PRWeek Awards Asia 2016: Judge spotlight - Anne Costello

Anne Costello, APAC regional director of Text 100 and judge at the PRWeek Awards Asia, talks about what she expects to see from this year's hopefuls.

Anne Costello
Anne Costello

At this year’s PRWeek Awards Asia, I expect (and hope) to see more visual campaigns. Thinking about the best way to convey a story visually should be a first step in any strategy today. Visuals are what capture and engage people, whether in b-to-b or b-to-c and on all platforms.

Attention spans – whilst reading a magazine, a newspaper or a news feed – are decreasing so time to engage an audience is shorter. Visuals and great, punchy editorial content are key.

The story at the centre and a multi-channel/multi-disciplinary approach are also essential. I want to see how messages have been shaped as stories that have been developed with a journalist’s eye and ear.

No matter the number of hits or the reach; campaigns must be multi-disciplinary and include a strong visual element to really maximise budget and business impact.  

That doesn’t include campaigns where social has been "tacked on". Best practice is far beyond that. 

In addition, any campaigns I judge as award-worthy must also demonstrate their impact on business goals, rather than KPIs that are associated with number of clips, likes or messages.  

That’s too self-serving and not talking the language of the CMO and the business today. We’ve gone beyond that. In the industry today we have tools and techniques that allow us to measure true business impact and that’s what excites clients and me alike.

I’d also like to see technology and new platforms used to disrupt the way things have been done before.

Snapchat is emerging as a great channel for brands. Instagram and Facebook continue to be top of mind. LinkedIn is something that we’re doing a lot of work with for our b-to-b clients and in employee engagement.

Everyone is talking about influencers at the moment, so I expect we’ll see more campaigns this year incorporating broader influencer outreach. 

Influencer work is a natural fit for teams coming from a media relations background. In the technology and corporate sector, we’ve always done broader influencer and stakeholder work across analysts, bloggers, media, academia, industry groups and communities. 

But, I’m seeing more of the earned influencer piece in consumer work as well.

I also expect we’ll see more entries this year incorporating paid and owned work.  I recently judged some industry awards in Australia and saw some entries with zero earned.  All influencer work was paid and all assets owned. 

Paid advertising and paid celebrity endorsements seem the way of the world in more consumer sectors, but for me, an entry should also include an earned strategy. Demonstrating that all elements are cohesive and are telling the same story are what pulls it all together.

I recently met with an ex-client and she was telling me in her integrated agency briefs it’s the comms agency that, nine times out of 10, comes up with the most creative and workable ideas. 

So, I’m hoping to see entries that are creative, have context and can be executed within a reasonable budget delivering clear business value. 

Click here to find out more about the PRWeek Awards Asia 2016. 

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