At the end of last week, the team from Publicity Seekers put on our glad rags for the annual Hartlepool Business Awards.
Put together by the Hartlepool Business Forum, the yearly event is always a fantastic evening, bringing the business community of Hartlepool together and celebrating the abundance of successes from the past 12 months.
A fancy dinner followed by a glittering award ceremony, of which I was invited on stage as the new Hartlepool MP Mike Hill’s glamourous assistant, the evening not only highlighted the best of the best but brought to my attention the number of great businesses that are based in the town.
And this really got me thinking, thanks to these awards I am now aware of businesses which before I had no idea existed.
Apart from potentially getting to take home a trophy and a certificate, there are so many benefits to entering awards, awards really are great PR.
Entering awards is a great way to show that you mean business, and an even greater way to persuade potential customers that you’re as good as you say you are.
Not only is it free marketing that will help improve your brand awareness, a shortlisting, nomination or a win, is a brilliant 3rd party endorsement for your business and a seal of approval for your products or services and a sign of quality for your customers.
It’s also a great way of differentiating you from your competitors, automatically setting you one step higher in the eyes of your target customers.
- The entering
It’s a mixed bag with awards, some are free to enter, some have fees attached, some require you to write submissions, and others you simply put yourself forward for or are nominated for by someone else.
The Hartlepool Business Awards are free to enter but require entrants to write a submission, touching on a number of factors suggested by the judging panel.
This is the first and often the biggest hurdle for entrants. ‘I don’t have the time to sit and write an submission for an award’ or ‘I’m not a great writer and struggle to fit all the points needed into a concise submission.’
Well that’s what we’re here for. At Publicity Seekers we will do the leg work for you. After a bit of background research in to your business and the award you are wanting to enter, we’ll sit with you for an hour or so, get all the information we need, and go away to put an award winning submission together.
And I’m not just saying that, our submissions really are award winning. A number of clients return to us year after year asking us to write submissions for a variety of different awards, and our success rate of getting clients shortlisted is through the roof.
Here’s just a couple of examples from this year….
Hart Biologicals walked away from the Made in North East Awards last October with not one but two wins. They were named Manufacturer of the Year (under £25m) and Exporter of the Year
The team at Total Recycling Awards were crowned the winners of the Best Services Provider award at the Teesside heat of the North East Business Awards in March.
J&B Recycling are gearing up for the National Recycling Awards in June, where they are shortlisted for the efficiency award, as well as the Independent Operator of the Year.
- Getting shortlisted
Getting shortlisted for an award brings with it a heap of benefits.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to improve brand awareness and build the business or the business leader profile.
Many awards are closely associated with a particular publication which will cover the shortlisting for its readers, and alongside this you have the opportunity to maximise PR exposure through your own platforms. Get a story up on the news section of your website, update social media, email signatures, and any other marketing materials with the finalist logo, and basically shout from the rooftops about your achievement in any way you can.
- The awards ceremony
Getting shortlisted for an award often comes with a glittering award ceremony. The ceremonies themselves are a fantastic opportunity to recognise just how much the business has achieved with those who have made it possible, the team around you. Celebrating successes is great for team morale which we all know, in turns makes for happier more motivated employees.
The awards may even be a great opportunity to woo potential clients. If you have space on your table you can invite them along for an evening of good food, good wine and all you best charm.
They’ll walk away remembering your kindness and what a good night they had, and next time they’re looking for the services you offer, likelihood is that you’ll be the first business that springs to mind.
But most importantly, attending an award ceremony is the opportunity to work the room. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.
Get your business card as far and as wide as the room will allow. In my eyes there is no better way of building relationships than by attending networking events, and award ceremonies tend to be a lot bigger than your average mid-week networking breakfasts.
If you are fortunate enough to be crowned the winner of your category then that’s bloody brilliant!
You’ve been banging on about how good the business is for ages now, but having that brilliance recognised by someone else, so much so that you’ve beaten other businesses to the top, is one of the greatest 3rd party endorsements you could ask for.
Award wins increase credibility, and act as a sign of quality for potential customers. Winning awards can also strengthen the relationships you have with suppliers and differentiates you from your competitors. An all-round success really.
Award winners are also likely to receive further coverage in the publication associated with the awards or in the local/regional news.
Some may even run pull our supplements of all the winners, a fantastic way to raise your profile and get people talking about your business.
We’re nearing the end of this year’s awards season, but come next year I urge you to consider what being named the winner of an award could do to boost your business.
And as always, we’re here to help. Feel free to give us a bell, we’ll be happy to discuss options and offer any advice.
I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners from this year’s Hartlepool Business Awards, particularly our clients Seymour Civil Engineering who took home the Investment in Training award, as well as being named the Overall Business of the Year.