A view from Lucy Couillaud, Marcom Manager.
In November 2012 I had an interesting conversation with Henry Lucas, our Account Director on the Sky business. He had an idea for running internal planning awards, which he felt would be beneficial for a number of reasons. First and foremost he felt that it would be an amazing resource for us; that we’re always looking for case studies and this would be a perfect way to create a bank of them. The awards would also be an effective way of showcasing work internally, across all departments so that we all got a better idea of the work that each department produces. We also discussed incentivising planners to challenge their current behaviour, analysing their output and searching for results – basically developing an atmosphere where they are always striving for excellence. Finally, we discussed encouraging friendly competition between the planners and giving prizes to the winners – the ‘reward’ in rewarding connections. Within hours the idea was pitched to the board and the wheels put in motion – with the 2012 awards eventually becoming a well-received success.
Fast forward to October 2013 and while we wanted the core values behind the RPAs to remain the same, we were also a year wiser and so we looked to implement some slight tweaks to the original format. Firstly we wanted the RPAs to have a more prestigious feel, so instead of an all internal judging panel we introduced three external judges: Barry Louth, Head of Media Planning at BskyB; Adam Morton, Managing Partner, Client Services at UM London; and Mungo Knott, Marketing & Insight Director at Primesight. They sat alongside Rapport’s MD, Chris Marjoram, and the RPA founder Henry Lucas.
The second change to the format was that we reduced the number of planning categories to two – Best Use of Innovation and Best Strategic Use of OOH – to make way for a Best Supporting Role category for our non-planning departments to show-off their vital work. The final award was the Grand Prix – honouring one of the winning entries as the overall outstanding piece of work from the year.
Watching the floor prepare their entries was a hugely warming process. After the inevitable grumbles about the added workload, people worked tirelessly to perfect their entries which were to be two tiered – a written award and a visual representation of the written work. 78% of eligible staff entered and their diligence was reflected in the quality of the entries that were received by the judging panel. Each entry represented masses of graft, both in terms of the initial planning and the entries themselves. It was also clear to see that one of Henry’s original objectives – encouraging friendly competition between planners – was absolutely achieved as people locked themselves away in rooms, and turned to our sister agencies for stats and quotes to enrich their entries in an attempt to beat their team mates!
Once the judges packs had been assembled and sent out, judging day – or Judgement Day as I liked to call it – was upon us. The panel met at the top of Centre Point, a suitably impressive venue with breath-taking vistas of London as the backdrop to some animated discussion. Interestingly, even though the debate throughout the afternoon was hot, in all categories the winners were unanimously voted in.
On the night of the Rapport Christmas Party under the babble and clink of festive cheer, the winners of the RPAs 2013 were announced:
Best Use of Innovation: Microsoft Office 365 entered by Laura Edwards – the judges felt it had an outstanding approach, integrating many different pieces of innovation that all fell in-line with the core campaign objective.
Best Strategic Use of OOH: Microsoft Nokia Lumia 1020 by Natasha Rufus-Smith – which clearly outlined the challenge, objectives and target audience, and how Route and other data-sets were used to define a clear role for OOH and an outstanding campaign.
Best Supporting Role: Sky Summer by Faye Alligan. Barry Louth, Head of Media Planning at Sky commented on this entry: The Sky entry reinforced the confidence we have in the team at Rapport. I was absolutely humbled by the intricate detail and the sheer volume of work that this person deals with. As a client I haven’t previously had any contact with this department but having read this entry I have absolute faith and confidence in their management. On behalf of Sky, thank you very much for your commitment and keep up the good work.
Grand Prix Winner: Microsoft Office 365 entered by Laura Edwards. The judges were well aligned on this decision, feeling that this entry was very well rounded and incredibly well presented. It followed clear objectives and truly addressed what it set out to achieve with the media actually becoming the message. It also detailed a very positive results section with various client and agency support quotes.
The awards entries this year were a testament to the hard work that Rapport staff have put in over 2013 and were hugely impressive, not least because it was only the second year the RPAs have run. We look forward to a successful year of planning in 2014 and another exciting year of awards in time for the 2014 Christmas Bash… best get organising it now!