And the winner is… the value of awards in business

Awards Season is truly upon us: we’ve already had the Golden Globes and the Grammys, which means the BAFTAs and Oscars can’t be far away. And, of course, it’s not only the entertainment industry that likes to give itself collective pats on the back: just about every sector of business gets its chance to dress up one night each year to watch an array of envelopes being opened on a stage.

But do these awards actually mean anything? It’s easy to be cynical – especially if your name isn’t read out once that envelope is opened – but there are plenty of reasons why awards can be a Very Good Thing for your business.

Your Peers Value What You Do

The extent to which this is true will depend on the criteria for accepting nominations and deciding winners, but awards are a way for an industry to signpost what it values: customer service, innovation, export success, or whatever. Even the simple act of entering for an award can give you useful benchmarking information and being a winner (or even a finalist) shows that your peers think you’re doing something right.

The Feelgood Factor

It’s nice to achieve recognition. All the more so if ownership of that recognition is genuinely shared across the business, with every team having some input to the process of entering a nomination and the success celebrated widely. Here’s a good news story for your internal newsletter and a good excuse for a staff social event!

A Signal To Your Customers

Anything that differentiates you in a good way from your competitors has got to be a positive! Here’s a chance to generate some PR. Use your award to raise awareness, strengthen your brand and win more sales. And don’t forget, even if you don’t win the main prize, most award events will publicise all the finalists and there may also be ‘special mention’ awards given out.

The positive impact of winning an award will depend on how much effort is put into exploiting it – a cursory “Yay us” tweet and an engraved trophy left to gather dust won’t achieve much. But if you make full use of the marketing opportunity a win gives you, then there is evidence that it can have measurable benefits in both the short and medium-term – with some strategic advantage continuing into the long term (Jones, P., et al, 2014).

Which seems a good point to congratulate a great Newcastle-based company I’ve been working with lately! GenericMaths Ltd won one of the education sector’s prestigious BETT Awards in London last week (full list of winners and finalists here). Their winning entry was Conquer Maths, an excellent online learning resource for (you guessed it) maths. A big well done to Richard, Alan and the rest of the team – you deserve it!

Conquer Maths conquering BETT


Jones, P., Scherle, J., Pickernell, D., Packham, G., Skinner, H. and Peisl, T. (2014). Fool’s gold? The value of business awards to small businesses. Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Vol 15, No 2, 2014