why start an awards competition?

Awards are more popular than ever. It’s all about being superior in sport, quality, service, industry, etc. If you wish to improve your brand recognition and your revenue, starting a business award program can be a real game-changer and quite beneficial for everyone associated, including the organizer, sponsors, program judges, everyone recognized with a nomination, and of course the worthy winners.

Awards as a source of revenue

There are usually two types of awards competitions:

  1. Paid awards – entrants pay a fee to enter the awards
  2. Free awards – entrants are either members of an association/membership organization and pay an annual fee that includes nominations for the awards or the awards competition is sponsored by a large organisation/corporation and entrants can enter for free

Both options are powerful tools to increase the revenue of your organization and are often the main source of revenue for some associations or membership organizations.

Obviously, starting an awards competition does not automatically mean increasing your revenue. In order to be successful, such programs should be approached strategically and every step should be planned well in advance.

It starts with understanding why other companies would consider being part of your awards.

It’s great marketing

Awards celebrate success and hard work, but also make for great PR opportunities. They’re a fantastic marketing tool, full stop! Any business can improve brand awareness and acquire new customers by simply being nominated, let alone winning an accolade.

A good benchmark

Participating in an awards competition is a good way to see how a company compares against the rest. Whether this is then used to convince future clients into doing business, or helps the company improve various aspects of their work, it’s always a win-win, no matter the benchmarking results.

Improved social trust

A business getting short-listed for an award is essentially viewed as a 3rd party endorsement. It can improve social trust in the nominated brand, which can then be used as a sales pitch, help retain existing clients, improve relationships with suppliers, stand out from the competition, etc.

Awards attract talent

It’s a way to strengthen a company’s hiring power. Award-winning companies pitch themselves as the best and this helps them attract better talent, which in turn empowers them to take their business to the next level.

Employee motivation

Awards essentially recognize the hard work of a company’s employees so an award or two often boosts staff morale and motivation. It also shows people what’s great about the company they work for and this gives them pride to be a part of that.

How to make it work?

Laying the groundwork

Set a budget and make sure you have some of it dedicated to marketing and the tools you’ll be using to make the program a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Consider your pricing strategy as well, it’s quite important. Figure out the key dates like entry submission, judging rounds, winner announcements, etc.

Building toward success

An awards program has a lot of moving parts and you will need a dedicated staff to keep everything on track. It helps to have people working on specific goals for the program with set deadlines. Remember that getting your awards ready for accepting entries requires an enormous amount of work.

Getting the right tools for the job

One of the big struggles with organizing a successful program is staying organized. At this point, no matter how big your team is, you will need a reliable end-to-end awards management platform. This is basically where a tool like Evalato takes over and helps you literally every step of the way.

  • Streamline and automate your work. Saves you time and makes your program look top-drawer and highly professional. Not only that, but the platform is also highly flexible and customizable so you can tailor everything down to the last detail.
  • User-friendly and modern interface. This is another important element, as it directly affects how entrants and program judges perceive your awards. It also guarantees that both judges and entrants have a blast being part of your program, so they’ll gladly come back for more.
  • Create a site for your awards. This is quite an important part and should be a big focus in the preparation of your call for entry. And even if you have your own website, the platform integrates easily with it, so you’re still making the most out of it.
  • Powerful entry submission. Collect more submissions with a sleek and adaptive submission portal. The application process can be customized with various powerful options.
  • Easy communication and follow-ups. Whether you wish to send notifications to remind people about submitting their entries, or to instruct judges about their duties, you have the tools you need.
  • Custom evaluation phase. You can set up the entry evaluation to your exact requirements, choose various scoring types with custom criteria, scales, and weights, then invite people to the jury panel, create public voting rounds, etc.
  • Announce the winners. Then easily set up a gallery of all award entries, so people can admire them long after. You get to showcase program applications, results, judge comments, individual votes in just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Analyze data and improve. Benefit from an always complete picture with real-time scores, votes management, a results page, and many features that help improve and grow your awards.

Focusing on awards credibility

On one hand, with Evalato you get a secure and fully GDPR-compliant solution, but that’s not enough. To add actual credibility to your program, consider inviting some big names from your industry to judge program entries. Having judges who are well-known will greatly increase the prestige and legitimacy of your awards.

Sponsors as a source of revenue

Sponsors and partners are crucial stakeholders that can really help with growing your program and your revenue. Here it’s important to understand why they would be willing to sponsor your awards to make them a compelling offer.

The buzz

Awards are the darlings in any industry and that’s what makes sponsors take notice. It’s a chance for them to reach a wide audience, or at least strengthen brand recognition. Which is always a win for them.

The feel-good

An awards competition often serves a good cause. They can be about distinguishing excellence in science, supporting environmental efforts, pushing innovations, etc. A good cause is something that any company is happy to get behind.

awards as an indirect source of revenue

Business awards not only directly increase your organization’s revenue but also provide excellent business opportunities that indirectly contribute to the overall growth of your business. It’s why business awards are such an excellent business opportunity.

Get new business leads

No matter how large a database of existing clients you have, an awards program will attract some extra attention to your brand. And this naturally brings many new business leads, which is always good for business.

Strengthen your brand

That extra attention to your brand will of course strengthen it considerably. An awards program is a long-term project and as time goes by, the awards will grow and the benefits to your brand will get bigger and bigger.

Extra publicity for your organization

Not saying here you’ll automatically get free publicity simply because you’re organizing an awards competition. But awards generate a ton of online buzz, media coverage, shares, likes, and commentary across all channels.

New business partnerships

Because everyone’s fascinated by award competitions, there’s great potential for negotiating new business partnerships, even with companies that aren’t part of the industry you operate in. Awards are great for branching out as well.

awards as an indirect source of revenue

Awards are a lot of work if you go the old-school route of spreadsheets, folders, endless emails, etc. But this can be so much easier with a good platform that tracks, stores, and helps you manage every stage of entry submission and judging for your program. Saving hours upon hours of work is another way you’ll be increasing your revenue, should you decide to start your own awards program.

Evalato is the next-gen awards management software designed to suit all your needs  – free testing is available and no credit card is required.

Published originally on Evalato on June 2, 2022.

At a gala ceremony in Central London, the winners of the 2022 Best Practice Awards were revealed tonight.

Attended by 200 leading figures from the UK trade association sector, the awards are a chance to celebrate all the amazing achievements of our trade associations and the people that work for them.

Back after a 2-year pandemic-enforced break, it was inspiring to hear all the incredible ways that associations delivered for their members during the unprecedented upheaval caused by Covid-19, with many shifting to digital in innovative and impactful ways. What came through in all the entries is the hard work and dedication that associations show to delivering for the members and leading their sector. Whether around skills, governance or sustainability, the UK’s associations have once again demonstrated what a critical role they play in our economy and society.

Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, it is an achievement in itself to make the final list from such a large and strong field of entries, but particular congratulations to our winners!

The Best Practice Awards will be back again (pandemic willing!) next year, so follow us on social or sign up for our newsletter to make sure you are kept in the loop with announcements.

TAF is also bringing back our Best Practice Exchange after a similarly pandemic-enforced absence on 23rd June 2022 to share the best practice examples from our awards winners and elsewhere across the sector. This event is a must-attend for any trade association professional looking to learn from best-in-class leaders in the sector and to network with peers – watch this space for more information!

View the full list of winners at the TAF Best Practice Awards 2022 here.

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