If you’ve ever been to an industry awards ceremony, you’ll recognise that Lead Balloon feeling that comes with having to sit through the presentation of ‘Air Filter Sales Person of the Year’ for the fifth year running, knowing that your arch nemesis, Dave from Tosspot Air Filter Industries (TAFI) will win it yet again. And then you’ll go home, drunk and in tears, bottle of sad, consolatory champagne in your hand, and you’ll tell your wife of your crushing defeat, and she’ll turn over, pulling the duvet away from you and say, quite rightly:

No one gives a fuck, now go to sleep

Industry awards exist in their own vacuums, completely separate from the rest of reality, yet the money lavished on them barely befits their meaning to the wider world. The likes of Dara O’Briain and that utter shithead Michael MacIntyre make real money out of these gigs – not from spouting their ‘observational comedy’ to pissed-up loons at the Olympia, no, it’s here at industry awards that they really get paid.

This separation from reality is what is perhaps most frightening. There are awards for Employee Benefits, you know. Yes, those things that you get with your salary like childcare vouchers,  pedometers and disappointment – well, there are awards for the people who provide them. They get awards for doing stuff like that, and they get to shake hands with a comedian and take home hugely expensive bottles of champagne. Then they go back to reality the next day. It’s kind of nice for them, if you think about it. Like the new boy at public school being designated the new fag.

So how do you win these things? How do you get involved?

Suck up to the trade press

Ah the trade rags, those leeches of any industry who publish ‘insight’ into any given industry in exchange for a gazillion pounds a year subscription. Little wonder that loads of them are going under, seeing as the only value they ever gave was publishing job adverts so that people could get out of the mindless job-trap they were already in.

But they run the awards, you see. And you pay them. You pay them shitloads so that they can go out and get Michael McIntwat to shake your hand and then observe how shaky your handshake is. So…

a) give them money, maybe sponsor an award, that always helps. You could have your company’s name in shining lights: “The Customer Strategic Relationship Networking Professional of the Year Award, Sponsored by ShitFilters Ltd.” Well worth £2,000.

b) take them out to dinner. Because these poor fuckers, they’re hardly paid a penny. So feed them.

c) give them everything you’ve got. Done some research? Even if it’s just asking a few people as they pass by your window whether they like your product or not, doesn’t matter. It’s research. Mock it up into a few graphs and powerpoint slides, write it up into a White Paper, and give it to them.

2) Find out who’s on the judging panel

It’s quite easy to find out – just ask who was on last year’s panel! It’s almost always the same… don’t bribe them or anything, but butter them up. Maybe a profile on your website about how fantastic they are and how they should be knighted or something. If you’ve got a customer on the panel, give them the royal treatment. I don’t know what that means in your industry. Could be a back-rub.

3) If you get to meet Michael McIncock, hit him for me would you?