The 2017 Awards season is in full swing, and that means there will be just a few days without a bevy of tweets, emails and LinkedIn posts promoting award entry deadlines or celebrating award winners -- and with good reason. Not only is the awards market an incredibly profitable business for those who produce them, it provides winning companies incomparable third-party recognition and validation.
Unfortunately, before that inevitable onslaught of celebratory tweets and emails, awards judges like me will be presented with a slew of poorly-produced submissions that are nothing to rave about. For example, internal notes in a submission, like “Ask Barbara* if we can use these numbers”, or not including a video of a campaign in an entry for “Best Video”, or ignoring all category requirements and submitting an irrelevant submission anyway.
For the first fifteen years of my career, I was either directing or creating these award submissions. Trust and believe me, I know the angst of creating award submissions: The hours of data collection, messaging strategy, result analysis and ultimately, the packaging of the overarching award-worthy story. I also know that as challenging as the internal reviews are to navigate, the customer approval process is even more precarious.
For the past eight years, I’ve been on the other side, and that evokes a slightly different kind of angst when it comes to awards today. As a judge for technology, business and advertising awards, my apprehension exists because judging awards is an extremely time-consuming endeavor. Judges know the stakes are high for those who enter; therefore, we take the review process quite seriously.
However, for every stellar entry I have the pleasure of reviewing, there are usually five completely irrelevant or sloppy submissions. Can you believe that? That’s not a ratio any industry should reward. Put simply, the clutter of bad submissions can make the process more cumbersome than it needs to be.
Want to make sure your brand or your clients’ brands aren’t contributing to the scourge of bad submissions? Here’s my winning awards submission check list:
Look, we all know why awards matter. They promote industry community and boost team morale, allow senior management to recognize employees and showcase company uniqueness and leadership. So, if you are going to dedicate significant time and resources (i.e. funds) towards entering awards, make sure you put every effort into developing a winning submission.
*Actual name was changed here.