Is Your Company Red-Carpet Ready? Using award season to market your company

November to February is considered film award season where the stars come out to be recognized for their achievements of the past year. The glittering gowns, the red carpet, globes of gold and those fabulous gift baskets backstage.

But how about the stars on your team? When was the last time your business or organization submitted an award entry for a project that made your team brim with pride?

Award season for businesses and organizations also take place during this same time of year, and there are numerous awards that you can submit for in Gainesville.

Award submittals provide an opportunity for your team to sum up a successful project and “toot their horn.” Reviewing a project and getting it ready for a submittal will require examining the goals, objectives, measurements and budget at a detailed level which can also help your team understand what was done well, what still needs to be improved going forward, and shape goal setting for the coming year on future projects.

Perhaps there is a small committee or a particular staff member who gathers information on the awards for which your business would like to be recognized. Be careful to read the award submittal criteria carefully, and make sure that your project is a great fit for the category.

Keep the rules in mind.  Associations and other entities may require the award submittal to be prepared in a certain font or font size and specify margins, word counts or a limited number of support materials which will eliminate your entry if you don’t strictly follow the criteria.

Overall, many award submittals can be broken down into research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Having conducted primary and secondary research in the discovery phase of your project will have been helpful in identifying the problem you were trying to solve and then later on being able to demonstrate how successful the project was by measuring qualitative and quantitative data.

Where can you find awards to apply for? Avoid the “pay to play” offerings where you pay and then “win” an award. Competing against others in your industry regionally, state-wide or even nationally will raise the profile of your business and be a point of pride for your team. Look to local or state professional associations where your business is already a member like the chamber of commerce, professional associations which are germane to your industry or those professional associations where your project is the best fit.

Often these professional associations and chambers of commerce have different levels of awards and also different geographic tiers such as regional, state and national.

The Annual Business in Greater Gainesville Awards by Advantage Publishing or The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Awards are announced at the end of each year by the beginning of awards season, in November and December.

Finally there are associations that are specific to the area of expertise that your project relates to. For example, in Gainesville during the last half of award season from January to March, we have the ADDY Awards from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Gainesville and the Image Awards for the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Gainesville Chapter for your creative teams.

Submitting for an award to the chapter of a national or state association also gives you the opportunity to compete on a larger playing field. Both AAF Gainesville and FPRA Gainesville Chapter have different tiers that you can submit to, such as locally and state-wide for FPRA, and regionally and nationally for AAF.

Are you interested in submitting an award but are setting your sites on submitting for the 2018/2019 Award Season? Look at the criteria that is required for this current award season and incorporate those criteria and milestones in your team’s project planning for this year such as measurements, goals and objectives. Then your project will be ready for 2018/2019 awards season.

Consider attending local awards presentations during this awards season that you are interested in, see who the winners are and ask questions of fellow attendees. Bringing your staff to an event like this is a reward in of itself. Mix and mingle with others in the industry. Find out more on the latest trends. Your team can have a meeting when they get back into the office and can start planning for next awards season.

Remember, it could be your team gliding across the stage at the ADDY Awards in Gainesville or accepting an Image Award for their public relations project from FPRA Gainesville. Just being nominated can be a thrill for the team, and attending these award ceremonies is a great way to show staff appreciation. Keep your eye on or for details for their award submittal packages and 2018 award events.

For those of you who are preparing your submittals now, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare a few words to accept your award, and please, avoid political speeches.

Here’s a few more tips. When you are at the awards ceremony, avoid messy foods and keep your eye on the agenda. Don’t go to the restroom right before they call the winner for your category to freshen up. Otherwise, you might be in the restroom picking broccoli out of your teeth and miss accepting your award. (Yes, this actually happened to me. LOL)

Wishing you all a happy Awards Season!

By Patricia Vernon
Manager of Marketing and Communications, Haven

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