The Merit in awards is before the ceremony
In the midst of this year's awards season, Gerard Keenan writes about the true value of recognition to agencies, media owners and clients.
While The Digital Media Awards have come and gone, the Media Awards is days away, and The Cannes Lions are on the horizon, we are truly in the midst of award season, and it can be hard at times to remain enthused and upbeat about our respective entries and award prospects.
The award ceremony itself is incidental, the primary purpose of this year's Media Awards has already served us. That is, to give us the opportunity to review and reflect on the volume of campaigns we have worked on over the past year, and subsequently, reward the very best campaigns with peer recognition.
This need to review and take stock of our collective work is crucial not only to media agencies, creative agencies and suppliers but also to our clients. Our primary focus is the client, and even in award entries, they’re very much to the fore. The Post Campaign Analysis will have been carried out and presented to the brands we represent, but award entries force us to look at campaigns in a different light. Often we shift away from the bottom line results of CPAs, Reach and Sales Uplifts and look at the overall campaign, what drove those results? Was it the creative? Did the partnership work? Was the strategy and targeting right, did we deliver the best possible value to the client? Was there an unexpected moment of brilliance that shone through? These are all questions that feed into an award entry and impact the results we achieve for our clients.
The learnings from every campaign and bestowed nominations influence how we plan future activity of similar scope. Reflecting on winning campaigns promotes competition within agencies, client teams may have vastly different clients and brands that they work on, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to listening to Porridge Pete brag about his latest award win as he munches on his breakfast. The success of campaigns raises the bar within an agency, and for those writing their first entries, they’re heavily influenced by those around them often mirroring or mimicking their colleagues before finding their award winning voice. Porridge Pete may have won, but the likelihood is that his campaign learnings will have seeped into the consciousness of others.
Awards put agencies & individuals in the shop window, rewarding the best campaigns within in the industry sets the standard and tone for media as a whole. Just as winning campaigns will be emulated internally, externally award season lets us sneak a peek at what others are doing, we see how they’re innovating and where the landscape is shifting, awards offer an insight and snapshot in time. Wins allow agencies to show their clients that their campaigns were not just a success, but that they also got the much-coveted nod of approval from a third party. This recognition will be carried by Agencies & suppliers in their Cred Decks when it comes to pitching time.
There will, of course, be some back patting and playful begrudgery on any award night, as we all gather from our respective fields to celebrate a job well done.
We must also be cognizant that award season does allow us to relax (for some) and celebrate our work, the work of others, and our work together as we catch up with friends, old colleagues and suppliers and look forward to another year ahead.