There’s no feeling quite like being up there on the stage and receiving an award for something you’ve done. I didn’t win much of anything as a child so I wouldn’t have known back then. I was more of a partaker than a winner. A good sport rather than good at sport. The quiet and understated one.
But in business, things have been quite different. In 10 years, the Approach PR team has entered and won a staggering 21 different business awards. We’ve gathered on the stage to collect trophies for our media relations, our corporate and business communications and our community campaigns. We’ve been lauded for the “best small business”, for our inspirational staff and for supporting graduates.
But winning awards has meant so much more to us than taking home a trophy.
Back in 2005, we had a rather shocking brush with the bailiffs at our offices in Heckmondwike. We’d done nothing wrong, but as dutiful sub tenants, we were blissfully unaware of a wrangle between the primary tenant and the landlord.
On a cold November morning, just one week after scooping our very first PR industry awards, we arrived at work to find the doors locked, shutters down and a crass sign directing us to the bailiffs by way of an explanation.
The high of being an award-winning team plummeted to one of the lowest points of my business life. We couldn’t get in. Everything we owned was locked, blocked and we were separated from all that we owned. I tried speaking to the landlord but he wasn’t interested. He simply referred me to the bailiffs who just would not let us in.
And then something unexpected happened. The press release we had issued the day after winning our awards hit the local press. “PR firm take the winning approach”, screamed the headlines. “Awards for a top PR team”. “PR team enjoying that golden touch!”
That same day, the landlord called me back. “I’ve just seen the papers,” he said. “I had no idea what a successful business you have. I can see now that you’re not involved in this dispute, let’s talk about how we can sort this out.”
Within 24 hours, he offered us access to either move out or to stay as his tenants, albeit at a highly inflated rent.
It was still a traumatic time as we moved out of the offices we loved. But at least we had a choice, a direction we could take… and all because his understanding of Approach PR changed after reading the headlines.
Our story had a happy ending. The battle with bailiffs forced our move into Bradford which was the catalyst for a whole new chapter of change and success. Ten years on and we’re still entering, winning and talking about our awards.
The power an award win has to shape perceptions of who you are and of what you do can be life changing. The award is just the beginning… who knows where the awareness it brings will take you.
Awards have had a huge impact on our business – they give us a point of difference, they motivate and drive the team, they give us another reason for talking to the press. But the real winner for us was how our 2005 awards win literally re-opened the doors to our business. Without the win, without the headlines, who knows where we’d be today.
So it might have taken me over 30 years to start winning awards and there were many school events where I’d have loved to have made my parents proud. But I like to think I saved the success until the time it was needed the most.
And from my dad’s face in this picture, as far as I’m concerned it really was worth the wait!