How to write a winning award entry

It’s award season! Most notably for franchisors, the BFA awards are officially open for entry

How to write a winning award entry

Many, if not all, BFA member brands will be entering these illustrious awards. Because being shortlisted for an award and getting to go to a fancy event and celebrating with your team and peers feels great! 

But the point of these programmes isn’t just about the recognition of your hard work and achievements; an award win is a powerful tool for boosting your brand’s credibility and gaining market exposure. So, how do you write a winning award entry? It’s much more than just throwing what you know at a piece of (digital) paper and hoping for the best. What you need is a succinct yet detail-rich submission – quite the juxtaposition!  

Luckily, here at Rev, we’ve quite the track record when it comes to getting our clients on the podium. Here are our top tips to help you write an award entry that stands out.

Team triumphs over individual feats

Egos don’t win awards, and that’s a fact. In 99% of cases, the awards you enter are designed to be a testament to your franchise’s ability to function and excel as a unit. If you find yourself praising ‘me, myself and I’ throughout your award entry, it’s time for a do-over.

Instead highlight instances where collaborative efforts have directly contributed to milestones and success. Quantify your team’s achievements and illustrate the collective drive and problem-solving capabilities within your head office team and franchise network. For authenticity, use a testimonial from a franchisee that reflects your brand’s collaborative spirit. 

Use the criteria as your checklist

It is essential that you use the criteria as the backbone of your award entry. Align your answers to the specified requirements, treating them as non-negotiable targets to hit. This ensures your entry is precisely tailored to what the judges are tasked to look for.

For example, if innovation is specifically referenced in the criteria, don’t just state that your franchise is innovative; show it by describing a particular scenario where an innovative approach led to a breakthrough in your offering or support structure. Use numbers to support your claims, such as percentage increases in revenue or customer conversions. 

Ideally, convert the entry criteria into bullet points to ensure clarity. Most categories have a paragraph of ‘blub’ as the criteria. Break this down into section headings and work methodically through them. 

If you can’t hit all the criteria points then this is either the wrong entry for you or you’re not ready to enter this award quite yet. 

Craft full yet concise responses

Most award entry forms will allow you 1000 words. Whilst to some the thought of writing roughly two pages of text is daunting, once you get going, you’ll realise it’s surprisingly difficult to distil a year’s worth of activity, even in one specific area of business, down into 1000 words.

To paint a complete picture concisely is an artform. If your award entry is overflowing try to:

Use bullet points to make an impact.

Make short, strong statements backed up with statistics.

Avoid ‘scene setting’ and get straight to the point where you can.

Be ruthless when editing. If it’s not directly addressing a criteria point, lose it. 

Stay away from industry jargon that could obscure your message. Plain language paired with statistics and testimonials is what will cut through the noise.

Showcase achievements, not aspirations.

This one is short and sweet but incredibly important. An award entry is a historical record, not a business plan. Focus on what has been completed and verified. Judges are looking for evidence of a proven track record, not the potential.

Remember that if you can’t prove it, don’t write it. Quite literally anyone can say anything about what they plan to achieve. Whilst good intentions and ambition is admirable, when it comes to an award entry, it is all but meaningless. 

Use before-and-after data points, financial results and testimonials to demonstrate the value delivered for and by your franchisees.

Meticulous planning wins the race

An excellent award entry is never a last-minute endeavour. At Rev, we allow six to eight weeks to research, collate, write and refine an award entry. 

The best entries are a product of thoughtful planning and collaboration. Begin by mapping out the entry process and setting internal deadlines for content collection, writing, and review stages. Ensure that each section of the entry is assigned to the team member best equipped to address it. Then, gather all necessary data and compose your draft well in advance of the deadline.

For best results, schedule a review session with key team members. This collective review not only polishes the entry but also ensures all sections align to form a cohesive narrative.

Never assume

Write your award entry for an audience that knows nothing about your franchise. This approach ensures that your entry is comprehensive and self-contained, painting a full picture for the judges. If appropriate and within the word count, offer background information succinctly, providing context for your accomplishments. If your franchise has a unique origin story or has overcome significant industry hurdles, include this to add depth and relatability to your entry.

Remember that if it’s not on the ‘paper’ you cannot and will not be judged on it. Judges are the epitome of professional and have an uncanny knack of wiping all prior knowledge and sentiment of your brand from their minds when the judging process begins.

What’s the point in entering?

If you’re now thinking it all seems like a lot of hard work, then you’re right! It is. But the fact is, awards matter. Prospective franchisees and customers will only buy from, or invest in, a brand that they feel they can trust. An award badge – provided it’s for a suitable category – is a trust credential, and it’s very appealing. Imagine that you’re being compared to several other brands, you have an award-win logo on your website or email footer that the others don’t. Do you think that helps to elevate you above the competition? 

PR, darling

It would be remiss of us to not mention another massive benefit that can come from an award entry, in the form of PR. Being shortlisted for, or winning, an award is a fantastic news story that you can share with your target audiences. From traditional media relations to social media coverage and sharing with your pipeline in a newsletter. The content you can create from this activity and its myriad of uses is extremely valuable.

If you don’t have a large team, or if it’s just you, you may want to think about outsourcing your award entry to someone who specialises in them. The downside to this is that there will be a cost associated, but the obvious positive is after a phone call or two, you can sit back and relax while things get done.

If you want our advice on what to enter and which categories would work best for you, just drop us a line or give Lucy a call. Email [email protected] or call 07921 572554.

Lucy Archer
Lucy Archer