While there are benefits in winning any award, either personally or for your business, national recognition inevitably tops regional or local recognition. The prestige and acknowledgement in winning a national award are a tremendous endorsement for you and your company, but it’s what you can do with a national award from a PR perspective that where the ultimate benefits really lie.
Forever after you are a ‘nationally award winning’ company or person and this should be part of your branding on every communication, from website and LinkedIn profiles, to banners, advertising, social media, brochures, leaflets, email signatures and press releases etc. While the awards company will promote you in their announcement of all the winners, your award gives you enormous opportunities to raise your profile and develop your business.
One of my clients, Anne Timpany, founded a commercial plumbing company with her husband in the construction industry. I had already done considerable promotion of Anne In the trade and local media, as well as securing keynote speaker slots for her at many industry and other prominent events. Prior to working with me she had entered and won a couple of local business awards but her profile was still quite trade related and relatively local.
I saw a promotion for the NatWest Everywoman Awards and suggested that as an entrepreneur this would be a good one for her to enter. Initially she wasn’t keen as she thought she wouldn’t win a national award but with some persuasion at the last minute she agreed. I quickly wrote her detailed nomination form on the deadline day and submitted it.
We were delighted when she was shortlisted to meet the judges. I briefed her and her interview went well, resulting in her becoming one of the three finalists. She never expected to win and was overwhelmed when her name was announced.
This was great news in itself but it is what has happened since that made that award win so significant. I pitched Anne’s story to the Daily Mail, which resulted in a whole page feature about the woman boss of 50+ plumbers. I also promoted Anne in the New Zealand press back home and she became a local star in Timaru and also made the Wellington newspapers.
For some years she had been a member of the National Association of Women in Construction and the London-based New Zealand Women’s Business Network, neither of which had brought her to prominence. However, after she won the national award I was able to get her on the panel at the NAWIC event at London Build as a NAWIC Ambassador. She also became a judge for the London Build awards.
The New Zealand High Commission in London also stood up and took notice of Anne. She was one of the select few Kiwi businesswoman who was invited to meet NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her recent visit to the UK. She was also a keynote speaker at their International Woman’s Day event this year.
So, keep entering local and regional awards, if only for practice, but also think bigger about relevant national awards and what one would mean for you and your company. It can be so much more than just a trophy.