Why the kbbreview Awards are more important than ever…

The kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2021 is open for entries and the Covid backdrop means it’s more vital than ever to celebrate success and survival, says kbbreview managing editor Andrew Davies

There was a moment, a very brief moment, back in August when we considered not running the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2021. We were having lots of internal discussions about how they might change because of the Covid situation and someone asked the simple question.

“Should we be running them at all?”

We all paused, knowing that it wasn’t an unreasonable question in the circumstances.

That pause lasted about three seconds, we all pulled a face and moved on. Debate over.

There was simply no question that not only should we run them but we had a duty to do so. In fact, it had never been more important to find, celebrate and reward the very best this industry has to offer.

So I’m honestly delighted to be able to announce that the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards is back and open for your entries.

This is the 27th year of the awards but it is obviously being run in a year like no other we’ve experienced. What defines a top retailer has been completely turned on its head and it’s going to be absolutely fascinating to hear the stories of survival, adaptation, fortitude and stoicism that will come out of it.

We’ve made changes that, we hope, not only reflect everything that has and is happening but also actually draws out the tales that will tell the complete story of the KBB industry in lockdown.

In the retail categories of the awards, judges will look specifically at how those businesses have managed and negotiated the turmoil of 2020.

These have never been awards for who makes the most money, it’s always been about what people do with the market they’re in and the resources available to them.

But this time around that’s truer than ever. We want to hear how you kept going, how you managed to finish outstanding projects when lockdown hit, how you quickly brought technology in, how you pivoted to new ways of finding and serving clients, how you looked after your staff and, yes, how you survived. These are all the chapters in your Covid story.

And, of course, we have the Community Champion of the Year category. We introduced it for the first time last year but little did we know what an even more vital role local retailers would play in their communities in 2020. I can’t wait to hear those inspiring stories too.

I must say at this stage how genuinely thankful we are to our amazing 2021 sponsors, they have taken a leap of faith with us this year and that demonstrates their commitment to supporting the retail sector at such an uncertain time.

So we have entries, we have extensive judging, we have finalists, we have sponsors and then…what about the ceremony? What about the biggest social and networking event in the industry? What about the party?

Well, we’re planning that too.

Yep, Thursday, May 20, 2021 in the magnificent St George’s Hall in Liverpool.

Now, as someone who was born and bred on Merseyside I can’t begin to say how personally exciting the prospect of having the awards there is – especially in such a stunning and iconic venue right in the heart of one of the most vibrant and creative cities in the country.

But even though we’re planning an event for near the end of May 2021- nearly eight months away – we all know that circumstances may conspire against us and the event itself won’t be allowed to go ahead.

As you can imagine, we’ve had more ‘what-if’ discussions around that bit than anything else.

However, the overwhelming feeling is that the show must go on. While uncertainty is the only certainty we can only control what we do and we know we can put on a great event in Liverpool given the chance.

This is will be the 27th year of the awards and they’ve become an industry bellwether for confidence and positivity – something that is needed now more than ever before. We want the awards to happen because we genuinely think it’s important for the collective spirit of the KBB community.

If the event doesn’t run in May then we will switch to a virtual ceremony of course, but we hope that the industry will be confident and optimistic with us, and that together we can join forces to look to the future and celebrate everything that’s positive.

So let’s all cross our collective fingers and we’ll find out together whether we can all meet in person there in May.

In the meantime, take a look at our categories and if you’ve never entered before, perhaps this is the year you told your story.

For all the details on the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2021 click here

Listen to the first of the special bonus episodes of the award-winning kbbreview Podcast dedicated to the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards. This episode covers all the basic information about the event, categories and entering.

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