Give Me Goosebumps


So it’s been award season frenzy at Cirkle over the past few months – we’ve always placed huge significance on winning awards for employee engagement, agency best practice as well as most importantly, for our client campaigns. None of this is out of vanity, or just to fill up our trophy shelves, but it’s to build our reputation, cementing our expertise and credentials.

This year we’ve been as prolific as ever, entering a veritable stream of high profile industry awards including … PRCA Awards, SABREs, CIPR Excellence, UK Social Media Awards, Apprentice of the Year, The Grocer Maps and PR Week.  For the latter we’re keeping it all crossed having reached finalist stage for ‘Mid Sized Agency of the Year’ as well as the ‘Integrated fmcg’ category for our ‘Life is Better with Cake’ campaign for Mr Kipling.  We also craft and pen award winning entries for our clients across their industry sectors – helping Ferrero bag one of the fmcg industry’s most valued prize – ‘Product of the Year’ at the 2015 Grocer Gold awards.  

But I didn’t want this blog to sound like an advertorial for Cirkle and our award winning prowess, but more I wanted to share how we have the credibility to comment on what makes a great award entry. Our MD and I are hugely proud to sit on industry awards judging panels for PR Week, PRCA and PR Moment, witnessing first hand best-in-class campaigns, and  equally importantly – how to bring that to life in a snappy award entry that grabs the judges by the proverbials. 

We’re often asked what advice we’d give on what makes a great award entry, so here are some of our top pointers.

·       View the suggested wordcount as a limit NOT a target

·       Make the entry copy as succinct & compelling as possible

·       Lead with the campaign outcomes (impacts/results/dial shifts) first to frame the entry right from the start, and then let the story unfold

·       Ensure you express campaign objectives in measurable terms and showcase them in the context of your campaign results,  so that everything is joined up

·       Ensure your strategy IS the strategy and not a list of objectives

·       Explain what your challenge was and how you addressed it

·       Keep the copy short, bouncy and where relevant litter it with adjectives to bring your campaign to life in as engaging a way as possible

·       Give each campaign result a context – if you achieved a reach of 400m put it in context; if you helped increase sales – by how much?  And how did that outperform the category? Etc. etc.

·       What makes a killer award entry?   Something that gives me goosebumps when I read it right from the start – something that is so compelling with stand-out strategic thinking and creativity that it makes us think ‘why the ** didn’t we think of that. An entry that brilliantly demonstrates how the campaign OUTCOME achieved its objectives e.g. what dials did the campaign shift in terms of reputation, awareness, behaviour, commercial sales etc.

·       Remember too that judges could have anything between 10 and 60 entries to read – so  don’t presume that they know your sector/industry/product/service. Give a succinct description to position it up front or you’ve lost them before they’ve even started reading your entry

And I always do it as he’s my marketing god, but to paraphrase P&G’s Marc Pritchard “If you are pitching an idea by explaining it, give it up. You have already lost.”  It’s one of my favourite quotes a mantra that I apply to our campaign planning as well as our own campaign award entries – it’s all about keeping it simplistic and hugely compelling.

 Rikki Weir

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