Oscar season brings a special energy, so why not inject that same sizzle into your corporate award submissions?
On the day nominations are announced, the internet lights up with critics’ picks who will win, who was a surprise and who was snubbed. All the buzz culminates weeks later at the ceremony, the biggest night in show business, when the stars strut the red carpet and the best actors, directors and movies are officially coronated.
Winning pays off, too: In 2016, The Independent reported that Best Picture Oscar winners earn about $13.8 million more after winning than their fellow nominees.
Likewise, corporate awards can give your brand a big boost in credibility and prestige and help set you apart from your competitors.
According to a research study at the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology, it was revealed that more than 600 corporate award winners had 37% more sales growth and 44% higher stock price return than their peers.
The key to an award-winning strategy is in how you craft the application. Here are five tips that will help your submission stand out and get your company the recognition it deserves:
1. Create a compelling narrative. Oscar nominations are chosen not just because of the film itself, but also for how and why it was made. One reason Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 Best Picture nominee “Roma” made a splash—aside from its masterful directing, acting and production—was that the powerful story was semiautobiographical for the director. Everyone is drawn to a great story; award submissions with an interesting narrative are more likely to stand out for a judging panel.
2. Build connections. Though technical excellence is always a factor, judges are more likely to vote for stories they connect with on a personal level. “Birdman” depicted a fallen A-list actor desperately grasping for another chance in the spotlight. Despite having one of the lowest-grossing box office numbers among Oscar nominees, many academy members have had a similar experience, paving the way for the film’s Best Picture win in 2015. Your award nominations should reflect on experiences that judging panels can understand, avoiding jargon and minutiae that don’t fully support your narrative.
3. Emphasize the impact. Superhero films, though massively popular, had never achieved much critical acclaim until Marvel’s “Black Panther” was released in 2018. Instead of leaning on the basic formula of an action movie, “Black Panther” made statements about race, justice, and why representation matters—all of which made it the first superhero movie to nab a Best Picture nomination. When nominating your own organization for an award, consider how your accomplishments make an impact, both on the way your organization does business and on your industry.
4. Enlist an influencer. “La La Land” was a frontrunner for Best Picture in 2017, and part of that success is thanks to a person who had nothing to do with the film’s production: Barbra Streisand. She hosted one of the movie’s first screenings, providing an esteemed third-party endorsement for the academy. When appropriate, ask a well-respected colleague to help make your case for an award by providing a quote, recommendation or even the nomination itself.
5. Campaign. Oscar nominations and award winners are selected in large part because of careful strategic campaigning from the studios. Use your organization’s owned channels to emphasize the elements that make your award candidate stand out. Judges will probably research your organization in reviewing the nomination, so use your website, blog and social media channels to reiterate the message of your awards application.
Mary E. Miles is a senior account manager at Weinberg Harris & Associates. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.