Experts Share Top Tips for Creating an Award-Winning Campaign

October 9, 2020

Yesterday, members of the World Media Awards judging panel and the creators of this year’s Grand Prix winning entry for Sonos came together for our Awards Masterclass to discuss what it takes to create an award-winning content campaign. Here are 10 top tips from our expert panel to ensure your content campaign rises above the fray and makes its mark on the judges.

1. Outline your challenge with laser focus

“Make sure the challenge is absolutely precisely outline before leading on to the creative solution and the media partner or channel choice. Clearly articulate the challenge, because that lays the foundation of everything that follows.” –  Christoph Woermann, CMO, Corporate Bank, Deutsche Bank.

According to Christoph, two entries that demonstrated this perfectly were Volkswagen: For the Many,Not the Few – The ID.3, winner of the Automobile category, and Levi’s: What Does Performance Mean to You, winner of the Luxury, Lifestyle & Fashion category.

2. Deliver your pitch with passion

“Make us believe it’s a winner from the minute you start speaking. First, tell us what the challenge was and how you solved it. Secondly, talk about the power of media and message, and how the entire campaign becomes an interesting experience for the consumer. Thirdly, prove it’s a credible solution with relevant KPIs. Lastly, tell us why it mattered. Why would a consumer genuinely enjoy experiencing what you’ve created?” – Kate Ivory, Group Managing Partner, Head of Strategy, OMD EMEA

Kate described Tourism Australia’s pitch for ‘From Country. To Company’ as one that was delivered with passion and power, creating a story that was really compelling to listen to.

Brooke Steinberg Global Planning Director, Vizeum, who is part of the award-winning Sonos pitch team agreed:

“Have fun. You’re showcasing work that you’re proud of, so express that, whether it’s verbally, in written form or in a video.Find ways to showcase your passion and the great times you’ve experienced working on the project.” 

3. Put the judges in your shoes

“It’s all about storytelling,” said Jamie Credland, SVP, Client Strategy & Marketing, The Economist. “And to tell a good story, you need to take us on a journey of here’s this insurmountable challenge, this difficult, terrible adversity you’re facing, and the smart ideas and hard work you came up with to overcome it.”

Jamie gave the example of Astana International Finance Centre’s winning entry for ‘My Kazakhstan’, which starts by asking, “What do you know about doing business in Kazakhstan?” immediately putting the judges into the shoes of the agency and the media owners who were working on this huge challenge.

4. Less is more

All the judges agreed that the Sonos team, represented by Brooke Steinberg, Global Planning Director at Vizeum and Gabriella Manzini, Global Account Director, Vizeum, had absolutely nailed their three-minute video pitch for Sonos’s ‘Brilliant Sound at the Intersections of Culture and Cool campaign. Gabriella’s advice:

“Be concise; you can’t tell the whole story. You can’t talk about every single execution. So really draw out the key steps that helped you to tackle the challenge – the insight, the execution. And the results really have to reflect what the challenge was.”

Christoph Woermann’s advice is to strip away anything you don’t need. “Always think, less is often more. Less text, less variety, less goals to achieve. Less is more. Focus, and you will be a winner.”

5. Brand, agency and media partner relationship must be seamless

Our experts were impressed by the completely seamless, integrated team of brand, agency and media partners on the Sonos campaign .According to Johan Jervoe, Chief Marketing Office, UBS, that doesn’t happen overnight. Creating a well-oiled content marketing machines takes time:

“It takes for your own brand team to understand what works, where you get content, who the expert is. It takes time to understand what the insights are and how that translates into aesthetics. And then measurement – finding the right media partner, the right channels and the right format on those channels.”

Jamila Saidi, Head of e-Commerce Marketing, DIT UK Gov, cited another seamless example in Samsung’s campaign “TV is Making History Again’:

“A combination of three things really made the award stand out above and beyond the others: the brand synergies with CNN and astronaut Scott Kelly; the integration of the message, the messenger and the channel delivering it; and the timing – the 15th anniversary of the moon landings.

6. Use audience insights to solve human problems

According to Jamie Credland, the human element of audience insight is often overlooked. “When it comes to an audience insight, these are people with business problems, personal problems, family problems, all kinds of challenges in their lives. And the best campaigns were the ones that tried to bring that challenge to life.”

He gave the example of Tech Mahindra’s winning Corporate Influencer campaign, ‘In the Future’ which talked about the number of people who believe analytics is absolutely key to their business, yet only 10% felt their company currently did it. “That talks to a certain anxiety among senior executives – treating the audience like human beings is really, really important.”

Kate Ivory agreed that Tech Mahindra had cleverly used the insights to develop a real solution, an efficiency index that allows executives to test the organisation’s performance against industry leaders. “They identified a problem, and they created a tool that was of genuine value back to the consumer. That’s the power of insights – to genuinely develop solutions.”

7. Be authentic.

Jamila Saidi reiterated the important of being authentic:“People see through the fluff, when you’re doing something for the sake of it or when you’re jumping on the bandwagon.”

It ties in with having your pulse on your customer base and really understanding your audience. She used Electronic Arts’ FIFA20 ‘Play Wrong’campaign, winner of the Media & Entertainment, category as an example”

“They did a fantastic job with their segmentation, really tapping into their audiences to understand them (it was a very different audience than they’re used to), which made everything so much more authentic, locally relevant and really believable. This made the storytelling even more compelling.”

8. Remember, judges are people too!

An important tip from Jamie Credland: ‘Tactically, when you’re writing your entry, remember, judges are people too and they respond to stories in the same way that your consumers do. So,get the judges emotionally engaged with your entry, and you’ll go a long way.”

9. Be prepared to throw it all away

Kate Ivory’s advice to ensure you’ve created an award-winning campaign:

“When you’ve gone through the process of creating your campaign, you’re about to hit go on buying the media, creating the content, just step back. Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes, the person that’s going to experience every element of this, and ask yourself, if you’re them, is it of any value? And if it isn’t, be prepared to put it in the bin and start again, because there’s too much clutter out there.”

 When the judges are going through the award entries, it’s the ones that offer real value that float to the top.

10. Be brave

As winner of this year’s Content and Leadership Award, it’s fitting Johan Jervoe gets the last word on how to create exemplary content-driven campaigns. Johan’s advice: “Be brave!”