Most business awards confirm an internal culture that is committed to maintaining the highest standards as a form of competitive advantage. By this I am suggesting that a business with little to crow about is unlikely to have any.
I am using the UK garage sector for context here, because it is a market place I know well.
Service and repair garages aren’t regulated so anyone can set up a garage and operate it without motorists realising this shortcoming. More worrying, mechanics don’t have to be licensed to do their jobs and, in the great scheme of things, few are licensed despite many excellent (but optional) programmes within the trade.
As I see it, the most important awards in a garage environment equate to a measurable standard of competence when it comes to car sales, vehicle servicing, mechanical and bodywork repairs. Of particular note are the Auto Industry Excellence Awards which FOXY sponsors and which, in turn, attracts many FOXY Lady Approved service and repair garages. The photo here is of award winning garage Revs Motors Ltd of Ammanford in 2019.
Measurable quality standards that can make a difference here include the challenging (and expensive) BSI Kitemark for vehicle body repairers (PAS10125) and the IMI’s Professional Register for individuals. A more cost effective standard, still recognising a business commitment to quality, are the various Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Motor Industry Code of Practice schemes.
Many award sponsors and recipients see the awards ceremony as the end result. Staff are invited, attendees dress up, alcohol is involved, proud photos are taken, logos added to websites and good news circulated locally and online. This is always an enjoyable pat on the back for internal and external PR purposes.
Yet few seem to spot that this could be the start of a new strategic business partnership between the sponsor and the recipient – where each recognises the other’s shared values to potential mutual gain. Rarely is there the awareness of this opportunity or a follow up campaign to develop this relationship, which is a shame.
Most awards ceremonies need to be attended to confirm a business’ commitment to the cause- if you aren’t there on the night you’re unlikely to win. Therefore, if your main competitor will be there, so should you on behalf of your business.
Smaller business awards can be as rewarding as they are often local community related and can be based on charitable fund-raising and good works. Some brave individuals even raise awareness of their business by attempting physical feats like abseiling, wing walking or wild swimming – requiring sponsorship to this end.
Finally there are the jaw-dropping awards that arrive, totally out of the blue – without a business even knowing they were a candidate. These ones will always make our day and remind us that what we do really matters and can make a big difference in our market place.
What we must then do is make the time to follow these up, share the glow and think strategically to find a way to return the favour to mutual best effect.