Corporate Award Programs — Get recognized for your best practices, star employees and get a little publicity with this untapped marketing tool. Plus tips for a winning entry!
THE VALUE OF AN AWARD
Competition is growing in British Columbia’s vibrant tourism industry, pushing many business owners and managers to think outside the box when it comes to marketing their tourism businesses.
Many of you can probably rhyme off the 4 P’s of marketing — Price, Product, Promotion and Placement in your sleep. But you should also learn about the often ignored, fifth element of marketing: corporate award programs.
Easy to enter, low cost and rewarding, adding “Award Winner” beside your business name can open many doors, particularly for small businesses. It can help position you as an industry leader, promote your star employees, and get you valuable publicity.
If you’ve been humming and hawing about entering an upcoming awards program because you think: “oh, I’ll never win” or “it’s just too much hard work”, take a look at some of the benefits that you could reap with just a little effort:
Winning corporate awards can position you as an industry leader in the eyes of your peers and the media. In addition to creating great photo opportunities and brand name recognition, winning an award assures that when journalists are looking for an “industry expert” to comment on a recent trend, they’ll come to you first.
Business success depends on great staff. And often, the best want to work for the best. When you win an award and are positioned as the best in your field, you’re more likely to attract savvy, success-minded staff.
Increased Sales and Better Supplier Relationships
Once you’ve taken the award back to the office lobby don’t just lock it in the trophy case and wait for new clients to come calling. Position the award in all of your marketing materials. Reinforce that your current clients have picked the best, and attract new ones. A study through the University of Western Ontario showed that corporate award winners typically had 37% more sales growth than the competition. Suppliers are also comforted by your success: bankers, manufacturers and service providers are more likely to want to do business with you if they know you are succeeding.
TIPS FOR A WINNING ENTRY
Corporate Award programs are usually run by not-for-profit organizations and for-profit industry. Typically there is little, or no cost to enter. However, if you want to win you’ll need to devote some time and effort to your entry.
Now that you’re ready to get started, here are a few tips to get your entry to the top of the judges’ pile:
1. Presentation is Key!
Lay out your submission clearly and concisely-include an index to lead the judges to key information. Fill out all required fields of the entry form (do not use “see above”, “see enclosed package”). Submit the right information, for the right award (i.e. if you’re entering the human resources award, don’t submit your entire business plan and expect the judges to find the human resources section). Judges can tell when little effort has gone into your submission and won’t waste time trying to “help you win”.
2. Avoid Catch Phrases
Terms like “best service”, “high standards” are used all over the industry to describe day-to-day activities. Differentiate yourself from the rest of the industry by pointing out innovative practices and backing them up with detailed examples.
3. Build Your Case
Don’t just submit the bare-minimum required for entry. Use relevant, supporting material such as video footage, web pages, print marketing, and testimonials. Build a case for why you deserve the top prize.
4. Quantify Your Results
Describe your success in measurable terms. Use numbers and statistics to show your results (i.e. after increasing our maternity/parental leave, staff retention improved by 30%. In a survey, many staff listed the improved benefits plan as a key reason for staying).
With these few guidelines in mind and a little effort, you’re well on your way to submitting a winning entry.
NOW, GET STARTED! AND BE RECOGNIZED AS THE INDUSTRY LEADER THAT YOU ARE. VISIT THE LINKS BELOW FOR AWARDS PROGRAMS IN BC AND BEYOND:
- Canadian Awards for Training Excellence
- Employees First Award
- National Quality Institute (NQI) Awards of Excellence
- Tourism Industry Association of Canada National Awards for Tourism Excellence
- Whistler Chamber of Commerce ServeUs Challenge – Customer Service Excellence Program
Other Employer of Choice Awards
- Canada’s 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations
- Best Companies to Work for in BC Program
- Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Program
- Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
- Canada’s Safest Employers award
- Canada’s Top 100 Employers program (multiple awards)
- Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) BC/Yukon Region Achievement Recognition Awards
- North American Occupational Safety & Health (NAOSH) Week Awards
- Small Business BC Awards
- Best Workplaces in BC (Great Place to Work – multiple awards)