Here is why marketing awards are important for your brand

Authored by Moneka Khurana, Country Head and Board Member, MMA India

We, as marketers, constantly obsess over how to deliver the best brand experience - be it for customers, partners, or internal stakeholders. But how do we gauge whether we are on the right track? While customer delight has always been our north star, marketing awards have increasingly become critical in setting benchmarks and evaluating performance. 

What makes these awards even more important and special for marketers is the evaluation process. Customer delight is a function of emotion and experience. Awards, on the other hand, evaluate brand’s campaigns and strategies on measurable business metrics. They are a litmus test to gauge whether the campaigns cut it for specific outcomes. And let’s not forget the jurors. When experts from across the industry come together to evaluate and recognise, rest assured, only true brilliance wins. 

What should brands consider: Winning ingredients

With so many awards, brands have their work cut out when it comes to shortlisting which ones to participate in. While a brand may be upbeat about entering most award shows, there is an art to determining the category that your brand will be sure to win in. You will want to decide to be part of the mix by looking at competitors and previous winners. Make sure the category relates to the goal and outcomes of the campaign. From that perspective, it is important to form case studies. To qualify, you must have a gripping tale about what makes your campaign unique. 

A winning brand will always have four exceptional touchpoints: media choice, consumer experience, adoption of new technology, and measurement. According to Kantar’s Connect database, only about 20% of brands generate 80% impact by getting the four pillars right. Again, when we gauge the pandemic period, it was found that brands were able to leverage mobile phones to engage with consumers in the most innovative ways. The difference was marked in awards like the MMA Smarties, where the number of winners using cellphone marketing rose from 34% to 87%. These winning entries opened eyes around the marketing world and organisations have since increased their digital spends. 


It is important to deliver beyond plain vanilla advertising that we have been used to for so long.  Marketing content needs to be integrated and customized, as it delivers effective brand outcomes. As per Kantar’s ‘Getting Media Right’ report, about 91% of brands have attached some degree of importance to customized offerings.


The guiding principles

There are global awards like the MMA Smarties and Forbes Marketing Awards which recognise marketing brilliance. What cuts the cake for these awards is the shortlisting process. This is half the battle won. The other half is creating that winning entry. With over a decade of awards experience, here are some guiding principles:

Keep the strategy clear

Keep a clear demarcation between strategy, execution and business impact: It is very important to measure how each metric has worked for a company. A case highlighting strategy is UltraTech, which contextually established its campaign messaging of ‘Chance Na Lo’. It banked on the emotional adventure of homebuilding, that involves one's pride, skill, and identity. The company underlined the disconnect between the aspiration and lack of awareness on how to do it. The ‘Baat Ghar Ki’ ad was introduced with the aim of improving brand awareness as an "expert house building companion." 

The brand optimized the entire digital ecosystem to establish the message, educating people about the right choice towards every stage of home building in a way they would relate. The approach was to lay one brick at a time: understanding the pain, creating an educative platform on a website in a form of 77-byte sized videos in seven different languages. The brand partnered with leading media influencers and activated the campaign on an interactive digital platform. While it was a challenge to reach masses in media dark districts, the brand reached out to them on cell phones through 30 sec capsules in voices of famous regional celebrities.

Be creative

Creativity is key when designing a winning campaign. Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest is a brilliant example of this. It highlights the Indian custom of “arranged” marriages that harps on traditional notions of beauty --- an unrealistic stereotyped portrayal of women that triggers for lack of confidence and depression. Through a curated campaign, the beauty soap brand managed to show that beauty should be source of confidence, not anxiety. It killed two birds with one stone --- stereotypes and mental wellbeing.

Measure your outcomes

If your campaign has no measurable outcomes, the entire exercise becomes futile. Always choose an entry with a scoop of measurability. For instance, Swiggy’s ‘Delivering Happiness At Your Doorstep’ campaign brilliantly used AI and Machine Learning. The campaign was measured by increase in app installs, number of users, number of orders, and the decrease in cost per acquisition. Swiggy's primary target market for this campaign was the 18–50 age group, who have easy access to smartphones, are adept at utilising applications and new services, and depend on online platforms to meet their everyday needs. To fulfil orders according to customers' needs and preferences while maintaining all safety precautions, it used the RevX platform to target users during the most pertinent "day-of-the-week" (weekends), "time-of-the-day" (office hours and late evenings - working class), and pin-code-based ad targeting. Swiggy utilised RevX's creative feeds to develop real-time, data-driven personalised ad formats that helped them cultivate more lucrative consumers that were targeted based on food interests. Throughout the campaign, the brand was able to identify the best performing ad formats and automatically optimized the campaign budget resulting in a better performance and brand resonance with the users.

Avoid campaigns with unclear messaging

While the guiding light is clear, it is equally important for marketing brands to steer away from unclear strategy, non-measurable outcomes and MeToo creatives, to avoid controversy or duality of any kind. After all, it is an exercise that celebrates all that is bright and beautiful in your brand’s journey towards a successful one. As the famous marketing quote goes --- Master the topic, the message, and the delivery --- and the rest will follow.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.


News in the domain of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Business of Entertainment

More in Media