Are you always on the lookout for things that will make your business better, bolder, and brighter? There is a common misconception that business awards are only for large companies with massive pulling power. However, award ceremonies are calendar fixtures in every industry, including social entrepreneurship and sustainability, and those that don’t put themselves forward stand to miss out. As the saying goes, “you’ve got to be in it to win it”.

With entries to the 2018 Banksia Sustainability Awards closing soon, Managing Editor of Making Enviro News and Banksia Sustainability Awards Judge, Izabella Kobylanski, shares her thoughts on why it’s worth entering awards and the potential impact it can have on your business – regardless of whether you win or not.

Most entries don’t win so what is the point of taking part?

Most businesses do not plan to enter relevant awards. More often than not, it is an opportunistic decision which results in poor resourcing, limited time and ultimately a submission that really does not reflect the brilliance of the project or the organisation. More’s the pity, awards are more than ego stoking exercises and most miss the point.

The first question to ask is what is the value of entering awards?

The value of winning or even becoming a finalist from a business perspective has been addressed by many. It is agreed that winning or becoming a finalist provides some valuable opportunities such as: –

  • A unique way to demonstrate expertise.
  • A cost-effective means to promote the organisation through marketing and public relations initiatives.
  • Contribute to future reputation or financial success by improving the organisations standing.
  • It can open doors to various opportunities.
  • Improves credibility.
  • Can assist to boost staff morale which may contribute to staff retention.
  • Attract the talent needed to push your business forward.

That is all very nice if you win or become a finalist but what is the value when you do not.

The journey of preparing the submission

I have worked with many organisations on preparing awards submissions and I have found that the greatest benefit to the organisation is the journey of preparing the submission. There is no magic formula, you simply need to go through the award submission and answer the questions asked.

At the same time, it can be a great team building exercise. It points out to those who are stuck in the day to day rut of getting the job done that ‘hey we are doing something special’ or ‘we have achieved things that should make us proud’. It gets employees to examine what they have done and what they have achieved. Generally, we are afforded little opportunity to reflect and learn from what we have done. Today’s business environment demands that we quickly move onto the next job or project. An award submission creates that opportunity.

More importantly, it provides a moment to review, analyse and evaluate. In some ways it provides a benchmarking process. The entry process may even provide a way of reviewing the project from a fresh perspective. All value adding to your future business and understanding what skills have been developed. For example, this year the Banksia Sustainability Awards have aligned their categories with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If your organisation is unfamiliar with working within this framework, it is an excellent way to introduce it. With approximately 60% of companies integrating the SDGs into business strategy[1], the Banksia Sustainability Awards submission becomes a valuable tool to evaluate how you measure up.

If by going through an award entry you discover that maybe your organisation just does not measure up yet, it can provide insight into to what makes a successful organisations. More often than not, it gives you what your organisation can do to raise the bar.

Successful entries reflect the team

The most successful entries, I have assisted, usually combine a team effort. Utilising the expertise of the most suitable people in the organisation, especially those that actually took part. An obvious comment, but it is surprising how many organisations hand the job over to the poor marketing department or engage an external copy writer. These people, though very skilled in their fields, have little actual understanding of the intricacies of the initiative. Most importantly, they lack the passion, or the understanding of the effort involved to make it come alive in the submission. However, they can assist in bringing the document together.

As part of the process, it is vital to get all these people together to discuss the various aspects of the submission and establish who has the appropriate expertise to provide the required information and results.

It is amazing when the various people involved are brought together to discuss the project from the perspective of entering an award what interesting information flows, what experiences are shared and for many it becomes a new and valuable learning process.

Whilst winning an award should always be the ultimate aim of entering. There are many benefits along the way that should be embraced and exploited.

If you’re passionate about sustainability and want to give entering an award a shot, check out the 2018 Banksia Sustainability Awards for your chance to gain national recognition for your work.

[1]Ethical Corporation, The Responsible Business Trends Report 2018.


Izabella Kobylanski is the Principal, a marketing and communication consultant at Planning Results. She is the Managing Editor of Making Enviro News. She is also a Banksia Sustainability Awards Judge.

Why Entering Awards is Good for Business

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