09/05/2018 | Awards, entries, service provider, promotional marketing

Industry Awards – a judge’s perspective

As a business, we have seen huge value from entering (& winning!) some key industry awards over the years. Aside from the obvious PR opportunities, it’s a great way of checking how your brand and your products are measuring up. It will also flush out where you stand out from your competition and success provides a fabulous internal boost for staff morale…and that new business push.

Our success has led to invitations to become poacher turned gamekeeper – the chance to be invited to sit on judging panels. Aside from the ego boost, it’s a great opportunity to escape the inbox and the GDPR preparations for a day and tootle off to London for some serious industry debate, networking and critical judging.

But it’s also an awful lot of hard work! Firstly, as a judge you are asked to navigate an online awards judging platform to pre-judge the entries in the comfort of your office, so that you’ve got a fighting chance of being able to hold a (reasonably) knowledgeable discussion with your peers at the judging event. Now whilst this sounds easy (and to be fair the recent judging platforms I’ve been asked to use have been SO much easier than previous years) it takes time and concentration to be able to consider the merits of each entry and to review any supporting collateral.

Then we come to the quality of the entries themselves and how they’ve been written to meet the objectives for each category. It is a source of huge frustration when I’m being asked to judge an entry that clearly doesn’t fit the category. Why bother? Surely the client/agency should enter into a relevant category otherwise it’s a waste of money, time and effort for everyone involved. Each awards will have its own criteria, but as a general rule of thumb it is well worth considering the following:

·       Include enough information - Provide numbers/results – us judges love to be able to see what has been achieved

·       If you can’t share the budget, we understand. But please give us other facts to work with so we can compare your campaign to others within that category

·       Be honest with your objectives – we’re pretty adept at working out when you’ve written the objectives to suit your results!

·       Ensure your entry is relevant to the category

·       Collateral is brilliant, it brings your entry to life and helps provide lots more information that can’t be covered within 500 words J

On a final note, if you’re ever asked to take part in an industry awards judging – please do say yes. It’s a wonderful opportunity as an agency or service provider to get inside the heads of your peers within the industry to see how they think and it’s very educational. Chances are you’ll come away from your first session absolutely buzzing from the debate that you’ve had around who should get the gold, silver and bronze in your categories – and this is where passion, information and your own personality is so important. Being able to hold a reasoned discussion on the merits and weaknesses of a campaign – and to be able to listen to your counterparts’ point of view from other specialties within promotional marketing is something you simply can’t do just within the confines of the company you work for.

Mel Sheldon – Commercial Director


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