How To Win An Advertising Award

Go Win An Advertising Award

It took me awhile to fully understand the value of winning an advertising agency award in the in the context of business development. Yes, I know, I should have figured this out a lot earlier. Especially, when you consider that I ran business development at Saatchi & Saatchi in the days when they won everything and later, when I ran my own agency.

While it is fun for the agency staff to win awards (well, the right awards), the true value in winning those shiny objects is in helping clients recognize your brilliance. To put it mildly, clients – as in your prospective clients – are not experts at selecting agencies and this fact is exacerbated by the fact that many agencies, once they make the final cut, kinda look and sound alike. In this environment, awards represent extremely valuable third-party endorsement.

EFFIES prove your strategic chops. Clios and ADDY’s prove creativity. In the media space, MediaPost just announced their Agency of the Year awards. Considering how critical media planning is in today’s fractured media environment, media awards can be leveraged to prove your agency’s media prowess.

Strategic Award Planning

Ok, so you want to incorporate award-winning into your business development plan. Good idea. I know that some of the major agencies approach awards with a very strategic business development perspective. This is a big subject. For now, here are the basics that should help you enter the right award categories.

The Who: What clients do you want to excite? What are their interests, needs, and fears? What do they value – pure creativity, strategy, agency fame (as in hiring an agency because they look real cool)?

The What: There is a big difference between winning a creative award (subjective) and a strategy award (ROI). Some clients need proof that you are creative and some need to know that you know how to deliver on the client’s objectives.

The Where: Sure, winning a Clio is nice. But, most agencies are simply not going to win the big ones. This isn’t because they don’t deserve to. It is because these awards are really set up to honor the bigger agencies – with big award budgets. That’s just how it is – award shows are not about the awards, they are profit centers for the award entities. So, I suggest that some of the better local awards can make a great deal of sense. In this case, base these on where you clients are going to come from. A great example of a powerful local award program is The Rosey Awards from the Portland Ad Fed. In this case, your agency has a good chance to beat Portland’s Wieden & Kennedy powerhouse.

Last point. Be very strategic about how you enter. Study past award shows to see if you can figure out how and why other agencies have won. Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, my first agency, figured out a smart system for EFFIE entries. We studied winning agency applications. Our system helped us become a major winner.

Start Today: Media Post’s ‘Agency of the Year’ Open For Submissions

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-56-30-amMediaPost is accepting submissions for its annual Agency of the Year’ awards. If you would like to nominate an organization, please contact by the end of October. We recognize the following categories:

Media Agency, Digital Agency, Social Agency, Search Agency, Programmatic Agency, Mobile Agency, Creative Agency, Holding Company, Client, Supplier, Executive.

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