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OPINION9 May 2016

How a Research Live award changed my business (for the better)

Awards Opinion UK

Guy White, CEO and founder of Catalyx, shares his thoughts on what winning the Research Live award for Best New Agency at the MRS awards, meant to him and his business.

For some entrepreneurs, the value of winning a business award is unclear. It’s certainly a fun night out for your team – but does it matter?

In 2014, my company won the Best New Agency category at the Research Live Awards, as part of the Market Research Society awards. I won’t claim that our experience is infinitely reproducible: every organisation is different, and no two trophies are created equally.

With all caveats out of the way, I’m confident enough to say that receiving such an honour wasn’t just an ego boost, but a turning point for my company in many respects.

Why business awards matter

It represented something important for my business and I felt seriously invested in the outcome. We entered the previous year in a different category entirely, but Catalyx was a half-formed company at that point, and we had limited expectations of success. When we applied in 2014, we were further along in our development, and much more confident about our product: it was new, it was different, and it was going to make a real impact.

We’d made a great deal of progress, and I’m not ashamed to admit that we wanted some official recognition for it. MRS is one of the most respected institutions for this industry in the world, and on some level, the validation of winning its award would confirm to us – and our target audience – that we were serious, and our mission was worth pursuing.

The night of the show

Before the night of the show, it was announced that Catalyx was shortlisted for three awards. It was most definitely an honour to be nominated. But we also really wanted to win.

When we didn’t win the first two, I was convinced that we wouldn’t win the third. But then we did – and it served as a validation of everything we’d worked so hard to achieve.

Tangible benefits

Naturally,this wasn’t just about ‘good vibes'. There were tangible business advantages to winning. We received many more inbound calls than we had previously, and they were far more interesting: people engaged with us and listened to what we said. So far, it’s proven a valuable marketing tool, and one that has simultaneously made us more interesting to investors and attracted clients of a greater pedigree. There’s just something about ‘award-winning’ that makes people sit up and take notice.

How we did it

If you’re entering one of these awards, your first priority should be completing the application form properly. Read it carefully, and in plenty of time. Come up with undeniable answers to any questions – ones that highlight your USPs in plenty of detail – and ask for second, third, and fourth opinions. It’s essentially a piece of copywriting, so you want to make sure it reads well and conveys the right information: it’s all the judging panel have to go on, so you want to leave a good impression.

When you do make it to the award show, remember: many important and influential names in your industry will be there, so whether you win or lose, make the most of it. If you don’t come back with an armful of gongs, you’ll at least have an opportunity to make some good contacts – and, of course, enjoy a few glasses of lovely free wine.

Guy White is CEO and founder of Catalyx

Find out more and enter this year’s awards here

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