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Awards shortlistings can do wonders for your brand

September, 2023

Erica Jones, Account Director at Kent-based PR, marketing and public affairs agency Maxim, explains why all awards involvement is good.

We all know the importance of positive feedback and testimonials to help convince new clients you’re the person or business they want to work with, but much as I like to read and share positive comments, if I don’t know the person how can I be sure the testimonial is genuine? If it comes with contact or business information, that can be reassuring, but if it’s by “Sam, Maidstone”, that’s potentially less reassuring.

Positive feedback

In contrast, being shortlisted for an award can be an example of positive feedback from a named organisation, one that most likely utilises judges who have their own professional experience in the field – which is something that can be easier to trust.

The types of awards you may wish to consider could be small business awards, or regional awards. Then there are targeted (local and national) awards, such as housebuilding, catering, product design, customer service, environmental activities, etc. However, there’s a cycle to awards – entry, shortlisting, winning, repeat – that means it’s vital you make the most of being involved while they’re a current event.


We often advise clients to publicise an awards shortlisting as soon as they find out about it. They’re sometimes reluctant to do so in case they don’t win – but the reason to publicise a shortlisting is for that reason: in case you don’t win.

Being a finalist in an awards scheme is a big achievement. For example, one of your staff has been shortlisted in an award for customer service. Even if those awards are restricted to your particular area of work, there will still be countless other people who could have made the list, but your Chris from the Ashford branch is one of just four who have been invited to attend the awards ceremony.


Chris will most likely be over the moon to be recognised, and celebrating their achievement will help them to feel valued and know their efforts are appreciated.

It’s also an indicator to any potential customers that if I go to the Ashford branch I’m likely to get good customer service: even if I can’t be served by Chris, surely some of their good work will be reflected in their colleagues?

Then the day of announcements arrives and Chris could stay a finalist, become a runner up or bag the prize as the winner.

If Chris stays a finalist, your publicity of the awards probably ends here, but that finalist listing can still be included on marketing materials. Depending on who won, you could share congratulations on social media, demonstrating the good nature of your organisation. Those congratulations are worth considering even if the winner is a rival, for example if their business is based in Northumberland, your address may appeal more to those in the south and so being named alongside them won’t necessarily do you any harm.

If Chris is a runner up or winner, another round of publicity should celebrate that achievement, drawing attention to their brilliance – and so your brilliance for having such an exemplary employee.


Winning is obviously the dream, but coming second, third or fourth is definitely not a failure.

It cannot be emphasised enough that any kind of placing (including as a finalist) is a very good thing. It highlights your achievements and demonstrates that your staff and/or business have been reviewed by experts and considered to be noteworthy. Which can only be a positive when it comes to winning new clients.

This article originally appeared in Kent Director.

Erica Jones - Account Director

Erica Jones

Maxim / Account Director

posted in: advice, marketing, public relations,

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