By Julie Dormand, Managing Directer at MerceBell and awards judge for ADMA and B&T.
Have you ever entered a personal industry award, such as 30Below Young Marketer & Young Creative of The Year and thought “yes I have nailed this”, only to not win? Perhaps you have been thinking about entering but are feeling a bit apprehensive? I’ve been judging awards for many years now and there is one particular ingredient which makes or breaks an entry, no matter how great the credentials. In the risk of sounding all Mad Men on you, it’s spin. Without spin an entry can fail to capture the judges’ attention and just get put directly in the ‘No’ pile.
Here are a few tips to help add a touch of spin which could see you go from a contender to a stand-out winner:
1) We want to know ALL about you - Yes you’ve had great experience in your roles. Focus, progression, commitment to changing the way things are done and trying new things. BUT what have you done outside of work? In the year before entering a personal award think how you can contribute beyond your role. Getting involved in your business on special extra projects, ADMA 30Below, your side line business venture and other types of committees gives a broader exposure.
2) Demonstrate how you are educating AND working - Are you learning new skills outside of your role which add to it? You might not think it’s relevant to your industry but it could be showing leadership skills and drive even if it isn’t marketing related e.g. becoming a surf-lifesaver, mentoring or writing a blog. We look for candidates who are giving back, even from a young age, so make sure you tell us about it.
3) Simplify your story without losing any of it - Always ask someone to proof read your entry and ask for their opinion on how it reads. Typos and complicated stories can take away from the success story of the individual. Judges are reading so many entries so repeating yourself can quickly cause them to lose focus.
4) Provide a solution as well as an observation - It’s great that you can identify what improvements the industry needs however it’s the candidates that provide solutions who become winners. This showcases your insight and the drive to change.
5) Answer every single question - Don’t ignore the questions that seem less important. They are put there to paint the most detailed picture possible. Keep your standards high across all of them. I have seen many entries fail because they lack passion in the smaller questions which gives the impression of half an attempt.
6) Use the video to show us who you are - The reel is the final and most important piece; it’s where you can make yourself unforgettable. This is just a summary of key highlights so only talk about the parts you believe really set you apart. Think how you can visibly bring out your character rather than just speaking to the camera i.e. use other people to break it up, interview techniques or being out and about rather than in an office.
7) If at first you don’t succeed, try again but do better - Ask for feedback, find out why you missed out on first place, why the judges didn’t see your brilliance this time. There is always a next time so never give up.
Good luck! Hopefully this season will reflect the huge amount of talent that is in our industry.
Interested in mastering your award entries? Attend the ADMA IQ course ‘How to Win An Award’ where you will learn what it takes to create an award winning entry. Click here to find out more >>