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Prolific North Champions Awards 2024: Judges share how to put together a winning entry

Champions Awards 2024

With the early bird deadline fast approaching for this year’s Prolific North Champions Awards, our judges have put together their top tips for crafting a winning entry.

Over the past 11 years, Prolific North’s flagship awards event continues to celebrate the talent emerging from across the North’s creative, digital, marketing and tech sectors. 

To equip you with everything you need before the early bird deadline on 2 February, some of the experts on this year’s judging panel share what they’ll be looking out for.

Simon Donohue, Strategic Communications Lead at Transport for Greater Manchester

As a former Media Business Page writer at Manchester Evening News, Donohue says the North’s creative, digital, marketing and tech landscape has changed beyond recognition. Now, there is “no better beacon of its strength today than the Prolific North Champions Awards”.

As the standard of entries last year was “incredibly high” he says it now means you’re going to have to “work hard to stand out.”

Show how your work achieved its objectives.

“Most work is setting out to sell something, shift opinion, change behaviour. Be really clear what your intentions were from the beginning and how your work delivered against the objectives that were set. Show us how you ‘smashed’ your KPIs and how that resulted in selling more widgets, making people safer, warmer… more likely to travel sustainably.”

Tell a story

“There are a LOT of entries for every category. You’re going to want to capture the imagination of a judge (no names) who may be starting to realise that the judging process is going to take longer than just a few hours after work on a Friday night. Entertain us. Tell us a story. Take us into your world.”

Explain your challenges

“Judges will come from a variety of backgrounds and may not be massively familiar with your industry. Only you will know the obstacles and challenges you had to overcome and how you did that. Don’t be shy in explaining why what you did was a BIG deal.”

Seize the opportunity to showcase your work

“Alongside your written entry, you’ll have a chance to show off your work. Think carefully about how you use that opportunity to support your entry. That might mean uploading links to a video or a set of supporting images. That’s your opportunity to go beyond the word count and limitations of a written entry. Make it really clear how those supporting materials apply to your entry and think about the potential for images and/or video that provide insight into what you set out to achieve, and how you did it.”

Lee Chambers, founder and chief psychologist, Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing

For Chambers, what makes an entry really stand out is when an entrant is able to “describe what they have done, the impact it has had, the challenges overcome, with a mix of story and data to back it up”.

The best applications are those that take the judges “on a journey” alongside the “thought and effort” that has gone into bringing the words to life.

“Get at least two people to read through it, as they will notice things that don’t sound right, if it doesn’t flow well, or if you are underselling what you have achieved.

“Be bold but be honest. We want to know what you have done to deserve the award, but as judges we are knowledgeable and if things are inconsistent we are less likely to trust the nomination.

“Show “the extra”. Something I value highly is being shown how the person, business or project has gone beyond what you would expect of them, and the difference this extra has made for clients, society or the team.

“Focus on the questions. Imagine you were a judge scoring the answers to the questions yourself. Reread the question, are you answering it?

“Be as candid about failures and mistakes as you are about success. We love seeing the steps to success and lessons learned from the ups and the downs.”

Lisa Wood, Head of Marketing and Communications at Naimuri

Wood says make sure you read each question and think about your answer “carefully” before submitting.

“I have read so many submissions that don’t answer the question or share the details needed.

“A concise paragraph or two to answer the question, followed up by clear and strong facts, stats and case studies, is a great formula. I like bullet points too, as you can see the detail, without having to sift through loads of text.

“Also, just be yourself. Reflect your culture and business through your submission and don’t try to be something you’re not. Good luck!”

Make sure you enter before the early bird deadline on 2 February!

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