Why Do Companies Invest in Running Business Awards?

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It’s the award season, a time when your Twitter feed is full of evening wear and businesses promoting their good fortunes. Many businesses invest large portions of their sustainability budget on delivering business awards, but aside from PR what value do these events provide, and why do companies spend to contribute to the success of other businesses?

The simple answer is that awards for businesses support sustainability. Publicly endorsing the strengths of any worthy venture promotes both their individual success and communicates wider value within the sector or community they serve, which in turn promotes economic growth and stability. However, the potential of awards as a CSR tool is huge, both for the investing company and the groups the investment serves.

Awards, either as a one-off or long-standing investment, can provide specific solutions to sustainability challenges faced by a company. Examples are as limitless and unique as the potential challenges are, but key areas in which awards are often utilised to provide results are developing supply chain linkage within an organisation or sector; developing competitive technologies; promoting specific infrastructure development within a region; engaging audiences with a subject to overcome a challenging skills gap; or simply as a mechanism for broader investment.

Two specific outcomes are of particular value in catalysing change. The first, is the direct connection of the investing company to target audiences they are interested in connecting with. The second, as a way of promoting values and ideas which motivate audiences.

One strength of awards as part of a CSR strategy is the ability to target highly focused audiences. Whilst marketing and communications play a poignant role in helping reach quality applicants, application criteria can be designed to capture the type and standard of those the awards intend to identify and engage. In this context, the additional value awards add in distinction to traditional market research is the motivation – inspiring appropriate, interested parties to put themselves forward, when they otherwise may not have been accessible. In addition, the endorsement of running awards in a specific sector or community develops relationships, which competitors will not have. Awards are a way of bridging a supply chain, technology, or skills gap, which provides diverse added value for the business, as well as a positive socio-economic impact.

Karen Bellis, International Operations Director at PNE Group, commented, “As an instrument for supporting business objectives and creating socio-economic value, business and start-up awards offer an opportunity to work closely with target audiences and promote a message in a clear, positive way. In 2015, PNE Group delivered several awards initiatives which have already made a powerful impact for both clients and the winners.”

Awards offer a specific opportunity to make a controlled investment in a sustainability solution, with potential to be delivered as a one-off initiative or as an ongoing programme to cultivate change. The diversity of their potential makes them an option for all kinds of business, from a multi-national corporation securing long-term stability in a region, to an SME looking to build their network within a specific industry.