Are Industry Awards Boll*cks? 🏆

We spoke to two industry experts to see if they're worth it.

Hello everyone 👋

Here’s what you can expect from this week's newsletter

🏆Are industry awards bollocks? 

📚We recap what you’ve missed in July with the wrap-up

👏VAMO member of the month revealed 

We hope you enjoy it.

Are Industry Awards Bollocks?

I’m always a bit sceptical when I see ‘award winning’ in someone's bio. 

Useful social proof to increase sales and credibility?

Or a scammy industry based on ego strokes? 

There’s no escaping we all love a bit of social proof. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s genuine. 

As the holder of the title ‘Amazon Best Seller’ with my completely blank book, I know how easy it is to fake.

But I’ve also won a couple of decent awards over the years and they do give you credibility as a start-up. 

FSB Online Business and Start-Up of the Year 2017

Which begged the question, are all industry awards bollocks, or is there value in them? 

Unconvinced, I decided to speak to two industry experts to see if the VAMO community should be thinking about entering awards. 

Here’s what they had to say 👇

Meet the experts 🙌

⚡ Gary Jenkins, MD of award-winning PR company, No Brainer

Profile photo of Gary Jenkins

Zoe Wilson, Senior Account Executive at Moja

Profile photo of Zoe Wilson

Do awards really do anything for your company?  


Yes, particularly if you’re starting out and you need to build credibility and trust in your market. 

It also helps when you’re bidding for new business or you want to hire people who think you’re ace. 

But don’t go for everything, pick the ones that you really want (or your industry gives a damn about) and focus on those.

If you’re approached directly by someone telling you you’ve already won an award, then stay clear. They’re usually utter garbage.


Absolutely. It can feel like a lot of work, especially when you’re running a small business, but it’s always worth it because of three key benefits: 

Elevate your profile - which helps grow your brand reputation. 

Establish credibility - gain external recognition (someone outside your business says you’re great. 

Attract the best talent to your business. 

How do you increase your chances of winning? 


Focus on the award entry criteria every time, as it’s there for a reason. And make sure you put effort into every section of the submission too, because they’re all usually scored by an independent panel (at least the good ones are). 

If you can’t be bothered completing the info in one section, then I’d suggest not bothering at all as you’re probably wasting your time.

Also, make sure you show metrics that matter. Award submissions can often be filled with fluff and nonsense, but if you show that you’ve made a genuine difference and can prove it, then explain it. It helps you stand out.


Give the judges what they’re asking for. Understand the criteria and make sure you’re entering the correct category for the award you want to win. 

Make sure you’ve got solid evidence that shows the impact of your work. Stats and financials are a must. 

Use testimonials to show off what your clients really think. 

And make sure you can show clearly, why you’re different from your competitors.

Is there anything the VAMO community should avoid? 


Spreading yourself too thin. Stick with awards that actually mean something – so do less entries but make them better.

Prove the value or impact you’ve created in your submission. If you can’t then you won’t stand out, so wait to enter until you can.

Don’t fill it with self-congratulatory stuff, words no one understands, or industry acronyms, just say it like it is.

Avoid those emails from people who tell you you’ve already won something you haven’t entered, they usually come with a price tag, and nobody cares anyway.


It’s no secret that some awards aren’t as prestigious as others. So, target the right awards within your market. 

What’s the best way to show off your award to get an ROI? 


At the entry stage, get case studies or testimonials from your clients or customers. 

It’s nice to get them, and they really emphasise how good you are. Plus it’s a reason to tell them that you’re awesome and going for these too. 

If you’re shortlisted, shout about it. That’s an achievement in itself, so make sure you’re telling people internally and externally about it. And if you win, milk it for everything you can! 

You’ve earned it!


Even if you’re only shortlisted, get it everywhere you can. Website, socials, badges on your e-mail signature. 

Don’t forget to add award-winning to your personal and company bios. 

Then get it in the press. 

And tell people you’ve won via mailing lists.

Should you enter yourself or use an agency? 


No one knows you’re business like you, so there’s merit in thinking about whether you have the writing abilities to pull together something succinct and punchy. 

If you don’t then think about a copywriter or PR agency to help you, as they’re often doing shedloads of award entries for their clients, and know what it takes to hit the mark. 

Good ones will work with you to find a narrative that wraps it all together and push for the insights that show the impact you’re making.


You can spend ages crafting an amazing entry but if you’re writing about something irrelevant or entering a category you don’t even qualify for it’s going to be a waste of time. 

Key Takeaways

They both agreed that if you’re approached directly by someone telling you you’ve already won an award, then stay clear. 

When this happens you’re the product and you’re going to end up paying £300+ for a seat at some gimpy fixed ceremony. 

But I am sold on the idea of targeting specific awards within your market. 

I'd be really interested to hear what awards our VAMO community has already won and whether you’d be tempted to apply after reading what Gary and Zoe had to say?

I really appreciate Gary and Zoe taking the time to answer our questions. If you’d like to follow them, you can here:

The Wrap Up 

In case you missed it, here’s what the VAMO slack community has been up to throughout July. 

Why you should be selling yachts, not dinghies 🛥️

We shared how you can make more money, faster, by selling an expensive product. This edition covered: 

☠️ The #1 mistake Mike made with his first startup

🤑 How you can get more revenue through fewer clients

📑 3 strategies to help you land high-ticket customers.

Read Here

How to Keep Your Pipeline Full 💰

To grow a successful business, you need to chase down leads that translate into future sales. 

It’s called keeping your pipeline full. 

In this edition, Mike shared his thoughts on why it’s important, and how you can do it more successfully.  

He also spoke to an expert SDR who shares her successful LinkedIn prospecting tips, including how to leave voice notes on LinkedIn.

Read Here

The No-Brainer Marketing Strategy 🧠

In this edition, Mike spoke to Sandeep Dayal, MD of Cerenti, to discuss how you can make your value proposition so attractive, that people would be crazy to say no.

Read Here

All of our VAMO newsletters come with a coaching video 🎥

Meaning you can consume the tips and strategies we share by: 

📺 Watching 

📚 Reading 

🎧 Or Listening 

If you’ve not already, don’t forget to subscribe for £150 for the year.

Member of the Month 🏆

We’ve had a few wins in the VAMO group this month, but we wanted to give Aakash a special shout-out. 

Aakash shared with us that he’d won marketing team of the year in his company. He’d tried a few of the tips and tricks shared in the group, and it’s starting to pay off. 

Congratulations Aakash. We loved hearing this story. 

Here’s his LinkedIn in case you’d like to connect:


We had a great time meeting some of you in real life at our first meet-up in Manchester. Here are some pics from the hardest working videographer in the north, Ben Milner.

We loved it so much, that we’re ready to get the next one in the diary. There’s a rumour it’s going to be in Leeds. More details to follow soon in the slack group.

Pet Corner 

Winston was just one of many pets relieved to get back outside following the July heatwave.  

We think Obi had the right idea to keep cool, he likes long walks by the beach and quick rolls in other animals’ shit (maybe not the rolling in shit bit).

That’s it for this week. 

We hope you found it useful. 

If you’ve not already, don’t forget to subscribe to our paid community.

You’ll get all of this: 

1 x email per week that covers sales/marketing/grow your following with a coaching video.

Access to the private Slack community

Early access to watch the VAMO Podcast (1 week early)

Submit questions to be answered on the VAMO Podcast by Mike and Dan

Community meetups

Early access and discount to training sessions

For £150 for the year, it’s a real no-brainer 🧠

See you next week

Mike Winnet