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Archive For 'May, 2013'

How to win awards - part 2

31 May 2013 at 15:29

Crafting the entry

When you’re writing an award entry it’s important to realise that judges have a very limited amount of time to assess each entrant. You need to make sure every word counts to achieve standout and grab the judges’ attention.

Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

1.       Don’t forget to refer to the core criteria and ensure you address each of them clearly. Read the entry requirements at the outset – and cross reference them once you’ve written the entry. If the entry form isn’t laid out in a prescribed way, it can be useful to use the criteria as headings to structure your own copy. This approach also makes it easier for the judges to find relevant information quickly as they are assessing the entry.

2.       Write a long version first. Then edit it down.  Then edit it down again. You want to convey as mush pertinent information as you can in as few words as possible. Make sure your sentences are concise and easy to understand. And whatever happens, don’t go over the word count – it can result in immediate disqualification.

3.       Steer clear of jargon. If you are going for a general business award, the chances are that most of the judges won’t be familiar with your industry. Never assume that they will understand acronyms or technical terminology.  Even if you are entering an industry-focused award, the same terminology can sometimes have different connotations in different businesses. It’s always best to say what you mean in plain English.

4.       Find a way to highlight the key points that you think make your entry deserving of the award. An introductory summary can be an effective way to do this. Keep it short and sweet – try to condense the essence of the entry into a couple of sentences. You can also bullet-point key achievements that you think will capture the judges’ attention, such as evidence which backs up your claims (see last week’s blog).

5.       Never copy and paste material from press releases or brochures and hope it will do the trick. Award copy needs to be persuasive and passionate – but don’t overdo it – let the evidence do the talking. Once you’ve completed the entry, get someone to proofread it for you. It is easy to get snow-blind to typos, especially if you’re working to a deadline.

Next time we’ll look at how to ensure your supporting material works with your beautifully crafted entry to stop the judges in their tracks!

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How to win awards – part 1

24 May 2013 at 10:16

Preparation, preparation, preparation

We have written many award entries for our clients over the years. And we’ve had our fair share of gongs.

But crafting the entry write-up is only one part of process. Over the coming weeks, we will explore three core areas that we believe should be factored into the award entry process:

1.    preparing for the award

2.    crafting the entry

3.    compiling supporting information

Preparing for award entries

Many award entrants would be horrified to realise that the entry that they have worked so hard on doesn’t even make it through the first paper sift.

The simple fact is that a lot of entries are disqualified because they don’t satisfy basic criteria.

How can you avoid falling at the first hurdle? Before you begin writing the entry, read the award guidelines thoroughly and consider the following:

·         What is the most appropriate category, and does our work genuinely address all the areas that the judges will be looking for?

·         What evidence can we provide to back up the claims we will make in our entry?

·         Who do we need to speak to within the organisation to gather the necessary facts and figures?

·         Who is the best person to write the entry, and who should manage the overall process?

·         Do we need to get the entry approved by certain people within the organisation, or by customers who may be referenced in the write-up?

·         What are the timescales – can we gather everything we need on time?

·         What does it say in the small print? Read this properly: don’t get disqualified for a silly mistake like not numbering your pages or going over the maximum word count

Evidence of success

It is well worth spending time selecting the best category and sourcing relevant facts and figures before you make a start on the entry.

‘Business success’ award categories usually need to see evidence of growth – which generally translates into financial figures. If this is the case, involve your accounts team from the outset – let them know if you need figures broken down by product area or international market. If you can drill down into the detail of how and why your business is performing well, it is more likely to impress the judges than if you simply say ‘our turnover increased by xx%’.

Many award schemes also feature categories that focus on the wider impact and responsibilities of businesses. That might include environmental or CSR initiatives, investment in training or young people. Don’t be mistaken into thinking that these are ‘softer’ categories that are easy to win. Far from it. If you want judges to take note of your entry, you need to make a strong case for what you do, why you do it and the results of your activity. Evidence of success might include photographs, newspaper clippings, testimonials and statistics surrounding any improvements you've made.

Halfway there

A little preparation makes a big difference to the quality of an award entry. Once you are armed with relevant facts and figures, you are ready to make a start on crafting a strong entry… and we will look at that in next week’s blog.

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You’ve got to be in it to win it

17 May 2013 at 09:49

The Gloucestershire Business Awards are now open for entries. Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a winner this year?

These awards really are catered to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Young, Family and Small Business categories ensure it isn’t just big, well-established firms that take the limelight. With other categories ranging from Export to Corporate Social Responsibility to Best Business Website there are lots opportunities for recognition.

 

It is free to enter, so you’ve got nothing to lose by having a go. There were some surprise winners last year from niche businesses – this year it could be you!

Gloucestershire Business Awards

Here is the full list of Gloucestershire Business Awards categories and sponsors:

·         Business of the Year (sponsor: Randall & Payne)

·         Small Business of the Year (sponsor: Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce)

·         Family Business of the Year (sponsor: Harrison Clark Rickerbys)

·         Young Business of the Year (sponsor: Creed Foodservice)

·         Young Business Person of the Year (sponsor: Renishaw)

·         Export Award (sponsor: Santander)

·         Business Innovation (sponsor: University of Gloucestershire)

·         Communicator of the Year (sponsor: Leisure Ride Group)

·         Best Place to Work Award (sponsor: Expectations! Recruitment Services)

·         Rising Star of the Year (sponsor: Gloucestershire College)

·         Corporate Social Responsibility Award (sponsor: Gloucester Quays)

·         Best Employee Award (sponsor: The Warranty Group)

·         Best Business Website (sponsor: Colour Connection)

·         Environmental Business of the Year (sponsor: SWEA - Severn Wye Energy Agency)

 

You can register for the awards here. And if you want help crafting an entry – you know who to call!

 

 

Tags: Randall & Payne | Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce | Harrison Clark Rickerbys | Creed Foodservice | Renishaw | Santander | University of Gloucestershire | Leisure Ride Group | Expectations! Recruitment Services | Severn Wye Energy Agency | Gloucester Quays

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Little red boxes

10 May 2013 at 09:11

It was great to read about plans for two of the area’s decommissioned red telephone boxes in Stroud Life and Stroud News and Journal this week.

When Sheepscombe village looked set to lose their iconic booth, a community group bought it from BT for £1. Now they are planning to renovate it over the summer, and are asking locals to suggest how it might be used.

Ideas proposed so far include using it as a village library, but other suggestions are welcome. Sheepscombe Society is also hoping local businesses might sponsor the renovation project in return for adverts inside the box.

A second red phone box on Summer Street in Stroud is now being managed by Summer Street Area Community Association – with the help of a grant from Stroud Town Council. Children in the area are clamouring for it to become a pop-up sweet shop, but apparently consultations are ongoing!

We love all the quirks associated with town and village life in Gloucestershire. From the annual cheese rolling on Coopers Hill, to Art Couture Painswick, to smaller initiatives like the phone box renovations. What do you most love about living in the West Country? Please share…

Tags: Stroud Town Council | Sheepscombe Society | Summer Street Area Community Association | Stroud Life | Stroud News and Journal

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