Awards are the perfect arsenal for any public relations campaign. Used in conjunction with targeted marketing, they cause a snowball effect and positively position a company for publicity. In most instances, simply being nominated gets your name mentioned.
Sharon Kornstein, AICI, CIP, President, ImageDesign LLC, 973.740.8767, voice, 973.632.9456, cell, www.imagedesignconsulting.com, a full service style and image consultation company, has recently started entering and placing in entrepreneurial and business competitions. In her own words, she explains why she started,
“I was recently named a finalist in WCEC Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corporation and, once I became a finalist, other organizations began to find and court me to enter their own competitions. The publicity has been fantastic, upon being chosen, press releases were sent out by the sponsoring organization. I have included my finalist status in my e-mail signature, have used this opportunity to invite my clients and referral sources to networking events, met and now network with the other finalists, include this recognition in my social media outreach which has led to an increase in followers. Somewhat of a media blitz is created which allows me to piggy back on and optimize my other marketing efforts. Entering competitions has given me entrée into a wider group of people and is a gateway to direct and indirect business. ”
Getting nominated for any type of award is a concrete way to draw positive attention to you, your company, product or service. Receiving an award provides an immediate opportunity for companies to showcase their achievement. Earning this type of recognition instantly creates credibility and validation.
An award says what you cannot – that your business, service or product is the best. Awards provide an objective outside source that advertising simply does not. A long time ago, someone taught me that “advertising” is what you pay for, “publicity” is what you pray for and winning an award is great publicity.
How does one go about finding competitions locally, by industry, regionally or nationally? Trade publications, industry associations and the internet are all great sources. Most awards do not charge a fee to enter; although there are some exceptions. What they do charge is time. Usually, there is an extensive application process; essays to be filled out and references to be supplied. Yet the time involved in applying for these competitions dims in comparison to what a company or business leader receives if selected.
When a company or business leader is selected, the announcement should immediately be followed up by your own company’s press release. Ads can be placed to reach a larger, target audience. E-mail blasts should be generated by your company and sent to referral sources, prospective clients, existing clients and the media. There is usually an Award Luncheon or Dinner where one has the opportunity to invite guests, clients, local dignitaries, etc. These galas are fantastic places to network – and the winners and finalists are always identified.
Winning an award does not stop with the ceremony – keep the buzz going by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce, library, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, YMCA, house of worship, industry association and offer to speak on a “hot topic” that will have broad appeal to your audience. Like an author, winning an award makes you an instant expert. Once you line up some speaking engagements, contact your local newspaper, industry newsletter and trade magazine. Articles will start to appear and you may be asked to either write an article and/or speak at another venue. The buzz continues – more press releases – more visibility. All of which are geared to the same result – attracting potential new clients.
At the very least, winners receive trophies and certificates that can be displayed on the walls of conference rooms or in reception areas for future clients to see. In my twenty plus years of handling public relations and publicity for a number of professional services companies – winning an award has opened doors and created opportunity into markets not previously available.
How can you use Awards in your business to reach the next level? Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or suggestions.
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