How to create an award-winning campaign

By Lydia Eccleston of Arke Ad Agency

Would you like more recognition for your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

2022 has been a huge year at Arke; we’ve broken our record for award wins, having won at the UK Social Media Awards and the European Paid Media Awards with our work on the Living Wage campaign with Brighton Chamber and the Living Wage Foundation. It was highly commended by the judges, who said: “Arke had a solid, well-executed strategy that generated great results. We loved their approach to ad testing and the detailed breakdown of budget and objectives.”

We’ve also been shortlisted for the UK Search Awards and the Sussex Business Awards, and we’re waiting to hear the results (fingers crossed!)

But enough about us; now it’s time for us to show you how you can get your brand in the limelight and create campaigns that the judges just can’t ignore. We’ll be using examples of our award-winning Living Wage campaign to show you the full process of creating a campaign that produces results. Onto the tips!


1. Create a measurement framework

Every good campaign relies on measuring results against objectives. If you don’t set out a clear way of tracking your KPIs, your objectives and your progress from the get-go, you won’t be able to make the most of your data, nor your ability to optimise effectively for even better results.

Everything we do at Arke relies on strategy, and our Living Wage campaign was no different. Our Digital and Paid Media teams worked together to produce a framework for us to work towards throughout the campaign. The objective was to increase the number of Living Wage Employers in Brighton and Hove and subsequently increase salaries for our local community.

This helped to hold us accountable to our aims and check in with our progress throughout to keep us on track. This was also beneficial for keeping Brighton Chamber in the loop with our progress, so they felt fully confident leaving their campaign in safe hands.


2. Connect the dots

Working in silo isn’t an option if you want to make an award-worthy campaign; we recommend working collaboratively to achieve your goals. If you’ve got creative, digital and paid media teams, they need to work together.

The teams involved in delivering your full campaign strategy, for example, Creative and Paid Media teams, need to communicate throughout, from campaign idea to implementation. This ensures that the best-performing ad variants are being served over those performing weaker.

When tracking performance, your digital team needs to be in the loop and ensure that your analytics dashboards are pulling through accurate information from your campaign touchpoints – whether that’s your website or social media. This is vital in the optimisation process, so you can see what is performing well and what could do with a bit of tweaking.

Our top tip is to keep referring back to the award question while writing your entry. It’s easy to get caught up writing about your amazing campaign, but if it doesn’t answer the question, then it’ll fall short. Make sure to provide clear results and tactics that directly respond to the question, particularly focusing on your tracking and optimisation approach to build up that full campaign picture.


3. Get your brand that recognition by submitting a campaign that’s unique

Imagine how many submissions the judges read, then consider how you can make yours stand out above the rest. Before delving into your award-writing, think about how you can apply your campaign to the chosen category and ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough measurable results to make this a campaign worth talking about? The key to a good award submission is things that make the judges say ‘wow’. If you’re not able to demonstrate the impact of your campaign with impressive results that feed into your campaign aims, you’ll fail to show the judges the overall success of your approach, i.e. from idea to implementation.
  • What makes this campaign unique? Whether you’ve got a small team, worked to tight budgets or navigated tight deadlines, you need to show the judges why your campaign deserves to win.

Our Living Wage campaign saw us work with a budget as low as £700. We reduced our agency fees to ensure that we could channel as much of Brighton Chamber’s budget into their adverts. The campaign also had an impressive impact on our community, positively affecting an estimated 272 salaries across Brighton and Hove.


4. Be SMART with your award-writing

The award-writing process is no easy feat, but there is a winning formula that you’ll want to adopt if you want to make an impression on the judges. Here are our tips:

  • Shout from the rooftops about the impact of your campaign. Whether you’ve achieved a knockout ROI, sales or your campaign has benefited your community, demonstrate what makes your campaign unique, as this is what the judges are looking out for.
  • Don’t forget to talk about your strategy. The judges want to know the reason behind your decisions. This is the difference between an award-winning brand and one that simply produces results without thinking about the bigger picture.
  • Be concise. Often, award submissions require a strict word count. It’s up to you to make an impact in as few words as possible.
  • Looking at your submission with fresh eyes is key. Leave yourself enough time to make amends to your submissions so you can truly showcase your campaign in the best way possible.


5. Add a human touch

While it’s all well and good to state the results of your campaign, your award submission needs to have heart. And, as much as technology is improving (PMAX, for example), there’s nothing more impressive than having a team that lives and breathes best practice, and is dedicated to optimising a campaign for maximum success.

Your team is the driving force behind the results, so make sure you emphasise the thought, planning and work they’ve put into the campaign to make it a success.

In our Living Wage campaign, our Paid Media experts manually optimised the adverts every 48 hours and had weekly meetings with Brighton Chamber to discuss the results and how we planned to deal with any dips in performance.

Whether your team take on an innovative approach in your campaign or you’re simply great at maintaining a positive client-team relationship, it’s worth shouting about it in your submission. It helps to show your uniqueness and make your submission memorable.

Need help planning or executing an award-winning campaign that you’re proud to show off? We’re a full-service agency that can do just that – and our multi-award-winning status is a testament to that. Get in touch if you’d like to work with us.