Building a brand: How to get the best from industry awards

Author: Nikki Wilson Liz Male Consulting

Industry awards are here to stay

Love them or hate them, industry awards have grown to form an integral part of the marketing calendar for every sector in the land.

From hospitality to hairdressing, from banking through to blogging, awards offer the chance to showcase the very best within an industry.

Despite the impact of Covid-19 on award ceremonies and celebrations, the sector is still booming.

In the UK, the construction sector boasts at least 70 annual awards. Hosted by publishing houses, trade magazines or trade associations, there is a full calendar of awards for every type of business, from architects and designers, through to product manufacturers, engineers and developers.

And as construction marketing and PR professionals, we have our very own Construction Marketing Awards, the CMAs, supported by the CIM Construction Industry Group.


Why enter business awards?

According to research carried out by Shape the Future for awards company Boost, 82% of the 400 decision makers interviewed agreed that they take awards into consideration when buying a new product or service.

And for companies in the construction sector, this figure was even higher, with 90% saying that awards are important.

Awards provide an opportunity to show your customers, prospects, stakeholders and employees that you are a successful business, with reputable and proven products or services. As they are often peer reviewed during the judging process, being shortlisted adds some additional credibility to your marketing. Winning an award helps to differentiate you from your competitors, especially in crowded markets such as construction products.

Moreover, awards offer a way of saying thank you to employees. Pre-Covid, they typically included a dinner, award presentations and celebrations. With in-person gatherings curtailed, awards still offer a chance to demonstrate the good work your team has done, and to celebrate in a virtual setting.

Building your brand as an award-winning business not only helps to reassure existing customers and attract new ones, but can also help to attract and retain employees, business partners and investors.


How to win an industry award

Reaching finalist stage within a reputable award is considered a considerable achievement, and winning is the icing on the cake.

In 2020 our client James Latham won ‘Best Mid-range Budget Campaign’ at the CMAs. The judges praised the campaign’s strong foundation and clear communication for a complex message. Moreover, the campaign delivered strong metrics with a 31% ROI.

Having written winning award entries for a range of clients over the years, here are my top dos and don’ts.

  1. Don’t enter an award half-heartedly

It may seem obvious, but if you’re going to enter an award – take the time to do it well. Otherwise – you will be wasting both your money and your time. Award-winning campaigns, projects, products or services need to stand a head and shoulders about the rest.

This might mean that you choose not to enter every award every time. Take the time to evaluate the criteria, make sure you have a strong case for each question or section before you begin.

  1. Do think about the judging process

Remember that the judges are looking at numerous award submissions side by side. Awards are often judged by industry experts working in their own time. What makes yours stand out?

  • Make sure it’s easy to read, clear and concise.
  • Make it visually attractive. This might mean you hire a graphic designer to help you.
  • Back up your claims with evidence, facts and statistics. Make sure that these stand out.
  1. Don’t leave it until the last minute

Successful award entries take time to put together properly. Don’t leave it until the last minute and rush it out.


  1. Do celebrate and promote your success

The moment you are shortlisted, it’s time to announce it via your company news page, newsletter and social media. Let your employees, customers and partners know. And, if you then win, it’s time to celebrate your success and look for other opportunities. Perhaps this is your next case study?


A last word from the Construction Marketing Awards

In 2020, the CMAs received 200 entries, creating a substantial task for the judging panel. I caught up with Ross Sturley of the CMAs, to ask him what makes a winning award entry from his perspective.

Ross explained that a clear structure, SMART objectives and proven results, woven together with a strong story will impress the judges.

The CMAs are accepting entries from April 2021. If you think you have an award-winning campaign, get ready to enter here.

And if you’d like some help with writing your entry, or creating an award-winning PR and marketing campaign, get in touch here.


About the author

Nikki Wilson is Senior Copywriter and Editor at specialist PR and communications consultancy for the construction industry, Liz Male Consulting