Thursday, February 23, 2006

Success Breeds Success: The Value of a Trophy

It may be a cliche to say 'nothing succeeds like success', but that doesn't make the phrase any less true. We'd like to focus today on one of English football's most successful clubs over the past 15 years. During that time, Manchester United have won every major domestic and European trophy, including the European Cup in 1999. Their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is recognised as one of the most successful in English football history. Yet for the past couple of years the current team has failed to live up to the achievements of the recent past. Last year they failed to win a single trophy and this season sees them with just one remaining opportunity to win silverware - the League Cup final against Wigan Athletic this Sunday (26th Feb 2006). In previous seasons Manchester United have regarded this trophy - seen as the least glamorous of the three main English competitions - with disdain, often putting out teams of reserve and youth squad players. So on one level it is a sign of the club's decline that in 2006 their only hope of winning silverware is in this competition. However, the winning spirit has not disappeared. And perhaps more importantly, and certainly more interestingly for us, is the reason behind this desire to win the League Cup. Sir Alex has repeatedly said that winning a trophy - any major trophy - is the aim at the start of every campaign. He knows, and his experienced players know, that success breeds success. A trophy won one year very often creates a momentum that ensures another trophy is won the following year. As team captain Gary Neville says of Sunday's cup final: "This final presents a fantastic opportunity to win a medal for lads like Wayne Rooney and Kieran Richardson, who have not done it before. ... And I know what confidence medals can bring". Neville and Ferguson both know the truth behind the adage 'nothing succeeds like success' and that for the current generation of youngsters in their team it is imperative that they get the taste of silverware and success ... to ensure further and future glory. It is a lesson that can be repeated in all walks of life, from sports to arts to the corporate world to public honours. Reward achievement, and it will reward you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

People Management Award 2006

Entries are being invited for the 2006 People Management Award, a major British industry honour that is organised jointly by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and People Management magazine. The aim of this annual award is to honour an outstanding achievement in the field of people management and development. The prestige of the award is reflected in the level of corporate sponsorship and support it receives, and for 2006 the scheme will again be sponsored by telecommunications giant BT. One of the things we real like about this award scheme is the way it is presented to potential entrants. The CIPD web site has a specific page outlining the benefits of entryto the People Management Award, something that other awards organisers could learn from. It explains that the very process of preparing an entry for the awards can have a positive and galvanising effect on an organisation or department. Previous finalists have all reported that the publicity and prestige associated with the awards has helped 'open doors' for them. On a practical level, the CIPD and People Magazine offer a number of events and publicity opportunities for the finalists and, of course, the winners. And going forward, the winner from the previous year will feature prominently in the judging and awarding for the subsequent year. To us, these awards are an excellent example of providing real value to finalists and winners over an extended period of time. And there's more. The People Management Award commissions a unique sculpture as a trophy for the winner. The original People Management Award sculpture was created in bronze by Robert Erskine and aimed to convey the idea of people working together to break through barriers and realise their own potential in the workplace. Since then, a new sculpture has been created each year, all with the brief of capturing the essence of "people, life, rhythms and direction". Each of these bronze sculptures takes between twelve and sixteen weeks to create and provides a unique and lasting trophy for the award winners.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oscars Mean Big Business

Think awards, think Oscars. There's no doubt that the Oscars are one of the world's foremost awards programmes, famous across the globe and emulated by awards schemes in virtually every industry. How many times do we hear the phrase 'the Oscars of the widget industry'? And just to underline the sheer scale and economic draw of the Oscars we'd like to focus on two news items published this week. Firstly the BBC's website has reported on The Politics of an Oscar Campaign. Penned from Los Angeles by reporter Peter Bowes, this feature article details the behind-the-scenes efforts by publicists, PR companies, lobbyists and campaigners to promote particular films and individuals for awards. The ultimate goal, of course, is box office takings. An Academy Award nomination can add substantial sums to the receipts for a film both at the cinema and in subsequent promotion of rental and home viewing formats. Bowes reports in particular on the boost that Oscar publicity can offer to foreign or independent films. According to Fredell Pogodin, who runs a public relations agency that specialises in independent, foreign and documentary films: "A lot of these films start the Oscar race without a US distribution deal. Invariably about 80 to 90% of the time if you are an Oscar nominee you will be picked up by a US distributor." But distibution deals, future earnings potential for actors and directions, and direct box office revenue are just one element of the Oscar economy. The second item we'd like to focus on today was prompted by this press release for Aquabar's Hydration Station. This upscale water fountain concept is to be available at the Platinum Guild International's Academy Award Red Carpet Jewelry Preview event. Yes, you read that correctly. The platinum jewelry industry is hosting an exclusive preview of designer jewelry for the benefit of Academy Award attendees, and they are now offering concessions at the venue (Hollywood's Mondrian Hotel) for complementary products and services. Its a smart move for both parties - Aquabar gets publicity and kudos for being the water station to the stars, while Platinum Guild International (PGI-US) gets to offer first class refreshment facilities to its celebrity visitors. The tie-up was first used at the PGI's Golden Globes Red Carpet Preview event last year, further evidence of the economic reach of the major awards events.

Monday, February 20, 2006

BAFTA Goodie Bag Competition

So, the 2006 BAFTA awards were announced at a glamorous ceremony in London last night. Last year we focussed on the low profile given to sponsors Orange (Orange Stuggles to Make BAFTA Impact?) and it was good to see that this year the BBC reported them as the 'Orange Bafta awards'. Orange also gained huge exposure from the soggy red-carpet runway, as the stars were covered by Orange-sponsored see-through umbrellas for their photo-shoot walk up to the entrance of London's Odeon Cinema. The star-studded ceremony was hosted by Stephen Fry and included A-list celebrities such as George Clooney, Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon. But stars and sponsors aside, what we'd like to focus on this year is the BAFTA goodie bag. What really interested us here at Winners Podium was a competition run by Yahoo! UK & Ireland which was offering BAFTA goodie bags as prizes. Now usually the goody bags at awards ceremonies are reserved for the awards nominees and also the presenters of each award. But in a move that really opened up the event to public participation, Yahoo! was offering a number of the bags as prizes in a Web-based competition. It allowed us non-celebs a glimpse of the A-list lifestyle as the contents of the bag were listed in detail. They included: a Motorola SLVR phone, a Furla Farrah bag, an American Airlines first class voucher, four nights in the One&Only Le Saint GĂ©ran resort in Mauritius, Taittinger champagne, Lancome products, Beautcamp Pilates sessions, Steinmetz phone jewellery, Timothy Han candles and a haircut with Nicky Clarke. No wonder the Orange British Academy Film Awards have been growing in stature in the world of film awards, and now attract such high-level stars to their events. It also provides a standard for other awards events to emulate with their own goodie bags and gifts for nominees and citation readers.