How to write a winning award entry

L-R: Sienne Veit, Ross Sleight, Libby Robinson

With the Entry Deadline for our 2017 Awards coming up this Friday – plus another two weeks after that for the Late Entry deadline, we asked a selection of our judges to tell us what they look for in a great entry.  Here’s what they told us…

Sienne Veit, director, online product. John Lewis
The judges really appreciate entries which show clear objectives (for customers, the brand, for engagement or revenue) and then show how the campaign achieved those measures with data (quant and qual). We also love images and of course any live experience so that we can have a play.

The most important thing is that the entry tells the story from brief to achievement or over achievement of the objective of the brief.

Some people think that innovation has to cost millions – but some of the best examples of innovation have been the simplest, the ideas that show that the team really understands mobile and how people use it and how it forms part of the fabric of daily life and how with mobile you can delight or remove the hassle from life. Tell us what you did, including telling us what failed and what you did to improve it.

Jess Stephens, CMO,
If you are entering more than one category, make sure that you have tailored your response for each. We each look at many categories and I’ve seen huge brands not make shortlist because they assume one entry answers all points in the category when they don’t.

Put figures in. We take the effective aspect of the awards very seriously. You can say they are confidential and they will never see the light of day. Finally, me speaking personally, I love bullets. They draw our eye to the best and most effective aspects of your campaign.

Mark Challinor, commercial director, Trinity Mirror plc
For me, a good award entry is all about creativity; above all, examples of how mobile functions and attributes such as location and context, have been used. Next, it’s how about the data – how it’s been collected, applied and used. Finally, especially in an Awards program with effectiveness at its core, a winning entry needs to have great results.

Hugh Griffiths, CEO, Pocket App
The judges are looking for creativity within the context of a well-considered and well-put together campaign that has clear objectives and works hard to deliver them. Overall, however, the effectiveness of a campaign is most important – the financial investment and the return against the objectives set provide the ultimate benchmark when considering the most successful campaigns.

Ross Sleight, chief strategy officer, Somo
Firstly, keep it brief and succinct – clarity is key for judges reading lots of awards. Write a narrative – you are telling the story of the engagement with the campaign, product or service. I also like it when an entry makes me jealous, is so good that I wish I had been involved in the project.

Back up your entry with data – show how your insights and results were data-led but dont overwhelm with figures – data should be part of the narrative. And get your data right – if your ROI is miscalculated on the entry, the judges will naturally question all the data on that entry. Dont use hyperbole – every entry is a “worlds first”, “groundbreaking”, “amazingly innovative” etc., so dont go to town on just telling us that in every sentence. Instead, show us why it is through the narrative.

Spellcheck – it’s a simple thing, but amazing the number of entries that have spelling mistakes or omissions in them. Again, a sloppy entry worries judges.
Tailor your entry – look at what the category is asking you for to be judged against, dont just take an entry off the shelf from another awards program. And if you’re entering a campaign into more than one category, again, make each entry relevant and tailored for the category

Michele Swaine, head of digital products & services, Camelot
One of the key things Ill be looking for is a genuine understanding of the customer – where they are put at the heart of the award submission. So, a great piece of customer insight, or data demonstrating a great demand (post-launch) will get my attention.

Libby Robinson, EMEA managing director, M&C Saatchi Mobile
For me, what stands out from the page is something that really tells the story of the campaign. Jargon-riddled, acronym-loaded entries can often deter judges from shortlisting entries, so keeping the content simple and to the point will help communicate your message effectively. Write an entry that will get the judges to put you on the shortlist – the best way to do this is to treat your award entry as you would a new piece of client work or new business pitch.

Personality is also key – try to inject your company culture into the copy, to encourage the judges to get a sense of what you and your team are about and the vision you set out to achieve through a specific client campaign. If there are any creative elements, then weave those in, as creative is as significant a part of the process as anything else. More than anything, make your copy exciting to read, as judges have hundreds of entries to review, so get them enticed from the opening sentence!

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The deadline for submissions is Friday 4 August with a Late Entry deadline two weeks later on Friday 18 August. More details here.