Planning Events as Award Entries Enhances QualityIf you think of every event you propose and produce as a potential industry award winner, you will create and deliver a much higher quality event. What does that mean? You will pay more attention to detail. You think about how to make it unique, give value for the money spent; you add creative elements, which improve the event; you think about ROI; everything is heightened and defined. You will assure that you memorialize the event with photos and/or film and have the necessary imagery to promote it.
It Creates Media Buzz and Supports Your Marketing StrategyWhen you enter awards, which provides the opportunity to get nominated (like Woody Allen said: "80 percent of success is just showing up"), you can create a media buzz and get your company name out to potential and existing clients. Part of your marketing strategy should be to produce press releases for trade media, clients and prospects when you have something newsworthy to announce. Being nominated or winning an award is most certainly newsworthy. This makes a great promotion to present to prospective clients. When prospects and current clients come to our office and see awards on our shelves, they are impressed!
It is even better promotion for the existing client that created the opportunity for you to work and showcase your work. Clients like acknowledgement and thus letting them know how many awards we’ve won, as well as what specifically they were for proves that we can back up what we are selling them. Even if they tell you that their event cannot be publicized, once you assure them that many of the entries do not name the client and that logos and guest photos will not ever be publicized, they are usually open to the idea, especially when you mention all the things listed above.
In the case of the Event Solutions Spotlight Awards (See Flo Miniscloux with her 2013 Event Solutions Spotlight Award for Rising Star Female above), it lets our clients know how professional and accomplished our team is.
It Sets You Apart from Your CompetitionHaving both award nominations and wins does set you apart from your competition. It is a numbers game, and I can't tell you how many awards we entered, got nominated and didn't win, or the events entered that didn't even get nominated. But, we kept entering, started getting nominated every year and often won. As they say, you cannot win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. As of this writing, Extraordinary Events has won 50+ awards across the event and meeting industry, as well as the WOW awards, Event Marketer, Women in Business Hall of Fame, National Association for Women in Business, Event Solutions Hall of Fame, Special Events Pillar of the Industry and American Business "Stevie" Awards. It's a distinction that validates the quality of the company'w work and has become part of our unique selling proposition.
It Helps Showcase Your Work Across Different Market SegmentsEntering awards allows you to create niches in various industries. Award competitions are available for meeting planning, conference execution, entertainment, spectacles, theatrical shows, exhibits, mobile marketing, event marketing, logistical management ... and the list goes on. Thus, you can appeal to different market segments.
Learn About Various Award ProgramsI read every trade magazine. I talk to other people in our industry and others not in our industry. I have introduced my international contacts to our U.S. awards, and they have introduced me to theirs. I also have belonged to Meeting Planners International and the Society of Travel Incentives forever and, therefore, knew of their awards.
I took a leap of faith when I introduced my international contacts to our U.S. awards. With their creativity and strategic thinking (and I am specifically referring to Colja Dams of VOK DAMS Agency for Events and Live Marketing), I knew they would be competitors in the same categories I entered. And I was right; they were. So much so that at first when they were not winning I realized that they were writing in the German way, which is different than our entries which are much less about facts and more about story telling. So I wrote a few entries for them, and they won and won and won some more. When this happened, other companies in Germany decided they wanted to play on that same field, so they started entering as well. And in my categories. So the Pros: It upped the game for everyone, including me. Cons: We lost the win to them many times.
Do Joint Awards EntriesWhenever it is a truly collaborative effort, do joint award entries. For instance, VOK DAMS and EE have partnered on automotive events, and when they are award-worthy (and they usually are) we do a joint entry. I might write the entry while VOK DAMS addresses the strategy and provides the graphic support. As it is collaborative on the actual project, it is also on the entry. It totally depends on the ratio of creative or logistical support on the actual project.
Colja Dams agrees that "joint entries illustrate how it makes sense for strong partners to team up to achieve the best results possible for the task at hand." Dams also feels that "U.S. awards are recognized all over the world. Awards mean a lot to our clients. Awards honor our clients' events and are a catalyst for our agency to achieve the desired result. More and more clients keep asking for awards because receiving them has become an integral part of their personal goals within their organization."
It Is an Important Part of Team BuildingI also use awards entries as a way to reinforce to my internal team the quality of the events we produce, of which they are so much a part. They all take part in pulling together the entries (the physical part), as well as the brainstorming or addressing the special needs of that award if they were involved in the creative or logistical processes, etc. or if they were on-site and a client contact, then I ask them to contribute to that part of the award.
If the awards are being presented in a physical ceremony, my policy is that, if nominated, the key people responsible for the event attend the ceremony. If our entry wins, they get to go on stage with me and be acknowledged.
Is it time-consuming and a lot of work? Yes! But think of it as part of your marketing strategy and devote some funds for a specialist to write the entries for you or designate a team member with good writing skills to be in charge of getting them completed. (When you enter, pay close attention to the 'criteria,' because many worthy entries have been disqualified when they were not appropriately addressed.) And invest in a great photographer/videographer to document the event.
You will see positive results if you do enter award competitions, especially if you promote and market your nominations and wins.
This article was originally published by Event Solutions. Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of multiple award-winning Extraordinary Events. She may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.