PRWEEK AWARDS 2001: Winning formula for award success - This year's awards have been restructured to better reflect the industry. Kate Nicholas explains why

First you hear your name above the drum roll; the spotlight trains

on you as you work your way through the crowds; then you step onto the

podium to receive a top award from a well-known celebrity, your obvious

glee projected onto 10-foot high screens on either side of the stage -

apparently it is quite a feeling. According to those who should know, to

be recognised as the best-of-best in front of a gathering of 1,400 of

your peers creates quite an unbeatable rush.



And it doesn't stop there. As winners every year testify, in the cold

light of day a PRWeek Award does more than gather dust on your desk. It

increases the profile of both the individual and the organisation within

the industry.



It makes chief executives feel good about their investment in PR,

clients feel vindicated in their choice of agency and, let's face it,

most staff would rather work for an award-winning organisation. It also

acts as a real magnet when it comes to new business. An award is a very

valuable indicator of excellence to clients trying to make the right

choice of agency in a very crowded marketplace.



The PRWeek Awards also set important benchmarks of best practice for the

industry as a whole. Every year, as the quality and quantity increase -

last year's PRWeek Awards attracted a phenomenal 700 entries - the goal

posts shift a little further. And this year, to keep in line with all

the changes that have been taking place in the industry, PRWeek has

restructured its awards to ensure that excellence is recognised across

the entire spectrum of activity known as public relations.



For the 2001 PRWeek Awards we have now created seven different types of

awards, reflecting the main areas that you operate in. This year, you

can enter seven different areas: People and Agencies, Corporate,

Product, Public, Specialist and Craft. The Gold Awards are, of course,

still the most highly-prized of all and continue to recognise the

highest achievements during the year.



This year also sees the introduction of a raft of new awards. Some

recognise the increasingly strategic nature of the work undertaken by

some in the industry, some the complexities of specialisms and others

the changing nature of the workplace.



The Corporate category covers the whole gamut of both strategic and

implementation work undertaken relating to the corporate brand. For the

first time PRWeek has recognised the considerable control that corporate

communications and PR professionals now have over internal as well as

external communication, with a new award for Internal Communications,

plus a category recognising work relating to the development and

communication of Corporate Branding.



In the Product area, PRWeek has divided its healthcare awards into two

sections to reflect the increasingly specialist nature of this sector.

The first recognises work undertaken on behalf of pharmaceutical

companies relating to ethical (prescription-only) drugs with another

separate award for work in the area of licensed OTC drugs and consumer

healthcare products.



The marketing communications section also includes for the first time

awards specifically for B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B

(business-to-business) marketing communications, plus a Youth Marketing

award for some of the dynamic work being undertaken to reach the elusive

youth audience.



And last, but certainly not least, the PRWeek Awards will for the first

time recognise the substantial contribution made to the PR industry by

freelances, with a special People and Agencies award for best Solo

Practitioner.



Most commonly asked questions



Every year, PRWeek runs an annual seminar entitled 'Best Practice' which

looks at the whole gamut of industry awards and how to win them? Our

chairman of judges explains the PRWeek judging process and talks about

the kind of work that catches the judges' eyes, and the reason why such

work stands out from the crowd. This is then illustrated by a series of

detailed case studies presented by a broad spectrum of award winners

from both the PRWeek, PRCA and IPR awards. This year's seminar, for

example, featured campaigns by, and on behalf of, AOL, P&O and the BBC

and speakers such as the RAC's outspoken campaigner Edmund King and

Simon Lewis, who talked for the first time about his work as the Queen's

communications secretary.



The next conference will take place in early 2002 following this year's

awards, but in the meantime, here are some some of the most commonly

answered questions, and the answers.



Who are the judges for the PRWeek Awards?



Around two thirds of the 40-strong panel are drawn equally from public

relations consultancies and in-house departments, from a range of

industry sectors and specialisms. The rest are drawn from the worlds of

journalism and broadcasting, and related areas - such as marketing

directors, MPs and City analysts. This year's chairman of judges is the

worldwide chairman and chief executive of Top 10 global agency Ketchum,

David Drobis, who, given the global communications environment in which

you all now operate, will bring a broader perspective to the

judging.



How exactly does the judging work?



The judging takes place over two days. On the first day, the judges are

divided into around ten mini judging panels, each of which considers a

selection of categories. A spokesperson is appointed from each of the

groups who then participates in the second round of judging. On the

second day, ten of the original panel meet to consider the shortlisted

entries.



Once again the judges give their individual marks to each entry after

group discussion. The winners and commendations are then decided on the

basis of the first and second round totals. But by keeping each judge's

marks confidential, the identities of the winners are able to be kept a

closely guarded secret (even from the judges and chairman) until the

all-important awards night.



There are also a number of special awards. To decide who the recipient

of the Proof Award should be, the judges give additional (confidential)

marks to those shortlisted entrants who they feel have made best use of

research and evaluation in terms of planning and targeting PR activity

and can prove, using recognised methodologies, the effectiveness of

their campaigns. The financial award cannot be entered, but is nominated

by a separate panel of financial experts drawn from financial

journalism, City institutions, agencies and in-house departments.



What are the judges really looking for?



The rules say that the judges will look for evidence of 'outcome,

creativity, relation to objective, and cost-effectiveness'. The winning

entries will show all this, but they will also display that something

extra - that spark of innovation, the unique approach to problem

solving, that makes the judges think 'I wish I'd thought of that.' They

will also be looking for a real appreciation of the role that PR plays

as part of the broader business process plus evidence that creativity,

no matter how brilliant, is appropriate and is actually putting

something back into the business.



So why didn't I win an award?



This is always a tough one, as the judges' decisions are final. There is

the all too common failure to read the rules - for example, submitting

four pages when two are required and failing to include a budget when

required. But probably the most common reason for failing to make it

through to the shortlist is a lack of measurable objectives and failure

to evaluate outcomes. It doesn't matter how wildly creative the concept

is if it isn't relevant or isn't good use of budget. All our judges are

far too experienced to be dazzled by huge budgets - they are more likely

to be impressed by a brilliant idea, well targeted, that achieved its

aims on a modest sum. Contrary to popular opinion, it really isn't size

that matters.



One final tip



You can't win if you don't enter. The closing deadline for entries to

the PRWeek Awards is Friday 6 July. For further information call Helen

Thomas on 020 8267 4391 or visit www.prweek.com.



The awards will be presented at the PRWeek Awards dinner on Wednesday 31

October in The Great Room, Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. For

further information on the Best Practice conference, contact Fiona

Fennell on 020 8267 4116.



CATEGORIES AND SPONSORS



Craft Categories Broadcast



Research sponsored by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide



Promotional Activity



Sponsorship



Public Categories



Public Sector sponsored by COI/TAS



Not for Profit sponsored by Profile Group



Specialist Categories



Public Affairs



Crisis management



Proof Award sponsored by Echo Research



Product Categories



Healthcare: Ethical



Healthcare: OTC/Consumer Marketing Communications: B2C



Marketing Communications: B2B



Youth Marketing



Technology



Corporate Categories



Financial



Corporate Branding



Internal Communications



Corporate Social Responsibility



Corporate Publications sponsored by Colophon



People and Agencies



Communicator of the Year



Small Consultancy of the Year sponsored by Media Information



New Consultancy of the Year sponsored by Durrants Media Monitoring



Solo Practitioner of the Year sponsored by Xchangeteam



Young PR Professional of the Year



Gold Awards



PR Professional of the Year International Campaign of the Year



Consultancy of the Year sponsored by Tellex



In-house Department of the Year sponsored by Burson-Marsteller



Campaign of the Year sponsored by PR Newswire



PRWeek Awards entry kit is inserted in this issue. Those listed are the

confirmed sponsors to date.



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