The Oscar nominations are out and our news feeds are filled with stories about the hopefuls and those who have been snubbed. Yay for Margot Robbie and bad luck for Hugh Jackman. In your mind, you can’t help but start to consider your own favourites and the movies who received the most nominations that you have yet to see. It’s an amazing elaborate marketing ploy if only our businesses could receive the same attention.  Imagine hearing your name called out.  “The academy award goes to…”

Why don’t business awards get the same amount of attention as the Oscars?

While a great movie may provide you with a couple of hours of entertainment and some good dinner conversation for a couple of days, surely the impact many businesses make is far greater. Think about it, which gives you more satisfaction, a great movie or the air conditioner you just had installed to get you through another long hot summer? The air conditioner installer deserves an award surely?

While there are various awards given out to business and sponsored by major companies like Telstra, the general public don’t seem to care quite so much about the winners and losers. Do the award winners get the same value out of it as an Oscar winner? Win an academy award and your salary jumps as well as the quality of projects you are offered. Win a business award and it is back to the grind. Can you charge more as a result, well that all depends on the market you are targeting, most likely not. While you won’t get the same publicity and ongoing recognition as an Oscar winner, you can set plenty of mileage out of promoting yourself as an award winner. That too is one of the keys. because after the announcement of the winners, the marketing is left to you, unlike in Hollywood where the publicity machine keeps rolling on.

Reviews are critical

So the big glamour event of an Academy Awards is not the same in the business world, but just like in Hollywood, reviews are even more critical. If reviewers tell you a movie is bad, generally speaking, you don’t go to see it. Sometimes the hype can override this, but that takes money and a great plan. In business, the reviews are placed online all the time. Whether it is on a GoogleFacebook page, (I invite you to follow those first two links and give me a review) a Yelp or Trip Advisor or the many other equivalents, the public can voice their opinion. Business owners need to keep track of this because the bad reviews can kill a business.

The problem is culturally we are predisposed to voicing the negative. If you have a really bad experience you will look to tell people about it. It is that old adage of when something goes wrong you will tell ten more people than when it all goes right. These days the ten people can be significantly amplified if you post your opinion online.

How often do you post a positive review of a business versus a negative one? Do you consider the impact you can make with both? If you read a positive comment online how seriously do you take it? We are so predisposed to the negative that when we see a positive review our mind starts to wonder if they have coaxed into it or the person is related to the owner in some way.

The real winner is

It is tough being in business, particularly small business. It is hard to keep track of any conversations with you online. It is even tougher to encourage positive comments without them seeming forced or lame.

What business can learn from the Academy Awards

The best advice I can give business owners everywhere is content matters. If you leave your content up to the discretion of reviewers, you are on an uphill battle. You need to control the content, not to stop the negative reviews (because you still need to respond to each of these), but because you want people to find what you have to say first. You want your content to be valued.

Your content is like the publicity machines which help campaign for an Oscar. Like the hype around a movie can override reviews (unless what you are offering is just really bad), a content strategy (follow the link for an example) will build momentum over time for your business.

Your brand is critical for your marketing. Remember your people and the messages they deliver in all forms are what makes or breaks your business brand. Choosing words carefully is also part of the equation. Your people (including you) can be the real award winners for your business because the fundamentals of marketing are like having great actors in your movie. They need the script to be right, but then they need to deliver.

Taking it to the next level, a brand which is also producing consistent quality content has the potential to keep growing. These basics are far more valuable than an Oscar…but still a photo wedged between Margot and Hugh would be nice to have as well.