Archive for Awards

Now there are no winners…

Back in August, we wrote “And the loser is…” about how in recruitment awards you now only get to see the winning entry and none of the other nominations/shortlist/finalists/whichever. In recent award events, that situation has changed. Now you don’t even get to see anything about the winner. Apart from their logo. Oh, and the people who go up on stage to collect said awards. Brilliant. So what won? Why? Who knows. Does anyone care?

Now there’s always a huge appetite for case studies. Are award-winning entries not such evidence of successful practice, if they’ve been entered and judged properly? Especially as they’re judged by a panel of peers, rather than an organisation or agency’s take on their own project, aren’t these the shining examples that should be taken notice of? So why In-house Recruitment Awards and The Firm Awards have they been ‘hidden away’? The only people to take advantage of seeing the winning entries being the judges themselves. Great, eh?

One argument may be that the winners aren’t ‘visual’ but strategic or people based. So? Can a strategy not be demonstrated in more than a couple of lines on a website or a random link to the winning company’s career site. Plenty of the entries are visual, so what is the excuse for those? At least represent them in some way that shows and tells why they were the best.

Is winning all that matters nowadays? OK, let’s try this. Imagine if last year’s Olympics had been held behind closed doors. You just saw lists of the finalists and then the name of the winner. That would have been enthralling and inspiring, wouldn’t it?

100 not out


Last week marked something of a personal highlight with the winning of my 100th award at the Recruitment Business Awards 2013.

(Not to mention, Award 101 too – but that maybe the theme for a later post.)

It got me thinking.

That after 20 years in the recruitment marketing industry, should I still be creating award-winning work? Shouldn’t there be a new generation (or two) producing better?

That when I started working in recruitment comms – digital, websites and social media – all the areas that, as an agency, we have embraced over the past years didn’t even exist. And now look at them.

That you can never stop learning. We saw the potential of Social Media over 4 years ago and began seeing how we could utilise it for recruitment. Starting from scratch, not case studies. Learning all the way, while the more cautious watched from the sidelines and only now are putting a toe in.

That the only awards worth winning, are for work that actually ‘worked’. Not just looked pretty. But work that ‘looks pretty’ and actually generated results, they’re the ones.

That you can never set out to produce an award-winning piece. It never happens. Start thinking this is the one and it never will be. Start thinking ‘I want to create the best work I can’. And it may have a chance.

That you can never disregard the ‘big idea’. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tweet or a global careers site, it should always be based on an idea. Not an execution. Not a new piece of tech. An idea that connects to the target audience.

And finally, that it’s great to be hands on. It keeps you closer to what works. Closer to the audience. Closer to what’s important. Closer to reality. And, who knows, maybe closer to Award No. 102?

And the loser is…

Earlier this year we asked ‘Can Awards devalue Awards?’ In short, are there too many for the Recruitment industry and are they worth the win? Since then, how many of these events have extended their entry deadlines ‘due to demand’? Seriously. How many appear to have as many shortlisted as there probably have been entered? A few. And how many have been cancelled? Well, as of yesterday, the answer to the last question is one. Your Food Jobs People Awards is no more. Apparently, due to much interest but lack of entries. All of this after only appearing on the awards scene last year. Does this mean this sector is lethargic about entering or that there is no ‘work’ deemed worthy of doing so?

And it’s not just in them. The MAP Grocer Awards (formerly known as the GRAMIAs) has completely dropped its recruitment category for this year – although they have retained all the other branding and marketing ones. Again, is the Grocery sector not producing award-worthy work – or just not enough ‘quantity’  to justify a category?

Bigger picture? Are there now too many award schemes for what appears to be a diminishing pool of ‘award-winning’ work? It’s going to be interesting to see how the world of In-house Recruiter awards fares in the future as this appears to be a growth area this year.  Are the normal supporters of these awards – the recruitment comms agencies – more interested in sponsoring these events than concentrating on the ‘day job’ of working with companies to produce such work and strategies? Or are they being superseded and bypassed by the ‘D-I-Y’ culture that social media has encouraged?

It’s not just the winners…

…what about the Highly Commended at the CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards? Or even the other finalists for that matter? Seeing the standard of entries at awards is how the bar is supposedly kept high. Recognising the best work in a year. Judging if you think it deserved it. Debating if you think it didn’t. What was also important was comparing it to the rest of the nominations/shortlist. Something the CIPD have now obviously decided to forget.

On the night there was no work displayed until the winners were approaching the stage. Not throughout the evening. Not during the shortlist announcement. And definitely not in the awards brochure afterwards. Agency and client logos do not a shortlist excitement make. By default we know some of the work that was shortlisted by reputation (or should that be by the RADs approach of highlighting some of the same shortlisted entries during their dinner earlier this year).

Press is dying and yet there were 5 shortlisted, wouldn’t it have been great to see how they compared with the golden age of print? How about digital? Websites? Social media? Effectiveness? All much talked about sectors of recruitment, all just represented by one example on the night. Then there was copywriting, with only 2 shortlisted it begs what the second place was like. (And a more pertinent question of why there were only two in the first place, but that’s for another time perhaps.)

Is it now becoming awards for awards sake? That it’s more important to know who won rather than what won. The ‘work’ and what it represents should be the most important factor celebrated at any awards. In this goldfish attention-span world, can we only remember one piece of work? And forget the rest?

It’s all about the uniqueness… of your employer brand

These days it’s hard for an employer brand to stand out. Everyone wants to be seen as a Great Place To Work, naturally. EVPs seemingly aren’t USPs any more but generic lists of corporate buzzwords that everyone uses. And portraying a unique brand across social media is a challenge in itself.

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With EAT. the employer brand came from the brand values – we’ve covered that before the last CIPD RMAs when it was voted Best Employer Brand. Since then, for the last 2 years, that brand has been ‘living’ across social media. Unique hashtags have bought it, and more relevantly, the recruitment needs to life. Everything from Airport vacancies to students for part-time positions, have been ‘advertised’. Eash with their own unique theme, but every one reinforcing and building on the overall employer brand. Gone are the old skool days of separate campaigns, that used to appear in the press, which were unrelated to the main recruitment strategy because they were for ‘difficult to recruit’ skills/areas. Nowadays, it should be seamless. There are too many different channels to keep using different messages. It’s so easy to do that. But it’s so confusing. It might be hard work to keep the brand consistent but it’s so worth it.

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But what about an employer without a real image? How about one with famous brands? Mr Muscle. Toilet Duck. Glade. We’ve all heard of those brands but the company behind them? That’s SC Johnson. A worldwide FMCG business that has always cared for the environment and its people – way before it was the popular thing to do. They have a truly unique culture. The people who work for SCJ are given huge responsibility and are empowered to work with an integrity that runs to the core of the entire business. That’s a real USP.

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One that we demonstrated through ‘Responsible Careers’. Their people sold the business – no corporate fluff. That demonstrates real responsibility. Infographic animations created a unique presentation. SCintillating facts revealed on the website reinforced their difference as an employer. A visual style that went through everything from attraction to internal comms to employee birthday cards and a celebration cake. That’s how an employer brand can say a lot.

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So, think what your EVP says about you. Look at what your employer brand implies. Now does all of that come across in everything that you do?

EAT is shortlisted in Best use of Digital Media in Recruitment at the Digiawards tonight. Then tomorrow at the CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards, the EAT #hashtag campaigns are shortlisted in Best use of Social Media, while SC Johnson is in contention for the Best Employer Brand category. Everything is crossed.

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