How Awards Sharpen Your Competitive Edge
This month, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating a few of Kansas City’s women of entrepreneurship.
Meet Becky S. Wilson, chief visibility officer at WDS Marketing & Public Relations, a branding, media relations and special events agency based in Overland Park, KS. WDS has assisted clients in receiving more than 175 awards, honors and accolades, locally, regionally and nationally. Below, Becky takes award season head on, explaining why modesty isn’t always the best policy.
“And, the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony, the Grammy goes to…”
Consider first the Oscar Award. Coveted by many, the title of “Oscar Winner” is much esteemed. The moniker is used to drive movie ticket sales worldwide, garner media coverage and gain acclaim for all involved. What the entertainment industry as a whole discovered years ago can also be incorporated into savvy branding for small and emerging businesses across all segments.
Fact: Awards can have a very positive effect in boosting both reputation and the bottom line.
Entrepreneurs confident they offer the highest level of products and services can show their grit by throwing their hat in the ring to vie for honors and approval. Are you feeling uneasy about attempting this? Building a reputation is no time to be shy, reserved or fly under the radar.
Noted marketer Jack Trout, in his book Differentiate or Die, says that a business leader who doesn’t ‘brag’ is the best thing that can happen to a competitor. Being modest leaves the door open for rivals to walk across the stage into the spotlight. Trout believes, and I concur, that it is vitally important to promote an enterprise professionally whenever possible. Drawing attention to business accomplishments via awards results in positive buzz, while building brand as an outstanding, desirable company.
Not every nominee can be selected for the honor the first time he or she applies. Should this happen to you, don’t be discouraged. Revise your application, and then apply again next year. Just by seeking the award, you can identify your business as a winner.
Nationally acclaimed author Harvey Mackay defines winning as ‘to succeed by effort.’ In his best-selling book Pushing the Envelope, Mackay says winning has more meaning than just finishing in first place. He equates winning to “participation, taking part, making an attempt, testing your limits, breaking through to a new level of performance, and being the best you can be!”
Nearly every industry and organization honors their most outstanding members both locally and nationally at some time during the year. Local chambers of commerce, business organizations and business publications also seek to shine a light on business accomplishments. There are honors for those businesses that are woman or minority-owned. Some award programs recognize workplace diversity, a caring work environment or excellence in employee development.
If you are unsure about which award programs you should consider, ask your favorite public relations agency to do the groundwork first. They can develop a profile of each award program including the judging criteria, application requirements, the benefits of participating, media exposure, awards ceremonies details and other information. These elements will help you determine if your business should compete. Your PR person can also help promote your business when you get those trophies to put on the shelf.
Finally, don’t forget to write your acceptance speech. When your name is called, you won’t want to forget to thank all of those important people who helped you build your business and become a success.