PM Society Awards 2016: behind the scenes of an award entry

Liz Inskip | 25th October 2016

We’re pleased to announce that we have entered the PM Society awards for the first time this year. From 2014 we became a full service agency – offering both strategic and customer experience consultancy alongside insight and creative services – which means we have a fantastic portfolio of creative work to choose from for the 2016 awards season.

Having entered the PM Society awards for the first time, we thought we’d share some insight on what happens behind the scenes when creating these entries. If we can’t show you the work yet, we can still give you a peek behind the curtain.

Choosing the most compelling work to enter is like picking your favourite child; have some set criteria to help guide you

The temptation when entering an award is to enter absolutely everything, because all of your work is brilliant. From a timeline and resourcing standpoint, that’s just not realistic, and for us, one of the hardest parts of developing our entries for PM Society Awards 2016 was narrowing down which campaigns to put forward.

In the end, we entered work from three of our agency of record brands into four different categories with a total of seven entries. We pared down our entries by choosing the work that the teams felt was most innovative, creative, and compelling as a story. Having limited resource and time brought our criteria into sharp focus, and surfaced the truly standout work from this year.

Avoid endless feedback loops – get all stakeholders involved from the beginning

Let’s be honest; no one really likes meetings. However, when you’re working to a tight deadline and making a decision about how best to represent your creative work – it’s critical to get your stakeholders around a table to thrash out ideas, opinions, and feedback. And importantly, these meetings need one key leader to drive them and handle final sign off of all assets and deliverables.

And don’t forget to include your client, especially if you’re showing off some strategic work. The last thing any team wants is to do a load of great work to develop an entry only to have it shot down by the client at the last minute or tied up in internal approvals processes on their end. And once the work is completed, we like to send our clients the entry collateral – it’s just a nice way to say thank you for their support.

Read the fine print and the entry forms – it’s not all in the entry information

For the PM Society Awards, there was a page with category information that appeared to be everything you needed to know about entering, but what else do you really need to know?

Some key things to keep an eye out for:

  • What are the cut off dates for work eligibility? For the PM Society Awards, some categories were more flexible than others about when work could have appeared.
  • Do you have all the information you need to fill out the form? If we hadn’t checked the actual form, we’d have missed the required 150 word summary of each entry because it wasn’t listed in the category information.
  • What format are you submitting the entries in? PM Society awards have both digital and print components – and the print components had to be run off and shipped to a physical location in some cases. This needs working into your timeline to avoid last minute courier panics.

So even if you think the entry information package probably has everything you need – don’t assume, double check. Open up the entry form and look through it. Check for hidden drop down menus, extra fields with optional information to include, and any surprise character restrictions in your free text fields. The more you know up front, the less stressed you’ll be while entering.

And don’t be afraid of asking for help. All awards offer plenty of advice around what makes a good award entry, and often have judges or staff on hand to answer questions. A big thank you to Vivien at PM Society for answering a few of our questions about eligibility and client sensitivity. 

 

Preparing entries for something like the PM Society Awards or the PMEAs can feel like a mammoth task for in-house teams – especially during the very busy pitch season – but in an industry where creativity can sometimes feel overlooked, it’s important to show the exciting work our clients and teams are doing.  And preparing these entries brings our consulting, accounts, creative, and in-house teams together in a way that no other project does.

We look forward to the shortlist announcement on 14th December, and wish our peers the very best of luck this year!

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