What makes a great award entry?

JILL MORGAN, CONSULTANT

Winning a coveted industry award can raise a company’s profile, boost team morale and – ultimately – increase property sales and revenue, but what is it that makes a really great award entry?

As we’ve learnt from decades of preparing successful submissions for our clients, thoughtful, clear and targeted award entries are hard to beat. Of the 104 client entries we completed in 2022/23, one in two were either shortlisted or won their category; we can offer a pin sharp insight into the information required, backed with the specialist expertise to deliver.

Our 2022/2023 results speak for themselves:

  • At the Housebuilder Awards, 83% of the entries we submitted were winners.
  • At the Evening Standard New Homes Awards, every entry received a judges’ visit and more than 1 in 2 took home a trophy.
  • At the What House? Awards, 10 of the 21 entries we submitted won an award; 5 of them were Gold.

Working across property, community, environmental and employment and business sectors our team has accrued an intimate knowledge of each sector and can easily say that a thorough understanding of the award category or competition criteria can make all the difference to the success of an application. Identifying the most appropriate contenders for a particular category, plus being realistic about the specific issues and challenges each project addresses, will always showcase the resulting design to best advantage.

Evocative imagery is everything when vying for a judge’s attention. Strong scene setting photography that captures the individual charm of a property or development has the power to captivate and engage not just potential homeowners but the judging panel too. Providing enough enticement to invite a follow up site visit or secure a shortlisting, has to be the key aim of any award entry, but there are many potential pitfalls to negotiate along the way.

While using CGI and artists’ impressions is sometimes unavoidable it is vital to include as much up-to-date, site specific, professional photography as possible. Knowing exactly what to focus on is also an important decision, and one that is integral to engaging and accurate storytelling. While a housing development’s infant landscaping or a home’s interior storage provision may not be the most obvious photogenic feature, it can help to demonstrate a company’s overall vision and their understanding and appreciation for the day-to-day needs of their buyers.

Capturing the interior specification, décor and show home styling can play a large and important part of an award entry which focuses heavily on visual evidence. Technical details such choosing appropriate camera angles to capture an apartment’s layout or convey the flow and floorplan of a family home is essential, but it’s not always the standard shot list that will grab a judge’s attention. The view from a balcony, an inviting shot of an exquisitely planned communal courtyard or a cameo of a hands-on family play area can all speak volumes and help epitomise an individual award entry, keeping it alive and fresh in the judge’s mind.

While award entries should be concise and focussed, providing relevant background and contextual information can prove invaluable for the judging panel’s decision making. Delving into the phasing of a large development and carefully documenting the sequence and nature of community events and involvement, may not appear to be obvious content for a What House? entry but it clearly illustrates a company’s deep-seated value and respect for the existing neighbourhood and the proactive steps they have taken towards the new community’s successful integration. Similarly, taking note of the local heritage and vernacular architecture and then highlighting their development’s sympathetic choice of building materials and precise architectural detailing demonstrates the depth of knowledge, understanding and sense of value held by the developer.

The true skill of crafting a winning award entry lies in identifying the project’s key factors and statistics, ensuring that they are amplified appropriately. This is precisely where our skilled team of industry experts and professional storytellers come in.

Contact info@housegroup.co.uk.

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