The Influencer Marketing Awards ceremony is taking place on 9th June at the glamorous Sheraton Grand. If you would like to see yourself standing on the stage collecting a trophy for your team, then who better to share their advice on what makes a stand-out entry than those who selected last year’s winners?

Beckii Flint, Co-Founder of Pepper Studio, and Vik Khagram, Senior Account Director of Influencer Relation at Ketchum sat on the IMA judging panel in 2021 where they shared their expertise and opinions on a great selection of campaigns that were in the running. Ultimately, there can only be one gold winner in each category, and Beckii and Vik are here to share some insight into what will put your campaign above the rest.

If you have been sitting on the fence as to whether to enter, there is no better time than now to download the entry kit, sit down with your team, and get planning.

What did the judges think were the stand-out campaigns in 2021?

Beckii, along with many of the judges, was blown away by the Hellman’s Animal Crossing by Ogilvy. She said, “I believe creativity is the key to unlocking the best results, and hijacking our lockdown cultural obsession with a slice-of-life game like Animal Crossing was an immersive way to involve audiences in addressing a serious message about food waste.”

Beckii noted how the campaign was not superficial, and that the team behind the campaign had truly understood the game’s mechanics, and harnessed them in a way that could relate in-game problems to real-life issues.

There were two campaigns that really stood out to Vik, firstly, Pantene: My Hair Won’t Be Silenced. Vik was excited to see how this campaign sparked emotive content, powerful responses from consumers, and incredible results. He added, “The blend of talent used, including experts in the area, was also great to see. It was wonderful to see such a powerful message being shared far and wide.”

Colgate’s Pout Free campaign also sparked Vik’s interest as it took something as iconic as a runway show at London Fashion Week, which historically has leaned towards a traditional format, and turned it into a powerful social media message encouraging people to smile instead of pout.

The top criteria for a winning campaign

For both Beckii and Vik, the future of our culture depends upon diversity and inclusivity, and this should be reflected in the campaigns that are in the running to be award winners.

Vik said, “It’s very easy to ‘pay and play’ by creating content and using targeting, but will that content resonate with its target audience if the selection of influencers is off the mark?

“Also, representation matters, and giving influencers from different backgrounds a chance to showcase their skills is massively important to help them grow their audience and fame in an industry that is still tackling unconscious bias.”

Vik believes that content will always be king, but when judging an entry, a good influencer marketing campaign reflects in both the results and statistics and the quality of content produced.

Beckii agrees that entries that display research, growth, and statistics to match really stand out, but as well as this innovation and bravery are what can push you from a Bronze or Silver award to a Gold. She says, “Seeing brands take risks and stepping out of their comfort zone in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack is something we should applaud, especially within our industry.”

How can winning an IMA benefit you?

Beckii can speak from experience when discussing how winning an Influencer Marketing Award can benefit you and your team. Beckii and her team at Pepper Studio took home awards for Best Boutique Agency and Most Effective Campaign for ROI in 2021.

Delighted about the wins, Beckii said, “We knew that we were creating impressive work, and our clients could see that too. However, still being quite a young business, it was difficult to ensure that outsiders could see what we are capable of without showing them first-hand. Vetted by the expert panel of judges from across the industry, winning our awards was a way for us to celebrate our successes, and prove the quality of our hard work beyond our organic reach.”

Vik notes that although ‘influencer’ is often included as a sub-category in other marketing and PR awards, the IMAs really elevate influencer marketing as a specialism. He adds, “Brands and agencies can celebrate the fantastic work they do within influencer marketing and hero their teams involved in creating impactful campaigns. They can also help build a legacy for the specialism as it continues to grow.”

So now that you’re all set with tips from the judges themselves, what are you waiting for? Download the entry kit and be sure to submit your best in class entries before 14th March to be in with a chance of securing an accolade at the Influencer Marketing Awards 2022.

You can also explore last year’s Book of the Night to discover why the judges selected the deserving Gold winners.

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