Last week I had the privilege to attend the Teesside Business Awards at Teesside University. It was a very special evening when all finalists were showcased and celebrated and it was awe inspiring to learn how some businesses had established themselves and grown from a simple idea to a highly successful business employing many people. It was also very encouraging to see the efforts that many businesses were going to take on apprentices and provide them with the training and encouragement needed to start their careers and how proud companies were that they were shortlisted for awards and overjoyed to win.
This week, we at Jacksons have our award interviews to deal with as we are shortlisted in four categories of the Northern Law Awards – litigation team of the year, property team of the year, trainee of the year Sophie Lynas and law practice management for our head of finance Suzanne Graham. I know the work that has to go in to collate submissions and to prepare for interview and this has made me wonder over the weekend why business award events have become so popular and why companies are so anxious to be successful in these.
Interestingly, when I started to investigate this on the internet there seems to be a significant amount of material out there as to why entering awards is good for business and these seem to boil down to:-
1. Marketing – these awards are great to raise a company’s profile and reputation. They can be used for press release and are a validation of what a company says about its product, its services and its reputation. It can be a way of setting your business apart from its competitors. Many seem to think that it is particularly valuable in terms of existing customers as it is a reassurance should one be needed that a good choice has been made in working with a particular business. For new customers it is thought a prestigious award could tip the balance when deciding whether or not to engage a new supplier or service provider.
2. Staff morale – employees enjoy working for successful companies. It is felt that achieving recognition in business awards can have a positive effect on staff morale, motivation and retention as it is public endorsement of their contribution to a business’ success and a good excuse for a party!
3. Analysis of business – preparing an awards submission and going through the interview process makes a business or team within a business evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and examine why it has been successful in particular areas and the factors leading to such success. This can be a very useful exercise for all concerned.
4. Networking – networking at awards dinners is a great opportunity to make new contacts and to develop existing relationships, especially when everyone wants to congratulate you on a win and a feeling of bonhomie surrounds you.
Well, having done all of this research there is clearly more to these awards than I might have thought! Definitely, I felt proud to be working in Teesside last Thursday evening amongst all those highly successful companies and very positive about the business community here.
I had better do some preparation for this week!