As voting for the 2018 edition of Ranking Arizona heads into its final month (voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on July 31), business leaders may want to know about the best ways to leverage a Top 10 spot in Ranking Arizona, the state’s biggest and most comprehensive business opinion poll.

Click here to vote in the 2018 edition of Ranking Arizona.

We all know what being No. 1 in sports means.

If you’re a college football team, being No. 1 means the school is going to attract the best recruits that will perpetuate its success. Plus, it will get a really cool trophy for its trophy case.

But what about business? Does being No. 1 mean anything? Studies say “yes.” According to research by Hendricks & Singhal of the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology, companies that earn honors and awards have 37 percent higher sales growth and 44 percent higher stock price return than their peers.

“Similar to receiving positive news stories, earning awards and receiving recognition from third-party sources gives your company credibility and validity,” says Josh Weiss, president of 10 to 1 Public Relations. “Awards make it easier for potential customers to trust you and reinforces to your current customers that they made the right choice in hiring you.”

Impact of Ranking Arizona

Most business owners agree that positive word of mouth can boost a business. Nowhere are those customers’ words heard louder than in Ranking Arizona, which is celebrating its 20th year as the state’s biggest and most comprehensive business opinion poll. Ranking Arizona is based purely on opinion and ranks companies based how voters answer this simple question: with whom would you recommend doing business?

“Ranking Arizona is important to Wood/Patel because Arizona is a growth state and as such attracts new businesses, which need a proven resource to represent their engineering needs and advance their goals,” says Michael Young, principal and president of Wood/Patel, which has been the top-ranked civil engineering company in Ranking Arizona for 14 straight years. “Ranking Arizona provides a historical overview of our community by ranking the best of the best. This ranking opens doors and allows business matters to develop more quickly, thus adding value to our economy.”

Business leaders agree with Young that earning a spot in Ranking Arizona opens doors and offers instant credibility to every company that makes a list.

“How the market perceives us and our reputation are paramount to our existence,” says Wes McClure, president of Wilson Electric, the No. 1 ranked commercial electrical contractor and No. 1 ranked commercial solar installer in Ranking Arizona. “We believe ranking No. 1 shows that we live our values of integrity, trust, innovation, teamwork, quality and passion every day, allowing us to continue to grow and provide outstanding service to our customers.”

McClure says the rankings solidify a company’s commitment to serving Arizona.

“Businesses, like people, are judged by the company they keep,” says Bill Lavidge, CEO of Lavidge,  the top-ranked advertising agency in Ranking Arizona. “Being included in Ranking Arizona is a real plus for any organization.”

Culture club

While it may not directly impact a company’s bottom line, being ranked in Ranking Arizona gives employees a morale boost that can improve workplace culture.

“The recognition of being ranked No. 1 by clients has truly benefitted our business and nowhere is the pride stronger than in our employees,” Young says. “Our employees are passionate about serving our clients. Ranking Arizona strengthens that commitment.”

Joe DiGiovanni, executive vice president at Corporate Job Bank, says being ranked No. 1 by Ranking Arizona for the past 17 years has made a significant impact on Corporate Job Bank’s workplace culture.

“Most candidates that we interview have either heard of our No. 1 ranking or have seen an advertisement of it,” DiGiovanni says. “All of our internal staff have used that ranking to attract the top candidates, as well as to market to new potential clients.”

According to Lee Vikre, an employer branding and talent acquisition professional for BestCompaniesAZ, the value of earning a spot in Ranking Arizona cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

“Workplace awards are rocket fuel for employer brands,” Vikre says. “Not only does recognition give employees bragging rights, it increases engagement. Increases in employee engagement correlate with increases in customer satisfaction. Plus, workplace awards help organizations attract talent and give a company an opportunity to differentiate itself from competitors.”

Vikre says it’s important to recognize and capitalize on the opportunity that earning a spot in Ranking Arizona presents companies who make the cut.

“Throw a party for employees, including customers or vendors if it’s appropriate,” Vikre says. “Use the Ranking Arizona logo on banners, T-shirts and your website. Thank all those you reached out to. Gaining a presence in Ranking Arizona brings numerous opportunities to tell a good story that can draw in prospective staff and customers.”

Capitalizing on success

Earning a spot in Ranking Arizona is no easy task. There are more than 20,000 companies that earn votes every year. Of those 20,000, only about 2,500 companies earn a coveted Top 10 spot in Ranking Arizona.

So what should a company that has earned a high ranking do to leverage its presence in Ranking Arizona and boost its bottom line?

“It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” says Weiss, whose own company is ranked among the best public relations companies in Arizona. “The award is proof that you deserve your success, so don’t hide it. Put out a press release right away, but also showcase it all year on your website, newsletters and marketing materials. Also, display the Ranking Arizona plaque in your office. You’ll be surprised how many comments you get.”

And what if you’re an up-and-coming company looking to make a splash or an established business that wants to remind people how skilled it is at its craft? What should they do to earn a spot in Ranking Arizona?

“You know that old adage that silence is golden? Forget that in this case,” says Kristin Boston, marketing director for Pathtap, which specializes in direct response marketing. “Devise a strategy and multiple methods — personal emails, newsletter stories, social media posts, notes on agendas — to clearly communicate to all company stakeholders, vendors, partners and fans that the honor is an important one for your team. Then, make it as easy as possible for people to vote for you – go through the process yourself so you can communicate how to best vote. And finally, ask for votes. And ask more than once. Don’t be scared.”

To vote for companies you want to see featured in the 2018 edition of Ranking Arizona, click here.