By Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting
Whether you’re looking to boost your brand recognition or stay ahead of the competition, awards can do a great deal for your company. In addition to the obvious confidence boost, a quality award speaks volumes to your professionalism as it represents a source of outside credibility. Not only are you great, but other industry leaders think so too!
“Awards are a great addition to your company as it gives more credibility to your services and elevates your brand in your local market,” explains Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “It also draws in clients by providing you with something else to promote in a positive light. When we’ve won awards in the past, even the local vendors have noticed and congratulated us so it certainly gets seen by many people.” Even if your brand is only nominated for an award, it may serve as a promotional event for your business. Aside from that, digital billboards, which are commonly found at events, continuously display the brand name, can help you gain much-needed recognition. Similar customized digital signage can be obtained from National Signs or other digital signage providers and installed in front of your office building. One of the many advantages of LED signs is the ability to change your message at any time. You can provide information to your clients in the form of text, images, or video with just a few clicks.
There is a multitude of awards that are available in the wedding industry. Some are review-based, like The Knot’s Best of Weddings and WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Awards, which is why it’s imperative to request reviews from your couples. For these, it’s as simple as asking past and current clients to provide reviews for you on the respective sites. The Knot requires a minimum of ten awards for consideration whereas WeddingWire doesn’t have a specific number required; however, it is imperative that all reviews are both relevant and recent. These awards are based on how many reviews you have, how strong they are, how consistent they are and how you rank among other professionals in your market.
Other awards, on the other hand, are submission-based and require a bit more work to put together a winning submission, but are well worth the time investment.
Most wedding professionals are already bogged down with behind-the-scenes planning, event coordination, and other administrative work. How could you possibly fit in time to not only research awards but also apply to them? Well, if you’re looking for more leads and an increased bottom line, it’s time to start waking up earlier to make sure there’s time for your award push.
Meryl Snow Vice President at Feastivities Events has won every award but she says it’s not because she is better than anyone else. She offers the following tips down below.
- Follow every award rule
- Tell a good story
- Avoid using I and use your company name
- Use fabulous photos
“As an internationally based planner and designer, we’ve found that awards have been a great way to increase brand awareness in targeted regions outside of our immediate area,” shares Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Management Group. “Not to mention, awards have a way of boosting team morale and clients take great delight in having an award-winning professional on their wedding team!”
In addition to increased brand recognition, awards can push you to the next level and solidify your place as an industry expert. It can also lead to bigger and better prospective employees when expanding your team. As you can tell, the benefits greatly outweigh the effort required. Plus, if you combine winning awards with other brand recognition support like implementing a fund marketing strategy and other digital marketing efforts, you will be able to reach your intended goals.
However, that’s not to discount the effort that awards entail as it will take some time and diligence to put together a winning award submission. The key to getting the win isn’t only about the nomination itself; it’s about the award type as well. You could put together the best darn submission, but it’ll be worthless if it’s sent along to awards that don’t fit your brand or services. Start out local and look for ones that fall under your expertise. Get in touch with your market’s industry associations to see what kind of awards they offer throughout the year. Once you have a few under your belt, you can work your way up to regional and national awards.
The Weddi Awards, the WIPA Awards of Excellence, the Catersource and Event Solutions Spotlight Awards, and the Special Events Gala Awards are all great examples of national awards to aim for. Each award comes with different guidelines, but they all typically require a write-up that describes your company, professional achievements, customer excellence, and innovation.
In terms of what to include in your submission, be descriptive with your words and keep it to the point. Follow the award’s specific instructions (to the t!) and always, always review all of the copy before hitting send.
After you’ve finished submitting, it can be difficult to wait to hear back. Chances are it will take some time, so get occupied with work and perhaps research for another award. If you hear back and the news is good, congratulations! Take your team out for a celebration. If it’s not so good, don’t be discouraged – not every submission is a winner. Keep on applying and you’ll be an award-winning company in no time!
Long story short: Yes, of course you need to garner some awards for your brand. What’s holding you back?
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
Disclosure: Meghan Ely and Meryl Snow are listed in the Wedding Market speaker directory.