Demystifying Awards

Racepoint Global

Written by: Katie Packham – Agency Marketing Manager, Racepoint Global UK

A few weeks ago I attended a Future Factory breakfast event on ‘Demystifying Awards’. It was a packed room. Awards are still a mystery to many agencies and one that continues to pull in the crowds. I went with the intention ─ as probably many did in the room ─ to gather any tips on how to win an industry award. This is what I learnt:

Too many choices…

There are many awards programmes out there, so how do you decide which ones to enter? Awards can be split into two main categories:

  • Creative – these are the most subjective of all of the awards programmes. Business is not won through winning creative awards, they are justification that you created a fantastic piece of work
  • Results driven/effectiveness – this is when you need to prove that your work has led to business impact. These awards are good for both clients and agencies

Why enter awards?

There are many reasons for and against entering awards ─ the most obvious reasons not to, being the cost and the time to create the submission. But the benefits definitely outshine the negatives:

  • Justification of great work
  • Exposure for your agency brand and client work
  • Increase staff morale
  • New business/lead generation
  • Retention and recruitment of staff

What’s right for you?

Deciding which awards to enter can be a tricky road to navigate. First, you need to decide which ones align with your business’ objectives and agency positioning. Then you need to consider your target audience. If you’re trying to reach a particular sector, you’ll want to focus on entering into industry specific awards.

Do your research.

Who are the judges on this year’s panel? Who are the past winners and campaigns? Does your work stack up? Do you think you can realistically win?

Look at the criteria of the awards ─ are you able to complete all of this? Will you have everything completed in time for the deadline?

Do you have your client’s permission and willingness to help? Will they provide a testimonial?

Be careful not to enter too many awards and spread yourself thinly. It is best to choose two pieces of work maximum that you think have the strongest chance of winning, and enter them in as many different awards programmes as possible. Also the more wins for the same piece of work, the better the visibility.

The importance of planning

It’s important to be organised and plan your award submissions. At the start of each year, create a calendar of awards, including deadline dates, costs of entering and attending the awards ceremony, production costs and people’s time.

Get buy-in from senior stakeholders within the agency.

Assign a dedicated project manager and creative support for all award entries; by having a consistent team, the process will be more streamlined.

The submission

Not to mention the obvious, but when submitting your award entry, make sure you follow the criteria. You do not want to miss out being shortlisted because of something simple such as too many words or using the wrong format.

Tell a story, provide the context of the work and make sure that the copy is succinct.

Allow as much time as possible to work on your submission. Once the awards program announces its call for submissions that is your cue to start work on the entry.

Winning entries include proof of surpassing targets; YoY increases and better performance than competitors/market average.

You need to explain why your work led to success rather than any other influencing factors.

Focus on the effectiveness, not the solution.

Marketing your award shortlist/win

80% of people won’t see your award win, it is important how you market your win or shortlist.

  • Include on your agency’s website, case studies and email signatures
  • Promote across social media channels and media
  • Display trophies in your office and reception

Good luck this awards season!