Which is more important: creative awards, or effectiveness and ROI?

May 11th, 2018
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Is it better to be flashy (and earn new business after the ceremony), or to be data-focused (and earn your client’s loyalty through a sustained ROI)?


Ally Behr, Design Director

Awards exist because they are one of the few ways great creative can be measured, and recognized. It’s a way to say to your clients “We are better than anyone else at this shit.”

They help teams to work towards a common goal, and when you’re bringing home Golds, you’ve got camaraderie. Awards help attract and retain great talent, promote healthy competition and create a sense of external recognition to those who are putting in the grind.

Winning makes yo’ mama proud! They give the space for creatives to create something great, and feel fulfilled. They can help attract new business and better projects, as they are ultimately free advertising. Awards give us the opportunity to benchmark ourselves against competitors, for the most part (as award-spend, connections and manpower are still major factors, which unfortunately often keeps major players at an advantage).

As for effectiveness? I’ll end with a quote: “For work to really cut through and drive a step change in performance, it has to be highly disruptive. And one of the primary ways of achieving disruption is through creativity.” – Jeff Dodds, TalkTalk MD for Mobile.

Effectiveness and ROI

Paul Coetzer, Strategic Director

The only way an agency or business consultancy can prove its mettle is through the return on investment of campaigns or initiatives. And while there are generic indicators that will keep some clients happy, measuring effectiveness in terms of the profit earned from an advertising/marketing/business investment, is the only real way to know whether initiatives are working or not.

USA department-store magnate, John Wanamaker, is often quoted as saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” True that, as Wanamaker lived before the advent of digital, and traditional advertising using campaigns billboards, television and radio ads, even direct mail, are much harder to track than digital tactics.

I will concede that stand-out creative work can affect short term change in brand awareness and attraction levels, or drive consumers to action. But to truly maximise sustained, long-term profit and accelerated growth, businesses need to continuously track effectiveness – as data is the only key to unlocking customer lifetime value. Anything else is just pulling levers in the dark.

The verdict?

With enough creativity and grit, anything can be achieved. It is possible to create campaigns and work for clients that fulfill direct business objectives as well as the more “ephemeral” campaign objectives. And the best part? You can most certainly enter these campaigns into award ceremonies, if you embodied these objectives through memorable creative, and were meticulous around documenting the campaign’s successes.

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