Five ‘Secrets’ to a Winning Automotive News PACE Award Entry

While there are no silver bullets in winning a prestigious Automotive News Pace Award from among hundreds of entries from around the world, we have gleaned a few best practices from those suppliers that have won multiple PACE awards. And we’ll share them here.

In our first Automotive News PACE Award blog post, “Three Reasons Automotive Suppliers Should Pursue the Automotive News PACE Award,” we discussed how automotive and mobility suppliers – especially those involved in new technologies for the electric vehicle, connected vehicle, ADAS and autonomous driving, and shared mobility sectors – can distinguish their company by winning an Automotive News PACE Award.

Our second Automotive News PACE Award blog post, “Understanding the Automotive News PACE Awards Process,” we discussedwhat the PACE Award submission process entails and how you can ace it.

With nominations to submit an innovation for consideration set to close on June 23, 2023, let’s close out the series and discuss five best practices for your Automotive News PACE Award nomination:

Tip 1: Get Organized

As mentioned before, the Automotive News PACE Award process is not simple or quick, but it’s well worth your time and effort. With several moving pieces and requirements, we suggest appointing one person to drive your effort. While your point person will receive support from various departments in your organization to complete the application, he/she is responsible for overall project management.

Big job, right? Sure, but it’s doable.

We  recommend starting with three activities: 1) review the process to ensure you understand it in its entirety; 2) once you have a sense of the process, create a list of assignments and then 3) develop a timeline with check points for those assignments.

These three activities will give the point person a sense of project scope and create natural due dates and application milestones.

Tip 2: It Takes Teamwork

To submit a successful nomination, you’ll need the support from several departments, including product development, sales, engineering, plant managers, legal and more, as well as your customers. So, the next tip is to assemble a cross-functional team based on what you need per your list of assignments mentioned in Tip 1.

We recommend identifying and contacting your customer references right away, as those can take some time as some references require approval from within their organization.

For your PACE Team, consider engineers (for those technical details), sales (for those customer acceptance questions), manufacturing and facility managers (thinking ahead for those site visits), legal (to ensure you understand what information needs to stay confidential), communication/marketing (for writing, multimedia and publicity support) and more.

Once you’ve identified the key people, set a call for everyone to get familiar with each other and understand how best they can work together.

Tip 3: Think of Your Visual Story

You’ve heard it so many times: a picture is worth 1,000 words.

It’s true  that complex ideas can be conveyed by a single visual. So, when you’re working to tell your innovation’s story, don’t forget the visual elements.

Given multi-media’s important role in an application’s success, don’t wait until just before the deadline to coordinate the effort to create them. Plan a time for needed photos to be shot and edited. And talk to the appropriate departments to shoot and/or gather  any videos you will  need.

Tip 4: Focus on the Impact

We’ve been told in the past that the strongest nominations go beyond describing the innovation dimensions and materials.

Winning entries typically  contain a couple of vital elements, including:

  • A demonstration of market impact offering  strong data;
  • A clearly articulated impact section that discusses how and why this innovation is different from previous versions and focuses on explaining how it improves the customer’s current situation;
  • Uses metrics and multi-media, including charts, graphs, videos to support your claims; and
  • Works to quantify how much lead time the innovation has over its competition.

Tip 5: Consider Multiple Entries

We’re passing this one along from the official PACE website: Traditionally, several companies have made multiple entries and use the PACE Awards program as a means of independently gauging the innovation performance of individual business units.

The online application process facilitates multiple entries by offering a Web-based mechanism for team editing and reviewing. The person who enters the original application in the system can invite other team members to participate in developing the PACE Award application.   

It is up to the applying companies to decide whether and how to coordinate their applications. In practice, a central coordinator can start the applications for all of the companies’ innovation applications and bring in editors/reviewers from the individual business units. 

Alternatively, each business unit can initiate individual applications and send invitations to a corporate coordinator to review/edit prior to submission. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to check out the Automotive News PACE Award FAQs section for key insights and tips to create you winning nomination:

Good luck with your entry!

Author: Adriana Van Duyn

Adriana is an account supervisor at Bianchi PR with more than 18 years of B2B PR experience representing clients across the automotive, mobility and industrial sectors. She has also assisted clients on numerous PACE Award entries.

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