UK Sponsorship Awards 2022: 10 Reasons Why You Should Enter

The UK Sponsorship Awards (UKSA) organising team is currently in the process of gathering entries for the 2022 edition of this prestigious industry event. Open to brands, agencies, rights holder, charities and other sponsorship stakeholders, the plan is to host to a gala celebration at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on March 29 2022.

Many of the usual categories are available for entry – across arts, sport, media and digital. But as usual UKSA 2022 is leading the way with its category innovations. There will a special category for Olympics/Paralympics sponsors and a one-off Award for the Best Arts Sponsorship since 2010. 2022 will also see the reboot of the Spotlight Award, targeted this year at financial services firms. Company and People Awards are also an important component of the UKSA line-up – and this year is no exception. Rights holders and consultancies will have their own categories, and there will be new additions to our Champions of Sponsorship half of fame. Not to be overlooked is the Barrie Gill Award for Most Promising Young Sponsorship Executive.

The UK Sponsorship Awards attracts many loyal supporters from the sponsorship industry who attend the event year after year. But there are, of course, newcomers to the industry who have never attended – tech sponsors, for example, or rights holders that didn't exist a few years ago. And there are some who have been absent for a few years – maybe because of internal changes in decision-makers or a review of how best to spend precious marketing and hospitality budgets.

With that in mind, we thought it would be worth revisiting some of the reasons why it makes sense to enter the UK Sponsorship Awards and, maybe, win or secure a place on the shortlist. What, in other words, are the business benefits in taking the time do so? Below we list ten factors that have persuaded the world’s most famous marketing brands and agencies to come back year after year.

Independent Benchmarking of Success

Award programmes like UKSA are an objective third party audit of your strategy, performance and b2b communications skills. By allowing your peers (represented by the judges) to assess your work (and your ability to articulate it), you can gauge whether your business model is as robust as you think it is. If you win an award that’s great… because it’s something you can show the client or the board (perhaps protecting your department/agency’s budgets for the coming year, or winning additional tasks). But if you don’t make the shortlist, it’s an opportunity to ask why, to try and develop a constructive conclusion that will inform future plans. This might spark innovative partnerships and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t have been interrogated.

 

Self Reflection and Focus

The simple act of entering can be valuable in its own right if it is viewed as an opportunity for corporate self-reflection.  It is an opportunity to have an internal dialogue around a particular sponsorship campaign and identify its core strengths – maybe even sparking ideas for future work. In preparing nominations, you’ll also end up with a document that can be used in other ways. You can post it on your own website as a case study or send it as proof of capabilities to a potential partner.

Team-Building Benefits

Anyone who has attended the UK Sponsorship will know how pleased people are to win or be shortlisted. Entering Awards is a way of showing you value your team’s efforts… that you have monitored their progress and are proud enough to showcase it to the industry. Even if you don’t win, you’re sending a message to your team that what they do matters. The beauty of the UKSA framework is that you can select entries to reflect team-building objectives. Over the years, UKSA categories have been expanded so they recognise different skillsets, different spheres of activity, rising talent and industry leaders. So there are numerous ways to pat people on the back.  Clearly Awards aren’t enough in themselves to boost team morale, but they play a part. They can also encourage team collaboration and cohesion.

Recruiting The Best Talent

Awards are a way of alerting established and emerging talent to your company’s capabilities. Demonstrate you are a digital pioneer, for example, and it may attract tomorrow’s business decision-makers. One of the biggest determinants of future success is the people you recruit – so don't miss the opportunity to showcase your expertise.

Opening The Door to Opportunities

Winning an Award attracts industry attention and can lead to new work opportunities. There’s no question that successful marketing services companies, brands and rights holders know how to make good use of their Awards track record. It is present on their websites, their letterheads, their emails etc… There’s no hard science to back it up, but it stands to reason that agencies with numerous notches on their belt will be more likely to be on pitch lists and better-placed to ignite conversations with brands (a benefit that may be valuable to smaller companies seeking to raise their profile in a sector).

Monitoring Industry Best Practice

It’s not always easy to be objective on Awards nights, but there is a value in seeing what your rivals have been doing. It can spark fresh ideas, crystallise trends more clearly and give insight into industry best practice. In the case of the UK Sponsorship Awards, 70-80 campaigns are showcased during the course of the evening. Over the years many awards entrants have observed how rival campaigns can inspire and motivate them to deliver better work themselves. This is more true than ever now technology is changing the industry so rapidly. One important fact about UKSA is the way we change categories each year to reflect trends such as digital, data and content marketing.

Corporate Hospitality

Entering the UK Sponsorship Awards is a great way for an agency or consultancy to get valuable face time with their client. It’s unlikely to result in much strategy being discussed, but it is a way of reaffirming a bond and warding off competition for a brief from rivals. Remember, most people attending the Awards are winners and shortlisted organisations, so there’s a mood of success in the air. Anyone who works in hospitality will also tell you that cutting back on or avoiding event-based activity can create problems. Rivals see it as a sign that something isn’t quite right creatively or financially at your company.

B2B Marketing/Media Coverage

Trade publications often give coverage to major awards events. They also follow up with profiles or analysis stories. At very least, winning an Award is an opportunity for a PR exec to approach a magazine or journalist to tout for coverage. Award entries can also form the basis of case studies for industry websites or events. In addition, UKSA has its own website where winners and shortlisted entries are collated in a Book of the Night. The website also contains news and feature stories that make mention of eye-catching UKSA campaigns. Winning case studies can also show up in academic and marketing books.

Niche Credentials

Careful category selection can help your company promote a particular business agenda. If you want to highlight the green or diversity dimensions of your company, for example, you can use those categories to a) stress test your claims in these areas and b) showcase them to public and private stakeholders. Simply by appearing alongside certain other companies on a shortlist, you can begin to shape attitudes and opinions about what your brand stands for.

The Power of UKSA

There are many award events showcasing marketing communications – but none that take such a comprehensive approach to the sponsorship specialism in all its forms. The UK Sponsorship Awards is the biggest sponsorship awards event in Europe and leads the way in category innovation. It provides a rare opportunity for experts in the arts, entertainment, sport and media to learn from each other and cross-fertilise ideas. 

View the 2022 Winners

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