Stringer: awards help brands attract the right people to their businesses
Stringer: awards help brands attract the right people to their businesses
A view from Nick Stringer

Why marketers should care about creative awards

As a peer-led affirmation of what 'good' looks like, awards can attract the top talent to the winning agencies and, in turn, benefit the brands...

Awards. Rewards. We all need them. From a light pat on the back to the hefty weight of a Lion; it's the most direct form of recognition you'll get for a job well done. I agree with a post recently that suggested we all deserve a return on good work beyond our salary or seeing positive shifts in a client's bottom line. Awards are the marketing industry's ROI.

Cannes is the one that really matters, though. A week of celebrations. Category after category. Chaos reigns and out of it comes the magic. Past colleagues reunited, wonderfully embellished stories shared in improbable places. The names of people who make good stuff get passed from black book to mobile phone. Connections are made and positivity abounds. Then everyone gets smashed. And why not?

The power of ideas

Creativity is about ideas, and ideas are what help build great businesses. The link between commercials and the commercials is measured in real time. There’s nowhere to hide as we find our feet in this era of performance marketing, where campaigns are constantly optimised via daily dashboards and hourly updates, rather than instincts, hunches and assertions. The trust in people has now shifted to a trust in the numbers, and there remains the risk that they become the principal tool we use to make decisions. The teams that sit either side of the brief have to have the conviction required to stick their necks out and run at the unpredictable, rather than settle on the predictable.

The teams that sit either side of the brief have to have the conviction required to stick their necks out and run at the unpredictable, rather than settle on the predictable.

Ideas have always been important. Now, the ability to have a greater number of people who are able to spot them is critical. People who care enough to protect them and pursue them have never been more vital to our industries. Awards are an important way of recognising those who have stretched their necks out, and a visceral reminder to us all of what these things called ideas look like. It’s not the metal you are proud of as an award-winner, it’s the fact that your peers have endorsed your view of what 'good' looks like. Success breeds success, and this recognition builds the confidence that enables you to keep sticking your neck out and backing your judgement.

Talent attracts talent

It's not necessarily the done thing to overplay awards within most non-agency organisations, but it's the Lions and the Pencils, the Arrows, the Showy ones and the Big ones that not only celebrate ideas, but also attract talent. It draws in the people who notice that sort of thing and appreciate environments that are doing interesting work and are evidently ideas-driven; people we all need. It's what lures the extraordinary talent that agencies put in front of us marketers with endless problems that need solving. And let's be clear, the talented people that our creative agency, Grey London, continues to bring to Hatton Garden are as important to us at News UK as they are to Grey.

Brands also need to attract the right people to their businesses. When I met our News UK grads last summer it was telling to hear that their impression of our brands was not formed purely by the products. They often knew us more though our advertising and creative work. Grey's brilliant, multi-award-winning (among them a Gold Lion) 'Fat Cats' campaign, for the Sunday Times 'Rich List', was recalled by all of them.

So, long live awards. Be they bait, recognition, an endorsement, a negotiation tool, a piece of PR or the ingredients that make an agency's creds, I reckon they are good for us all.