Award Winners: Rising Star, Tom Cornish
In addition to the awards for campaigns and media, the CMA Awards also offers individuals the chance to shine. Editor of the year and Designer are up for grabs alongside an award introduced for the first time last year for ‘Rising Star’ – the person under the age of 30 who have demonstrated they have played an important part in their company’s content marketing success.
In 2017 the clear winner was Tom Cornish, the Influencer Marketing Director from Wavemaker.
Tom has already notched up an impressive career working with both PR and media agencies, but he thinks that the move to Wavemaker gave him an opportunity to make his mark.
“Since being at Wavemaker I’ve become more prominent in what the business does, so it’s opened up some big opportunities for me,” explains Tom. “I’ve moved over to focusing on influencer marketing more recently, which is a big strand of what we do as a content practice.”
“The influencer marketing practice works across the whole business,” adds Tom. “So we work for big clients, but because influencer marketing is quite agile, quick to activate, relatively inexpensive compared to something like TV – it also means we work with a lot of our smaller clients. So, we have done campaigns for a train operator called C2C, which has had some brilliant success. They actually got silver in the Content Marketing Awards last year for an influencer campaign in the Best Use of Monetised Content category.”
Wavemaker entered many CMA awards in 2017 and it was Abi Morrish, Head of Digital Engagement at Wavemaker, who pushed Tom into entering for rising star.
“We have a marketing department within the agency, and one of the responsibilities of that department is to find relevant awards for us to take part in. And it was through my boss at the time, Abi Morrish, that I f got wind of the CMA Rising Star award.”
“She, for better or worse, thought that I could do it. And she said, ‘you should put yourself forward for this.’ To be honest, I don’t think I would have, without her giving me that nudge.”
Together Abi and Tom filled out the application highlighting some of the excellent work that Wavemaker in general, and Tom in particular, had done in the previous year.
“I talked a lot about the C2C work that we’d done, because that was being submitted at the same awards. Also, we talked quite a lot about some of the new business stuff that we’d done.”
“I was also doing a lot of planning, helping our teams to work on social content, to have a bit of strategic direction in what they were going to do over the course of the year. So, we talked quite a lot about that stuff and the impact that those changes and strategies had had on the brands.”
Although Tom clearly had a really strong entry he admits to feeling “gobsmacked” when on the night his name was called.
Bit of a blur
“My first reaction was that they were just putting up the names of everybody else before the person who’d won. And in my head, was just, ‘well that’s not me.’ And it’s genuinely just a blur from that point until later when there was this short piece to camera afterwards out back, and that was kind of when I was back in the room. It was amazing, really. I did not see it coming.”
Many companies, when they win awards have established practices for sharing the good news, which means pushing the news out to the media and sharing across social channels. With the Rising Star award Wavemaker’s approach was more nuanced.
“It’s been more organic, because I wouldn’t really have wanted to be trotted out by Wavemaker and used as a marketing tool, and I think that they are respectful of that,” explains Tom.
From a career perspective too winning an award can be transformative.
“The award has raised my profile internally and people are now more aware of who I am.,” adds Tom. “There’s been, people contacting me on there and congratulating me – people I’ve worked with in the past, which is really nice.”
Finally Tom has some advice for people entering the awards this year. “I think you need to have a story, I think you need to have a reason for winning the award, over and above the numbers, and performance of the work that you’ve done.”