How to Leverage Awards to Catapult Your Personal Brand & Reputation
I never expected winning awards to have such a massive impact on my business and my personal brand.
In this blog, you'll hear me talking about game changing techniques and different strategies I've used to really grow my business. Winning an award is a marketing strategy that is not given enough credit.
It's not something that's widely spoken about in the entrepreneur or business space, but it can be a game changer for your profile and your business.
I'm going to dive in to the impact that winning awards has had on my business & I hope to inspire you with a new strategy.
what winning awards has done for my business
Winning a prestigious industry award brings with it such great potential for your business.
You instantly get that industry stamp of approval that you've been looking for.
Entrepreneurs often think that applying for an award seems quite a selfish thing to do, and posting about winning one is showing off. The power isn't in having that gorgeous trophy on your desk to impress people, it's really a responsibility to take your recognition and use it to serve others at a higher level.
I remember the very first award that I won. I was in London at The Savoy, and I won a best product award within the property industry for my home staging business. I didn't expect to win but when I did, it brought such recognition to the brand and we had massive surges of traffic to the website, resulting in our social media pages blowing up.
The people in the room really started to take notice of our brand name and who I was as an entrepreneur.
When you win an award you immediately become a role model and an example for others. You should always be gathering evidence to support what is going to elevate your products and services to a higher level. Furthermore, it's going to allow you to add a powerful description to your bios on social media, and you can finally be introduced as an award winning entrepreneur.
finding the right award for you
Now that I have you sold on the idea of becoming an award winning entrepreneur, let's talk about finding the right award for you.
There are so many different aspects to award winning.
There's capitalising on the award afterwards, and there's the game plan. Right now, I'm going to dive into finding the best award for you that's going to have that maximum impact for your business.
There's two different types of awards that you can apply for as an entrepreneur.
You have generic business awards, and then you have your industry specific awards. There are pros and cons to each, but you should definitely apply for all of them.
Let's dive into the Business Awards.
These awards are going to be specific to certain elements of your business. So think business size, turnover, impact contribution, or you as an entrepreneur.
These types of awards are available for almost all industries.
You may have an interior design company up for the award, but there may also be someone who has designed a new app up for it as well. If you're looking to find these awards, some of the best places you're going to find them are through investigating other thought leaders in your space, and discovering what awards they've won and in what order.
For example, a business award I've won is the UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year. That was through the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Before even embarking on the application process, just double check that you qualify for one of the categories, because there may be some you won't be eligible for, for a number of reasons such as age, number of employees in your business, turnover etc. Be really careful when reading the terms and conditions of each award and make sure you're actually applying for the right category.
The next type of word that you can apply for is an industry award.
Industry awards can give your business recognition where none existed before, especially in the space that you're working. What they'll do is help you work towards achieving your goals and raising awareness.
It can be a little bit challenging to find these industry awards and getting your company on that list for acceptance can feel daunting. I know this because I've been there.
Some of the ways that you can discover these types of awards, again, is by investigating past recipients, checking out your competitors, getting on social media to see the groups of people that are in your space and your industry, and looking at publications that are aligned within your industry.
Winning an industry award can sometimes be challenging because you may be up against people that have been applying for years, and they may have well known brands.
the application process
I've won awards competing against different companies that have 10 x my turnover. However, I did what they didn't do, and that was played on my story and leveraged it to win.
The application process of an award varies depending on the award. It could just be a vetting application, or it could be an interview or you may have to go in front of a panel.
However, there is a much easier way to apply for awards that is going to get you success, and is going to cut down a lot of your time and that is having a written bio.
My online course Thought Leader Accelerator (TLA) actually provides my students with over 15 types of questions usually asked by a judge when you're applying for an award.
For example, what makes your company or your role stand out?
What is your background prior to working for this company?
When you're applying for an award, they're looking to see a transformation. They don't necessarily want to see the finished article.
I speak about this all the time on the Thought Leader Chat (TLC) Podcast. People love an underdog, but they also love to see the struggles that you've been through, and how you've positioned yourself to overcome them.
They want to see your leadership, but most importantly, the transformation.
I would love for you to think when applying for an award; where have I came from and how did I get to where I am today?
Make sure at every point of the process that you are demonstrating that transformation.
That is the real key.
You could be up against someone that has a $100m business, but have they made any progress in recent years?
Perhaps they have, but maybe not as much as you.
Don't be threatened by someone that appears to have something bigger or more well known, because it really is your story that's gonna stand out.
How do I know that? After 10 Award wins, the one thing that the judges always tell me is that I was the one person that applied that they really remembered.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is because I lead with story. So if you've got a story, which we all do, especially as an entrepreneur and as thought leaders, share it with your audience.
Share it with the judges through that application process and you will get the awards, which will ultimately result in growth for your business and your brand.