This is a very subjective question and therefore has no standard answer. But that would make for a very short blog, so we will instead offer our advice on how to approach the sometimes-overwhelming choice of awards available out there.
At The Awards People we always start with an Awards Plan, considering all regional, national and, sometimes, international awards over a 12 month period. From this extensive list we can then start the whittling process. In some respects (unless you work within a very niche industry) we are all a little spoiled for choice in the variety of categories out there and it therefore pays to stay calm and focus on exactly what you are hoping to achieve.
The first thing it may be wise to ask yourself is whether you want to be recognised within your own industry or market sector. If the answer is yes, then you will obviously want to look for sector-specific awards. These may be few and far between and will often be large affairs, covering the whole of the UK or at least significant chunks of it.
The competition too may be fierce as they will generally attract companies of all sizes, including those with much-envied resources and budgets to direct towards award entry. Winning awards of this type will be of utmost importance to the large players in the market and this can sometimes unfortunately overshadow (and perhaps even put-off) the up-and-coming businesses who may also be doing an equally great job in shaping the marketplace.
Let’s not forget however that, even in major industry awards, there will be categories for developing talent and also for innovation which are by no means size-dependent (indeed sometimes smaller means more innovative and challenging!). Awards judges too may also experience ‘same candidate fatigue’ and may therefore be intrigued by a new name to consider – and hopefully award!
As well as actual products and services, we always advise our clients to look at the outstanding features of their business. These can be varied and may include environmental attitude, community inclusion, charitable contributions: essentially things which say much more about the attitude and culture rather than simply what you are selling.
The value of such awards should not be underestimated and winning brings the same great opportunities; in fact it could be argued that being recognised for something you are doing ‘above and beyond’ day-to-day business may mean more to both your target market and your employees who feel proud to be part of that achievement.
Thankfully, we are starting to see evidence of the UK business world being less London-centric and companies are becoming prouder of their geographical roots, as well as the part they play in boosting or maintaining a strong local economy. If this is the case for you, then consider the regional-focussed awards – these may be smaller but will tend to contain a wide variety of categories from which you can choose. A regional win can do wonders to boost your visibility amongst a local market and may therefore have more value to your business than national alternatives.
Finally, we’d just like to say that you should never be afraid of entering anything. Provided you have a strong story to tell and are willing to put in the time and effort to the all-important application (or, of course, have someone else do it for you…) then you should get yourself in front of the judges and let them decide how you compare to your peers. There is also no limit, other than the time required, to how many different awards or award categories you can enter.
So, if you have decided that you are award-ready then make sure you look at every possible opportunity where your story can be told, and all of your hard work rewarded.