CEO Spotlight: Bayleaf Awards Mike McKie on Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Invest in Awards and Honours to Succeed
There's no such thing as insignificant awards or honours. Any recognition, whether from the industry, community, or simply being "employee of the month," provides leaders and entrepreneurs with various advantages that can aid in their success. The increased visibility can lead to new opportunities such as funding, collaboration, and media coverage, which guarantees a better reputation. The mix of good publicity and exceptional brand image can improve the business for everyone involved.
Mike McKie is the founder of Bayleaf Awards, a UK-based company that specialises in working with passionate and successful individuals to gain recognition from prestigious award-granting organisations. Below, he talks about the importance of investing in awards and honours for talented, driven leaders and entrepreneurs to boost their stocks and reputations.
How would you describe the company to someone who has never heard of it?
McKie: Recent studies have shown that receiving an award can increase income by 48% and sales by 37%. Awards can also boost an owner's and company's credibility while enhancing team morale.
Entering a competition can be a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. The time required to complete the award entry, the entry fee, and any costs associated with attending the ceremony must all be considered. However, working on all of these does not guarantee a win or even a nomination.
Individuals must create a compelling application that will catch the judges' attention for them to even be considered. As a public relations and communications firm specialising in award submissions, leadership awards, and reputation management, Bayleaf Awards make that part easy. We assist leaders and entrepreneurs in crafting their stories, so they have the best chance of receiving recognition.
What's the Bayleaf process for applying for an award?
McKie: First, we ask the applicant to fill out an online form with information about their company and preferred awards. We study the document to determine whether we would be a good partner for them.
If they pass, the next step would be placing the order and paying the fee so the team can begin working on the desired application. We will then send them the draft for approval before submitting the nomination request, which we hope will result in at least a commendation or placement, if not an outright win.
If the chosen award is unsuccessful, we will suggest an additional 5 awards they might qualify for. They can select at least three awards from our list, and we will make any adjustments required to submit them without charging additional fees.
What sets Bayleaf apart from the competition?
McKie: First, we don't work for corporations; instead, we focus on individuals. Our award submissions are compelling, thorough, and written by trained business journalists with national broadsheet experience.
Next, we believe that reputation is best developed gradually and authentically over time, so we look into all potential placements digitally and traditionally. When it comes to recognition, we ensure that we're looking at all facts or angles that may make the difference.
What is The Queen's Awards for Enterprise?
McKie: Writing nominations for The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is one of our best-selling offerings. It recognises the best in British business and innovation. Winning such a prestigious award garners press and worldwide recognition. (At the time of writing, following the passing of Queen Elizabeth, these awards continue to be called "Queen's Awards" - should the name change in future, we will reflect that change.)
The award is valid for 5 years and allows customers to use its emblem on their packaging, stationary, ads, website, social media and so on. They can also display the Queen's Awards flag at their head office along with the Grant of Appointment certificate and the crystal trophy.
After the awards announcement, the nominees will be invited to a royal reception, and one of the King's representatives will visit their company to present the award.
What led to the creation of Bayleaf?
McKie: My early career as a senior executive with global corporations in emerging and developing markets exposed me to a diverse range of cultures in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and Asia. Working in external-facing roles with suppliers, governments, and the media gave me a global perspective that made me realise that exposure is often the difference between success and failure. The ability to have larger communities see, understand, and support outstanding work and the individuals who deliver it can provide the impetus for further success.
I decided to use my expertise and collaborate with an exceptional team of writers and journalists to create profiles and tell stories that would ensure these community pillars, innovators, and entrepreneurs are recognized and supported.
Our team now works with hundreds of people and organisations to help them get the recognition they deserve by sharing their stories in the right places and with the right people.
What's next for you and your company?
McKie: We are constantly looking for ways to improve our processes to serve our customers better. We have also recently expanded our operations from the UK to the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, with our primary goal of being recognised as a global leader in personal awards and recognition.