionals Cricket League (MPCL) at the Lowry Hotel. An evening that celebrates the quality cricket that has been played throughout the season, coupled with the insights and anecdotes of England Captain, Graham Gooch OBE - as well as raising valuable funding for two charities.
The MPCL attracts over 20 professional service firms from across Manchester, so not only promotes cricket as a sport but has also created a platform for networking across the local business community. Over the four years, a number of different teams have enjoyed the prestige and accolades of winning the title - and they continue to fight to hold onto them. In addition over the years we have raised nearly £40k for the St Ann's Hospice in Manchester and The Lord's Taverners, the national cricket charity.
This year, Manchester Airport Group (first-timers to the League) took the winning title, with Grant Thornton coming a close second. Already this has provided hot competition for next year!
As ever, these evenings and events don't organise themselves - time, money and energy inspires evenings and lunches like the above. However, my experience is that whether you are competing for an award, or organising an event it is both exciting and time consuming. Regardless, conveying the success amongst your peers internally and externally of winning awards can be a very successful way of raising your profile on many different levels.
I read an article in the Sunday Times fairly recently, outlining how a company had added a strategic element to their PR and marketing to win awards - however big or small, or tenuous to the industry that the company was associated with them. Their strategy worked over a period of 36 months in that their staff retention increased, PR was driven by awards, and sales improved by way of a combination of better confidence internally and an 'aura' or 'go-to' perspective in that their competition lost out over a better service.
As we will all have done over the years - whatever industry - entering and losing awards can be 'a pain in the arse' and very frustrating. However, the celebrations and looks of satisfaction from those that won both at the Lowry in Manchester, and the RBS Headquarters in London made it seem all worthwhile - and the media coverage that they have received in the last week both online and offline has been extensive. So it seems that if businesses want to get that edge in their industry, awards are the way to go......