Love them or hate them, there is no getting away from it - industry
awards are one of the most visible, exciting and coveted indicators of
best practice for PR professionals. Not only does the winning of an
award help to forge a reputation for an organisation, raise the profile
of the company among current and potential clients, and act as an
enormous morale booster for staff, it also helps establish benchmarks
for others in the profession to live up to.
The judging criteria set by the PR Week Awards focuses industry
attention on the crucial issues of planning, innovation, creativity and
It highlights the fact that it is not enough to have a good idea, it has
to be relevant, well targeted and its results measurable.
The competition is fierce - last year the PR Week Awards attracted a
record 666 entries - and it is only those applications that prove to be
shining examples of best practice which make it through to the
Entries are judged over two-day sessions by a panel of 20-plus PR
professionals - both in-house and consultancy - and professionals drawn
from media, marketing, City and political backgrounds.
On the basis of marks allotted by the judges individually, only five
entries make it through to the shortlist on the second day of
Winners and commendations are decided from these finalists, based on
their combined scores in rounds one and two. Each judge’s marks are kept
confidential so the identities of the winners are not known until the
awards night itself.
But what separates the winners from the runners up? As entry details for
the 1999 PR Week Awards land on desks across the country with this
week’s issue, how can you ensure that your organisation picks up a
coveted PR Week trophy at this year’s glittering awards ceremony at the
Grosvenor House Hotel?
Big budgets alone will not impress. In essence, the judges will be
looking for a winning combination of creativity, originality,
cost-effectiveness, relation to objective, and outcome.
It is also important to remember that a commitment to research and
evaluation is considered a key factor by judges, not just of the Proof
Award, but of all PR Week Awards categories.
Finally, read the rules and stick to them. No matter how brilliant an
entry may be, if it is six pages long or fails to provide the
information requested, it will not make it through the first round of
For those who want a more detailed insight into just what the judges
will be looking for, and the qualities that are required to turn any
consultancy or organisation into an award winner, PR Week has gathered
winners of the industry’s three main awards - the PR Week Awards, the
IPR Sword of Excellence and the PRCA Awards for Outstanding Consultancy
Practice - to appear at this year’s Best Practice Conference.
For more information on this one-day event at the Landmark Hotel, London
on April 28, call Tania Cassell on 0171 413 4116.
PR WEEK AWARDS - WHAT IT MEANS TO WIN
Rosalyn Palmer, managing director, Rosalyn Palmer PR
Winning the PR Week Best Small Consultancy award has opened doors for
us. It has put us on three pitch lists already, one of which - London
Zoo - we won. It was fantastic for staff morale and recruitment: people
want to join and headhunters want to work with us. It has strengthened
our position with clients, especially larger clients who had used us
when we were the outsider agency on the pitch - it was an endorsement of
their choice, a public vindication of their faith in us. It has given us
the impetus to go for Consultancy of the Year in a couple of years. We
put the award on our letterhead because we are very proud of it, and
receive good feedback.
Marcia Knight, senior press officer, Haringey Council
When faced with the prospect of going for a hard hitting campaign,such
as ’Don’t mess with us’ most local councils would err on the side of
caution because they are conscious of the need to spend money carefully.
In this case, Haringey believed it was justified in taking a chance and
our faith was rewarded by winning the PR Week award for the Best Public
It now means we have a model which we can use to show council officers
the difference between publicity and a PR campaign. The principles of
that campaign can also be used to show officers how to run a well
Martin Brown, director of public affairs, Design Council
When the Design Council was radically changed in 1994/95, we had a clear
plan that we wanted to bring together the best people we could and
conduct our PR activities to the highest standards.
Winning the PR Week award for Campaign of the Year for the ’Creative
Britain’ campaign means recognition from our peers that we have achieved
that, even when compared to international consultancies or
The Design Council has won many awards over the last three years.
Whether for the design of our premises, innovative videos or as
Investors in People, they all help us strive for the best possible
results - and now we have achieved them.
Lesley Brend, managing director, Red Consultancy
An award is not just one night of euphoria. I would say the benefit of a
single award lasts at least two years: the year of pushing yourself to
make your campaign award-worthy and the year of being title-holder, when
you damned well have to deliver on the expectation.
People often talk about the new business benefits of the PR Week
Consultancy of the Year award and, sure, the phone at Red rings a lot.
But the benefits go far deeper than that and to me, what’s most
important is the morale effect for employees and clients alike.
Everybody wants to be part of a hero campaign - and once you’ve got the
buzz, it gets the adrenaline going to strive for yet more. Awards raise
the bar for everyone.