Samantha Starr
Associate Account Executive
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Public relations, advertising and marketing industry awards can be overwhelming, but with the right tools, they can also be a key tactic to put you on the map for prospective clients. DEVENEY is no stranger to award submissions (and wins), and as the spearhead for our efforts, I have some pro tips on how you can win the gold and leverage it for fame and glory.


Like everything in our industry, identifying the best award opportunities begins with research. From identifying upcoming prospects to classifying the most well-suited categories, how do you choose? The most important thing to keep in mind – what are you looking to get out of this award submission?

Know your audience. What defines a win for this competition? Award programs provide entry requirements when they call for submissions, so it’s imperative to READ THROUGH THESE CAREFULLY – they provide information on eligibility dates, categories, required information, formatting specifics, acceptable supporting documentation and more.

Finally, make sure the host organization is reputable. There are many awards programs out there, but only trusted, reputable ones recognized by your target audience will get you the desired outcome – fame and glory.

Pro Tips:

·   Walk through the entire submission process to make sure you understand all the information you need to provide, supporting document requirements, etc.

·    Research previous winners in each of the categories.

·  Prior to beginning, define your goals for submitting the award to ensure the programs you select and nominations you submit align.


Whether you’re drafting a brief rationale on why your creative piece is the best or nominating a full campaign case study, your submission must be relevant to the category, clearly explaining why it is award-worthy.

The experts who judge campaign-focused awards are most interested in the research your team conducted to develop the campaign strategy, how and why you decided on the recommended tactics, implementation, timeline, and most importantly, how your campaign impacted the target audience. Some questions to keep in mind:

·      How did the research impact the recommended strategy?

·      Did your campaign evoke a behavioral change?

·      How did you measure that change?

·      Did you meet your desired outcomes?

Creative/design focused awards are different. Judges grade your work based on aesthetic, technique and overall creativity. Creative/design awards require more details about the motivation behind your work. Some questions to keep in mind:

·      Is your design revolutionary?

·      Is your design both creative AND functional?

·      Does it evoke the desired emotion?

·      How is the user experience?


Supporting documents are not optional – they are an extension of your case study and should be used to reinforce and strengthen your nomination. Judges want to see the research you cited in the case study, the full campaign strategy and proof of results. Instead of uploading the press release, upload media coverage of that press release. Instead of submitting the file of the digital graphic, share an image of the graphic as used in social media, including likes and comments garnered. Prove your results by providing reporting documents – from analytics snapshots to media coverage spreadsheets. Supporting documents are evidence of a successful campaign.

Pro Tips: Reference your supporting documents in the nomination “…as noted in the complete research document included as a supporting document…”


Celebrate and promote your well-deserved wins! Not only did you implement a successful campaign or design an innovative creative piece, but your peers recognized your work as an award-winning case study to be shared with the industry. Leverage that designation to promote your business via social media, press releases, website updates and more. Let your clients know your work has been recognized as the best.

Didn’t get the results you were hoping for? Always ask for the judges’ feedback on your submission. More often than not, they will share it with you. Feedback from judges, while harsh at times, can only help you improve your case study for the next award submission. It also provides insights on potential areas for improvement when diving into future projects.



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