‘And the winner is…’ Industry Award Ceremonies.

By Bob Morrell on November 16, 2018

The one thing that amazes you when you start working in a new industry, is the number of awards events that take place. It’s great to recognise excellence, and for any marketplace, these events are the perfect excuse to meet up, let your hair down and celebrate.


In recent years I’ve been asked to judge awards categories for industry and association awards, and the scope and effort that goes into these entries is impressive. Some people must be employed purely to prepare entries for awards. You can understand why, because if you’re the annual winner of a certain category, the one year you don’t win, then surely people will question what’s gone wrong? From a PR perspective, winning an award, or even being nominated for one is a great thing that you can promote and talk about with your customers, isn’t it? 


My observations on industry awards are that there are two main areas that everyone should work on, to maximise these events. 


Firstly, the winners and the nominees. What did you enter the award for? To win. So if you win, what then? On the night, you’ll have a few drinks and party hard, the next day you’ll celebrate with the wider team, and congratulate yourselves. Then what? Whether you sell to the trade or to consumers you must have a strategy to communicate your award win, to your customer base. Not just the fact you’ve won, but what that means to your customers. This is slightly cultural – in the UK we love to win awards but we don’t like to talk about the fact we’ve won – we think it’s big headed.  So we stick a logo on our website or on a shop front, or on a brochure and expect a customer to understand what it means – they have no idea what these awards are for, unless we explain them. If winners and nominees were better at this then the value of winning awards would be rewarded with additional business from customers feeling happier to buy from recognised category leaders. What were the top 3 things you excel at, which helped you win? Can you get that across to the customers so they understand where you win over others? 


Secondly, the ceremonies. I attended a travel industry event recently, presented by Mark Durden Smith. As a judge I sat right at the front and was able to observe this presenter in action. Mark has presented these awards for a while now and has a strong link to travel through his mother, Judith Chalmers. The secret, I realised, was humour. Mark took the mick out of everyone who came up, the presenters, the awards, the winners, the hosts, everyone. This made the ceremony highly enjoyable and the time flew by.  Unusually for travel, each winner also got to say a few words about their win and what it meant to them – I think this would be a great addition to other ceremonies – where most of the time it’s a blast of rock music, a kiss, a pic and off. I know there are so many categories this would add time to an already long event, but surely you can just lose a couple of minor categories? Or award some separately? 


Most awards never take themselves too seriously, thankfully (although some of the category names are a bit long-winded) and if different markets will continue to create even more events, more awards, more recognition, more entries and more judging, then the ability to better promote your wins and also to express, briefly, what winning means, would enhance these regular celebrations.