Awards give validation to the work a company does, both to potential customers, existing clients, and partners, and to others within the organization. But what is the best way to show off your product or project’s success? Here are 8 basic steps, culled from thoughts from past judges of the Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards, on how to craft an entry that will impress.
(Note: today is the Early Bird deadline for this year’s Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards; final deadline is February 25.)
8 Steps to a Winning Entry:
Tip #1. Tell a complete story. “A good submission tells a story using the NOSE approach: What is the user/customer need? How does this create an opportunity for a product or service? What is the solution to meet the need? Finally, what is the evidence that the need was met, the goal was achieved, or the problem was solved? The more objective and detailed the better,” said one judge.
Tip #2. Prove that a problem has been solved. “I look for the proposals to have some sense of overall impact, broader than just in the application area, if possible. Make me believe this is really helping, not just moving the problem to another sector/person/country,” another judge said.
Tip #3. Include economic data. “The one thing that almost all submissions have seemed to overlook is the economic data on the product/project,” said a judge. “In my opinion, a product or project is not successful if it is not economical. Other business will not buy the product or do similar projects if they cannot afford the investment.”
Tip #4. Don’t waste words stating the obvious. Beginning your entry with a statement such as, “At our company, we take our environmental initiatives seriously” is a waste of space and doesn’t actually tell the judges anything. Use the limited space available to offer useful details, not broad statements that could apply to any company.
Tip #5. Don’t compare to others unless you can back it up. If you write, “We are the only solution that…,” be sure to explain exactly how you are different.
Tip #6. Be clear in your explanations. If the product or project is complicated to understand without a demonstration, make it as simple to follow as possible. That doesn’t mean dumbing down the language. Rather, show step-by-step how it works. Use diagrams or flow charts.
Tip #7. What’s the big picture? Discuss why the specific product or project is a game changer, one judge explained. “I look for the submitter to frame the ‘big picture impact’ on the world, then discuss the details and quantify the environmental/social/economic impact.”