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Industry awards: You can win in so many ways

Industry awards: You can win in so many ways

Meghan ElyWith a never-ending to-do list and an inbox that rarely sees the number zero, it’s easy to push off certain things that will surely advance your business but might seem to take up too much of your valuable time.

However, it’s time to reconsider the marketing tactics that you’re dismissing for sheer lack of time. Wrangle in your inbox, rework your schedule--do whatever it takes to free up an hour or two because there’s never a better time to take your company to the next level than now.

Industry awards are often overlooked, in favor of social media marketing and other public relations strategies. However, awards—whether for yourself or your company—are an excellent way for advancing your brand and shining a spotlight on what sets your business apart from the competition. Isn’t that what you’re going for, anyways?

If you’ve always wanted to be the go-to brand in your market, earning a few industry honors can amp up your company’s recognition—both with potential clients and with other industry businesses. “Awards act as a source of credibility, so media contacts and other professionals will come to respect you as a top-tier brand and expert,” explains Rebecca Hochreiter, vice president of marketing and customer engagement for Destination Weddings Travel Group, which was recently announced as a 2015 Gold Winner for the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards.

Not only will recognition distinguish your brand in an ever-growing market, you’ll also notice that it can generate significant sales growth. When prospects visit your website, they’ll see the awards you’ve earned on your home page and consider them as a seal of approval--if you’re an industry leader, then you’re surely the best one for the job! In addition, you’ll find that awards will help to retain current customers as well. If you’re the best at what you do, why bother going elsewhere?

In addition to improving external relations with prospects and current clients, there’s nothing like winning an award to boost morale in the office. Employees love working for a winning company--it not only validates their career choices, but it also gives them an opportunity to unwind with their coworkers. Schedule out an afternoon to stop working early and celebrate with one another--you’ve deserved it!

When it comes to team-building, don’t be surprised when your recruitment process begins to attract top candidates as well. When portrayed in the elite tier of the industry, it will reflect in the quality of applicants that come knocking at your job openings. Better contenders breed stronger teams--all the more better when applying for your next award.

As for the process of applying to awards, it may seem tedious but rest assured that it is entirely worth it. Even if you don’t win, your application has put your products or services in front of a number of industry judges, who often have strong media relations. A loss can still be a win in the long run!

“The honor of being recognized by my peers is appreciated and noticeably adds to my reputation in the market,” shares Brit Bertino, event professional veteran and multiple-time industry award veteran. “For me, awards are about getting your name in front of the people that matter.”

When first setting out to find the best fit for yourself and your company, be sure to understand which are the most significant before applying--there’s no use spending valuable time on applying to awards that target a different niche or just don’t carry any recognition factor. Consider checking out competitors’ websites to see what they’re winning, if applicable.

So, you won--congratulations! What now? Now, it’s time to market yourself as an award-winning professional or company. A press release is the first and foremost step--distribute these to local and industry media to get your name in the news. From there, promote on social media, e-newsletters, and advertisement pieces--don’t forget to include the award logo on your homepage!

When it comes down to it, industry awards certainly justify the time spent on applications. Set aside some time to research and put together a strong submission and get ready to reap in the benefits of being an industry leader!

Editor's note: Special Events magazine has awarded the Gala Awards since 1986. The 2016 Gala Award nominees will be announced by Nov. 20, and winner named at The Special Event 2016.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a public relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.


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