Top tips for Chamber Awards

Doing yourself justice when entering the Chamber Business Awards

So, you think you deserve a Chamber Award? You quite possibly do. But standing between you and the recognition you undoubtedly deserve is the (not so) small matter of the substantial written submission.

The online entry form is the one and only chance you have to get your case across. There is no second-stage, face-to-face presentation to give you the opportunity to elaborate. With this in mind, you really do need to ensure it does you justice.

Here are some important pointers from us here at Boost Awards, the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy.

We’ve put our heads together and distilled a huge list of suggestions and top tips into just three vital ingredients. These are based on our own experience of writing – not to mention winning – a veritable plethora of Chamber Awards entries for our clients over the years.

The three vital ingredients

Despite there being just two stages of judging, you actually have three battles on your hands. The first is making the regional winners list, while the second is being the national winner in your category. After that, all the national winners compete together for the ultimate prize on offer.

So, with this rigorous process in mind, what can you do to maximise your chances of winning?

People often think that the initial stage – making the regional winners list – will be easy. However, deserving a Chamber Award and winning a Chamber Award are two entirely different things.

Just making the regional winners list typically requires three key things:

  • Meeting the judging criteria with clear, well-evidenced responses in each and every box.
  • Having a ‘wow’ factor, including a strong reason why this year is the right year to enter.
  • Telling a compelling story.

1) The evidencing challenge

Being ‘well evidenced’ is the tricky part here – you need to quantify every single assertion you make with suitable data.

You don’t have to write your whole entry today, but do try and find an hour to map out what you will say and where. The vital thing to do here is to organise the data you need to back up your key points. I can almost guarantee that you will find a substantial list of data points that will require a fair amount of searching before you find the relevant content. Only by starting early will you have enough time to gather a strong body of evidence.

2) The all-important WOW

While you can get a high mark in each section with well-evidenced responses, you need to also bear in mind that this is not a box-ticking exercise. To maximise your chances for a win, you also need to attempt to induce a ‘wow’ response from the judges.

Sometimes stories are so strong or ground-breaking that this ‘wow factor’ is almost handed to you on a plate. However, while the extraordinary aspects of your achievements may seem obvious to you, you cannot leave it up to the judge to spot the miraculous from the mundane. For example, a potentially standout story can all too often be so diluted by ordinary good practice – or, worse still, weakened by a lack of evidence – that it simply fails to pack a punch. If something is unique to your business – or the industry as a whole – make it obvious!

Your job is to ‘find the wow’ and focus your precious word count on emphasising this. For most companies, especially larger organisations with an abundance of stories on the table, this is easier said than done. There is no one-size-fits all approach here sadly, because by definition each ‘wow’ has to be unique. However, if you simply accept that you need this as a vital ingredient to your entry, then that alone has made reading this article worthwhile.

3) Tell a story

One final piece of advice to conclude with – tell a story. Yes, of course meet the strict judging criteria and do answer all the questions, but ensure that in doing so, you tell a story with a dramatic opener and an engaging tone throughout. While doing all this within the word limit with so many mandatory questions is far from quick or easy, you can guarantee that the winning entry will have done exactly that. This year, wouldn’t it be great if that entry came from you?

About the Author: Chris Robinson is MD of Boost Awards, the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy. Boost has helped its clients win over 1,300 awards, including many winning entries in the Chamber Awards. Contact Boost for a free informal chat about awards, sign up to free monthly deadline reminders or visit their popular UK Awards List website to view over 3,500 awards to enter.