Tips from The Drum Awards for Digital Industries jurors on how to write a winning entry
The Drum Awards for Digital Industries rewards the best work, companies and people behind the most effective digital campaigns around the world. So we went to our 2022 jury to ask for their top tips on how to write an amazing entry. Whether it’s a focus on results, how it’s presented or culling the jargon, here’s what will impress them the most.
What makes a good award entry?
The deadline for the awards has passed, but you can still enter by applying for an extension.
Chris Mellish, chief executive, TMW Unlimited
At its heart, these awards are about the effectiveness and using digital channels to achieve real outcomes or change, so I think it’s important to be consistent and not be distracted by style over substance.
With that in mind, I’ll simply be looking for three things:
Clarity of thought. Is the core idea or solution sharp, simple to understand and directly answers a very clear business problem?
Uniqueness. Is the idea or solution built on the unique insight that is grounded in human behavior and shows the need to drive behavior change?
Results. Has the idea driven tangible business outcomes and returns – did it work? I’m looking for real results and not necessarily percentage increases
If all the questions have a ‘yes’ answer, then that’s the winner for me.
Flavilla Fongang, founder, 3 Colours Rule
Make sure you read the entry criteria and don’t just tell your story – show it. But be clear and concise, and use language that is both compelling and widely understood. Don’t use industry jargon. A strong statement will be supported with facts and figures where possible and explain how your work was/is unique to others in the same industry. It is also pertinent to highlight the metrics that best demonstrate the impact of your work and use them to support your story.
Assemble one group of people who can be reviewed, provide feedback, make edits and ensure consistency in your entry before submission – too many cooks spoil the broth. It would be also ideal to get a second opinion. Enlist someone outside of your team to vet and proofread your entries one last time before submitting. This will provide a fresh perspective on your submissions and enable you to remove any jargon or unnecessary information from each entry.
Matthew Duhig, founder and managing director, FX Digital
For me, a good awards entry will clearly demonstrate the value, purpose or achievements of the work, company or people behind an effective digital campaign. An exceptional award entry will do this, but also stand out from the rest by exhibiting something uniquely different that isn’t seen in the others. This could, for example, be an intelligent use of creative, practical use of emerging technology or something that influences positive change.
I don’t need to be blown away by something, but I do need to see that the work, company or people are contributing something that is adding value. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that can be the most effective.
Patrick Baglee, writer and digital consultant, Mr Baglee
To give your project the best possible chance of being understood and appreciated for the reasons you felt it worth entering The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries, it always seems like a good idea to put yourself in the situation judges find themselves in during the judging process. A quick call to the organizers will help you understand roughly how many other entries you’ll be up against, the process the judges will follow, the time they’ll have to consider each entry and how any final shortlists will be discussed.
It’s not always possible (or desirable) to present outcomes in simple terms – but at the very least, make results the most meaningful and easy to interpret. It’s worth anticipating the moment when a judge needs to fight your corner versus other shortlisted work by making the story of the project easy to replay to a room or a Zoom full of folk who haven’t the first idea why your work is brilliant.
Osman Junaid, global strategy director, Adidas Group, MediaCom
I like an idea sparked by a punchy insight. Too often awards entries are written backward. Clients do something cool, and later the agency tries to work up some post-rationale. Judges can sniff this a mile off.
An arresting story and narrative are also a must. Judges need to wade through dozens of ideas in a short space of time; an engaging story that’s succinct will always help an idea land.
And finally – results, results, results. Entries that fail to show what business impact they’ve driven will always fall flat, no matter how cool, distinct or snazzy the execution is. Focus on building out the results point. Something around sales is sanity, social metrics are vanity...
Tom Edwards, chief digital and data officer, Omnicom Health Group
For me, an award entry that gets my attention has a few common elements. There is a focus on the core insight that inspired the idea, combined with unique technology, experience or collaboration that created an authentic connection with an audience.
Next, I look at the campaign’s impact – not only from a reach perspective, but did it truly drive an action or galvanize an audience?
Finally, I cannot stress this enough: take the time to create a video that highlights the campaign in a succinct but entertaining way. Bringing the entry to life visually helps an entry stand out.
If you haven’t already entered The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2022, contact our awards team now for more information.