Are You a Winner? Maybe…

May is the last month of Spring so I thought I’d ‘spring’ forward and tell you some things about me this month (mainly because I’ve been told off for not bigging myself up enough). This week it’s all about awards. 

I often tell clients to enter awards because it’s fantastic for visibility in both the business and wider communities, with opportunities for media relations to share your successes. There are of course different levels of awards (some have value and some not) but that’s a whole other story.

Five reasons why awards are good for your business:

*PR opportunity – even being shortlisted can improve your brand awareness. The visibility you receive when you share the award logo is great, and you often get opportunities to share the information with local media, such as local radio stations, newspapers and business magazines. You can share on your social media that you’ve been nominatef or shortlisted – all good PR for your business.

*Benchmarking – the process of entering a business award can often force you to look at your business with fresh eyes. You have to think about how you stand out in comparison to others. What is it that you do so well? Do you meet the criteria? Are there areas in which you can improve?

*Credibility – being nominated, short-listed or winning will endorse the credibility of your business, because it is being given the seal of approval by others. It is social proof that you are good at what you do.

*Employee motivation – if you have employees, awards recognise hard work and achievements of your business, which of course, includes your employees. If they see how well the company is doing, they will feel proud to be a part of it. They all add to the success of your business.

*Attract new talent – winning a business award can help you when you are recruiting.  As a winning business your status will help you to attract the talent you want, plus employee morale will also help to retain your new recruits.

Despite telling my clients to enter awards, I’ve recently been told I don’t shout enough about awards I’ve won myself and I suppose that’s true. I have won multiple awards throughout my career, and this year have been nominated for several more. I need to follow my own advice!

My Awards

Back in my TV days, when I worked at ITV in Bristol for 13 years, the programmes I worked on won multiple awards, several from the Royal Television Society. The main series was ‘West Eye View,’ single subject documentaries which were based regionally. The series ran for many years and I started as a researcher and ended up as a producer.

I made programmes about the Bristol Bus Wars where a large company was driving smaller companies out of business and we made numerous programmes about the babies’ heart scandal at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, where babies died at high rates after cardiac surgery.

Plus, many more interesting stories were aired.

One particular story that stands out for me was called ‘A Very Fortunate Man’. it told the story of a woman who was raped by a stranger in Chippenham in the 1990s while walking home in the early hours from a friend’s house.

With a history of mental illness and a chaotic life style, the woman was told that due to her medical history her story was unreliable and the case was dropped even after a pre-trial hearing which declared there was a case to answer.

She came to our team and we took two years to fully investigate the story and give her ‘justice’ and call out the man who raped her. However, he was never convicted of that offence. She gave up her right to anonymity to have her say. Although a legal minefield it was a very powerful story presented by the wonderful journalist, Ray Tostevin. We won a mental health award for the best TV programme around a mental health issue. This included a £500 prize which we donated to a rape crisis charity.

Another stand-out story came along in 2013, when I was working as a freelance producer-director with ITV Wales. Myself and a colleague Catherine Peel, made a half hour programme for ‘Wales This Week’ called, ‘Return to Tonfanau’ about the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Ugandan Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin. Many came to the UK and we followed up on their stories four decades later. The idea was Catherine’s however I supported her in making a longer form programme.

On August 5th 1972, Idi Amin made a statement that changed to lives of thousands of Asians. They were to be expelled from Uganda, after he claimed ‘they were exploiting the wealth of the country, at the expense of native Africans’.

They were given only 90 days to leave the country, which meant leaving most of their belongings behind. They were allowed a suitcase and £50, per family. However as they left many were attacked and robbed of those belongings and some were murdered. Almost 30,000 Ugandan Asians came to the UK and many were sent to the 12 resettlement camps around the country.

Our story was told from the perspective of 40 years later.  Overnight, more than a thousand Asians arrived to an empty military base at Tonfanau, in North Wales. An area where very few Asians were living at the time.

These families arrived traumatised, tired, hungry and to an alien environment. The local communities came together to help the new arrivals rebuild their lives.

We talked to people about what it was like living in the camp in Tonfanau and how their lives had changed over the years after that dramatic upheaval. The whole team won the Best Regional TV Feature in the British Asian Media Awards – I’m still in touch with one of the families today.

Awards in the future

This year I’ve been shortlisted for a few awards myself, The Kindness Award by the Single Mums Business Network and for the South West Business Awards I was nominated for Female Entrepreneur of the Year (for the second time), and as part of a The Cotswold Challenge Team, along with Chris Roberts, MBE, Nigel Chute and Allison Murray we were nominated for Charity of the Year, Covid Champion of the Year & New Start-up Business of the Year for the South West Business Awards.

We didn’t win however we were in exceptional company and it’s wonderful to have this recognition, and especially following the year we’ve all just had! However I have to say this. The biggest award and reward is to even be recognised and to work alongside the wonderful people who trust me – clients & suppliers – I consider myself to be rewarded every day.

And do remember for all of us in business who have survived this last economic year – we all deserve awards and we are certainly all winners!

Next week I’m going to tell you a little about the celebrities I’ve met…