I wonder how many of us have got somewhere, hidden away perhaps in a loft, our very first certificate.  I know I have for winning the 100 metres at Junior School.  I still remember the time, 16 seconds.  Wonder if I could beat that now in my 53rd year.  I’m sure I could get up to speed but how long it would take to get started would be another matter. Over the years we all accumulate certificates and awards.  At school it’s the life-changing educational ones then in later life you pick up a few random ones. A few years back I completed a half marathon finishing a respectable 2,000 and something and still have the t-shirt to prove it.  Awards, certificates, accreditations do matter, we keep them, remember them and can use them to get on in life.

In business, the same is true, arguably more so.  They can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line, positioning your organisation as innovators, as leaders.  This can boost morale and productivity, lead to press coverage, raise your profile and position you as one of the best.  In some cases the process of putting the entries together is valuable too, determining outcomes which is often a requirement for entries can provide focus and improve performance plus the information produced can be used for other promotions.

At Word Association we’re real awards fans, indeed if there were an award for award-winning we’d enter it.Not all are good, we acknowledge that, and we’re careful to avoid the ones you effectively pay for and those that represent poor value with high entry costs and extortionate fees for the award dinners.  Also we’ve learnt that not every award is the industry’s Oscars!

On the whole though we encourage our clients to enter them and have developed a specialist awards service that gets results.  The first stage is really getting to know an organisation, its competition, sector, aims and what it does well.  For those clients we’ve worked with for some time understanding all this is, of course, part of the service.

Armed with this information we then determine potential award-winning projects and match them to our extensive database of awards across a whole range of sectors.  We are constantly updating this database, adding new awards, updating the criteria etc.

We then produce a long list we discuss with clients from which we agree a shortlist with details and deadlines.  As part of this discussion we’ll agree some targets including how many to be shortlisted, how many to win.  We’ll then proactively set about drafting the awards, carrying out research, sorting out outcomes, case studies, supporting information etc.   When agreed and approved we can submit them for our clients.
If we get shortlisted that’s great, it’s a PR opportunity and good news internally.  If we don’t we’ll learn from it by assessing other shortlisted entries and reviewing what we submitted critically.  If we are shortlisted there’s the award dinner planning and being prepared for good news and all the opportunities that brings.

We’re just starting that process right now with our client Thrive Homes who won two categories of the Housing Innovation Awards last night at London’s prestigious Grand Connaught Room.

Our PR and social media machine is already in action.   Work is starting around other promotional opportunities and the next award entry is already in draft.

If you’d like to find out more about our awards services get in touch with Mark Thomas mark@wordassociation.co.uk or on 01455 614333.  We also have a guide to entering awards on our website.