Harnessing the Power of Awards: A Strategic Approach for Business Growth with Heather Marano (Episode 180)

business growth podcasts strategy video marketing podcast Jun 04, 2024

In this episode of the "DIY Video for Professionals" podcast, we explore the transformative power of awards with Heather Marano from Green Door Co. Discover how strategic award wins can elevate your brand, attract investors, and secure top talent.

Heather Marano shares her expertise on the strategic benefits of winning awards. Heather emphasizes that awards go beyond mere vanity; they serve as powerful tools for brand building, attracting investors, and securing top talent. At Green Door Co, Heather's team meticulously crafts award submissions, guiding businesses through the complexities of the process to ensure their efforts translate into tangible success.

Heather's insights highlight the evolving role of video in award submissions. She explains how videos add authenticity and personality, making applications stand out amidst a sea of text-heavy entries. A compelling video can convey passion and enthusiasm, capturing the judges' attention and making a lasting impression.

Heather also discusses the importance of strategic planning and professional expertise in award submissions. Green Door Co’s methodology involves auditing business achievements, gathering testimonials, reviews, case studies, and creating impactful video content. This comprehensive approach ensures that submissions are not only well-crafted but also aligned with the company’s strategic goals. Heather underscores the value of external experts in managing award submissions, freeing up internal resources and leveraging specialized knowledge for optimal results.

Moreover, Heather provides a transparent view of the costs associated with award submissions, including entry fees, ceremony attendance, and consultancy services. Despite these expenses, the returns on investment are substantial, with Green Door Co boasting an impressive 80% nomination rate and a 50% win rate. 

Tune in to the full podcast episode to get all the details from Heather Marano herself. Discover how your business can strategically leverage awards to achieve remarkable success. Don't miss out on these expert tips and insights that could take your business to the next level!



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Video Transcription:

Chris Schwager: [00:00:00] G'day legends. Welcome to the DIY Video for Professionals podcast, where we unravel the secrets behind crafting videos that screen professional without the hassle. I'm your host, Chris Schwager, the DIY maestro, here to guide you through the mesmerizing world of DIY video production. We take you beyond the lens, from the latest in DIY video, optimizing your tech setup, and even to candid chats with clients sharing personal stories.

Chris Schwager: That transcend the realm of video. This is your all access pass to mastering the video game and living a life filled with action and decisions. Get ready to transform not just your videos, but your approach to life one episode at a time. Welcome to DIY Video for Professionals.

Chris Schwager: Okay. Welcome to DIY video for professionals. I'm with my very, very dear friend, recent friend, but dear friend, Heather Marano, and she's from Green Door. And I'm so pumped. I've been. Spruiking her business for the last three weeks because we've finally had a chance to invest in what she does. Completely unique.

Chris Schwager: It's so cool because anybody that's suffered with award submissions would know how much time it takes and how like you just don't know, do you? Heather, welcome to the show.

Heather Marano: Thanks for having me, Chris. Happy to be here.

Chris Schwager: Well, look, how's business? Because you used to run the PR firm, Green Door Co. It's still called that name, but you've pivoted entirely into something new.

Chris Schwager: And the moment, the moment I heard what your business was now about from another client of mine, I was hooked. I had to talk to you. So tell Everybody what it is.

Heather Marano: Yeah. So basically, as you said, Chris, we help businesses enter and win awards. So the process of entering awards usually involves a written submission, you know, collating a whole lot of evidence.

Heather Marano: It's a really time consuming and quite stressful process because there's really tight deadlines. So essentially we handle that on behalf of our clients. And so kind of take that burden off their shoulders, guide them through the process, and then obviously give them the very best chance of success.

Heather Marano: So yeah, it's as you said, obviously my background's in PR and we were sort of exposed to the awards market and then just realized there's, you know, hundreds if not thousands of awards out there that Australian businesses can enter. And there's a real demand for that kind of support to help with it and make the process easier and maximize the outcome.

Heather Marano: And that's where we come in.

Chris Schwager: How do you sell it? Cause one of the things that got my attention, Was all right, well, I'm investing in this woman and this service and it's a great service, but what's my bang for buck? And I think one of the things I, you told me, and also looking at your website was the, you know, the conversion, right?

Chris Schwager: Like 80 percent of your clients go through to nominations with a further 50 percent of those go through to win. Now they're pretty good high odds, but why would a business do this? Because, you know, Is it all smoke and mirrors?

Heather Marano: Yeah, it's a good question. So, I mean, definitely there can be a perception out there in the market that, you know, award wins are just, you know, maybe a little bit of a narcissism or a little bit, just about a pat on the back.

Heather Marano: You know, that's not to say that that doesn't happen, but awards are actually really strategic. So, you know, all the clients that we work with have really high level strategic goals that they're trying to, to meet. So that could be, you know, building their brand at the startup stage. It could be working towards an exit.

Heather Marano: So they're trying to appeal to buyers and investors. It could be about attracting really great talent. So these are all really highly strategic business goals and getting that positioning through award wins helps. Contribute to achieving those goals. So we've had several clients where off the back of an awards program with us, they've been able to win, you know, larger contracts and tenders.

Heather Marano: They've, you know, we had a client that was acquired by Deloitte. We've had some clients that have been able to grow significantly and attract, you know, greater talent. So. It's all pretty high level strategic stuff and building your reputation through awards has a huge impact to kind of help make that stuff happen.

Heather Marano: So there, that's really where the results come in you know, awards a part of that package and then like a higher return on investment than say, doing a public relations campaign. So, you know, my background is PR. We could work with a client for, it would be a minimum of six months to kind of build their profile through media relations.

Heather Marano: And you'd be paying significantly more. And the time investment on behalf of the business is significantly more, whereas you go and win one or two awards. That is like that fast track to that credibility. So it's really powerful. And that's what got me excited about awards in the first place. And yeah, that outcome just really is fantastic.

Heather Marano: You know, we can't say no to that as a business. It's, it's really beneficial.

Chris: So how do companies leverage video, I guess, in the award submission process? What, what role does video play in that whole thing?

Heather Marano: Yeah, it's really interesting, actually, the role of videos. [00:05:00] So Most award submissions in the time that we've been working on them predominantly over the last say, five years sort of started out as being really focused on, you know, the written word.

Heather Marano: And that's obviously what we excel at. But there has been an evolution in that time that towards video. So a lot of the time, You know, there's a request and it may be optional or it may be compulsory to include video with your award submission. It might be to kind of showcase projects. So to show like a case study of work often it's to kind of give put a face to the name of say the founder or the business leaders or the staff in a business, they want to get a sense of your personality and, and your passion.

Heather Marano: You know, it's hard to get, unless you know, you're, you're like us, we're experienced at it. If you sit down to write an award submission, it can be difficult to actually convey your passion and personality. Video is a really good fast track for that. So so, yeah, so it's definitely taking on a large role.

Heather Marano: We've seen in the award submission process. Another really interesting thing we've seen recently. Is that with the growth in AI tools like chat, dbt, you're getting a lot more businesses using that to write their award submissions, which doesn't get them a result we've met with awards organizers, and they're actually now facing a greater judging burden because they're getting a lot more entries that people have written through AI, which they then just have to.

Heather Marano: Basically get rid of so they, you know, they've actually, it's made it a lot more difficult for them to actually be able to judge who is going to get through to the finalist round and the winner round. So a solution to that is to incorporate more video and so that's the feedback we're getting. Yeah, because it's, well, until you know, AI tools get to that point and accessible to people, let's be realistic.

Heather Marano: Video is a much more authentic medium. So, It really cuts through that to make sure that applicants are actually giving you, you know, accurate information. You know, it's really them, their personality, their messaging. So it's a really fantastic way to kind of, yeah, cut through some of the nonsense that might happen with those submissions.

Heather Marano: So I think it's going to, as a result of that, it's going to become more and more required in that process.

Chris: And then you. And then you're going to have like people cloning themselves and going, well, I'll just put my avatar submitting the video.

Heather Marano: Yeah, but don't, but you'll be able to tell, won't you? I mean, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on it because it's just not authentic, right?

Heather Marano: Like you can, yeah, you can clone your avatar and your voice and whatever, and you know, you can, you can get AI to write the words that you say, but how is that really going to come across? It's not going to sound, you know, authentic. Authentic. I think we can tell the difference.

Chris: I

Heather Marano: hope we can.

Chris: A hundred percent.

Heather Marano: Yeah.

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah. And I just did a nice little podcast. It'll be launched in a week or two around, you know, AI and creating videos with AI and, and how like, well, I did a webinar recently on scripting with AI. And, and it's just, we're not going to be anytime soon, not having some human influence based on that script.

Chris: It's just going to require, and you would, you would know the same. And then I think taking your point to these award submission places, they're getting just inundated with people that are just literally a copy and paste. Yeah. Here's my bio, you know, like chuck it in. Much like recruitment. So people responding to Employee employment opportunities, I'm sure that would have to be like the same sort of thing.

Chris: You know, we recruited last year, it was probably this time last year actually. And 80, 90, 90%, 80 or 90 percent of applicants did not meet the basic criteria that we had highlighted in the, in the in the description. Like, Hey, be in Sydney, right? Like we had submissions from all over the world, from all over the country.

Chris: And I was like, you guys are fucking fucked basically. Yeah. So, you know, all of that stuff you can just kind of cull straight away, but why even bother, you know, like that's the thing. And it's, and that, that's the thing that, that is frustrating with these types of things is There's energy floating around that's going nowhere and it's, it's, it's silly to waste everybody's time.

Heather Marano: Yeah. Well, I've seen that actually in recruitment to where you're getting a lot more employers asking for videos from applicants because you can actually get an authentic picture of who they are. And also. If they can be bothered to do it, which frankly, it doesn't take that long, like, if it's just about, you know, introducing yourself and talking about yourself, you'd have to do that in an interview anyway but yeah, it immediately cuts out all of those, those, you know, applicants that aren't serious.

Chris: Yeah. And that, that's exactly how we treated it. So we, we did the video submission, right? You did

Heather Marano: that? Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. So in, I think in the original ad, it was like, submit your one minute video

Chris: on

Chris: you and why you think you're the best person for the job or something like that. Right. Really, really simple.

Chris: Nobody, [00:10:00] I believe, I don't know if it was nobody or one person out of a hundred actually sent that through without us having to ask, ask them for it. Right. So we, I think we had 20, I think we had 20 initial possibilities and then we had to phone them and ask them before the meeting, we've had a look, we're really interested in you.

Chris: Why haven't you submitted your video? And then they'd cough it up. Right. And it was good. Like it was a better process for them to submit their video because we got to hear them understand their body language. Look at them. Oh my God. Yeah. What a difference. In fact, I didn't actually look, I don't think I really looked in detail at a CV.

Chris: So I'd go through all that shit. And then when they, when the video started coming in, we actually scored them based on their video. And it was nothing to do with. Their experience as such, it was more, it was more how, how, what's the vibe, right? What's the vibe here? Like, do they, you know, do I think, you know, it's kind of like, I watched this episode last night that had Gordon Ramsey and the TV show on channel nine, Gordon Ramsey and Janine Ellis.

Chris: That were like, it's probably kind of like a kind of like a entrepreneur, what's it called? The entrepreneur show. The I can't think about it now.

Heather Marano: You

Chris: know, yeah. Where they have teams and the teams go out and they do stuff to build their business. Credibility and they work with a mentor, which is Gordon Ramsey or Janina Nelson.

Chris: And then, you know, I'm sure they call it the apprentice or something. Like the apprentice. Right. It's kind of similar to that. And going through that process that they, what was good in that first episode, I didn't think I was going to buy into it. And then I thought, Oh no, this is good. This is a nice little family show for everybody to watch.

Chris: And then, but what I understood was that they were really looking for attitude.

Heather Marano: Yeah.

Chris: You know, like, yep, you got the product analysis. That's all part of it. But do you have the passion? Like is that coming through? Like is, is, you know, there are people that that kind of talked about passion, but then the product didn't match.

Chris: And the others that had like. You know, the product was not so great, but that passion was there. But ultimately that was one thing that Janine was talking to right at the start. She's like, I just want, I want be able to see him, look him in the eye, hear what they have to say. It's not about the pitch.

Chris: It's, it's about how they, How they what they can bring to the world, you know, and that was really interesting. So from a recruitment perspective, I'm sure the same. And even in the awards, I'm sure, surely you know, there's critical decisions being made based on how well this person holds themselves on camera.

Chris: Like, Yeah,

Heather Marano: absolutely. Well, it's, it's, it's a really similar thing. I mean, essentially an award submission is, is you're pitching your business, not in the same way you would say in a pitch deck for investors, like the way. You would craft that is different, but essentially you are still pitching it. You're, you're basically saying to a judge, this is what my business does.

Heather Marano: This is what we've achieved. This is why you should care. Well, they're only really going to care if you're passionate about it and they can see that shining through and. It's much easier for that to shine through on video than it is in the written word. You know, it takes a little skill to be able to have that shine through in the written word, but balance that with whatever is required, like, you know, the, the evidence, supplementary evidence to kind of back up the claims that you make.

Heather Marano: Obviously that's something we're good at, but video gives you an opportunity. As an applicant to, to really just sell yourself in a, in an authentic way. And that's why some of the leading awards programs in the Australian market, like the Tulsa best of business awards has a video component built into it.

Heather Marano: So, as I said before, a lot of awards programs are introducing video. And sometimes it's optional. Sometimes it's compulsory. Telstra introduced that into their awards program a couple of years ago as a compulsory part at stage two. So there's three stages. And you have to record like seven videos.

Heather Marano: Because they want to get a sense of who you are and have you talk about it. And

Chris: cull the shit out of everybody, right? Like, can you imagine the people that would be pissing their little pants over having to do the video element?

Heather Marano: Oh, exactly. It's so, it's so funny you say that because it's true. You know, we obviously work with really high performing businesses and pushback sometimes around, Oh, I just don't feel comfortable recording videos.

Heather Marano: And it's like, but it's the same conversations you would have. You know what, in a sales meeting or discovery call or like you would talk with passion about what you do. You meet someone in an event, you know, you talk about your business. It's the same thing, but the second you put a camera in front of them.

Heather Marano: And in this case, it's just recorded through, you know, their webcam. So you think. They'd be familiar with that. We're all, you know, used to video calls, but sometimes there's just that hesitancy around it because it feels like I don't want to be recorded.

Heather Marano: But yeah, it's a great culling

Chris: process though, isn't it?

Chris: It's a great culling

Heather Marano: process. I mean,

Chris: I know that we had people that said, Oh, bloody hell I'm out. I'm not going to submit my video. Sorry. Yeah. [00:15:00] This is not for me.

Heather Marano: Dude, you're in the industry.

Chris: Well, that's,

Heather Marano: that's the other thing. Exactly. In your case, it's literally, that's what you do. It's a, it's like an immediate red flag if someone doesn't want to do it.

Heather Marano: Because yeah, it's like, all you need to do is just talk with passion about what you bring and what you can contribute. We should all be able to do that. It's, it's a school we all need to practice. So. Yeah, I think that should be and will continue to be a really important part of recruitment. It will continue to be a really important part of award submissions.

Heather Marano: And yeah, it's just something we all, we all need to kind of hone that skill. It's just, it's just going to be part of business from now on.

Chris: The reason you're hearing this podcast so clearly is because we've incorporated this. If you're on our YouTube channel, go and have a look at the quality that comes out of it.

Chris: What we call the desktop video studio and allows professionals just like yourself an ability to have camera, sound, lights, teleprompter, all at a single switch of a button and all at the convenience of your desk. Let's have a listen to a couple of happy clients who are using this system.

Chris: If you want more information on how you can do this for yourself, go to ridgefilms. com. au slash DIY. I was asked to present at a recruitments conference. In a couple of weeks time. And they were like, what do you want to do? And because it was quite last minute, I was like, I just want to do a live demo of on camera training and have someone come out of the audience and I'll convert them in, in one hour.

Chris: And they're like, fucking love it. Let's do that.

Heather Marano: It's a great idea.

Chris: And because I know I can do it. I've been doing it for 20, 15, 20 years. But just to see the naysayers in the room, the people that have been telling themselves for years that they can't, or they won't, or they shouldn't, or something like that, just to, to see somebody transform in front of their eyes in real time, you know, in real time, it's not like, Oh, you know, you're going to go from, from zero to great in five minutes, we're going to work and we're going to work right there in front of a couple hundred people.

Chris: One of the things that you've got here is about sharing your story, first stop video, next stop awards. Now, stories are misinterpreted. That, that, that, that word I really think is, is misinterpreted. People go, Oh, I'll tell my story. This is permission for me to. Fucking blubber on for however long I want and lose my way, miss the points go off topic, no structure, et cetera, et cetera.

Chris: What does that mean to you? You've written that for me. What does it, what, what's it, what does it mean? What are we trying to do? Sharing what are people trying to do to sharing their stories?

Heather Marano: So I think that if you're telling your story through video, and as you said, I mean, I This idea of storytelling is kind of sometimes misunderstood, but essentially all you're doing is, is, you know, telling people again, why they should care about your business or why they should care about a project or whatever.

Heather Marano: That's essentially what we mean by storytelling. And that's what video does. And so if you're doing that in video, I think it's a good opportunity to then leverage that in, in an award submission, because that's essentially what an award submission is. It's telling your story, but backing it up with evidence.

Heather Marano: That's, that's essentially what, how we would frame it. So our methodology is about obviously hitting the criteria of an award submission, you know, making sure that you're covering all of those kind of, you know, keep, you know, Stats and things that are going to kind of supplement what you claim about yourself, but keeping it interesting and engaging and making sure that a judge is not going to just like.

Heather Marano: Turn the page over and not care. So yeah, so it's videos are really, if I would say if you're already in the, in the process of telling your story through video, you're going to have done a lot of that work to kind of mine what is interesting about you and figuring out how to tell it in a succinct way.

Heather Marano: That's a really good opportunity to then shift gears into the award space because that's essentially what awards do to just, just through the written word video.

Chris: Do you believe. That anyone going for an award submission should be using your service.

Heather Marano: Well, yes, I mean, of course, I'm going to say yes.

Heather Marano: What I don't believe is that everyone can enter every award and be successful. But when you work with us, we start with that strategy around which awards you should be entering. Which is strategically important for you, which ones you have a good opportunity to win based on our knowledge of that award.

Heather Marano: And we've got a data set around, you know, which of our clients have been successful in those awards. So we, we know we really do have a pretty good understanding of likely success rate in most awards. So if someone is going to be interested in an award. Coming to us first makes sense because we can immediately give you the guidance on which awards to enter and which aren't going to be a waste of your time.

Heather Marano: And then obviously we maximize your chance of success by, you know, putting your best foot forward for that particular award. So really, anyone who's interested in awards. Absolutely could come to [00:20:00] us. And, you know, as I said, you know, I don't believe that everyone can win every award. Obviously, it's a competition, but people ask me all the time, you know, do you get companies coming to you that aren't doing anything interesting and want to win awards?

Heather Marano: That actually rarely happens. It's actually the opposite. We get, you know, You know, companies coming to us or when I'm out talking to businesses, they might be all on that sounds really good. I just don't know if we're ready. And then when you talk to them about what they're doing, they're actually doing some really impressive stuff, but they're so in it, or they we've got a little bit of imposter syndrome.

Heather Marano: They don't think that they could, they could leverage that into an award win. I can give them clarity around the fact that, yeah, you probably can. So yeah, so I think that. Most businesses will have some opportunity to win an award. It might not be today. It might not be every award, you know, there might be some things you can do to maximize your chances, but more businesses are not would have an opportunity in some award out there and working with us would obviously maximize it.

Chris: A hundred percent. One of the first discussions that we had was not so much about, Oh, you know, which award are we going in, but it was really about you researching us and understanding what our, Proposition was and where we sat and what our history was and where we were going and you know having maturity I guess in business and made that conversation very easy between us I believe and I think the Just kind of gauging, you know Your, your target market is what, what, what are they?

Chris: I mean, I, I mean, the, the one, the business I referred to you, very mature been plenty of skin in the game, but is this for startups?

Heather Marano: Oh yeah, absolutely. So winning awards at the startup stage is actually a really good differentiator because obviously there's a whole lot of startups out there, especially in certain industries like FinTech or tech or whatever it may be.

Heather Marano: There's it's really crowded. So you're being able to build your brand and credibility by winning awards is really powerful. And there are specific awards that really are focused on startups and disruptors. There's also small business awards as well. So, yes, that's a really good Powerful opportunity for businesses at that stage, but that doesn't mean that you can't win awards.

Heather Marano: If you're a more established business or a larger corporate you know, we work with both ends and it just depends on the type of award you're entering. So a lot of the business awards that are in the market are actually geared towards SMEs. So something like Telstra, which I mentioned, the Telstra Vesta Business Awards.

Heather Marano: Is for SMEs under 200 headcount and a lot of other business awards is similar. That's sort of for that SME end. But that's not to say there aren't other awards that hit that corporate end. So, you know, something like executive of the year through CEO magazine, those awards are really targeted more at that corporate end.

Heather Marano: And then you can really like drill down into industry awards and sort of specific areas of focus. So like employer of choice awards, for example, a lot of those can tap into corporates right down to SME. So, yeah, so there's really an award for everyone. There's a lot out there and not all of them are Australian.

Heather Marano: Some of them are international, but they allow for Australian applicants. So it's just about knowing what's out there and which is strategically important, which is a big part of what we do.

Chris: And it seems like when you think there's no award for your industry, there is something for you. And you didn't, you didn't, you didn't kind of go straight for like the video production awards or whatever.

Chris: I don't even know if there is one for video production. I've never bothered to, I don't think we've ever bothered to enter it. However, yeah, you've, you've talked more about business, about pivots, about innovation, about tech. And those types of things with us, because obviously that's our thing. And we feel confident, really confident that there's an opportunity to nominate and get, win something and whatnot, which is going to be great.

Chris: But there is my point, I guess, is that when, you know, I wouldn't have thought like startups would have had the amount of like the, the, the credibility or the, you know, the kind of the, you know, the, the force behind them to kind of like be, you know, Be in the running for something like that. But from what I'm hearing from you, it's like, well, yeah, there's startup awards, right?

Chris: Like this best, you know, fastest, most innovative, blah, blah, blah, blah. For, for a specific, for a business that might be less than two years old or something. Right. Is that kind of pretty much right?

Heather Marano: Yeah. So there'll be categories or awards that specifically look at businesses that are under usually like three years old in that startup range.

Heather Marano: So, so yeah, so that's definitely an area that. If you're at the startup phase, you can enter those awards. And the benefit of that is that obviously not going to be then looking at like a long track record of success. And they may not look at things like you know, financial results or whatever, because they're kind of mindful in a startup phase, you know, it's more about the innovation or the idea.

Heather Marano: Whereas other awards that are sort of geared towards companies that are, you know, You know, beyond three years, for example, I might have more of a focus on that. I mean, that doesn't mean that every metric of success has to be financial. There's obviously a whole range of metrics of success and achievements that can be anything, not just financial growth.

Heather Marano: But yeah, they do, they're mindful of that at the startup phase because it's obviously, you know, at a different stage [00:25:00] of business.

Chris: So if you're looking to submit, you could expect that part of the submission process, maybe video. It may be opening up a lot of what you probably don't, haven't told people before or the market before around financials, around, you know, employees and how your business works and operates and that's the type of thing that they may need.

Chris: And I think in your Initial, and we haven't had our initial engagement, but the, the, the briefing thing that you gave us, we had to submit some financial details. That's right. Yeah. So is that kind of more for you so that you can kind of submit those to the awards on our, on your behalf? It's

Heather Marano: because that's right.

Heather Marano: So some awards will specifically ask you for financial results. So something Telstra investor business awards, but they're kind of the highest profile, probably most well known award in the market. They explicitly ask you for your financial results over the last three years. Other awards won't necessarily explicitly ask, but for us, it's good for us to kind of see the track record because we might just talk about, you know, your percentage sales growth or, you know, a particular business.

Heather Marano: Maybe they hit a particular financial milestone, like maybe they hit a million or whatever, 10 million. So that's the kind of thing we could kind of talk about in a submission. So it depends on the, it depends on the award. Then there are some awards that actually specifically look at your financial growth results.

Heather Marano: So something like the smart 50, which is 50 high performing businesses in the SME market looks at growth as one of the factors. to hit that list. So you have to, well, they'll show, they'll actually publish those financial results. And then you have to have a story that sort of wraps around that, but that's one of the indicators.

Heather Marano: And then there's also, you're probably familiar with like the AFR fast 100 or the AFR fast starters. That is a list purely based on their financial results. So you literally just submit, you know, the last three years of PNLs verified PNLs, and it's just based on the fastest growing company. So it's useful for us to kind of gauge that upfront when we're working with a business on business awards, which is kind of our bread and butter.

Heather Marano: Cause more often than not, it'll come up in some way. But that said, as I said, like if you're a business that hasn't had a significant amount of growth in the last three years or last year or whatever, It doesn't mean you're not eligible for awards because, you know, there's all sorts of other markers of success.

Heather Marano: And especially, you know, we were operating through COVID, helping a lot of businesses enter awards at that time. And in the, you know, post COVID, a lot of businesses didn't grow in that time. So it was more about resilience say. So yeah, so that's all kind of factored into an award submission, but yeah, that's one of the reasons why we asked because it does sometimes come

Chris: up.

Chris: Ask yourself, are you satisfied with the way that you're presenting yourself and your personal brand to your market? And for four years now, people have been really struggling to clarify the way they look and sound on camera when it comes to doing video calls and recording their own personalized videos.

Chris: And there is a solution. The DIY video program helps you personalize sales, video, and emails, record professional marketing videos, look and sound amazing in every video meeting without the tech hassles. And you also get professional video editing and practical training so that you can present like a pro.

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Chris: So when people are looking to, to submit awards, should it be probably Looked at as a, a kind of a longer term effort. Things like video, right? Like when they get to that part on the submission, they submit your one minute video and all of a sudden they just come, the brakes go on and you know, a simple little one hour submission is now like, Oh, got to get a professional videographer.

Chris: I've got to get, go out and figure out my message, my brand story. And now it's about getting a company profile video together. Should, should businesses that. Looking to, to be strategic about awards, not just a flippant, Oh, I'm just going to go for one award, but looking at it as a long term marketing strategy.

Chris: Should they really start gearing up, like getting their organized with their business, getting their financials, getting people on the team involved understanding a bit of a process around how, how, and when, and where, and the most appropriate Awards to be to be going for and things like that. Is that maybe the message?

Chris: Is that, is that something that you'd recommend? Yeah, cool.

Heather Marano: Yeah, a hundred percent. Definitely. So when I'm talking to, when I'm giving advice to, to businesses who might be looking to enter awards themselves, One of the first things I say is to kind of do a bit of a work, a bit of work around auditing your business.

Heather Marano: So kind of look at your achievements over the last year, typically, but maybe two years. And just like get them all down on paper, just do a bit of a brain dump think about, so everything you've achieved, all your success metrics and your, you know, how [00:30:00] you've performed against those metrics in that time.

Heather Marano: Anything else interesting that's happened in that time? Anything unique about your business? You know, what is it that you do differently to your competitors? Think about areas like because this is coming up repeatedly in business awards now, how do you contribute back to your community? What's your sustainability?

Heather Marano: What's your policy around sustainability? Are you doing anything in the environmental space? Because it's kind of an expectation now that you are how do you engage your employees? You know, how do you reward and recognize them? How do you keep them engaged? What, you know, interesting incentives do you offer?

Heather Marano: All that sort of stuff. And I mean, there's a whole range of, of things customer experience would be another one. And there's another one I was going to mention. Oh In the employee space, diversity inclusion is really big. So reviewing what you're doing in that space. So if you think about it, when you sit down and you do all of that work of just kind of really putting down on paper, everything that you're doing, and probably you're going to find some gaps, which might actually help you because it gives you some areas of focus, not just to win awards, but to be a better, higher performing, higher functioning business.

Heather Marano: That process is really valuable. This is why award submissions are such a process just to kind of really dig in and understand your business. That's the place to start from there to answer your question then go and kind of pull together everything you might need for that. So definitely go out and get customer testimonials.

Heather Marano: Make sure you've got, you know, enough Google reviews happening. If you've only got a few kind of on your, on your Google reviews site. Put a call out, try to try to get as many clients and customers to, to review you as possible in, you know, ahead of this process. And all this stuff's going to help you beyond awards infinitely.

Heather Marano: So it's really good to have all this stuff, get some case studies together, get some videos developed, you know, I mean, it's those videos that you would then submit with an award, say it might be about a project or like about, about your business. You can use them across all different aspects of your business, right?

Heather Marano: And use them on your website and your marketing and your sales. So developing that stuff is, is going to be really beneficial and it will improve your chances of an award win. So yeah, so that's kind of the, the, the process to begin with. And then it's the process of then going out and identifying which awards to enter.

Heather Marano: So that process is It can be quite difficult. We've got a database of awards on our website. So you can do a bit of a search at green. co to have a look at what awards are out there, but to kind of then really understand whether or not you've got an opportunity to win that award, you know, who'd be competing against which categories you should enter does require a little bit more research.

Heather Marano: So if you are going to do that process yourself. Go look at who judges those awards, who's won it in previous years look really closely at the criteria, just make sure you're eligible just do your research. That's essentially what's involved. And then from there you just go and you do the work of submitting or not, or not.

Heather Marano: And I say from there, just do that. That's going to be a really time intensive process. Ideally you come to us and we help you with it, but that's why I've got you on the show. You know, like

Chris: forget doing it yourself. I will not do it myself. Even if I had to get Kev or Susie or whatever involved, it would be shocking how much.

Chris: Exactly.

Heather Marano: This is a problem, right? So I think in a lot of businesses even, even those that should probably know better, like where they build time, like in marketing or law, they'll like literally get their part, like in a law firm, look at their partners writing award submissions and you just think what a waste of time and money because they can go out and build, you know, hundreds of dollars an hour.

Heather Marano: But you have to be,

Chris: flick it to Heather. Yeah.

Heather Marano: Yeah. And the thing is like. So that'll either happen. You've got your most senior people in your business writing award submissions and it takes away from, you know, the actual important work or it gets flipped to like the most junior person in the business who can't answer any of the questions because it's about, you know, it's about like your business strategy and operations and vision.

Heather Marano: And so. They're not going to know half of it. All the stuff that they do know would be pretty probably be quite basic. Then they can't get a hold of the CEO or the business leader to talk to them to kind of fill in the gaps. And then either they submit something that's just bad or they don't submit at all.

Heather Marano: So it's, it's just, it's a waste of time overall. So regrettably, this process really does require your senior people to be weighing into it. But what you don't want is them having to sit there and write the whole thing. It's just a waste of time. You know, if you, you know, when you work with us, it's, it's basically, we, we interview you to kind of go through and pull that information out of your head and you can go away and focus on business as usual.

Heather Marano: You know, you don't have time to focus on this time

Chris: and just so everybody knows, one of the things, one of the big things for us investing in, in you guys was the ability to have a. Unique and fresh perspective on our business. Now, if you've got your partners in your organization trying to do [00:35:00] that, like, what do they know about not only what does a submission want to say, but what do they know about their own business?

Chris: Right. Through the perspective of someone else that's actually like glamorous and impressive and like businesses aren't that good at spruiking themselves. I don't really know. This is why I was spruiking. Mentioning about the storytelling aspect, like they're not great at telling their brand story. And that, that's why I think it's absolutely vital to, to have others outside of your organization.

Chris: Always. I'm a huge advocate for business coaches. I'm a huge advocate for outsourcing things like specialties, like video like the PR, like the messaging, like the stuff that you're doing. What are some of the hidden, well, not hidden, but what are the costs that a business may incur in this whole you know, awards marketing?

Heather Marano: So, a lot of awards programs, you will be paying at some point, so you might pay an entry fee to enter an award. You might pay to go along to the awards night. Most are monetized in some way, and that's fine. And if they're not monetized, usually it means that that company that's running it is kind of capturing all your data.

Heather Marano: So something like the Telstra Best of Business Awards, that's a free process, but they want to know about the SME market and that's how they access that data. So obviously they can't share it. You know, it's, it's kept commercially sensitive. There's obviously privacy around it, but that's why they do it.

Heather Marano: So there's a lot of costs that are incurred at different stages in the awards process. And I know that obviously then working with a consultant like us adds more costs, but if you're going to be spending potentially hundreds of dollars, sometimes it's over a thousand dollars or 2, 000 on an entry fee.

Heather Marano: Okay. Don't fudge it, do it, do it well, do it properly. Otherwise it's a waste of your investment. What are they going to

Chris: spend on you? Like getting you to do it? And because I looked at what you offer, right? And I go, fuck, you know, easy. Yeah.

Heather Marano: So we tend to work with clients over 12 months on a package. So, you know, we'll, we'll basically come up with a recommended list of awards that kind of meet your strategic goals.

Heather Marano: And so that could be, you know, five awards over 12 months. It could be 10 awards. Sometimes it's more like 15, but what we don't do is say, go into 30 awards. You know, we're pretty strategic, making sure you're entering the right awards. So those packages, obviously a price, depending on what awards are selected and the number, but usually it starts at around 500 a month for the sort of baseline package.

Heather Marano: So for us You know, what we do say to clients is that we recommend they enter multiple awards. Because if you're going to go through that process of really articulating your story and digging in and pulling together all that research and evidence, it's a waste to just enter one. Also you want to maximize your chances.

Heather Marano: So if you enter, you know, say five different awards or even three different awards over 12 months, you can kind of approach it from different angles. And then you're, you're going to be. Most likely you will have some success. So for example, for us, we just did a bit of review and success over the last 12 months.

Heather Marano: And you already mentioned some of that. So eight out of 10 get to the finalist stage and over half of those going to win. That's that's been a standard we've maintained for several years. We were looking at like the last 12 months of all the clients we've worked with. Every single client has had award success.

Heather Marano: No one has had no award success. So they've all been, you know, finalists and that's your new start, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 2020, C

hris: that's the new 2023 stat. That's, that's the one that's got to go on the site now, 100 percent success for 2023 or whatever. Huh? Do it. Yeah. You all of your, everybody gets through.

Heather Marano: Everyone's a winner. Yeah. And look, I mean, I know that sounds. It's almost too good to be true. It doesn't mean that every single award is successful. It just means that if you get the right mix of awards and you select the right awards up front and you, you know, utilize our methodology, which works, you're going to have success.

Heather Marano: So, so yeah, so that's, that's part of it is to, you want to maximize your chances. Otherwise, you know, what's the point of going through this process and you know, if you're going to do it yourself, that's kind of the worst thing is if you, you know, you enter a stack of awards, you don't. Approach it.

Heather Marano: Maybe, maybe as well as you can. It still takes up a lot of time and then you don't win. It's just. Yeah.

Chris: Well, I think it's like when people are going through like all bio creation and like, like digging up all this shit they need for this one award and then they don't do anything and then in six months time they go, Oh, maybe I should have another crack at this one.

Chris: Yeah. Like where's all that stuff that we wrote, you know, like digging up all that old stuff and then revising that man, get Heather to. Take care of it for ya. Yeah,

Heather Marano: yeah. It's a, it's a really onerous process and the feedback we get from clients when they've attempted it before is they, they just hate doing it.

Heather Marano: They hate it, like, frankly. So, you know, we can just take that burden off your shoulders. That's the idea. And, and we love doing it. You know, we we're good at it. We've done nearly 700 now, so, yeah. It's, yeah, if you trust us to [00:40:00] do it, you know, get the results that can just be ticking along in the background.

Heather Marano: And then, yeah, you don't have to be spending that time and you're still getting those results. So, yeah. Well,

Chris: if you want to get this sorted for your business, you want to rub shoulders with high profile people at awards nights. You want to win some awards and get that badge on your site and spruik your business to social media world.

Chris: And then also getting a fabulous. Spin on what it is that your business is actually offering to the market through the eyes of a wonderful PR company that looks, looks at all the value that you bring in and, and organizes those messages. Then I think it might be time to call Heather and get it sorted once and for all.

Heather Marano: Absolutely. Yeah. We'd, we'd love to hear from you, even if you just want to have a bit of a chat about what's out there. What might be suitable for you? Just yeah, do get in touch

Chris: and you can connect with Heather on the LinkedIn profile, I'm assuming would be best. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. On the show notes, of course.

Chris: Or go to Green door.co. Green door com would be the best. , that's right. Best website. And you'll see also on that websites, all of those stats and great testimonials and whatnot from people that are having success. And I am personally pumped despite. Maybe I didn't sell it to my team well enough. Like, Oh yeah, I'm investing in in this awards thing.

Chris: And, and, and people are like, what, what is it? How much is it? What are you doing that for? What? And I think I spoke to three individual people and I went, you know what? I've been running this business. It was my 20, it's our 22nd birthday Ridge Films as of yesterday. Cause I've just taken over the company.

Chris: It's like, it's like, I'm going to do it for me so I can feel like I've got some recognition for the last 22 years of grinding it out in this business. That's why I'm doing it. And so screw you, I can, I can do whatever I want. And this is what I, what I want. And I'm really looking forward to going through the process with you in detail.

Heather Marano: Me too. Thanks Chris. All right.

Chris: Great. Thanks Heather for coming on the show. It's been fun.

Heather Marano: Happy to be here. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much.


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