In all cases, judges will look at the way the content supports or enhances the brand proposition, how much it appeals to customers, whether it’s appropriate to the customer profile and, most importantly, if it works as a marketing tool to drive sales and customer retention.
In all categories, a clear demonstration of effectiveness will be key to determining the winners, so supporting evidence must be included.
1. Best Automotive
Those involved in the automotive sector have long believed in the power of content and its ability to foster loyalty within their core customer base. Now, with digital and video playing a large part in providing multiple touch points, content is even more thrilling, personal and effective. Judges will be looking at how the content draws the consumer into the brand’s world, translating its values and objectives into solid results, while pushing forward the brand vision.
2. Best FMCG
In the fiercely competitive world of FMCG, content can play a key role in reinforcing brand loyalty and driving consideration. The opportunities are wide: from content that amuses and entertains to that which is useful – such as tips on new ways to use products, offers, and via ‘how-to’ material. This can be across any number of touchpoints, including print, social, mobile, websites, apps or events. The judges will be looking for content that engages, retains and attracts consumers, with effectiveness analysis on sales, preference or consideration figures.
3. Best Finance
More and more financial institutions and companies are understanding that expertly planned and produced content can work wonders for their brand, breaking down the barriers of complexity and giving the brand a vital open and honest outlook towards consumers. Judges will be looking for world-class creativity, a finely tailored strategy and editorial that builds the customers’ sense of trust, resulting in high levels of engagement, product enquiries and sales.
4. Best Travel
This category covers content produced for a wide range of brands, from airlines and hotels to tourist boards and sports teams. With such a wide remit, the winning entry must demonstrate a fine eye for detail, surpassing the client’s objectives while providing the consumer with unique, practical and entertaining content. Evidence of effectiveness must be shown, including customer loyalty and the cross-selling of other products or services.
5. Best Membership
This new award combines two previous ones: Best Consumer Membership and Best Membership for not-for-profit organisations, charities and associations. For any organisation membership is a vital way to raise revenue, build loyalty, reduce churn and reward consumers. Membership-oriented content can take a variety of forms, and work across multiple platforms. Judges will be looking for content that shows a deep understanding of the organisation’s goals, including growth, sales and retention, as well as integrating across channels and enhancing the organisation’s positioning.
6. Best Retail Consumer
This award is one of the most coveted in the entire event, with previous winners providing a roll call of the industry’s most widely consumed content. But with such demand comes fierce competition as entrants must prove beyond all doubt that they have created the most effective strategy, content and measurement mechanisms to offer strong commercial results to their client. Judges will also look at how well the content fits with the brand and understands its audience.
7. Best Non-Retail Consumer
This category recognises the consumer-facing content produced for brands that don’t fit the traditional retail template, such as estate agents, media companies or individual products. This is a growth area within the content industry, with many non-retail brands using multi-platform content to reach new and existing customers in different ways. While sales are obviously important, other results such as quality of content, innovation, awareness raising and brand perception will be considered.
8. Best Internal
Content produced for employees of a company or organisation faces a unique challenge – to engage and enthuse its users while getting across key company messages and brand values. This can be a tricky balance, so the winning content will need to demonstrate how it builds a sense of pride within the organisation using creativity and editorial innovation so that the employee feels consistently valued and their voice heard.
9. Best Specialist
The Specialist category is for content that doesn’t fit any of the traditional categories – unique, one-off solutions that push the edge of what fantastic content can do just that little bit further. Entries can be for content produced for any platform or combination of platforms, and judges will be looking for innovation and high levels of creativity that perfectly answers the client’s brief, as well as a strong measurement strategy and equally strong results.
10. Best B2B
This new award combines three previous ones: Industry and Manufacturing, Professional and Financial Services, and Technology and Telecoms. Content has always been a critical tool in the B2B marketers’ armoury, whether through thought leadership, service provision or customer engagement and loyalty. Judges will be looking for outstanding examples of B2B content and effectiveness, regardless of platform. They will be looking to see how the content demonstrates sector understanding brand insight to meet defined objectives.
11. Best Real-Time Activation
As more brands move towards ‘always-on, 24/7’ tactics, so real-time marketing has become more important. Within such an approach, content is a vital tool, enabling the brand to react quickly and appropriately to relevant events and occasions, further binding in consumers and attracting new ones. Judges will be looking for examples of real- or near- real-time content activation that shows a creative response to a news story or event across channels such as social, video, website or mobile and which drives proven engagement.
12. Best Distribution Strategy
You can’t have great content marketing without a distribution strategy that maximises reach and amplification, whether across owned, earned or paid channels. Judges will be looking to see: how the platforms were chosen; how was the content scheduled, released and adjusted; how the content itself was optimised for distribution; and the effects on relevant and meaningful KPI’s.
13. Best Use of Data & Insight
Nine out of ten respondents to a CMA survey said they used customer data to inform their content marketing strategies. But first-party data such as this only scratches the surface. Today, there is more data than ever that can be used: third-party data includes that from social, digital, media-owner platforms and so on, and the digital eco-system offers real-time data also. But data alone does not lead to great content. It must be married to great insight, and this award seeks to highlight those content marketing efforts that put data and insight at the heart of brilliant content. Judges will be looking for outstanding data analysis, insight derived from that data, and its application to brilliant content.
14. Best Annual Content Strategy
Advertising campaigns are periodic and intermittent. They are turned on and off, while content can be the glue that keeps up the steady drumbeat of brand presence. This award focuses on long-term content strategies that keep a brand going throughout the calendar year with consistency and steadfastness. It may be one catch-all campaign, or it may be a range of campaigns driven, for example, the client’s calendar or seasonality, but integrated into a common theme and purpose. The judges will be looking for outstanding creativity and great strategic thinking, allied to overall longevity and producing measurable outcomes over the longer-term.
15. Best Content on Owned Media Channels
Most brands possess significant owned media assets, the natural place for content to sit, and their content marketing efforts to start. These include websites, YouTube channels, apps, physical real estate (packaging, in-store, in-branch), social feeds and print. Content produced solely for the Owned channel plays an important part in the overall marketing mix, and this award will recognise outstanding work, taking into account its overall fit with the brand objectives and integration with Paid and Earned channels.
16. Best Use of Monetised Content
All great content marketing generates an ROI, some of which may come from monetisation of that content. This monetisation may be designed as an income stream and objective in its own right, but also enable the brand to fund or invest in its content. This award will recognise successful monetisation strategies whether from, for example, third-party print advertising, YouTube pre-roll, or live event revenue where the event is part of a content marketing mix. Judges will be looking for relevant monetisation strategies, and evidence of how great content can drive new revenues for businesses and brands.
17. Best Use of Innovation
In this technology-driven media eco-system, the opportunities for innovation are rife. These may include AR, AI, facial recognition technology, geo-location, or new developments in mobile or social. Content marketers are already at the forefront of innovation, and this award will recognise great examples of innovation, demonstrating its role in the marketing mix and its contribution to the overall success of a content marketing plan.
18. Best Print
Print continues to be a powerful and effective content marketing tool. This award is a development of the previous Best Brochure/Catalogue category, expanded to include magazines and other printed material including annual reports. Print plays different roles in the content mix, varying from brand awareness, reward, community or thought leadership to specific functions within the purchase funnel, including sales. The judges will be looking for outstanding examples of print, including design, visual impact, editorial, brand execution and affinity, and ROI.
19. Best Social
>An increasing number of brands use social today to amplify their reach and engage with consumers. As the platforms multiply beyond Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so the opportunities for strategic and executional innovation increase. The judges will be looking for examples of great social content that places brands at the centre of consumer interests and conversations, amplifies their messaging, and blends seamlessly to show brand personality and relevance.
20. Best Video
Right now, video content for brands is booming, as marketers realise the huge levels of engagement a well-produced video can make, as well as its ability to be used across several different channels. Judges will be looking at how the video content brings the brand to life and how high customer engagement is translated into results. They will also be looking at how the content enhances the brand experience and raises awareness of the brand to new and existing audiences.
21. Best use of Illustration
This category rewards the illustration that can transform the message of a piece of content into an attention-grabbing piece of art that delights and captivates the reader, ensuring that they take in every aspect of the content. The winning entry will demonstrate technical and creative skill alongside a good understanding of the brand and the aims of the content. You may submit any one commission in a single piece of content for entry.
22. Best use of Photography
Great images can make or break a piece of content, and this category recognises the vital part photography plays in adding creative value and fascination to a brand. Judges will look at how the imagery fits with the editorial and the brand as a whole, as well as the planning, skill and vision that went into the photo-shoot. You may submit any one commission in a single piece of content for entry.
23. Editor of the year
The amount of content being produced may be staggering, but the role of the editor remains one of the most important in the industry. Their expertise and experience can add thousands to the customer database and zeros to the balance sheet. Judges here will be looking for consistent innovation, excellence, imagination and a clear understanding of the client brand, as well as a determination to push their content forwards and an ability to get the most out of their editorial and creative teams.
24. Designer of the year
The Designer of the Year will show high levels of technical skill as well as an imagination that produces ideas that consistently amaze and impress. They must also demonstrate expertise in translating a brand’s values and aims to their content, and show how their work gets results for their client.
26. Grand Prix
This is the highest award in content marketing and given only to the content solution that, above all else, delivers the best results from the strongest strategy using the finest creativity. The Grand Prix will be chosen from the winners of categories 1-22 by a separate panel of senior marketing experts, and will be an enduring source of pride not only for the winning agency, but for the entire content marketing industry.