By Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BCThis year is something of a milestone for BBB serving Mainland BC. We are proudly celebrating ten years of recognizing excellence in the B.C. marketplace with our 2017 Torch Awards. Our awards are broken down into five different categories and are handed out at a gala event in Vancouver. These ceremonies are attended by no less than 120 members of the BC business community and Torch Award finalists. It's business networking and recognition at its finest!Better Business Bureau in St. Louis first started giving Torch Awards away in 1977. At that time they were called the"Leonor K. Sullivan Customer Service Awards." They were re-branded in 1994 to be called the BBB Torch Awards. Council of Better Business Bureaus also holds an annual International Torch Awards for Ethics Ceremony where businesses from all over North America can enter.So why did we start this in the first place? Carrying the BBB logo at or on your place of business, vehicles, or websites is one way of being recognized in the public. It shows your potential consumers that trust and transparency are important to the way you conduct your affairs. The award, of course, go much deeper than that. We want to honour companies who demonstrate best practices in leadership character and high standards of organizational ethics that benefit their customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and communities. The award embodies the Better Business Bureau mission of advancing trust in the marketplace. It makes champions among champions BBB also recognizes the benefits of vying for and perhaps winning an award.It’s easy PR. In today’s world of social media, paid and or earned advertising, awards ceremonies are often overlooked as potential spaces for marketing. It really comes down to PR. Even getting nominated for an award builds brand awareness among your peers. You may not win, but promoting the fact your brand was shortlisted for something is always a good tool to have in your corner. Winning? Even better PR.A different view. If you’ve entered your business for an award, chances are it will be scrutinized by a panel of judges. These could be people who have little to do with your industry. This can offer you insight into what your business is or is not doing right. Perhaps a judge can see something from a different perspective that you hadn’t thought of. Think of it as unbiased feedback.Attract talent. Pretend for a moment you’ve been chosen or even shortlisted for Employer or Boss of the Year (or some similar title). How does that look to prospective talent looking to connect with your organization? Pretty good I would imagine. Sometimes economies change and workers have the benefit of being able to choose between potential employers. Having an award like that just might attract better talent to your team.Great for small businesses. Growing a small business into a medium sized one is no small feat. Having an award on your shelf that promotes you to other consumers or vendors can often open doors with that added piece of recognition and credibility.Differentiate and validate. Often a consumer has to flip the proverbial coin when it comes to a purchase decision between competitors. Having an award can push that consumer to your side of the fence. An award is a validation that you are doing something right and have earned recognition. It’s one of those intangible things that are tough to measure in terms of response, but definitely influences your next steps as a business owner, and the decision of the consumer or vendor.