I just finished trolling through over 150 entries across various categories for the Campaign India Digital Media Awards.
I was delighted by some great ideas and some good work. That reflected an innovative use of the Digital media. And an interesting use of technology. And mobile. And Social media. And make an impact for the brand.
But I was also dismayed. By many of the entries. For what they said. The way they were presented. Amazingly, there were entries that made perfectly good work look bad. Bad enough to make them lose the chance of winning metal on Awards night.
It is these entries that have inspired me to write this piece. On how I think award entries can be turned into award victories. In no particular order, here goes:
1. If you expect the same campaign to stand a chance across various categories, the least you can do is recast your entries to mirror the categories.
There’s a reason there are different categories, and recognising the nuance of a category while writing an entry is important if you want judges to recognise your work. One size does not fit all.
2. Package. Package. Package.
It’s amazing how many agencies whose very raison d’etre is packaging their clients' brands and presenting them to consumer audiences, forget this when it comes to presenting their own work to award juries. Poor attention to detail, a loose flow of content, incoherent supporting material all add up. To nothing.
Think of your entry as someone looking to woo a potential date. And package it to make a winning impression.
3. Handle with the same care as a pitch
An award entry is a pitch. Against other entries. So many entries look like their writing has been delegated to an intern. Or rushed through during a couple of lunch breaks.
If you want to make an impression on the jury, make an effort on the entry too. If you have multiple support materials, organise them and make it easy for the jury to know what follows what, so they see your story the way you would like them to.
4. Recognise that award entry writing is an art
Not everyone in an agency can write award entries. Find the few who can, and make sure they write all the entries. If you do not have the right talent to bring alive the entry in-house, look for talent outside. Invest time, effort and money in writing your entries. The rewards you will reap from winning will usually pay back in good measure.
5. Show it instead of just saying it
A well-crafted video entry probably tells the story better than multiple pieces of supporting material. And if there’s one piece that the jury will look at, a video can make the difference. Between just entering and winning.
6. Understand each category well
Flaunting Impressions, Fan numbers, Views and Likes alone are unlikely to help you win under a category on Loyalty campaigns. Loyalty is about what happens ‘post’ attracting your consumers, and about how you use them to do more, say more, and buy more from you.
It’s the same with other categories. Understand the single key driver of the category and make sure your entry is built to highlight that aspect through the work you show.
7. Highlight the brand connect and results
If your entry is missing these two aspects, it’s likely you will miss the opportunity to win. All the work we do is for brands and the brand owners expect results. Results beyond what the media delivered in Impressions, Likes and Votes. Results that impacted the brand.
Regardless of the category, these two aspects are the icing on the cake for the entry. And can often turn out to be the award clinchers too.
Since so many entries will potentially lose out because they did not pay attention to these Award Entry basics, would it be a good idea to introduce a special award this year - for entries that did a great job of making good work look really bad?!