I can’t read through my LinkedIn feed at the moment without coming across organisations parading their success in winning ‘small consultancy of the year, within the green mortgage industry’, or whatever.

‘I couldn’t be prouder…’


A whole industry in running these awards has grown up.  And a nice little business it is, too. At least 50 tables of ten at the awards ceremony paying more than £1500+ VAT per table is a juicy £75k. Let’s say it costs £50 per head for the actual meal, and the prizes cost £2000. The speaker/MC? Say £10,000. Say organising staff and design/printing of materials comes to £10,000. That’s just shy of £50k. Venue hire, say £10,000. That easily has to be a net margin of £15k, or 20%, and I bet these costs can be squeezed down a lot further than that. Run multiple events, in every niche of every industry you can find at least a hundred events a year and your net margin or EBITDA is pushing £1.5m. Not a bad return on a fairly low risk investment. Anyway, I’m guessing the numbers, but I doubt I’m a million miles away. My point is that, by putting in your submission for an award, you are feeding a growth industry.

How do you grow a business like Awarding the Winners Inc? Create a band wagon effect, so that everyone feels the need to submit their bids and pay their £1500, to get their bit of engraved glass or plastic Oscar lookalike.

As a competing organisation, you are putting in your bid to be considered the best of all the other organisations that submit bids. If you win, you are not really the best in your industry, you are just the best of all the other organisations that have submitted bids. It is therefore not valid to label your self ‘small consultancy of the year in the green mortgage industry (whatever that means)’ unless all small consultancies in that space have submitted bids, which is unlikely. The organisers are desperate to make you think that all companies are involved, which they are not. The higher the percentage of companies in the space that join the gang, the greater the validity of the award.  Of course. So, by signing up for the first time, you are making it more valid. But, the whole proposition is still full of holes, to my mind. I regret being dragged to the table by my chief marketing officer when I ran The Key, even though we won a number of different category awards.

Can anyone demonstrate that winning such prizes helps an organisation to thrive? Does it help you to attract clients? Well, I’m sure you wouldn’t spend £1500 without some way of measuring impact. Surely?!

If it works, go for it. But if you have the feeling that you may possibly have been lured into jumping on the bandwagon, well, you can jump off at the next stop, can’t you?

There must be better ways of spending your clients’ hard earned cash.