A few months ago we met with an organisation that really liked what we had created with one of our internal events - The Greater Manchester Business Awards and approached us to take over their Annual Awards which they had to cancel the year prior due to poor number of entries.
We were aware of the Annual Awards, the issue was that the brand had become toxic and that entrants believed the companies winning the awards were based on an unfair criteria.
Following a few planning meetings we agreed to scope out the project, but we had one stipulation, that the client would remove their team from the Awards Shortlisting and Winners system. We explained clearly why this was important and that the importance of creating an industry panel that was as free from outside influence was a priority that needed addressing.
Whilst the client agreed that the perception of the event was an issue, they still wanted to command a "Veto" on any entry to the shortlist in case it was an individual who had ever criticised their organisation in the past or an organisation was shortlisted that the Executive Board did not agree with.
At that point we declined the project on the basis that we could not get involved in a project where the process was not completely fair and transparent.
For the Greater Manchester Business Awards - our internal event I mentioned earlier, the panel consists of Ten individuals who score and judge the eventual winners. Whilst the event is an "innov8" event, we hold no influence or vote on the shortlisted and eventual winners for the event.
How do we know this worked?
One of the companies shortlisted for an Award is a major event organiser within our area, you could easily say that they are competitor to ourselves. However they felt confident in entering themselves for the award and were indeed shortlisted on their merit and will be part of a shortlist that the Judges will shortly decide whether they deserve to win.
If you are organising an Award Event, ask yourself the question is your Award Worth Winning?
If it is awarded fairly, transparently and genuinely without outside influence (with you being able to demonstrate this) then you will find that getting entries to your awards becomes a lot easier.