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Brands That Matter: Everything you need to know about applying for Fast Company’s new award

Is your organization bigger than the service it provides? If so, we want to hear from you. Here’s how to apply for Brands That Matter—and how to make sure your entry stands out.

Brands That Matter: Everything you need to know about applying for Fast Company’s new award
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With our early bird deadline fast approaching on March 26th, now is the perfect time to apply to be recognized in Brands That Matter, Fast Company’s inaugural awards program honoring businesses and nonprofits that are making a name for themselves in new and innovative ways. Is your organization more than the service it provides or the product it sells? Has your business achieved relevance through cultural impact or social engagement while authentically communicating your brand’s mission?

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If so, we want to hear from you! All applications will be sorted by category, then judged on relevancy, cultural impact, ingenuity, and business impact. To give you the best shot, we’re sharing a bit more about how to put together a stellar application, and what we’re looking for in entries.

Categories

Brands That Matter will recognize the overall best brands and bestow honors in category-specific lists based on region, size, and customer sets. For region, there are two separate categories for  the United States and International. For company size, entrants can self-sort into small (fewer than 100 employees), midsize (100–999 employees), or large (1,000+ employees) categories. Finally, Fast Company is breaking down Brands That Matter applications by sectors including Consumer (consumers), Enterprise (business-to-business), Nonprofit (not-for-profit or philanthropic), and  Current Events—a special recognition category for organizations that have initiated a high-impact response to major events (coronavirus, climate change, racial justice, etc.) in the past 12 months.

Relevancy

Tell us what your customers get from you that they don’t from anyone else in the marketplace. What are you most proud to be known for? We want to know about the connection you have built with your audience, how that relationship has evolved over the last year, and how your audience expresses its support for your brand mission.

Cultural Impact

We want to know about the positive impact your brand has had on your industry, and the culture at large. Tell us about the work you’ve done that has influenced, impacted, or informed culture. That can range from pop culture, entertainment, and tech, to how your company’s brand mission connects to larger societal issues.

Ingenuity

We want to give credit to projects that exist at every stage of completion. While we do ask that entries be limited to brand actions in the past 12 months, those projects, strategies, or ideas can range from conceptual to just-launched to fully operational, as long as they’re bold, new, and innovative.

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Business Impact

This is where the rubber meets the road. We want to see the numbers, data, and performance indicators that demonstrate how your unique approach has affected your business, industry, and product category. The key is to share not just what your brand is doing to sell more product or connect with the culture, but also the metrics that prove how you are increasing revenue, winning hearts and minds, or other data that help illuminate your brand’s success.

The Brands That Matter ranking will reach millions of readers, and our hope is that we can support the growth of positive brand innovation by celebrating the best examples. Winners will be featured in the November 2021 issue of Fast Company, as well as on FastCompany.com. Apply now!

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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