How to Get Your "Best of Show" Work the "Best of Show" Award

Posted: Sep 1, 2015

Advertising and marketing awards are often painted by detractors as an exercise in vanity. After all, we don’t work for awards. We work for the best possible outcomes for our clients. So, why should we worry about earning awards at all?  


Looking at the creative process through the lens of an award entry helps you research, plan, implement and measure in a focused way. It provides you a framework by which you can examine the project in order to work toward a given result. And yes, it can ultimately help win you awards that help set apart your company and externally validate your work. Who doesn’t love that?

Creating award-winning work has many steps, but it all starts with the planning process.

Start Strong: At the onset of the project, make sure you start strong by crafting clear goals with measurable, time-specific objectives. Award entries are always stronger when they include quantifiable results. Once you’ve established the objectives, make sure you communicate them to all team members, so everyone’s working toward the same goal.

Win Them With Why: Beyond the key performance indicators, think of the broader impact your project will have, finding an emotional appeal where possible. What purpose does this project serve? Return on investment is important, but not nearly as essential as positively impacting the lives of your customers.

Advocate for Research: Baseline testing is essential, as it allows you to isolate the effect of your campaign or project. If possible, advocate for pre- and post-campaign testing, to truly evaluate the campaign’s performance.

When it’s time to actually enter your work, it’s all about the details.

Select Your Entry: Look at the award details – like time frame, evaluation metrics and award framework – to choose the best projects to submit. Ask team members what projects they’re most proud of and why. But remember, it all comes down to what was successful.

Be Efficient: Judges are often evaluating hundreds of entries in any given category. Ditch the marketing buzzwords and use clear, concise language. They’ll appreciate not having to sort through extraneous filler to find your key information.

Focus on details: Follow the directions and make sure you include all required information. Many awards have a recommended structure to entries. Use it! This will also help judges find the pertinent information quickly and easily. As a final step, always have someone from outside your team review the entry. The reviewer will be able to spot any potentially confusing phrasing.

After you’ve raked in your awards, it’s time to capitalize on your success.

Evaluate Your Work: Celebrate the wins, but check out what lost as well. Many organizations will give you judges’ feedback, so you can see what was – and wasn’t – successful. These areas of improvement will help with both the campaign planning and award entry process next cycle.

Leverage Your Awards: Use previous awards for new business pitches, client reporting and other situations where you want to impress. Your work can and should stand on its own, but it never hurts to show that others value it too.

Repurpose Your Content: Take what you’ve learned public, with blogs, social media posts, case studies and more. This content positions your company as an industry leader, a position supported by your award-winning work.

Award season can be tedious, but with careful planning, execution and evaluation, you can rack up the awards – and the business that follows – in no time.

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