TMP Worldwide has won 8 major awards and 2 Grands Prix in the past 3 months. 

And having been involved with judging panels over the years, we've built an understanding of what makes a winning award entry. 

Here's some initial thoughts: 

1. Solve a real problem

You need a fundamental communications problem to solve to ensure that your work has purpose and can be measured. And you have to prove it was effective; benchmarking and stats are crucial.

2. Do something brave

Judges – whether they are agency-side or client-side – have wrestled with tough resourcing challenges. They’ve seen lots of potential solutions over the years. If they are presented with a solution that approaches the challenge from a completely different angle, it will stop them in their tracks.

And it’s only too easy to see great ideas diluted to the point that they lose their edge. Only the will to persuade those who might wish to water down or go for an ‘easier’ solution will ensure you get nomination-worthy work

3. Insight is everything

Whether that’s an impressive insight into the recruiting organisation and what makes it tick, or an insight into the target audience and what pushes their buttons. Insight holds the whole solution together and, from a creative point of view, makes the magical logical. Without it, creative work can look flashy or superficial.

4. The two Ps

There are two ways to stand out: positioning (see the two points above) and packaging. The latter point is especially important when the organisation doing the recruiting sits in a sector where all their competitors are talking about all the same subjects. Just because every organisation in a sector is talking about diversity or the environment or innovation, it doesn’t follow that they are doing so with the same creativity, conviction or style. You can stand out from the crowd simply by looking more interesting and convincing than everyone else. Judges notice that.

5. Advocacy goes a long way

A compelling corporate voice is very persuasive. But the real jackpot is employee advocacy. Evidence that current employees have got behind a concept/campaign/mission carries a lot of weight and credibility. It proves that your solution isn’t just creative, it’s true.

6. Hearts as well as minds

Polish and high production values are very important, but human charm goes further. Your solution can’t just look hyper-professional, it has to touch hearts as well as minds. Something that makes a judging panel (and, more importantly, a target audience) feel charmed or warm inside cuts through like nothing else.

7. Time & money

Time & budget help you deliver interesting work but are not a guarantee as you can’t buy success anymore. Whilst the professional services firms and large corporates with deeper pockets are still heavily represented on the shortlists, smart solutions by smaller businesses can still cut through.

Biggest learning – we are an industry that is constantly striving to do great effective work for our clients. Brilliant people spend all year trying to deliver ground breaking successes and you never know what work your entry will be up against.

For this reason celebrate your nominations – it is a true recognition from discerning experts of delivering quality – the gong is a nice cherry on top – knowing this will give you the satisfaction your endeavour deserves and allow you to better enjoy your night*

*Much easier said than done