Author: Callum MacDonald

Business banking: Awards can be rewarding for your business

Applying for awards can be a powerful and cost effective way to market your business as well as motivate and recognise your staff writes Greater Business Banking specialist Callum MacDonald. 

Greater Head of marketing Matt Hingston accepting the Roy Morgan Award for Building Society of the Year for 2013

There are a number of business awards that have come across my desk of late.

The Telstra Business Awards are for best Start Up, Micro, Small, and Medium Business as well as best Regional Business.

The Hunter Business Awards are Australia’s most prestigious regional business awards which celebrate and recognise business excellence in the Hunter Region. (The Greater is the sponsor of the Customer Service (Small Business) Award)

The Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards aim to recognise business excellence and celebrate the outstanding achievements of local businesses and their contribution to the Lake Macquarie community.

There are many others. It is worth checking with your local business chamber or industry association.

Why bother?

Here are two reasons why winning an award (and even being nominated as a finalist) can be beneficial to your business.

  1. Marketing reward. It shows your target market and industry that you are the best at what you do. We all want to work with or use the experts or best in the business.
  2. Staff reward. An award can be a great way to unite and motivate staff. It is cost effective recognition for their efforts. Inviting staff to the awards night can also be a great team building exercise

At The Greater we have just won Best Building Society in the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards after winning the monthly survey every month in 2013. We have a big focus on providing outstanding customer service as a way to differentiate ourselves from the big banks. Winning the award shows our customers further proof we are Australia's Most Loved Banking Organisation and it also shows our staff that their efforts were worth it and have been recognised.

Tips for a successful awards application

  • Less is more - Stick to word limits set by the judges. Short sharp sentences or bullet points that specifically answer the question are all that is required. Provide examples where you can, to demonstrate rather than just writing “motherhood" statements. As with all your business tasks look at the cost of spending more and more time on the application versus the benefit you will receive.
  • Read all of the requirements carefully - Make sure you have answered each item and provided all the required information. The Awards pack will often contain a checklist. If not, write your own. You don’t want to have put all that effort in only to be excluded for not following instructions.
  • Proof read the application - If it comes down to the wire, a judge is always going to choose a well presented, mistake free application. Plus, you are marketing your business to the judges too. Make the right impression.
  • Be on time - You may be lucky to get a late entry accepted but it doesn’t make the right impression. Don’t leave the application until the last minute as urgent work matters will always pop up and you won’t be presenting your best effort. Give yourself a false deadline of the week before so you have a buffer and time to proof.

What to do when you win?

  • Have an acceptance speech - Have a short, sharp acceptance speech prepared just in case. Be gracious but appear like an expert and deserved winner. Receiving the award is a chance to market your business. Remember to thank your staff and business partner(s) and have your key marketing message about your business contained in the speech. (There is nothing worse than hearing someone say “Um, I don’t know what to say, we didn’t expect or deserve this”…Cringe.)
  • Celebrate - I probably don’t need to tell you to do this. Make sure when you are back in the office that you give staff the chance to celebrate too. Share some photos or details from the night with those who weren’t there so they feel part of the “win”.
  • Promote your award - Ask the Awards organiser for a logo or button. You can use this in your marketing – including your website, stationery, promotional material, your offices (including the counter and doors). Media organisations may cover the award so seek out those opportunities to be photographed or comment for a story.

I have shamelessly inserted some of the Greater’s most recent award logos here in this blog!

Good luck in your next awards application.

How has winning an award helped you or your business? Please share your thoughts and comments below.