Advice from a leader on an international jury

Being on the jury for an international award, reviewing work  from around the world is not just exciting, insightful and glamourous but its’ also one of the toughest tasks with the responsibility to recognise and award work that is path breaking and one that challenges the profession to think differently as it moves forward. 

I have been fortunate to be invited to judge various global and local awards such as Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia, Exchange4media, PRmoment 30 under 30 to name a few, but it’s my first year at Dubai Lynx and it’s a great honour to be given the task of leading the jury.  

Judging comes with the responsibility of finding the best award entries from a haystack of entries: those that go beyond their initial intended objectives and create impact navigating through challenges and the clutter we see around us. It’s often not the big brands but the truly innovative ideas that shift the needle and stand out amongst the ocean of entries judged at large awards. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when crafting an entry:

  1. Don’t be lazy: You are sending your best work out in the world. It’s your hard work, so sit up, look at it with a global perspective and contextualise it to the category you are entering it for. I often see the same entry being submitted for all categories blindly without contextualisation. Don’t expect the judges to customise that entry for you in their mind. Ensure your entries are visualised to suit the separate categories, and re-written to re-frame the information, they could have a better chance to stand out.
  2. Get to the point … quickly: Award entries that are written too long with an endless story often don’t get read no matter how impactful your campaign has been. So stay concise, get to the point and be focused on the impact from a business and outcome perspective. Focus on how you moved the needle, or what the path breaking idea was from all the work you actually did. 
  3. Visuals help: A short film that accompanies an award entry always helps to break through the clutter. Note, jury members are busy and are viewing your entry on smaller and smaller screens so visuals that are striking, and tell the story of the insight to the idea and the impact generated, would be very helpful.
  4. Be earned at the core: In PR or communications it’s no longer about AVE’s. We are all working on integrated campaigns driven by one agency or the other. Be it advertising, design, event etc. But for the PR category ensure that the idea is creative, disruptive, but earned at the core.  
  5. Data and insight driven: Data is the new oil, and in PR ideas driven by solid insight and data will be the future. Any idea backed with data would stand out as the future is data-driven storytelling, predictive creative, and has the ability to shape the narrative leveraging insight and knowledge. Businesses of the future will be focused on customising messages for their consumers to capitalise on the digital transformation we see around us.
  6. New tech: It’s always interesting to award bold new ideas and approaches based on new innovation and technology. 
  7. Move beyond likes and fans: Just like for PR campaigns one needs to move beyond AVE’s for social media campaigns, one needs to move beyond fan engagement to real human impact, growth of business and tangible impact. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Valerie Pinto
One of the youngest CEO’s of an Indian network consultancy, Valerie’s efforts have led to shaping communications’ professionals, which is almost half the talent that exists in the Indian PR business today.

As the Head of Weber Shandwick India, Valerie works closely with clients across the country to change traditional models of communication towards more integrated offerings with a focus on campaigns, creativity, and content. Under her leadership, the firm has won several awards for iconic campaigns at Cannes, PR Week, Mumbrella, Stevies and Sabre.

Rated as the top 40 under 40 media professionals to watch out for in Asia Pacific by Campaign Asia, she was also ranked as the top 10 women in Indian PR by Reputation India. She was the Jury President at Spikes Asia 2015 and also served as a jury member for Cannes twice.
Valerie has been recognized as a Creative Leader at the Campaign 360 Women Leading Change Awards. She has also been named on Impact Magazine’s ‘50 Most Influential Women in Indian Media, Marketing & Advertising List’, and has been a TedX speaker.

Valerie has been a national level athlete and is an accomplished pastry chef.

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