Spring and early summer is officially awards ceremony season, and I don’t mean the BAFTAs; I’m talking about the equally glamorous financial services industry.
It can be a great opportunity to catch up with peers and clients alike, hopefully in a relaxed (well at least non-office) environment, and a chance to celebrate achievements and hear the latest industry chatter.
The less relaxing side of awards season, particularly if you work in PR or communications is being asked by a client or a colleague to help craft an awards submission. At this point, you could be facing a fairly innocuous request, or a hugely onerous task - possibly resembling a 2,000-word dissertation.
Within the financial services industry there are a plethora of awards, often sponsored by publications or trade organisations, many with table-purchasing ‘opportunities’. Those of us who have been around the block a few times know which are the ones worth going for and which are best to politely decline. Of course, the golden tickets from a workload perspective are the awards voted for entirely by others with no requirement for submissions.
Above all, if a submission is required make sure the awards are recognised, relevant to your business and that you are in with a chance before you embark on your entry.
Here are five more top-tips to help build an awards submission that is in with a chance of winning:
• Meet the criteria and try to envisage what the judges will be looking for. If there are set criteria for scoring, make sure that your written points address each point and will score;
• Get the basics right… for example, don’t exceed the word limit; if the format is questions answer them all; if figures are requested in euros don’t give them in pounds;
• Don’t waffle. Put your best story forward, succinctly, within the required framework. Stick to your points;
• Show why you should win. If it is a client service award clearly show how your initiative improved things for clients; if innovation or originality are ‘prized’ make sure you demonstrate them. Describe how your initiative had a clear business objective which it met or exceeded;
• Presentation is important. Make sure the layout is clear (subheadings could be useful), and complies to the format requested.
If all else fails, ask your friendly PR consultant to help out, leaving plenty of time before the deadline, naturally!