This year has seen businesses and organisations across the world delivering outstanding service, keeping their teams together and truly challenging themselves to think differently to weather the current crisis. The term ‘pivoting’ has sneaked into our everyday vocabulary as businesses across the spectrum find new ways to offer solutions to their customers and to keep their businesses afloat.

Employees and employers around the country should be making time to stop, recognise and take pride in what they have achieved against adversity, with challenges ranging from isolation at one end and home schooling at the other. And what better way to celebrate success than by winning an award!

Some people are cautious when it comes to entering awards due to entry expenses, time taken in collation and the negative impact of a failure to shortlist or win – there will always be a reason not to enter. But, drawing on a second well-known saying: “Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven’t done”.

Awards are a great way of sharing successes from across your business and motivating the teams involved. Over the years, the Definition team has picked up more than 60 industry awards for our work in health, housing, maritime, professional services and more. The recognition from our peers of our outstanding work is reward alone, but it’s important to remember the wider benefits of being an ‘award winning’ business.

Accolades from respected award bodies are a great way of adding credibility to your work and demonstrating how innovative, creative or dedicated you are – all attributes that prospective clients will be looking for. Awards wins can also exhibit how your company is a great place to work and help attract new talent.

There’s no doubt that in the current recession – which will inevitably worsen – having an award win as a point of difference between you and another company could well be the small detail that puts you ahead of your competition.

At Definition, we’re involved in all aspects of award programmes, running a number on behalf of our clients, putting together outstanding entries and managing the profiling work to promote a shortlisting or a win. Recently, I was proud to join the judging panel of the PRCA National PR Awards and learn of some very impressive companies and individuals.

Based on this combined experience here are my top five tips for writing killer award entries:

  1. Have a vision and stick to it – an award entry needs to be concise and clearly explain the initial situation, the challenges facing the business, how these were overcome and the results. Be clear at the outset what you were hoping to achieve and avoid blurring the messaging with lots of surrounding detail
  2. Numbers, numbers, numbers – ask yourself how you are going to prove your claims. Be specific – don’t talk about a good uplift, talk about a named percentage uplift to demonstrate a much clearer and tangible outcome. Include improvements to sales figures, positive testimonials from customers or feedback from an event to show exactly what you achieved
  3. Supporting material – choose wisely when it comes to submitting extra information to support your entry. Less is more for a time poor judge who has more than 50 entries to read – make every word count. A good rule of thumb is to limit supporting evidence to no more than four pages and include plenty of images to bring to life what is described in your entry
  4. Read the question! That may be a cliché from GCSE English exams but if you don’t answer the questions and criteria set out by the category, the judges won’t be able to give you high scores, no matter how great the project sounds
  5. Keep it simple – while you have been living and breathing the project or business you are submitting judges will likely approach the topic without previous experience. Spell out acronyms and avoid jargon to avoid confusing your judges.

Definition has developed its targeted Reward & Recognition service to identify suitable award programmes and craft compelling entries that support your marketing and business objectives and give you the best chance of scooping a trophy. Whether your objective is to recognise the contribution of your team, attract investment, benchmark your work against your competitors or even to attract new talent to your business, awards can be a great idea so stop delaying and start believing!