Earlier this year, SBN brought you the story about the Consumers Choice Awards 1998 debut in Columbus and its nontraditional requirement that companies wanting to publicize their awards must pay a fee to do so [Getting a buy-in, February 1999].
This year, organizers are giving business owners an opportunity to tout their winnings without strings attached.
Jeffrey Chernoff, chairman of the awards, last year said the program has two components: a survey to determine the areas favorite businesses, and an optional promotional program through which Consumers Choice provides publicity and allows businesses to use the organizations name and logo in their own advertising.
The 1999 rules are similar, except businesses can use the Consumers Choice Award name and logo in their own advertising without paying a fee to Consumers Choice.
The program is still really new, and I think people are looking toward more maturity in terms of getting the program better known in the community, Chernoff says of the change.
Only a handful of businesses took him up on the free offer, he says, while 75 percent of this years winners opted to pay fees for the promotional program. Thats up from 50 percent last year, an increase Chernoff attributes to business owners seeing the program continuing beyond its first year.