There is a common misconception that business awards are only for large companies with huge turnover and already successful products and services. Not true! There are a huge variety of awards around from local to national, industry based or with specific criteria and no matter what the size of your business there is a business award for you.
One key factor to remember however, is that it is in fact not the winning that counts! When considering entering a business award, think of some of the following and how they might benefit your brand.
Marketing and promotion
By participating in business awards you are getting your brand in front of people who may have otherwise not known about you. Potential new customers can gain an understanding of your products and services, and you never know who is out there looking at you, it could be your next big opportunity! Think about all of the marketing that goes with promoting business awards, whether it be through blog posts, email banners, social media… business awards are a great way to get your name and achievements out there.
Being part of business awards can also form part of your own marketing, for example, improve brand awareness, PR exposure, award logos added your marketing material and customer communication. Business awards can open doors to getting contracts, finding new supply channels and breaking into new markets.
Benchmarking your business
The application process for entering a business award can often force you to look at your business from a different perspective and compare yourself to your competitors. You’ll need to make sure that you stand out from the competition whether that’s through innovation, diversity, growth, customer service, investment in people and strategic thinking. By highlighting these areas, your points of difference are being showcased to your target market, giving them reason to choose you over competitors.
A business award win, short-listing or nomination is a 3rd party endorsement for your brand. It’s external approval and can be a sign of quality for potential customers, plus stakeholders and potential investors.
PROTECT YOUR BRAND
Whilst awards are great exposure, you also need to remember that you are putting your intellectual property out there for people to see and analyse, and you are at risk of others potentially utilising your IP in their own business. So, protecting yourself and your brand is crucial.
Your trademark, your brand, is your most valuable marketing tool. It is your identity and the way you show your customers who you are. The more successful your business, the more valuable your brand or trade mark becomes.
You can produce a trade mark and use it to promote your goods and services without registering it. Plus, did you know, you can even add a TM (for trade mark) to your product labels. This is not illegal, but such trademarks have no registered, intellectual property (IP) protection. Only registered trademarks can carry the ® symbol. Whilst there are no penalties for using the TM symbol, it is an offence to use the ® symbol if the trade mark is not registered. Once your trade mark is registered, placing the ® symbol immediately next to your brand tells others to respect your trade mark.
If you register a trade mark, you obtain exclusive rights to use that trademark in relation to the goods and/or services you provide. The only way to obtain these exclusive rights is through registration.
By registering your trade mark, you remove the possibility that your competitors can get away with copying your business symbols or name.
Trademarks provide the following benefits:
- The proprietary right to use that trade mark for a period of 10 years;
- The exclusive right to prevent others from using that trade mark or a trade mark substantially identical or deceptively similar to it;
- A valuable asset capable of being sold, assigned or licensed;
- An indispensable connection between you (as the proprietor of the goods or services) and the market place.
You brands/trademark is an essential business asset, getting it out there will grow your business but it is important you protect it!