Business Awards! What are they good for?


Ben Paul
January 16, 2023
Marketing

Absolutely…..actually, they are certainly way more useful than being good for “Absolutely nothing” (as the words to the famous Edwin Starr Motown song would say in relation to War, which I have re-appropriated for this article’s title). And yet, for something which has been a part of the marketing mix for decades, it stirs great debate within firms and in the wire consulting community as to what value they actually bring.  I believe the right business awards, promoted well, are beneficial and professional services firms should absolutely include them as part of their annual marketing plans.

Why the negativity towards awards?

They absorb a lot of (non-productive) time.

Most awards take a great deal of time for marketing teams and fee-earners to complete. Collating the information and then presenting it in a concise format that accurately answers the questions can be very time-consuming – much like an RFP response, but one without a contract/revenue prize at the end.

They focus on your firm, more than your clients.

While you are unlikely to get awards without doing great client work, the award itself is a recognition for your great work and is aimed at promoting you rather than your clients, in most cases. So, for some, they are reluctant to spend time and effort on an activity they see as purely self-promotional.

Unclear if awards generate leads/new work.

It is hard to point to leads or enquiries being a result of winning awards or being nominated for them. This is particularly true for activities such as the legal directories e.g., Chambers and Legal 500 which rank lawyers and law firms across practice areas in different jurisdictions. Some will claim to have had work from this source, while others will say in decades, they have never seen it. So, for the time and effort put in compared to other strategic marketing campaigns, it can be hard to justify it from an ROI perspective.

Fear of failure

This is one that will resonate with many who are reading this article. It can be very scary to enter a competition to compare your firm, or even worse, yourself, against your peers and competitors. The fear of not winning and finding out your reputation is perhaps not as significant in the market as you hoped it was, can hold people, and firms, back from entering.

All the reasons above are very understandable and in some cases very legitimate reasons not to enter business awards. However, while I would not advocate entering every single business award out there, there are some very good and sound business reasons for entering, and hopefully winning awards.

The 5 powerful reasons why you should enter business awards

1.     Enhances your credibility

Very simply, you have been endorsed by a third party. In some cases, by a panel of leading industry experts. Having those that are respected within the business community provide independent validation to your work, or your firm’s culture, is powerful. Your prospective clients will research you, and when they see you have won some valid awards it certainly will inform them in a positive way.

2.      It helps to drive website traffic / Backlinks for SEO

If you win or are nominated for an award, you’ll be listed on the website that hands out the awards. In most cases they will hyperlink your firm’s name to your company website. This is a backlink, which is great for your SEO. Winning credible awards helps to boost your website’s authority and helps you to be found more easily on google.

If more people visit your website, then there is more chance of enquiries or leads coming in from your website.

3.      Boosts employee morale

Serving clients and working within professional services firms can be tiring work at times. Being recognised for that hard work and being held out as leaders in your field is a great boost for your firm and your employees/team. Put simply, a big award win helps put a spring into yours and your colleagues’ steps.

4.      Good news story – Great Social Media Engagement

At certain Awards times, my LinkedIn feed is awash with firm’s announcing award wins. When you look at these posts the number of likes and comments are high, much higher than the firm’s usual posts. People like to see good news and like to offer congratulations.

So put simply, award announcements help to boost personal brands as well as firm brands.

5.      Helps Attract Talent

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons. The war for talent across professional services firms is a hard one to win. Anything that can help you stand out as an employer is a good thing. Awards for client excellence and for having a supportive and diverse culture are certainly areas that future employees really do look at more and more.

Conclusion – Business Awards! What are they good for?

Turns out quite a bit! Of course, you should pick and choose the awards you invest your time on entering. Do your research on them, make sure they fit with your brand and marketing strategy, and then invest your time wisely and enter those that are meaningful, and you feel you have a good chance of doing well in.

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