Putting an industry award on the company mantel can be a nice PR win for a B2B.
Along with earned media visibility and recognition, awards build credibility and authority. Most important, they are a third-party endorsement. Here are five tips for filling your trophy case:
1. Focus on outcomes. Whether you’re entering a customer case study, product or individual award, the judges are looking for quantifiable success. Anecdotal evidence won’t earn the award; you’ll need hard ROI numbers. When submitting for a customer service award, provide numbers reflecting customer reviews and testimonials. Consider offering data visualizations to substantiate your figures.
2. Choose competitions wisely. Industry awards exist for every niche, and each competition will have multiple categories and/or subcategories, which increases the chances of winning but complicates entering. Your PR agency or team should keep a database of relevant awards programs. Established companies might focus on awards with an editorial component—awards produced or sponsored by media outlets.
3. Avoid dull entries. Industry competitions usually require summaries of 500 to 1,500 words. They often list required elements, which might seem to call for dry boilerplate. As with any PR content, though, a compelling awards entry should feature vibrant storytelling. Fortunately, B2B case studies tend to have the same basic narrative: A customer has a problem, so it enlists a solutions provider; the provider formulates a strategy, executes the campaign and solves the problem. Entry reports should read like simple stories, with rich, action-oriented language—not dry, antiseptic prose.
4. Mark your calendar. Industry awards are usually annual, so businesses can and should plan a strategy well in advance. Consistent award wins can bolster an organization’s reputation for product or service excellence. A PR team can plan to enter its company’s new offerings into competitions many months down the line—targeting certain awards and categories for much-anticipated new products. This type of planning helps prevent procrastination and can help shape the entry. Award entries can be costly, both in cash and staff time, so it helps to analyze all programs and prioritize the most prestigious, relevant and promotable programs for the highest return on investment.
5. Use the win. You won, so brag a little. PR and marketing will amplify the win in owned media channels, collateral, maybe a press release or email. Place the official award logo on company webpages, write about the win in a blog post, feature it in your newsletter, mention it in new business pitches, and don’t forget to celebrate internally, especially if it showcases a star employee. Naturally, you’ll share the win on social media, so secure customer permissions well in advance. Many awards feature ceremonies or galas, which can offer opportunities for industry exposure, customer networking and extra PR.
A version of this post first appeared on the Crenshaw Communications PR Fish Bowl blog