SDWAN Solutions Chief Marketing Officer, Kelly Rogers, has worked on over 20 campaigns that have won or been nominated for awards. Here, she tells how best to win awards for your business.

Winning an award is gratifying recognition that your product, service or strategy is not only on track, but hitting the bullseye. That’s exactly how we felt  when SDWAN Solutions won THE COMPANY TO WATCH’ award at the recent Comms Business Awards, the leading magazine for the ICT Channel, and the UK’s first ever SDWAN business to win a Comms Business award.

So, how do businesses win awards that will endorse their business, reward their staff and drive brand recognition and trust, ultimately ensuring your business emerges as brand and thought leaders, increasing sales and raising your company’s profile?

Kelly Rogers, over the duration of her career, has somewhat over filled her award’s cabinet to overflowing. Here, she explains how she did it and offers her advice on how other start-ups and SMEs can win competitions and awards.

She says. “From my very first campaign on the Sony Aibo – winning BEST MEDIA CAMPAIGN 2000 – through to Jun 2019’s COMPANY TO WATCH award I’ve won or been nominated for more than 20 awards, and two of my campaigns have been turned into Parliamentary white paper. But as self-praise is no recommendation often the best way to get recognition of your status, achievements, peer ranking and innovations is to enter competitions and WIN awards.

“Easier said than done many might think, but you have nothing to lose by entering competitions; a nomination as a finalist carries gravitas and to win is something a business can trade on forever. Let me explain further:”

1) The number one reason why businesses win competitions – you have to be in it, to win it!

This might seem a total no-brainer, but it is the main, even only, reason businesses win – they formally enter the competition. Keeping your eye on what awards are in your sector and when is their deadline is crucial to getting a compelling, well-written (i.e. not rushed) entry in before the closing date. It really is that simple. Initially.

2) Make sure your competition entry highlights innovation and a unique offering

It’s obvious that your competition entry must have stand-out qualities. The clue is in the title – it’s a competition and you must be ahead of your competitors to win. And that means one thing usually. INNOVATION!

It might be ground-breaking technology that trounces even the big boys – like our very own world first, the SDWAN Cloud that beat Google, Cisco, Juniper and every other Silicon Valley and Palo Alto tech giant to market. It could be that your service delivery is streets ahead and getting rave reviews on Trust Pilot. Whatever you’re going to select to be the winning factor in your competition entry, make sure it is truly innovative and unique.

3) How to write a stand-out competition entry – editing and raising the stakes

“As someone who’s held 6 editorships, 3 columns, ghost written for celebrities and writes thrillers, the key to grabbing attention and standing out is to raise the stakes.” Kelly explains. “It’s no good being modest and often when you’re so close to your achievements it can be hard to see them for the proverbial trees blocking your objectivity!

“Complete your competition entry, then go back though several times, raising the stakes of what you’re saying. If your innovation beat the big boys in your field, then say so and name them! If it’s a world first, say why and how you invented it.

“Next, edit, proofread, edit, proofread ensuring you become more succinct and raise the stakes with every read-through. There is a great deal more impact to be gained from a statement that takes 20 words to say than one that takes 60. Wow them with your brevity so you don’t lose that impact in an airbag of superfluous wordage.”

4) Not all competitions are real – choose an award that has true gravitas

Beware. There are some shonky competitions out there, some of which are quite happy to send you a trophy for any erroneous category imaginable, as long as you send the appropriate cheque in the first instance.

Ensure your award really is an award and not a white elephant that will ultimately become the elephant in the room that you no longer wish to recognise or be linked with.

5) Awards take time and cost investments

There is little point in entering competitions if you’re not going to take the time to make your entry wow the judges, nor spend the money to attend the ceremony. Some might say it gives an unfair advantage if you’ve booked a table at the event, then those that haven’t. But, let’s be realistic; if you don’t value the award givers and their ceremony, why should they value you and give you the award?

Kelly says. “Award ceremonies are not only great networking events, but an opportunity to stand out in your field via a third-party endorsement, often from those who carry specialist weight within your sector. After all, when and where else can you indulge in hours and hours of justly earned bragging, big-upping and boasting rights?

“They also create huge opportunities for social media and blogging content too (as you can see if you’re reading this blog or look over our Twitter feed as a further example). SDWAN Solutions are now, and always will be, an award-winning company, and there are solid, provable reasons for this – we have no intention of letting anyone forget it!”

Remember, competition judges will decide who wins and who doesn’t based upon your entry into their competition. Get entering using the advice above and see where it can get you. And, GOOD LUCK – we hope you win!

If your company would benefit from award-winning communications and network technology then email us and we’ll show you exactly why we win awards.

Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers

CMO, SDWAN Solutions

Kelly, heads up SDWAN Solutions Group Marketing and Social department and is a multi-award winning marketing, communications and innovation expert with over 20 years experience.
She has worked on projects for five global technology giants, four of the big six supermarkets, three of the UK’s leading retailers, the world’s largest licensed brand and one of the big three publishers, as well as many corporations, public sector agencies, government departments, charities and NFPs globally.
To date Kelly has scooped over 19 awards for her work and two of her campaigns have gone through UK Parliament as white papers.

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