Put a pin in the calendar and you'll always find an award ceremony for something or other - you can tell by the turnout, the extravagance and fanfare of a ceremony like the Oscars, that no matter how successful you are, everyone likes the recognition of an award.
Many years ago we had a client who no-one outside their sector had ever heard of. They operated out of a really unimpressive business park on the outskirts of an underwhelming English town and manufactured a bit of kit that sits on a production line. But in their reception they had a little framed certificate that gave us pause every time we walked in. They had won a Queen's Award for Enterprise in 1991. It was basically a huge stamp of approval. A signal that we shouldn't underestimate the business. That we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
So, on the day of the Queen's 90th birthday, it's particularly pleasing for us at Omobono (we're a creative and technology agency for business brands) to have won a Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade. Winning the Award is no mean feat. For starters, you have to prove serious financial performance, which for us meant consistent, international trade over a six year period, and we also had to demonstrate we had a plan to deliver that growth and sustain it. But deliver the figures we did, and overseas sales now account for 60% of total turnover (twice the average for the creative services sector) and has grown over six years by 326%.
Like many of the winners over the years we're not very well known outside our immediate field, even though we've been going for 15 years. But our services are bought by companies all over the world, particularly in North America. It's not that our services aren't available in the US, but the peculiar combination of British Creativity (the creative services industry is second only in size to the Financial Services industry over here) and our ability to apply that to a very specific business need (big enterprise marketing companies) is something that has value to our clients.
To be given the royal stamp of approval carries enormous weight, with over 73 per cent of previous winners saying it increased employee engagement. As we all know, the Royal Family are immensely popular around the world with Kate's coats and George's bootees selling out in minutes, their visits to foreign parts are covered internationally and are a huge boost to trade and tourism. So to receive this Award from the Queen herself in such an iconic year is overwhelming.
We're immeasurably pleased of course, as I imagine are all the recipients of the honour. Obviously there are benefits. Like a trip to Buckingham Palace and a chance to shake hands with the Queen. A presentation in our offices by a Lord Lieutenant. A commemorative crystal bowl. And the opportunity to fly the Enterprise flag over our business premises for the next five years. That's all pretty awesome I have to admit.
The other benefits are less tangible but just as valuable. It's lovely to feel that you have been weighed and not found wanting. To be measured against other successful firms in not just your industry, but across industries and to have made the cut. It's a huge boost to our staff who have worked so hard over the last few years to deliver an awesome experience to our clients. It's a wonderfully positive message to send to our clients. Good for business, as they say.
But what's so good about the Queen's Awards, I think, is that it's one of the few to celebrate the unsung. The companies that simply go about their business, helping the world go round. Whilst we may win awards in our own industries, this one is particularly special. After all, everyone has heard of The Queen.
So we'll be celebrating with a grand lunch at the local pizzeria. What will we order? A La Reine, or course!