Which Rosettes and Sashes for Your Event?
You’re placing an order for an established event but you’d like something different; maybe you’re reassessing your priorities, undergoing a re-brand or simply fancy a change
You’re ordering for a series of riding club shows; you’ve found that there are an increasing number of other events running on the same dates as you and you want to make sure you attract competitors to your shows with the promise of there being impressive rosettes and sashes up for grabs.
If you fall into categories 2 and 3 then this blog post is absolutely for you! Even if you identify as category 1 read on and you’ll either feel extra confident in the decisions you’ve already made or maybe you’ll find yourself in category 2 reassessing your choices!
- Type: the size, style, features
- Quantity: how many overall, per class/event, any additional prizes
1. The organiser(s)
This may be you as an individual or you may be a member of a team in which case it may also include your fellow committee members or colleagues within the organisation. Ask yourself (or your team) the following questions:
What rosettes and sashes would you like to be presented at your competition or event?
What is the purpose of the rosettes and sashes; are they to be an attraction or are they purely a necessity?
Do you think your choice of prizes will influence people’s decision to attend your competition?
Do you intend to use images of the prizes you have on offer on your website, social media accounts or in promotional material?
Are your winners likely to show off the rosettes and sashes they’ve received and would you like this to have the effect of encouraging others to attend future events?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you should order the most impressive rosettes and sashes you can afford and order them early so that you have chance to show them off in time to attract entries! Make sure to include some of our Premium designs for maximum effect.
Alternatively if the answer to the above questions is no and you only offer rosettes and sashes because it is customary to do so then there’s little point in you expending too much time and money on them so you’ll probably want to stick to simple styles such as our Standard knife pleat rosettes or our range of Stock Rosettes.
Is your primary aim to encourage attendance or effort or to reward achievement?
If you you’d like to encourage attendance or effort then you should aim to reward as many people as possible with some sort of prize; you could hand out prizes to lower placings e.g. down to 10th place or you could offer participation rosettes to everyone who enters. You may decide to offer special awards besides the main competition such as Best Turned Out, Best Junior Handler, Most Improved or you could even reward perceived failures such as Most Spectacular Fall!
If your priority is to reward achievement then your focus should be on the top prize-winners; perhaps by giving out fewer rosettes or sashes in order that the scarcity of the prizes makes them seem to be more “worth winning”. This could also mean that more funds are available to upgrade the top prizes. You could also consider making the style of the rosettes or sashes on offer more impressive the higher the placing, thus making the 1st prize all the more desirable.
Is your competition structured with different levels of prizes?
For example do class winners go onto section championships with section winners moving forward to supreme championships or similarly is class, followed by breed, then group before finally Best in Show?
If so then you should consider how the prizes will reflect the level of achievement; will it be in their size or design? For example classes could receive Standard Rosettes, special awards could receive Premium Rosettes and top awards could also receive a sash.
Is it important for you to be able to maintain the standard of prizes over time?
There’s no issue if you’re confident in your ability to maintain the standard of prizes but it’s worth considering the impression you’ll give if you start off by offering mega prizes and then find that you have to offer less; your prize winners may feel cheated or under-valued if they’re aware of the original higher standard of rosettes and sashes on offer.
If you’re just starting out you could even factor in allowing yourself room to improve the quality of the prizes on offer over time?
What proportion of your entrants would you like to win a prize?
If you know or can predict your entry numbers you can use this information to decide on an appropriate number of prizes to offer.
Do you mind if you make life hard for yourself?
We love it when you take time and care over choosing your items but bear in mind that if you order lots of different types of rosettes you may find yourself with more organisation work than if you ordered them all in the same style; you may be left with odd sets which can make reordering more complicated. Using various rosettes can be great fun but make sure the fun makes any extra planning worthwhile!
2. The available budget
It’s pretty clear to understand how your budget can influence which rosettes and sashes you decide to purchase for your event because unlike set costs such as venue hire or insurance there is a little more room for flexibility in this expense.
Here are some considerations that may help:
How many entries do you need in total to cover the costs of running your event?
Take into account occasions when the number of prizes you have may exceed your entry numbers, for example you have rosettes from 1st-6th but if you have only three entries will the fee from these entries comfortably cover the cost of the three surplus rosettes? Are you able to use these rosettes at a future event or is it important that the expense be covered by the one event? If it is, and you’re only confident in attracting three entries per class you could consider only ordering rosettes from 1st-3rd or you could keep to six rosettes but select a more economical design.
How does the entry fee compare to the experience of the entrant; both the service and prizes on offer?
I’ve personally been aware that at some competitions first place winners in particular expect to win prizes worth at least their entry fee in value (in this case it was prize money plus a rosette). This is especially true if the organiser’s role is perceived to require little effort because, as with most things in life, people can tend to forget or under appreciate all the work that they don’t witness or directly feel the effects of!
Do you have a total budget specifically for rosettes and sashes?
If so you can work out roughly how much you can spend per class/set of prizes i.e. divide this total sum by the number of classes/sections.
Do you have a proportion of the entry fee reserved for prizes?
If so you can use your entry fee to work out a price point for your rosettes.
When it comes to factoring the cost of prizes into your budget it can be a chicken or egg situation; does a minimum requirement dictate the budget or does the budget dictate the nature of the rosettes and sashes?!
3. The target audience
These are your entrants/competitors/customers and as the age old business mantra goes “customer is king” so you may need to take into account the thoughts and feelings of your potential prize-winners when deciding on their prizes:
Do they have expectations on the type of rosettes and sashes on offer?
If so is this dictated by what they’ve received at similar events or at previous events you’ve organised?
Do you aim to meet expectations?
If you meet your prize winners expectations the likelihood is that they will go away satisfied, at least with their prizes! Their overall experience of your show will deviate from neutral based on other factors (e.g. the venue) as will your ability to draw others to your event above another – you’ll need another selling point in order to stand above the rest.
Do you aim to exceed expectations?
You may decide to offer more prizes or more impressive rosettes and sashes than your entrants would normally expect from a similar event. There are a few reasons you may want to do this; to compete with rival events, to give the impression of prestige or purely to ensure customer satisfaction. This route will surely please your prize winners and increase the likelihood of the success of your events but beware of hitting your profit margin too hard; entrants are likely to notice if the standard of the prizes decreases over time even if only to the original “expectations met” level described above.
Are you prepared to not meet expectations?
Maybe you feel that the overall experience your event offers is enough to compensate for the prizes being of a lower standard than usual; maybe you’re giving out smaller rosettes but are supplementing them with other prizes. If the event is for charity or to raise funds for your organisation your entrants will most likely be forgiving of and may even expect a lower standard of prizes than normal.
Setting the bar a little lower may be advisable or necessary for new events in order to line the coffers for future growth and development, however, if your prize winners do go away disappointed or offended you’re less likely to get another chance to win them over if they’re unaware of your plans.
The effects of Covid-19 may have affected the available budget for many events, even those that are well-established; if this is likely to have an impact on the prizes you’ll have on offer in 2021 let your entrants know in advance so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly – I’m sure they’ll understand.
Do they care about the prizes on offer?
For some competitors the old adage “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part” is absolutely true; they may simply enjoy the social aspect of competition, their priority may be to use the results gained as a measure of their own progress or the main attraction may be to use the facilities (e.g. whizz around a cross country course!)
Experienced competitors may not value lower placing rosettes and at some events they end up being swapped back to the organiser in exchange for a hot drink! As a rosette manufacturer this makes me wince (one less rosette for us to sell in future!) but I’d rather this than seeing a rosette discarded on the ground or hearing horror stories of them being binned!!! If you know the rosettes you hand out are not important to your competitors there’s little point in awarding more than necessary.
4. Other stakeholders
This includes any governing bodies your competition may be affiliated to or any sponsors of your event; you may need to ask yourself:
Are there any minimum requirements dictated by a relevant governing body?
Some governing bodies may specify a minimum rosette standard (e.g. in 2006 British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) began specifying that rosettes awarded at equestrian matches be a minimum of 3 tiers ) or they may specify the minimum number of placing rosettes to be awarded based on the number of entries (e.g. British Dressage encourages organisers to award rosettes to 6th place regardless of entry numbers but organisers must place to 6th place if there are 21 or more entries)
Do your sponsors have any requirements for the prizes?
Sometimes sponsors like to provide their own rosettes but it’s more likely that as an organiser you’ve negotiated a deal that may include a sponsor’s details being printed on the rosettes or sashes; if this is the case it’s important that these obligations are met and are factored into the decisions made when placing your order.
It’s a good idea to begin by setting yourself a minimum level for your rosettes and sashes based on your own standards, the expectations of your target audience and the requirements of other stakeholders. You can then compare this to what you have available to spend based on your budget and adjust either of them as necessary; you may find yourself able to order rosettes or sashes of a higher standard than your base level and if so happy days! Alternatively you may have to reassess your budget and divert funds from elsewhere in order to meet the minimum standards required to run a successful show or competition.
Since the definition of competition is “a situation in which someone is trying to win something” it makes sense that the thing to be won (apart from assurance of supremacy over another!) is worth winning; by offering quality prizes you are demonstrating that you respect the effort of your competitors, that you care about their experience within the competition and that you take pride in the image of your event.
It is important not to equate the number or size of the rosettes and sashes on offer with their quality; you may choose to award enormous rosettes but if they’re poorly made or falling apart (definitely not an Accolade Rosette!) then it’s a waste and the size of the mess just makes it worse!
As you can probably tell I can always be relied upon to over-complicate things but in simple terms you should order the best rosettes and sashes that your budget allows from us here at Accolade Rosettes – that way you’ll ensure that your rosettes and sashes are of an excellent standard no matter their style or size; and so you, your winners, your sponsors and we are happy: which means everyone’s a winner!
As ever, thanks for reading!