Awards are a superb way to reinforce perceptions about an organization, establish thought leadership and create creditability for a product or service. Winning awards can also help generate new business for an organization and can be leveraged as a marketing tool when speaking with media, partners and customers.
In some instances, awards can also spark the interest of prominent business leaders and media, and lead to a stream of publicity. Consider this example: In 2007 and 2008, Communiqué submitted award nominations on behalf of Big Fish Games for the Inc. 500/5,000 – a prestigious business award that annually ranks the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
Both years, Big Fish Games earned top placements. In the weeks and months after Inc. magazine published its Inc. 500/5,000 feature issue, we received a number of media calls from journalists interested in speaking with Big Fish Games – many of whom heard about them from Inc.’s award.
Examples such as Big Fish Games’ Inc. award demonstrate the positive impact awards can have on organizations and executives; but developing a nomination can be a lengthy and expensive process, and some awards have hefty submission fees. For this reason, it is important to be selective and only pursue awards that will help your organization achieve its business and communications objectives. Here are a few tips to help you develop a winning nomination:
Qualify the opportunity. It is critical for organizations to first qualify the award opportunity and determine if the award is appropriate and worth the time. Will news of the award reach your target audiences? How will winning this award help your organization reach its business objectives? Be prepared to answer these questions before investing your resources.
Determine criteria. Take a hard look at what it will take to win the award. Do you have the credentials? Who are you up against? Being ambitious and reaching high is important, but be realistic. If an award requires that an executive has engaged in extensive community service and charity and you haven’t volunteered since high school, it’s probably not worth pursuing.
Understand the judging process. How will winners be selected? Will a committee look at nominations and if so, who will be on it? For example, if you know that several judges place a high value on leadership experience, make sure to highlight this in your submission.
Reach out to the award organizer. Developing a relationship with the award organizer can be helpful as you gather information about the award and the selection process. The organizer can even provide you with information about last year’s winners and sometimes, what components of the award will stand out most to judges.
Follow the rules. Too many organizations submit nominations that, although great, are disqualified because they did not follow guidelines. Before creating the nomination, read the fine print. Is there a word count limit? Will your organization need to submit a revenue verification letter? Do you need to provide customer references?
Be creative and tell your story in a narrative form. In our experience, award nominations have a greater impact if you can tell your company’s story in a creative and narrative format. To help accomplish this, nominees should consider going above and beyond the requirements and include personal anecdotes, volunteer activity and supporting documentation that will help your nomination stand out in a creative way.
Complete your nomination early and confirm your submission. After submitting your nomination, confirm with the award organizer that he or she received it. This helps avoid any confusion and ensures your documentation has been received ahead of the award deadline.
We welcome your tips and experiences completing winning award nominations. E-mail us your thoughts at email@example.com or leave a comment.Tags: Award submissions, Big Fish Games, Inc. 500/5000