Awards Cabinet.jpg

Having recently sat on a panel judging for a high profile industry awards, it was a good to get a reminder of what it's like from the decision-makers perspective... having written entries for years, it's good to understand from both sides.... here's some advice:  

1} Serve up the answer clearly make it as simple and clear. Sounds obvious. Why the hell are so many submissions not doing it? 

2} Tell a story. Use this flow: set up the challenge and problem. Then list the objectives. Then the magic dust solution and the how/ what you did. Then the results. Leave a little 'what next' at the end to show it will get bigger and better as it’s so good.

3} Videos or pictures tell a thousand words. Use where ever possible (see item 11 though).

4} Quantifiable and realistic results. Provide genuine proof.

5} Make sure it’s got something new. Awards want innovation, current, ground-breaking and challenging otherwise it’s just vanilla. Find the new angle in what you did and dial it up. 

6} Check on the motives for doing it. Question if it’s genuinely worthy and only do it if you think it will win.

7} Get someone in your company not linked to the entry to read it. Use them as the pair of eyes as if they are a judge. Make sure they know nothing about it as chances are the judges will be in the same boat. 

8} Don’t use genetic terms like 'content' or 'engagement'. Don’t over-fluff. Be specific about what you did.

9} Don’t waste words e.g. overly flowery set up lines. Be succinct. 

10} Have a red thread running through it i.e. one or two main headlines and stick close to them throughout. To much and you lose people.

11} Stick within the rules. If the word count is 150 for a question......Keep to it. Don’t give the opportunity to be ruled out because you haven't followed the protocol. 

12} Don’t copy paste anywhere. Make every word count. If you are repeating you are wasting space, it looks lazy and you are wasting the chance to tell more of the story.

13} Be bold and confident in the style. Fact. We were the best, here's proof. Fact.

14} Don’t say anything negative about competitors or the industry. One line read was ‘in an industry where ROI can take years to come to fruition... we wanted immediate results'. Starting with a negative isn’t ever good. 

15} Don’t lie! Don’t inflate results. Polish and use the right stats for the right evidence yes but fib about numbers etc...You’ll get caught out/ interrogated.

16} Go all in or not at all. Don’t give to the new AE as a test or task no one wants. Embrace the process for the company. It’s usable for other things. E.g. investing in a film can be shown as a client case study. If got the AE doing it, invest in time to coach them and feedback with them. Good learning process but see it’s coming and make time for it.

17} Use them as a benchmark for your work i.e. champion and reward those involved as others will see and want to deliver for the next year.

18} Outline the objectives (stick to top or most impressive three) then come back to them in results outlining in the same format.

19} Ask for feedback so can improve in the future. You’ve spent time and money on them. The judges will have explained why you didn’t win or did win... so use it as refinement. 

20} Book a table for the awards dinner. Make sure you celebrate with your team and reward if get shortlisted.