Make Yourself Buzz Worthy

February 26, 2009

By Ed Dugas

Every business has characteristics that set it apart from the competition.  To succeed, businesses must establish credibility, a competitive edge, and get favourable publicity to accelerate sales. Been recognized in a contest or other awards arena? Use those kudos to reinforce the core values, strategic initiatives, and marketing claims of your business to your customers.

Just as travelers rely upon the star rating system to choose a hotel or a Zagat survey to choose a restaurant, buyers of any variety of products and services want to spend their money with winners – and they do. In fact, a research study by Hendricks & Singhal of the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology, revealed more than 600 quality corporate award winners had 37 percent more sales growth and 44 percent higher stock price return than their peers. Please visit this link to learn more about the study.

If you’ve received any kind of award, from an industry-exclusive competition to a personal recognition for the impact and influence of your organization on the local or national business landscape, these opportunities pay off. Of course, not all businesses have won awards, but dig deep and try to find something relevant you can use. When leveraged correctly, award wins will build your credibility and reputation in the marketplace, attract winning team members, foster a sense of pride and accomplishment throughout your organization, and compel potential clients to take notice. And if you don’t participate in contests, it could generate a pay-off that is well worth the effort.

Here are a few more benefits to justify your investment of time and effort in award competitions.

GET TO “YES”

Winning prestigious award contests can help unknown, unproven, or emerging companies better compete for and win new business. Award wins make choosing a company less risky for buyers and potential employees.

PUBLICITY

Favorable local, trade, or national publicity and word-of-mouth referrals often result from contest wins, filling the lead generation pipeline.

TIP NEW BUSINESS IN YOUR FAVOR

Just like Avis – the rental car company with a reputation for trying harder to beat Hertz out of the number one position – award winners may be perceived as working with greater diligence to demonstrate their value.

JUDGES COULD BECOME CUSTOMERS

Judges often visit award candidate’s businesses because they like what they read in award applications and want to experience the company’s services and products for themselves.

HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

If you are convinced that award wins can pay off for your business and your brand, follow these tips when putting pen to paper:

PRIORITIZE

Again, when choosing a contest, make sure it’s legitimate and prestigious, and that it will reinforce your company’s core values, strategic initiatives, and marketing claims. Try to find contests that are government/state sponsored or generate a lot of local media attention.

DO THE APPLICATION JUSTICE

Assign the task of creating award-worthy entries to someone who has the passion, experience, storytelling ability, and time to do the job right. Last minute efforts rarely deliver a winning result. And remember to address all the award criteria (deadlines, requirements), so you will have the best chance to earn a place in the winner’s circle. And be sure to submit entries on deadline.

PROVE YOUR POINTS

Call out winning ways in easy-to-read bullets. Share anecdotes, customer and employee testimonials, and press coverage to prove why your company is award-worthy. Steer clear of hyperbole and rambling commentary that will take up space and bore the judges.

PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION

When submitting to a contest, make sure to spring for the extras that will make your application stand out. Invest in high-quality paper, dividers, presentation binders, and if possible have the materials printed professionally. Having a visually pleasing application may very well get you more attention and a better chance at victory.

GO IN TO WIN

If you can’t weigh in with a stellar effort, sit out the competition and save your time and money until you can. Only a 100% effort will justify this investment.
When you receive recognition from entering or winning awards competitions, it’s important to use this in merchandising your brand coverage and building a business advantage. Here are a few ideas.

USE YOUR CLIPS

To increase your credibility and influence in the marketplace, share any and all publicity with your clients, prospects, referral partners and friends. These materials can act in conjunction with a call to action to engage your services.

INCLUDE THE ONLINE ARTICLE LINK IN YOUR NEWSLETTER

Get the word out to an audience that already engages with your company and its news. Ask recipients to spread the news and invite their quality referrals.

SHOW THE ARTICLE

Hang any awards or articles in your lobby, retail window, building lobby, or conference room. Seeing these in restaurant windows have certainly compelled me to try places I wouldn’t normally go.

POST THE COVERAGE ON THE WEB

Put it into your online media room and/or on your home page, depending on the importance of the coverage. And remember to write about it in your blog, as well.

Award wins serve as powerful tools to help build your company’s brand and reputation. Follow these tips, and you’ll be in good position to profit from the media awareness that results from your winning ways.

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