And the winner is...

We’ve been very fortunate lately to have found favour with a number of awards committees, and while it would be inappropriate to list them all here (!) I can say that having your work recognised and lauded by the movers and shakers in your own industry really never gets old.

But what are awards actually for, and why do we enter them? For both agency and client, some typical motivations for entering awards include:

  • It will raise our profile
  • We can squeeze valuable PR from it
  • Our team will feel like they work at a ‘happening’ place
  • It will help us attract talent
  • We will look good in the eyes of our peers/higher-ups
  • We can go to a party

These are all entirely valid reasons, as long as they are considered at the right point in the project cycle – by which I mean the very end. Every good project should have clear objectives for delivering a specific, agreed, measurable outcome, and this should be the only focus during the project’s conception and execution. It’s hugely important not to eye up the awards possibilities while the project is in full swing, as it may start to influence the way things get done: “The committee at ABC awards seem to really go for films like XYZ, so let’s try and include something like that.”

One of the clients with whom we’ve had a lot of awards success lately is property company SEGRO. In a recent episode of our On The Button podcast, SEGRO’S Marketing and Communications Director, Nick Hughes, talked about the challenge of choosing suppliers, and how ‘awards’ aren’t really the currency he’s looking for:

“It’s hard to tell who’s good and who isn’t. You need to do your due diligence. The tone of emails or cold calls is always about how wonderful it will be when we win an award. It’s shortcutting the process. The process is really important, you’ve got to go through it together.”


Ultimately, for an agency it’s about doing the best work you can and delivering for your client against the agreed strategy for the project. Awards should really be no more than evidence that you and your client worked together effectively and achieved what you set out to do. It’s nice if somebody else on a committee agrees that that’s what happened, but your real validation for a project is in the numbers – how many people did we reach, whose behaviour did we influence, and how can we learn and improve for the next campaign?

We’re not immune to the lure of the bullet point list above, and we will continue to enter awards and celebrate those magic moments when a project all comes together exactly (or better) than planned. But as always, we will concentrate on the work first.

Mark Burgess