It’s that time of year again. June is here, and that means the Leasing Life team is gearing up for six months of preparation, programming and nominations perusal in advance of our annual awards and conference event.
This year we’ll be convening in Barcelona on 29 November for a conference I hope will follow on neatly from the theme of innovation developed last year. While the agenda will no doubt see plenty of shifts between now and November as we assemble our speaker line-up, I think it’s fair to say that a broad question framing this year’s conference will be this: how can the industry keep hold of the innovations made during five years of crisis, and use them to strengthen the penetration of leasing into both capital expenditure and business consciousness?
Based on feedback from delegates, we’re going to be looking more deeply into customer perspectives of asset finance from different sectors, and developing some of the discussions about pricing and risk that were initiated last year.
Needless to say, there’ll be a lot more to say about the conference as we start announcing speakers. For now, however, I’d like to take the opportunity to announce the opening of nominations for our Awards evening, held after the conference and sponsored exclusively by CHP Consulting.
The Awards night has seen a bigger number of nominations and attendees every year since its inception, and to reflect this we’ve decided to launch a handful of new awards for 2012. We’ll be running our usual core of hotly contested titles (captive finance provider, vendor finance provider, asset finance legal provider, green finance company, innovator, SME champion, European lessor and lifetime achievement), but adding the following to the list:
- Inventory finance provider of the year
- Broker of the year
- Transaction of the year
- Spanish leasing company of the year
- Rising star
By the time this magazine hits your desk, the full category descriptions will be up on our website, as well as information about how you can nominate your company.
Since we had a number of requests for this last year, I’ve also put together a quick guide to companies looking to put forward successful nominations. Having worked with the judging panel to shortlist and vote in winners for the last four years, I’ve seen a lot of great nominations… and some rather daunting ones too!
So, for what it’s worth, here are my (dare I say ‘top’?) tips for nominations in 2012:
1. Be open about your achievements. Even though the awards are run under the Leasing Life brand, there is a clear line between information submitted for the awards and information intended for publication in the magazine or online. Information on submissions labelled CONFIDENTIAL will only be shown to members of the judging panel. At the same time, even where requested information on profit, volumes etc is in the public domain, it should still be submitted with nomination documents to provide a full picture of performance.
2. Support your opinions with facts. When judges compare companies on various criteria, a company that claims “market-leading service quality” will be discarded in favour of one which can quote data on customer satisfaction, for example.
3. Be concise. Two pages of bullet points and short paragraphs supported by a couple of charts or graphs are a lot easier to take in and compare than long presentations containing company histories, marketing copy and the like.
4. What makes you unique? We are looking for companies that stand out from the crowd. When you list the things you do well, don’t forget to emphasise where you feel you are unique among your competitors, or where you do things differently from the rest of the industry.
5. Follow the guidelines. While you are invited to raise any point that you feel strengthens your nomination, we recommend clearly and directly addressing each point listed in the category criteria – this allows judges to easily compare like with like.
6. Keep it current. Remember that in almost all categories, the award title contains the words “of the year”. For maximum impact, please refer to developments and performance achieved in the last 12 months. While a record of success won’t hurt a nomination, it is the most recent activity that will win awards.
Very best of luck, and I hope to see nominations from many of you over the coming weeks.
On a final note, I’d like to offer a note of respect to the Ukrainian Union of Lessors, whose third international leasing conference I attended last month. It’s no mean feat for a national association to put on a conference that draws speakers and delegates from an entire multinational region and the fact this is being accomplished in a market that has seen such a tough few years is an extremely encouraging sign.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.