TUESDAY 12 MAR 2024 12:04 PM


Jason Weekes, commercial director at CARMA, discusses the value of awards programmes "beyond the glimmer".

While the allure of a glittering awards night and bragging rights is undeniable, for PR agencies locked in fierce competition, the true victory lies in wielding a more potent weapon: data-driven storytelling. In a saturated market like the UK, boasting over 4,500 agencies vying for recognition, standing out demands more than just a catchy tagline. It requires a narrative that resonates, one that seamlessly blends compelling human stories with the irrefutable power of numbers.

It’s important to remember that awards are not just about bragging rights. They're a powerful differentiator that attracts clients and boosts team morale. But in this fiercely competitive landscape, how do you make your entry shine brighter than the rest? The answer is simple: embrace the power of measurement. Don't just tell, show. Transform dry numbers into a captivating narrative. Paint a picture that goes beyond mere claims, showcasing the undeniable impact your agency has made. Ditch the tired tropes, and step into the spotlight with a data-driven story that will leave the judges speechless and your agency on the podium. This is where creativity and data insights become the true currency of PR success.

Step 1: Metric matchmaking: finding your ideal awards with data insights

Not all awards are created equal. Before diving headfirst into award entries, use measurement tools to understand your campaign's performance across relevant metrics. This data will help you identify award categories that align with your strengths and best showcase the impact of your work.

For example, if your measurement reveals a significant uptick in website traffic or lead generation,  enter award categories such as "Best Digital Campaign" or "Outstanding Lead Generation''. While it can be tempting to enter as many awards as possible to improve your chances of winning, the opposite is actually true. The likelihood of catching the eye of award judges is greatly increased by an entry that shows impact that matches the brief.

Step 2: Engage your audience: storytelling strategies powered by real-time data 

Once armed with data, it's time to weave it into a compelling narrative. Your award submission should read like a captivating story, showcasing the journey and impact of your campaign. Use real-time analytics and PR measurement dashboards to provide dynamic insights, emphasising the immediate and lasting effects of your strategy and tactics.

Simply saying the campaign was a success won’t be enough to take home the crown. Be prepared to pull out all the data that doesn’t just prove your success but also demonstrates the value of your work. Percentage increases in brand awareness, conversion rates or coverage quantity are great statistics to use for this.

Step 3: Win the right way: selecting awards that drive business impact

According to a recent Linkedin poll by over 950 PR professionals, over 8 in 10 believe that awards are worth the PR investment. Although more than half of those feel that this is only the case for certain awards. This is why it’s important to research which awards are valued by your target audience and stakeholders. Are they industry-specific awards with high recognition among potential clients? Or are they broader awards that will resonate with a wider audience? Aligning your submissions with the right awards demonstrates strategic thinking and positions your agency for maximum impact.

Tailoring your submission to highlight how your achievements align with the criteria valued by these stakeholders can help boost the value you gain from being shortlisted and winning awards. 

Step 4: Beyond the glimmer: award wins as your PR powerhouse

Forget the fleeting applause and polished trophies – the real victory lies in turning your PR award into a long-lasting PR powerhouse. In today's crowded agency landscape, a win isn't just recognition, it's a marketing masterpiece waiting to be unleashed.

Think beyond the celebratory dinner. Showcase your triumph with pride: update your website, flaunt the award on social media, and weave it into press releases. Let it shine in your marketing materials, case studies, and client pitches – a tangible symbol of your agency's excellence. But don't stop there. Craft dedicated content around your win – blog posts and social media assets - highlighting the unique strategies and results that led you to victory. This continuous "merchandising" isn't just bragging, it's a compelling calling card for new clients seeking proven expertise.

Remember, PR measurement is your secret weapon. It helps you to refine your entries, tell impactful stories, and amplify your success. By transforming PR awards from fleeting moments into valuable marketing assets, you prove that winning is just the beginning of your PR journey. So, step into the spotlight and turn your award into an inspirational driving force that propels your agency to even greater heights.