by Darrell Zahorsky
CEO’s and companies of all sizes today are facing the challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy. While many corporations have taken on various initiatives to continue to grow corporate earnings and shareholder value, some have discovered the strategic value of corporate awards.
Does your company know the strategic value of corporate awards?
The Benefits of Corporate Awards
Corporate awards offer many benefits to enhance corporate performance from the boardroom to the frontlines.
Reinforce Corporate Direction: Lynne S. Marcus, owner of the awards and recognition consulting company, Marcus + Company, feels businesses need to plan a corporate awards strategy with corporate initiatives in mind. “If the company is making a push for ethical behavior or corporate leadership, then it can look for awards competitions that recognize these traits,” says Marcus.
The Coke-Cola Company has embraced the philosophy to have a diverse and supportive workplace culture. Adding credibility to Coke’s commitment of diversity, are the 38 business awards the company has won for diversity. Choose your award program in alignment with your corporate direction.
Attract & Retain Talent: A company’s success depends on its staff. Work force retention is a vital responsibility from the Board to the Human Resources department.
Consulting firm, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, claims to have a family-friendly company. Five years of consecutive placement in the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers award by Working Mother magazine, adds a vote of confidence for new hires.
Gain a Sales Advantage: Paula Dickerson, manager of industry honors and awards program for the software company SAS, knows awards have the “…benefits of increased awareness, third-party validation and establishing market leadership.”
Using awards as a sales tool is occasionally overlooked. Dickerson learned first hand from a former district manager that an industry award can be an account executive’s ace-in-the-hole. “ Used effectively, industry awards are yet another sales tool to aid in the close of business,” says Dickerson.
Expand Public Relations: The free publicity an award-winning business receives can result in more business and new connections. Steven Plochocki, CEO of Insight Health Corp. understands the value of award competitions. Insight Health has filled the corporate lobby trophy case with awards such as: The Associations for Corporate Growth Award, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Orange County) and several Stevie Awards. Plochocki says, “We believe it (business awards) helps validate what we do in the company and enhances our ability to keep good people.”
The added PR helps as well. During The Stevie Awards, Donald Trump, a member of the Board of the Distinguished Judges & Advisors, took notice of Steve Plochocki and his company. This resulted in coverage of the CEO in Trump’s new book, “Trump: The Way to the Top.” PR might be difficult to measure on the bottom line but it is invaluable.
Bottom Line of Corporate Award Winning Companies
Business awards are great for corporate direction, talent retention, sales advantage and PR, but can winning corporate awards offer value to a company’s bottom line?
A research study by Hendricks & Singhal of the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology, revealed more than 600 quality corporate award winners had 37% more sales growth and 44% higher stock price return than their peers.
Do Corporate Awards Offer Value to Small Business?
The benefits of business awards for small businesses are similar to large companies with several exceptions. Often a small business will struggle to establish recognition and credibility in the marketplace. A business award win or nomination can open doors and have a greater impact on the growth of a smaller company.
Lynne Marcus knows of “companies that enter competitions, especially those sponsored by publications and trade shows, just so the judges, often journalists, become aware of them and their products.”
Do not underestimate the power of corporate awards competitions. Your company will gain: a critical view of your operations, a challenge to improve and an opportunity for fame.
Darrell Zahorsky writes and edits the Small Business Information website for About.com. Darrell is the CEO of Pied Piper Internet Solutions, a content development and search engine marketing company.
Our friends at Awards Intelligence in the United Kingdom have shared some other information about the benefits of participating in and winning awards.
Here’s some independent research regarding the financial benefits of winning awards:
• Smaller award winning companies experienced a 63% increase in operating income and a 39% growth in sales when compared to non-winners. Large award winning companies enjoyed a 48% increase in operating income and a 37% growth in sales when compared to non-award winners. Source: British Quality Foundation based on experience in the USA.
• A study compared the financial performance of 120 award winning companies across Europe that met specific criteria against comparison companies of a similar size and operating in the same industries. The financial performance was tracked over 11 years. The study found that the award winning companies showed improvements in financial performance after just a year of winning their first award. Source: University of Leicester for the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management.
• Three years after receiving an award, the 120 award winning companies outperformed the comparison companies by an average of 17% for sales and 36% for share value. During the final year that performance was tracked, the award winning companies experienced even greater increases as compared to comparison companies with sales growing by an average of 77% more and operating income by 18% more. Source: As above.
These facts and figures relate to the British Quality Foundation's UK Excellence Awards and European Foundation for Quality Management's Excellence Awards.
Add to the financial benefits all the other advantages award winners enjoy such as enhanced reputation, increased trust, a higher profile and better staff moral and the question is:
Can you afford not to be an award winner?