Our in-house marketing consultant Paul Leonard has received several high-profile awards for his personal efforts as a senior marketeer and he was responsible for the submissions which delivered almost 30 prestigious awards for the companies he worked for, including giants like BT and 02. He’s also sat on several judging panels for a variety of Awards. So we thought he could share some invaluable insight into how to do it successfully.
You may know which awards you’d like to enter but more often than not it’s necessary to do some research to help identify the most relevant, credible and winnable awards for your company to enter. It’s important to find the Awards which best suit the status of your company. And then it’s vital to pick the category(ies) which best match your capabilities and attributes and where you feel that you could have a leadership position.
Doing an Awards submission is a little bit like doing an exam paper. It is so important read all the instructions thoroughly before you do anything else. We appreciate that you’re in business and very busy but rushing into completing an entry just to get it off can be hazardous as it’s likely you will be caught out in terms of eligibility, criteria or word count further down the line. When you do start writing you will need to make sure you address every entry question in full but don’t go off at a tangent. Keep things precise. Break down the questions into more manageable ‘bite-size’ pieces if that makes it easier for you to complete. If necessary get someone in to help you with writing the submission (we can help you there!)
Telling the story
Judges will often have to wade through dozens of entries and poorly-written blandly-presented entries can be all-too-easy for them to discount. Two things always stand out. A submission which is just copy-based can be heavy work to judge. Brighten up your entry with some interesting graphics, relevant imagery and telling charts etc so that it looks attractively presented and on brand too (and if you use video support make sure it is well-edited). But don’t just throw stuff in there gratuitously. All visual support must be there to illuminate the evidence. Secondly it’s worth writing the submission in narrative style – make it an engaging and compelling read.
In writing the story make sure you gather supporting evidence to ensure your achievements are substantiated. For example, simply writing ‘we achieved some great results’ with no actual facts to back up this statement is just going to antagonise a judge. Always quantify results and demonstrate measurable impact to help evidence your award entry.
It’s always useful to have other key people in your business go through a draft to ensure a) your statements are accurate and b) to see if there’s anything relevant they can add that makes the case more compelling. Also getting a third party to review the submission can help you to see the entry from a judge’s point of view who may not be that au fait with your industry.
Finally before sending it off, a good tip is to sit back and ask yourself whether question/section could have been answered better and what could you do to get a few extra marks. Always check back to the award entry criteria just to make sure you haven’t gone off track.
Some honest self-critiquing can be incredibly effective.
JD personal note: Just doing the exercise itself, if nothing else, does focus the mind on what you are doing in your business how ever big or small. It can highlight areas you may need to work on, or to give yourself a pat on the back your’re well on track!!