We asked the judging panel what they will be looking for. Asking if they could impart some advice for entrants, giving ideas on the do’s and don’ts of a successful entry. Here is what they said:
Get Straight to the Point
In the first instance the panel said entrants should get straight to the point!
“The key thing to remember is that the killer information must be in the body copy of the entry – the judges have a lot to read and they will only move on to the supporting documents if they are sufficiently impressed with the main entry copy.”
“Do tell us the story if it’s relevant to the entry it helps to set the scene, but don’t waffle”
Remember judges will be looking at more than one entry. Be efficient in your use of words and space, communicate your information quickly and efficiently. The judges spend many hours reading through entries, often in their own time, so you need to quickly identify yourself as one they should mark as a potential winner.
Make it simple to judge
Going hand in hand with ‘getting straight to the point’ is ‘making it clear to understand’. Make sure you give direct, easy to find and clear to understand ratings for your entry against all the category entry criteria.
Read and understand the judging criteria, make sure you cover these in your entry, you’d be amazed how many people don’t!
‘focus on the outcomes you achieved rather than the inputs’
“Try to clearly set out the objectives of the campaign, and how each objective was measured. Burying objectives in lots of text can make it hard to firstly identify what the objectives were, and how they were measured afterwards, making the entry harder to score.”
“Make sure you provide enough images for the judges to get a good feel for the campaign you’ve submitted; especially a web link for any website categories – you’d be surprised how many times I have to google a company who has entered the Best Website category!”
Part of making your entry clear is in the presentation style. Be arresting in your approach and use of colour, graphics and materials, but please do make the thing you’re drawing attention to easy to understand, and easy to praise.
Give it context
Make sure you give your marketing context. State your objectives, and how they relate to the corporate ones. While you’re at it make sure they are specific, measurable, and timed.
“Try and give some context to the activity described in the entry – how it fits into the overall marketing strategy and whether it was designed to build on a previous campaign, test the water for future activity or inform a wider programme.”
“Put the results into context: if you’re pointing to coverage – is it in the right target media. If you’re reporting on social media activity, be careful what metrics you choose. Is there any evidence that you are influencing people?”
So remember show your results, and compare them back to your objectives
Answer the brief
All awards schemes have small print, and it’s important to read it. If there is a ‘most important’ tip, then this is it: read the criteria for the particular category you are entering (recognising that different categories most probably have different criteria).
“READ THE BRIEF !!!!”
“The awards entry form explains what the judges are looking for. We take this and allocate scores. So address the points raised. Treat it like an exam. Work out what the questions are and answer them. So much good work comes across very poorly simply because the author of the entry hasn’t looked at what the judges are looking for.”
Take the time to point out the innovation in your work, show how the design has been tailored to the audience.
“The judges are looking for entries that go that extra mile in creativity and execution”
“Do provide the creatives in the relevant categories – the standard of entrants is high so it could help a good campaign stand out as great”
Include costs, giving an ROI (return on investment) number, completes your entry. This information can give the judges a true understanding of how your marketing efforts have affected the bottom line. This extra piece of information can sometimes give the edge over other entries, making the difference between a win and being runner-up.
“Do give us the figures – entries are treated in the strictest of confidence and it helps us to see how campaigns have performed”
“Any entry in a category that requires cost effectiveness or ROI to be explained will score very badly if budgets are ignored. And the judges know that the budget is not what is spent! The budget is what is allocated. Remember the judges are pretty experienced people so generally have a good grasp of what are realistic facts and figures.”
“ROI indicators are important. Entries have generally got stronger in this area over the years”
“With specification its difficult to quantify but please do not insult the judges by claiming £15m of business is in the pipeline – this is an immediate put off and if your campaign has been successful the client will know – get them to give a quote.”
Review your entry before submitting it
Putting together a good award entry takes time, effort and sometimes money. Allocate all three – if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Put someone in charge, give them the information, resources, time and money they need to put together the best entry your organisation can manage. Don’t do it on the side.
“Ask a member of the team/agency/company who was not involve directly in the project if there is enough information for a judge to evaluate the relative success of any entry.”
“If the campaign is a continuation of a previous one with updated content or activity then try to be absolutely clear and differentiate this in the entry. Without this clarity it is almost impossible to assess what on paper could be an excellent and highly successful piece of work.”
“It would be excellent if entries could clearly identify very briefly why they are being entered for a particular award ie the relevance of the entry.”
“Do address the criteria for your chosen category – it’s irritating having to go through an entry that doesn’t answer the questions – every entry is judged on the same strict criteria”
“If you don’t have the time to submit a good entry, the chances are it will show”
Treat your entry like any other marketing campaign – you need to get the judges attention, attract their interest, make them want to read your material, and make your material make them want to give you an award.