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How to Win an Award, by Debbie Hockham

First of all, you’ll need to enter!

Have you noticed how some organisations seem to have won loads of awards and really celebrate their achievements? Well here’s a little secret… you very rarely get to win an award unless you actually enter one. So how do you go about becoming an award winning organisation? As it’s the awards season, here are a few tips.

Research suitable awards

What type of award would consolidate your position in the market? Are you looking to profile your people, your products or your achievements? In an ideal world it would be all of these. There are loads of award ceremonies out there, so do your research. Boost Marketing list various different industry awards on their website here.

Choose your nominations carefully

Think about what you’ve achieved in the past 12 months (or whatever the qualifying period is). Questions that you might like to consider include, where can you create a point of difference with your competitors? What awards reflect your core offering or achievements that you are most proud of? Awards can be time consuming so think strategically as to what you would like to achieve.

Follow the instructions

It might sound obvious, but do read the nomination instructions carefully and make sure you follow them, supplying evidence and hard data as required. If you are in any doubt about the criteria, do contact the award organisers for clarification.

Use storytelling to demonstrate success and impact

Depending on the award being entered, it’s highly likely that the judges may want to know what your objectives were beforehand, what you set out to achieve, how you planned to measure success, as well as the actual results themselves. Make sure that you include plenty of quantifiable data, but do also include some anecdotal evidence. Stories are a great way to demonstrate your point and convey your message and – most importantly – your impact (but don’t forget that a good story will need to be backed up by strong facts in order to win an award).

Create a joint entry with one of your business partners or suppliers

If you’ve done some work collaboratively, maybe a business partner or supplier could help write the award nomination with you. For instance, if you outsource services such as magazine printing, website research or CRM systems, the supplier may consider entering the awards on your behalf.

Make time

Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to complete the application form for the award, so plan early and ask for help if needed.

The PR benefits of winning

If you are successful in being short-listed or winning an award, the benefits can be immense. As well as enjoying the celebration of the ceremony itself, winning an award can enhance your career, boost team morale and even help you to win new business or projects. The DMA Awards 2016 research revealed that a win can mean much more than just a trophy for the victor, as winners also perform better in commercial terms than non-winners, with 56% of winners in the top half of their industry ROI performance – compared to 44% for non-winners.

Ensure that you have a communications strategy in place to capitalise on your winnings, which can enhance the benefits of winning an award for weeks, months or even years after the initial ceremony and photo opportunities have faded.

Celebrate your industry and enter the MemCom Excellence Awards!

If you work in the professional body sector and this has inspired you, why not enter a MemCom Excellence award? The I Am Group have strategically partnered with MemCom, the leading conference and awards event for professional membership bodies. We’ll be celebrating the best in membership, marketing, communications and people with nearly 30 awards in the following categories:

·     Marketing Communications – Print

·     Marketing Communications – Digital

·     Member Engagement

·     People

·     Other – which includes for the first time, the sector supplier / agency of the year, membership event of the year, new product development and social mobility initiative by a professional membership body


Finally, a note about the Louis Armstrong Award for outstanding leadership of a UK professional body

This award is really rather special and celebrates the success and impact of both the CEO and the organisation itself. Find out more and how to enter here.


Judged by sector leaders, these awards are your opportunity to shine and showcase the best of professional membership bodies.


Find out more about the MemCom 2017 awards here.


“Winning this award was a great honour and has really boosted the team’s morale, having been recognised amongst our peers and knowing that all the hard work of the past year has been put to good use. Thank you MemCom.”2016 MemCom award winner

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