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Top Tips From Our Judges

WE ASKED OUR JUDGES: 'WHAT MAKES AN AWARD ENTRY STAND OUT?'

We’ve collated our experts' answers below to give you the best chance of success.

Charlotte Dahl, Creative Director at Woodreed

 

This will be my third time as a judge on the Engage Awards panel. If you want to stand out, then wow me with your strategy AND your creativity. I like to see entries where organisations have been brave and tried something different. Be marvellous, not meh.

Any tips… Answer the questions! I see a lot of entries where the questions haven’t really been addressed. We give each section a mark out of 10, so make sure you answer them all as thoroughly as you can as they all count. Also, as judges we have a lot of entries to read through, so try to engage us with your first opening lines. Be creative in your telling of the story of your campaign, initiative, or programme.

 

Frazer Rendell, Founder of e-trinity

 

This is the third year that I will be judging these awards and I will be looking for people to show me that they are passionate about what they have done and why they did it. I once sat in front of a CEO who asked me if what I was proposing would win him an award, without even considering the benefit to the staff. I want to see entries from companies/organisations who are interested in more than just the silverware in their cabinet.

  1. Please answer the question. There are so many times when I end up giving lower marks because the submission does not answer the question. 
  2. If you are entering for more than one category, adapt the submission to meet the different requirements for each category.
  3. In most cases, telling me you have won other awards for this work is not relevant as that award criteria may have been different to this award criteria.  
  4. Provide measurable evidence instead of comments such as 'engagement went up', or 'customers were happier’.

Gerry Brown, the Chief Customer Rescue Officer at The Customer Lifeguard

 

An awards entry stands out when its focus is unequivocally on measurable and quantifiable customer benefits, when there is clear evidence of it being a community effort with everyone in the organisation taking a role, and especially that it has both the ongoing focus and support of senior leaders.

I’d follow the advice in the previous questions and ensure that you include both anecdotal (customer/employee quotes) and statistical evidence of success and that you keep the self-congratulatory comments and marketing bumph (We are the number 1, the most experienced, the best, blah blah blah) to a minimum.

Jo Dodds, Co-Strategy Director at Engage for Success

 

One that has been entered into the right category and with all the questions answered is a good start. Then it’s about solid benefits with a focus on making a great place to work. It’s really good too when thought has clearly gone into which supporting documents / media to include to best showcase the entry.

Go for it. Just going through the process will be a valuable experience and, who knows, you might win!

Karine Cardona-Smits, CX and Design Expert

 

An award entry stands out to me when it combines three elements: 

  1. A good problem statement. Don’t be shy highlighting the issues you are trying to tackle, give me a good understanding of the problem with some evidence-based elements to it that will help me grasp what you were dealing with and how important it was for your organisation.
  2. A clear approach to it: What did you set up to tackle your problem? Who did you involve? How did you proceed? How did you plan to measure success? I am interested in your thinking and in everything you did – including what did not work. Don’t hide the bumps in the road, I want to know about them. Tell me what you learned from them and how you course corrected.
  3. And finally, the outcomes you achieved. Bring some tangible evidence to them, both quantitative and qualitative.   

Avoid the sales pitch in your application. Those awards are about the change you created to improve experiences with your customers, your employees and/or your partners. We are looking for good stories that can inspire others to also try something different in their organisations. 

Mike Owen, Managing Director at Mike Owen Media

 

An entry stands out for me if it shows passion, commitment and engagement with the subject and isn’t just a box filling exercise. I want to be surprised and delighted when I read an entry that demonstrates real understanding of the subject and how to communicate that.

Having been an awards judge in other areas, I am conscious that the simple things are a good starting point. Effectively ensure you’ve covered the relevant ground, don’t add items that aren’t needed but include some special insight that may stand you apart from your fellow entrants.

 

Nick Brice, CEO at Soul Corporations

 

What stands out are projects that help people be their best selves in delivering success.

Be clear on the outcomes you aimed for with your project, and how you successfully met the identified challenges with real innovation and commitment.

Victoria Silverman, Head of Communications at the Financial Markets Standards Board.

I’ve been judging the Engage Awards for a number of years, and I always set myself a mental challenge to see which entries I remember after I’ve read them all. They’re the stand-out ones, the entries I wish I’d thought of doing in my various roles. I always learn so much and salute all the entrants. I’m looking for originality, simplicity, and chutzpah.

Be authentic. Realise that the judges aren’t there to be impressed but rather to see a narrative unfold whereby your audience went on a journey that led to real and lasting change in customer and employee engagement. The Engage Award team put a lot of effort into creating the platform to allow that narrative to flow in each category. Give me something with a kick rather than a campaign that’s slick, any day.

 

“Winning the Engage Award was so exciting – what an amazing event! To be recognised for innovation in listening to our employees and success in driving engagement is fantastic.”
Head of Employee Engagement, Balfour Beatty
“We’re SO proud to have our Customer Happiness Team recognised for the amazing work they do. Being named Best Customer Service team puts the official stamp of excellence on all of the team’s hard work – thank you!”
Head of Services, Naked Wines
“We were honoured to be recognised by the Engage Awards especially amongst our peers that are doing incredible work in the customer engagement space.”
Digital Platform Product Lead, Coutts

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