How bagging awards can boost your companyBy Michele Herson
Preparing award submissions is time consuming and takes a good deal of thought and patience, so you might ask if it is worth the effort or just an exercise in blatant self promotion.
I have been involved in business and industry Awards for many years; organising, conducting, promoting, judging them and preparing winning submissions for a number of Franchise networks. I categorically believe that entering awards is an extremely useful and productive activity that all Franchisors should integrate into their marketing strategy, for a range of reasons.
Major benefits include:
Lifting public profile and attracting franchisees
Winning awards assists in increasing the company’s reputation, credibility and building the brand. If your industry thinks the franchise system is a winner, it encourages others to look at it favourably.
Award winning is a truly newsworthy way of promoting the Franchise brand to the media. Winning an award gives the media a reason to look at the franchise and examine what has made it stand out from the rest.
Awards are an ideal way to recognise and promote the diligent efforts of the system’s franchisees, key personnel, products and services.
It is an essential franchise recruitment tool, as potential franchisees are more likely to want to join and invest in a Franchise brand that is “going places”.
Increasing confidence in those already in the company
Being an award winning company helps develop a strong team spirit and company ethos. Employees and Franchisees share in the Franchise system’s accolades and feel proud to know that they are a part of a network that is highly thought of in its field, which promotes a level of confidence in the network’s abilities.
Assisting in analysing the company’s strengths and weaknesses
When you work in the business every day, you can be blinded to how it may appear to others. The process of preparing an award submission forces you to look at all aspects of the franchise system thorough another’s eyes. There is a lot to be learned from this exercise, as it can help bench mark your company’s efforts to those in your industry.
The process of entering awards
Investigate appropriate and relevant award opportunities on a local, state, national and international basis. These Awards should include categories that suit your franchise system’s marketing efforts such as; marketing and expansion activities, community service and support, innovation, environmental contribution, customer service, product and service qualities, local small business broadcast or print accolades.
Prepare award submissions
• Ensure that you answer all questions in order and in line with the criteria.
• Answer honestly and concisely; do not “pad” your answers to make your submission seem more important.
• Be sure to include relevant support material.
• Be prepared to defend all of your assertions if the judging panel requires interviews confirming answers you have made in your submission.
Publicise all award successes in relevant media
Promotional activities and opportunities are a numerous and include:
• Prepare Award victory media releases with relevant information
• Disseminate releases to relevant media; locally, nationally and internationally
• Follow up media to encourage take up of the information
• Further the Franchise brand by adding the words “Award winning franchise” wherever relevant in media releases, advertisements, on websites, social media pages and printed collateral
• Add Award winning logos to all relevant collateral; signature lines on emails, on websites, printed collateral
• Include victories as credible additions to other awards submissions
• Disseminate Award winning information to staff and franchisees through internal communications.
Importantly, if at first you do not win, keep entering Awards because your submissions will improve and ultimately... you will win!