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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Christie

Virtual Awards

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

It has been a strange few months. Luckily for us, businesses like Cleankill Pest Control and Holland Harper LLP have been proactive and have chosen to see lockdown as an opportunity. As I write this, the Prime Minister has just announced the three-tier system and the scientific advisors are suggesting a ‘circuit-break’ lockdown for a few weeks. So, who knows where we go from here!?!

Against this somewhat negative situation it is great to share some positive news regarding another of our clients, even if the circumstances were rather different from what we are used to.

Christina May

We’ve been working with the Sussex-based soap and luxury products manufacturer Christina May for a little while. Best known for their English Soap Company brand, Christina May manufactures over five million luxury bars of soap every year. Founded by Bob and Juliet Butts in 2000, it now sells over 220 different products, both under the English Soap Company name and as white label goods.

In 2012, they were joined by their son, Oliver Butts, who became Managing Director. In 2016, Oliver’s wife, Ailsa, joined the company as Operations Manager. It currently employs 47 staff and Bob and Juliet are still involved. This is truly a family business.

Virtual Ceremony

Part of our remit for Christina May was to help them enter a selection of business awards and on 11 September I’m pleased to say Oliver Butts was named the winner of the ‘Family Business’ award at the Institute of Directors (IoD) London & South Director of the Year Awards. These are a prestigious set of awards and Oliver beat hundreds of other entrants. You can see him winning at around 52mins.

Over the years we have been luckily enough to go to several business awards ceremonies, both with clients and as ourselves. We have even won a few awards, again, both with our clients and for ourselves. The IoD were different, however, as these were ‘virtual’. Hosted from their iconic headquarters at 116, Pall Mall, the event became the inaugural “COVID hybrid” edition of the awards ceremony.

The guest of honour at the event was Dame Esther Rantzen, who gave a passionate speech in support of Childline, the life-changing NSPCC service for children. The IoD event sponsored and raised funds for the organisation, that was originally founded by Esther in 1986.

It is a rather strange experience to be taking part in a ‘virtual’ ceremony, but it is no less rewarding when your client wins. Part of my problem was, I was not sure what to wear. Looking at the IoD awards, it is clear everyone makes an effort on the top half, but you can’t be certain they aren’t wearing a pair of jeans under the table or behind the lectern!

Oliver now progresses to the national stage of the competition, in the ‘best of the best’ in British event that happens in December. Fingers crossed for him! Of course, one of the main reasons for entering business awards is to get exposure for your business and progressing to the national round is certainly going to give great extra exposure to Christina May.

Christina May has not promoted itself very much in the past. It is therefore also very gratifying for us to be appointed to help them promote this award success. This has resulted in an interview with BBC Sussex and a piece on ITV Meridian – their first TV exposure!

Even if you are not lucky enough to win, the fact you have been made a finalist in a business awards means the judges, your peers, have determined that you are worthy. It is a clear demonstration that your company is doing some right. This was certainly the case with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, where Christina May reached the finals of the Family Business category. This was another virtual ceremony, with full production, very slick and professional and the next best thing to a normal ceremony.

In these uncertain times, the annual calendar of business awards can provide focus for your promotional activities throughout the year. We work with several different companies, helping them get recognition. Some years, they are successful and in others they are not. At the end of the day, to be named a finalist is a considerable achievement. This is especially true in a business environment that is unsteady because of COVID.

This gives me an idea for a blog – my seven reasons to enter business awards.

If you want to discuss how Blueberry PR can help you win business awards, contact us on 07590 591140 or email

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