The International Content Marketing Awards 2013 not only celebrated the 21 worthy category winners, but also the content marketing industry itself. Over the past 12 months, content has been the buzzword that’s been flying around boardrooms, conference rooms and newsrooms all over the world, with all of the world’s major brands creating and distributing content, with fantastic results.
To reflect the channel-neutral nature of this fast-moving sector, the majority of the 2013 awards were judged on content alone, regardless of the platforms each entry was delivered on. That means these awards truly reflect the multichannel nature of content marketing.
But whatever the channel, the criteria for a winning entry still came down to effectiveness, with each winner demonstrating that the content not only fulfils the client’s brief, but goes beyond expectation with clear and well-defined results.
So here are the 21 winners of the International Content Marketing Awards 2013, complete with background to the entry and what the judges said about each one. These are the pinnacle of content marketing in 2013 and the examples of excellence that the industry prides itself upon. Congratulations to all the winners!
Grand Prix winner
Winner > Audi Magazine > Audi UK > Northstar
With the award of Best Automotive already under its belt, Audi Magazine has emerged as Grand Prix winner of the CMA Content Marketing Awards 2013. The decision for the third-round judges came quickly and unanimously, with all agreeing that the entire content suite for the car brand was a near-perfect example of a multiplatform campaign that had everything, from strategy to creation to execution. “The team understands the target audience completely,” said the judges. “Every aspect of the campaign shows that content marketing can drive real ROI and not just engagement, demonstrating the customer journey and the absolute conversion to sale. The content looks absolutely beautiful and belies the fact that it’s a really clever commercial machine. An excellent solution whichever way you look at it.”
1. Best automotive
Winner > Audi Magazine > Audi UK > Northstar
Sent to over 380,000 Audi customer and prospects every quarter, Audi Magazine sits at the centre of a successful content marketing strategy and has an unapologetically intelligent approach to a broad range of subjects. While Audi Update, the email programme, develops relationships with prospects, the magazine drives the Audi strategy that puts a huge premium on loyalty, retention, up-sell, two-car households and lifetime value.
Judges were impressed by both the magazine and its results, with research finding that one issue of the magazine generated a significant number of brochure requests, test drives, dealer visits and car sales. “These are hugely impressive figures,” said the judges, “and the magazine itself has plenty of rich, fascinating content.”
Highly commended > Land Rover Onelife >Land Rover > Redwood
2. Best Finance
Winner > Money Matters > Sainsbury’s > Seven
Produced for Sainsbury’s Bank, the multi-channel customer programme Money Matters was developed to build trust and loyalty by communicating the brand mission of giving customers a better deal. Using a website, emails, social media and a print magazine, the programme takes a ‘single view of content’ approach, placing the campaign idea at the heart of the programme, with all content ideas robust enough to work across all channels.
Such an approach has paid dividends, with the conversion rate from quote to sale higher among Money Matters recipients than non-recipients, and significantly more recipients taking quotes from Sainsbury’s Bank in comparison to other cross-sales marketing activities. “This is a brilliant example of content marketing,” said the judges. “It combines customer data, audience targeting and areas of interest overlaid onto a robust measurement framework. Well done.”
Highly commended > Pet People > Allianz – Petplan > Sunday
3. Best travel & leisure
Winner > BA High Life > British Airways > Cedar
No stranger to the awards top table, BA High Life continues to dazzle as it passes its 40th birthday. This year, the title has remained fresh and relevant despite the increasing pressures on print by bringing in new editorial sections and a design update. The result is an attention-grabbing source of fascinating content, with top-name contributors altering people’s views about what an inflight magazine can be. With over 2.8m readers monthly, BA High Life has generated millions of passenger conversations this year – conversations that convert into sales and profit. Readership has increased year-on-year, with over a third taking action as a result of the magazine, while a host of national newspapers have picked up High Life features, delivering considerable PR value to BA.
“BA High Life raises the bar in terms of creativity,” said the judges. “It delivers consistently fantastic content in what is a very competitive environment.”
Highly commended > Putting Forest Holidays on the UK Holidays Map with Forestipedia > Forest Holidays > Propellernet
4. Best membership (not-for-profit/charities/associations)
Winner > People Management > CIPD > Haymarket Network
As the official media brand of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the membership body for HR professionals, People Management has a clear brief: to work hard at engaging a core audience of HR managers. It achieves this by delivering hard-hitting and relevant content across a number of channels, tackling the big HR-related business issues such as whistle-blowing and bullying, as well as important social concerns, such as part-time working and data privacy.
The result is a multiplatform triumph that’s surpassed the brief in every measurable sense. Member engagement, revenue, online response and social media comments have all gone up, with the number of Tweets increasing nine-fold in response to articles published in the past year.
“The digital execution of the content is first class,” said the judges. “But what makes this entry really strong is the clear strategy that flows through the whole programme.”
Highly commended > Foodservice Consultant > Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) > Progressive Customer Publishing
5. Best Consumer Membership
Winner > My VIP Magazine > Pets at Home > John Brown
My VIP magazine is a key part of the VIP club, a membership scheme for Pets at Home customers, which offers them the usual loyalty rewards but, unusually, also delivers rewards to their nominated animal charities. The magazine supports the membership scheme by continually reinforcing the key message behind it and showing members how their charity rewards are being used.
With content carefully structured to respond to what’s known about the pets owned by the customers, My VIP magazine covers all pet types, from dogs to bearded lizards to chinchillas. After just 10 months, the VIP club has gained 1.4 million members, with the title operating as a huge membership driver – each copy is read by an average of two other people.
“There is very clear effectiveness,” said the judges, “with a high percentage of those that read the magazine buying a product. The creative is also excellent and demonstrates great enthusiasm and warmth.”
Highly commended > Our World > P&O Cruises > August
6. Best Retail Consumer
Winner > John Lewis Edition > John Lewis > John Brown
The core purpose of John Lewis Edition is to showcase the stand-out fashion and beauty ranges that the high street favourite now prides itself on. Having revitalised its fashion departments, John Lewis needed to communicate this change to its customers, so commissioned this print and online quarterly with expert opinion and high production values.
Results are as impressive as the title: there’s an large sales uplift on fashion products featured in the magazine, while the title has retained the number-one spot in the women’s lifestyle sector for the third year running.
“The repositioning of John Lewis’s fashion strategy has been done brilliantly here,” said the judges. “It’s helped the client to become a big fashion player and results from the title are really strong.”
Highly commended > Tesco Real Food > Tesco > Cedar
7. Best Non-Retail Consumer
Winner > Virgin Media Sports Season > Virgin Media > Redwood
Given the recent upheaval in the TV sports market, Virgin Media wanted to maintain its reputation for offering great sports TV. The answer was Virgin Media Sports Season, an online, print and DM solution that reduced churn, communicated value-for-money messaging and increased customers’ net promoter scores (NPS).
To turn around the sports magazine, sports editors and journalists were brought in and worked late into the night to create expert content with a uniquely Virgin twist. Non-sports fans were also catered for with The Book of Oooh!, a collection of little messages brought to life in a unique format. Both the sports magazine and The Book of Oooh! were a hit with client and reader alike, with a significant improvement in the awareness of 11 core Virgin Media product benefits.
“This is extremely on-brand,” said the judges. “It speaks directly to the audience and has been fantastically successful.”
Highly commended > Completely London > Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward > August
8. Best Public Sector/Government
Winner > INNSATS > Norwegian Armed Forces > Redink
The team behind this campaign to increase knowledge in and shift attitudes towards the Norwegian Armed Forces had a tough job on their hands. They needed to convey the breadth and soul in Norway’s new deployment force while demonstrating how they require different types of people to serve in various occupational groups.
They achieved this by allowing the servicemen and women of the Armed Forces tell their stories, wrapping these stories up in a magazine that expertly uses editorial and creative to engage as many different people as possible. And it worked: three-quarters of the readership became more positive towards the Norwegian Armed Forces, with a quarter inspired to seek more information.
“This is a great example of a brilliantly delivered and effective piece of content,” said the judges. “The magazine surprises and engages throughout, and does the difficult job of humanising military activity.”
9. Best Internal
Winner > The Nose Magazine > The Perfume Shop > Indigodog Publishing Ltd
With over 250 stores, The Perfume Shop is one of the biggest high street chains in the country and works hard at constantly engaging its workforce. One of the ways it communicates with its 2,500 staff is with The Nose Magazine, a bi-monthly publication that uses popular newsstand values to inform, entertain and reward. The title not only impressed the judges with its editorial and design that appealed directly to the largely female readership, but also with its results. Well over half strongly agree that reading the title is a good way to learn about what’s going on in the company, while the majority strongly agree that it makes them feel part of the TPS family.
“The editorial tone and design were spot on for the audience,” said the judges. “It shows a great bond between employer and staff, and makes working at The Perfume Shop look like a fantastic job.”
Highly commended > RM magazine > The Royal Marsden > Sunday
10. Best Specialist
Winner > The Wealth Report 2013: The Global Perspective on Prime Property and Wealth > Knight Frank > Think
Traditionally, corporate reports have been largely untouched by the content marketing revolution, preferring to present their facts in a dry, user-unfriendly manner. However, businesses are now understanding that good engagement applies equally to reports and research as it does to magazines and websites.
Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2013 is a good example of what can be done with a little imagination and editorial expertise. Sent to high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs), advisers, property journalists and Knight Frank employees, The Wealth Report aims to position the company as the authority on prime property and wealth distribution, offering an accessible publication that delivers facts, a topical angle and a powerful sales tool.
The result is a clear, authoritative and relevant publication which attracted double the media attention of the 2012 version, with 1,400 HNWIs and their advisers attending launch parties across the globe and a linked blog receiving 45,000 hits in the month following the launch. The judges were impressed, saying, “The concept of turning pure data into a long-term strategic asset that differentiated them from their competitors was outstanding.”
Highly commended > Team 54 “We’re Ready” > Gibraltar Football Association > Maverick Advertising & Design
11. Best B2B: Industry and manufacturing
Winner > Algeta Annual Report & corporate website rebuild > Algeta > August
Created to coincide with the launch of a groundbreaking cancer drug in the US, the Algeta Annual Report and corporate website was a key exercise in branding, defining how Algeta would be seen by the rest of the world. The content created for Algeta required a huge amount of work, from interviews with employees across the entire organisation to the creation of an entire brand and its online presence.
As well as an extremely happy client, the content received high praise from its staff, with every one of them saying the Annual Report and website reflect Algeta’s emergence as a global business, while agreeing that the Annual Report and website position the company as an attractive investment to shareholders.
“This is a highly effective content solution that’s consistently good across the different channels,” said the judges. “It sticks to the core brand and the content is outstanding.”
Highly commended > Kotkamills > Kotkamills > A-lehdet Dialogi Oy
12. Best B2B: Professional and Financial Services
Winner > Hays content programme > Hays > Wardour
As one of the world’s largest recruitment businesses, Hays wanted to shift brand perceptions by communicating how strong it is in the senior executive environment. This brief was answered using a series of platforms in a range of languages, from bespoke social platform to a monthly CEO’s blog, all demonstrating the company’s global expertise and knowledge.
The judges were particularly impressed with the broad array of channels used in the solution, including a bi-annual print title, an iOS app version of the publication, and the distribution of the print version in first- and business-class airport lounges around the world. Press attention, reader survey responses and requests for copies have also improved dramatically.
“This works on every level and platform,” they said. “The agency are delivering a go-to product for the recruitment sector.”
Highly commended > economia > The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) > Progressive Customer Publishing
13. Best B2B: Technology and Telecoms
Winner > The Review > Gemalto > Wardour
The Review has undergone a major transformation in the past 12 months, going from a print magazine into an always-on multimedia content programme. As the world’s leading digital security company, the client’s target audience work in the fast-paced technology sector and are used to working in the digital space.
While the magazine remains true to its core purpose of bringing Gemalto’s technology to life and increasing the understanding of what it does, content is now linked to the company’s digital marketing, with every spread prompting the reader to move online. The team have also created a responsive ‘content wall’ that repurposes the magazine’s content and adds exclusive online stories.
Research has shown that reader understanding of the client and its industry is up, with initial stats for the content wall showing that average reading times are high. “In a short space of time, this multiplatform approach has really paid off,” said the judges. “It’s a fantastic example of how print and digital can complement each other well.”
14. Best Brochure/Catalogue
Winner > Butlins Family Brochure 2013 > Butlins > August
2013 was a pivotal year in Butlins history. The 77-year-old company underwent a complete rebrand, with new communication guidelines and a dramatic new look and feel. This new look and feel had to be incorporated into its latest brochure, with a brief to break all perceptions of the family holiday brand.
This was achieved using a modern retro design and a new editorial structure, with real families interviewed and photographed to make them the heroes of the brochure. And it worked: those that booked having requested a brochure spent significantly more than those that didn’t, while the conversation rate also dwarfed the regular DM rate. “This completely transforms your perception of the brand,” said the judges. “From the very first page, it grabs the attention and delivers plenty of inspiration.”
15. Designer of the year
Winner > Sam Walker > Lloyd’s of London > Sunday
This year’s top designer award goes to a creative who has taken a dry subject – risk management – and transformed it into a striking piece of content that leaps off the page. Sam Walker had the brief of designing Market, the thought leadership magazine produced for specialist insurance company Lloyd’s of London, a title that needs to communicate the complex world of risk in a clear and simple way.
His solution was to create a modern visual style that featured everything from concept-driven illustration and original portrait photography to typographic treatments and evocative library shots. The result was a hit with the client and the magazine’s readership, with the majority describing the look and feel as premium and innovative. The judges were unanimous in their decision to give Sam the award, saying that “the balance of text and illustration is perfect, while the publication is a fantastic use of the format.”
16. Editor of the Year
Winner > Kerry Smith > BA High Life > British Airways > Cedar
Following its triumph in the Best Travel & Leisure category, BA High Life continues its fantastic night with an individual award for its editor, Kerry Smith. Kerry has piloted the title through a demanding year, overseeing not only a radical overhaul, but also the extension of magazine content into the digital space.
The key to Kerry’s success is in the consistent quality of the magazine. New sections have been introduced, featuring fantastic stories told in fascinating detail, alongside a design ethic that’s set the bar high not only for inflight magazines, but the entire magazine market. Such efforts have been rewarded with increased reader engagement and ad revenues.
“This is intelligent and captivating editorial produced by an obvious talent,” said the judges. “The magazine goes toe-to-toe with its paid-for rivals and more than delivers on its commercial objectives.”
Highly commended > Ben Walker > Professional Manager > Chartered Management Institute > Think
17. Best use of Photography
Winner > ‘Keep It Simple’ > John Lewis Edition > John Lewis > John Brown
The magazine title for the high-street giant is so packed full of great photography, it seems an impossible task to single out a specific feature. But the ‘Keep It Simple’ story in the Spring 2013 issue excels in its positioning of John Lewis as a serious fashion player.
From the cover onwards, the photography expertly reflects the new simple trend in a striking contemporary way. Every detail was planned to encapsulate the theme. Photography such as this has helped John Lewis Edition to have a big impact on sales, with an obvious sales uplift on fashion products featured in the title.
“Every shot is beautiful in this piece,” said the judges. “It really brings out the brand, with the imagery as seamless as the customer experience in-store.”
18. Best use of Illustration
Winner > The 100 Club > Club Wembley > Seven
Produced for executive box holders at Wembley Stadium, this annual publication aims to provide its readers with fresh and timeless content that makes them feel part of an exclusive club. As well as increasing loyalty on the part of the members, the publication aims to generate as much exposure and publicity for Club Wembley to assist the FA in its seasonal push to attract new members.
This year, the plan was to commission a series of artworks to celebrate the seven England players who have reached the unique achievement of making 100 appearances for their country (‘The 100 Cap Club’). These artworks would then form the basis of an exhibition and auction for charities close to Wembley’s heart, the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Bobby Moore Fund. Renowned and award-winning artists were commissioned to create the artwork, from urban artist Matthew Small creating a portrait of Ashley Cole using found materials to a Biro portrait of World Cup-winner Sir Bobby Charlton drawn on a genuine 1966 newspaper.
“These artworks perfectly capture the history and passion of these footballing icons,” said the judges. “It also shows how illustration can be powerful enough to drive an entire campaign.”
19. Best use of Video Content
Winner > 325 Years of Lloyd’s > Lloyd’s of London > Sunday
Video content has exploded over the past few years and many brands are now understanding the power it can have over customers and the high levels of engagement it can produce. Insurance specialists Lloyd’s of London are among these brands, and its their ‘325 Years of Lloyd’s’ video that really impressed the judges this year.
The short video shows the key moments in the history of Lloyds, from Edward Lloyd’s maritime predictions from a London coffee house to its adventures in space 300 years later. But while the facts are entertaining enough, it’s the simple animation that gives the video real depth and emotion, giving the viewer a fascinating story and unique insight into the company.
Published at the end of July, the video gained thousands of views in a short space of time, boosting traffic to the client’s website. “This is a very clever yet simple film that is excellent throughout,” said the judges. “It really grabs then holds the attention.”
Highly commended > The World’s Fastest > Mazda > Redwood
20. Launch of the year
Winner > Impact > Market Research Society > CPL
In a year peppered with high-profile content launches, Impact stood head and shoulders above them all simply because it had a very tangible sense of being something new. The quarterly publication, produced for members of the Market Research Society, aims to take a bold approach to the market research industry and allow big topics to be explored, analysed and shared.
The magazine was true to its title, providing unique content that looked ahead rather than reporting the past, surprising and inspiring its readership while becoming the voice of the industry. Top names within marketing such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Patrick Barwise and Jeremy Bullmore agreed to be interviewed, and the annual advertising target was exceeded within the first quarter.
“There are some fantastic names in here,” agreed the judges. “The title is credible and follows through with elegant content execution and some great results.”