Tag Archives: Tips

How First-Year PR Students Can Stand Out: Lessons from Michelle McTeague, Publicity Manager at Shaw Media

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As the first year of my public relations program comes to an end, I now understand the importance of securing an internship in the field. An internship in PR allows you to hit the ground running, get hands-on experience and really get a feel for the industry.

That’s why it’s important that, as first years, we bring our “A” game to interviews and always leave a great impression on potential employers. Though graduation is still three years away, it’s never too early to start preparing for internship opportunities.

Michelle McTeague, Publicity Manager at Shaw Media, offered us her advice at this stage in our professional careers, speaking from experience and her in-depth knowledge of the industry. After graduating from Durham College with an Advanced Diploma in Public Relations, Michelle accepted a publicity internship at Bell Media. She went on to hold positions at TIFF, Dancap Productions Inc., and FLIP Publicity & Promotions Inc. Today, as a publicity manager, her portfolio includes Food Network Canada, Showcase, Slice, and Lifetime.

Here is Michelle’s expert advice on how first-year PR students can prepare for their internships, and really stand out from the competition.

What can a student do to make their resume stand out?

It has to be attention grabbing, great format, unique and uses keywords. Your resume also has to be error-free, make sure to always spellcheck. It has to be as detailed as possible and very strategic.

What are the key documents/materials to have in your portfolio?

A cover letter that is tailored to the specific job position, key writing samples, mock releases, event flow, and mock event. A range of your writing shows the employer your thought process, how you were being strategic and how you leverage different social media platforms and other tools.

Many first-year PR students may not feel the need to think about their internships right now. Why is it important to start preparing for your internship in the beginning of your program?

Preparing now gives you a sense of where you want to start. Networking and keeping in contact with the employer is also very important since it could be where you first officially begin working in PR. Also, be passionate about what you want, it will show in your work.

Are there any specific extra-curricular activities that employers look for on a resume that first-year PR students should be involved in now?

Employers look at any extracurricular activities that enable you to showcase some of your skills. However, make sure you identify and draw out what is relevant to the job. Also, include what sets you apart from the competition. Personal development should never stop.

Can you outline the expectations vs. reality when it comes to internships?

Don’t have too many expectations. Go into any opportunity with the mindset that you are a sponge, you want to learn and absorb as much as possible. Instead of expectations have a set of objectives. For example, “By the time I finish my internship at Google, I want to know how to write an effective press release.”

Are there any skills you think we should focus on now to prepare for internships?

Time management, prioritization, organizational skills and communication skills are very important skills to hone and to have. When it comes to prioritizing, if you’re not sure what’s most important to complete, or how to prioritize a long list of tasks, never hesitate to ask your employer or professors for advice.

What precautions should first-years have online when entering this industry?

Think before you do anything!

How can first-year PR students build or improve their social media presence or personal brand?

Share your interests, and think of how you can be your own publicist. You could also showcase your favourite brands in positive ways (like in a blog post!).

What sector would be the most beneficial for a first-time intern? Agency, in-house, corporate…?

A great place for first-year PR students to start, especially when you’re young, is agency. Be prepared to give your all! Finding the right placement can be rewarding professionally. If you’re not sure where you want to work, base the decision on your heart-of-hearts and the products you want to promote. Try everything to find out what you want. Also, remember doors never close!

Written by: Tomiko Stanton is a first-year student at Humber College, in the Bachelor of Public Relations program.

Judging the ACE Awards, a researcher’s perspective

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Friday February 26 is the deadline to submit to this year’s ACE Awards and returning judge, Lisa Covens, vice president of communications and public affairs at Leger, discussed her marking style and approach to judging this year’s campaigns.

Before stepping up as a judge, Lisa would attend the ACE Awards to support the clients who used Leger and the research they conducted for the award winning campaigns. When the opportunity came up to be one of the esteemed ACE judges, Lisa took it and started doing something she had never done before.

Lisa shared with us her strategy to marking submissions and to help prepare this year’s hopeful campaigns. Here are some highlights from her interview:

On her judging approach

“My focus will be on the RACE formula.” Research and evaluation jump at her the most.

On what makes a campaign stand out

“Today, campaigns are now so integrated – videos and visuals – which allow people to be very inclusive in their submission. Not only is the winning campaign sharp, but there’s something special about them. It is supported with research, includes creativity, success was measured and explained and overall well-executed.”

On the importance of submitting to the ACE Awards

As a returning judge for the third year in a row, Lisa listed why it is important to submit to recognitions awards such as CPRS Toronto’s ACE Awards:

  • Keeps public relations professionals on top of their game throughout the year
  • This isn’t done in market research so this a an opportunity worth taking advantage of
  • Provides a good reflection on the campaign – when summarizing a submission it makes you think of the campaign from beginning to end
  • Outline and learn from the issues encountered
  • And of course, recognition is always a good thing

On one piece advice for this year’s submissions

“It’s a shame when we mark a submission and it’s so creative and clear but misses a part of the requirements. Doing that will take you out of the running for the gold.”

TIP: Ask someone, who was not part of the campaign, to review the guideline and checklist. Ensure all the components are included because anything can be overlooked and the missing section will be marked with a zero.

On what she is looking forward too

“One aspect of the ACE Awards I really enjoy is the Best In Show judging day. That day, candidates are on top on their game. You get to witness great presenters and great speakers. I take away so much and I even receive insight on how to be a better presenter. It is such an inspiring night.”

One last thing: “Keep up the great work!”

 

Follow Lisa Covens on Twitter: @lisacovens

 

Submission deadline is this Friday February 26. Submit your campaigns here.

Written by Charzie Abendanio, Humber College BPR Student and CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee President

ACE Award Lessons From Blair Peberdy

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This blog post was written by Charzie Abendanio, a third-year student at the Humber College bachelor of public relations program and Vice President of CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee

 

Blair Peberdy

Blair Peberdy

As a judge for the ACE Awards and an award recipient during his time at Toronto Hydro, Blair Peberdy has a lot of valuable insight to applicants in this year’s 2015 ACE Award submissions. In the six times Blair has judged for ACE, he has seen the best that Toronto has to offer. Now with Weber Shandwick, Peberdy took time to shed some light on what judges will be looking for this year.

 

“The ACE Awards are a chance for organizations and companies to gauge how well they are doing compared to their peers,” said Blair. “Even if you don’t win, you gain creative inspiration from all the first-class submissions and winners.”

 

For Blair, the quality of submissions has continued to improve over the years. With new mediums changing how public relations professionals deliver their message, the award show is seeing more “cool and creative campaigns”. While judging, Blair enjoyed campaigns that involved classic corporate communication theory and practice. He recalls last year’s best PR campaign winner, Edelman Toronto, who stole the show with their integrated community relations campaign for client Ontario Graphite.


 

“A campaign like this one drew upon grassroots community around stakeholder issues and issues management,” said Blair, “and their use of new resources led to new and exciting marketing communication.”

 

Blair extolled the critical importance of clearly defined, measureable goals. When arranged logically and the thoughtfully aligned, the more successful the campaign will be. “Tie your measurements to your original objectives while explicitly identifying the measurements that determine the campaign’s success.”

 

A campaign must have all the major components: goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and measurements. “This disciplined PR management approach follows the criteria provided by the ACE Awards,” said Blair. “It goes a long way when a coherent entry allows judges to grasp the full breadth of a campaign.”

 

At the end of our time together, Blair was asked what exactly makes a great submission.

 

“Creativity is important but a great submission should also be organized around entry criteria, error-free, use good graphics, be professionally presented and must be easily navigated by the judges.” A campaign doesn’t necessarily need a large budget but combining the basics, as well as a creative aspect and being well-organized allows the judges to see the big picture.

 

“The ACE Awards showcases top talent in Canada,” said Blair. “It gives our industry the chance to learn from one another and recognize great work. We need to step back, congratulate each other and celebrate our accomplishments together.”

 

How to “ace” your ACE awards submission: Five things you need to know

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By Miranda Germani

Whether you’re wanting to add another trophy to your shelf, or just testing the waters and are new to entering awards, there are five not-so-secret things that you must know to put together a stellar ACE Awards submission.

In the interactive and informative “Enhance Your CPRS Toronto ACE Award Submission” webinar held on January 16, host and ACE Awards Judging Co-chair, Dave Scholz shared the must-know tips to ensure your submission stands out from the crowd. For now, the focus is on the first stage submission – the executive summary and rationale. Click here for more information on ACE Entry Guidelines.

Must-know #1 – Know your deadlines. Sounds simple, but that’s the first hurdle to pass. The entry deadline is January 23, 2013 (i.e. next week, so get your skates on!).

Must-know #2 – Use RACE. A simple acronym, but it can make a world of difference to your submission. RACE stands for Research, Analysis, Communication, Evaluation and all of these aspects are important to your submission. Think about RACE all the way through your submission.

Must-know #3 – Be clear on your evaluation. Don’t assume the judges know what you’ve achieved – you must spell it out and tie your goals to the outcome.

Must-know #4 – Get acquainted with the new Best Digital Communications Campaign of the Year category. If you’ve done a fabulous digital campaign that successfully engaged your audiences and inspired online conversation and/or media coverage, we want to hear about it! This is your opportunity to shine.

NOTE: Digital components to other campaigns must still be included in those separate submissions.

Must-know #5 – The judges will keep your submission to themselves. All submissions are confidential. Nothing will be shared publicly. If CPRS Toronto ever wants to share something publicly, we’ll be in touch in advance.

Bonus must-know #6 – Having details such as budget, or at least a budget range, really helps the judges consider your submission in context.

Hopefully that helps pull back the curtain on what the judging team needs from you so that you can get one step closer to receiving an ACE Award in April. For more information about the ACE Awards, please visit the CPRS Toronto Website or contact ace@cprstoronto.com.

If you missed Wednesday’s webinar, you can WATCH HERE

Tweeting about ACE? Use hashtag #CPRSACE

Enhance your ACE Award submission!

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logos_colour_low_res-01Back by popular demand, CPRS Toronto invites you to join us on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12 p.m. for an informative, free webinar on enhancing your ACE Awards submission, brought to you by CNW Group – the exclusive professional development sponsor for CPRS Toronto.

Dave Scholz, Executive Vice President at Leger Marketing and CPRS Toronto’s ACE Awards Judging Co-Chair, will pull back the curtain on the ACE Awards and share what the judging team will be looking for in a winning submission. The webinar will also provide insight in to changes made to the digital category.

To register for the webinar, visit:

http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=564540&s=1&k=EF7CD45C16009CBD8A6618A8C4A085E6

For more information about the ACE Awards, please visit the CPRS Toronto Website or contact ace@cprstoronto.com.

If you are unable to join us on Wednesday the webinar will be available in archive following the live event.

Tweeting about ACE? Use hashtag #CPRSACE!

Case study: Broad Reach Communications award for media relations over $50K

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By Liza Butcher

On April 26, 2012, the Canadian Public Relations Society Toronto (CPRS Toronto) congratulated the PR industry’s elite at the annual Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards gala.

The gala celebrated all of the winning campaigns, including Broad Reach Communications’ “Creating Eminence for Deloitte Canada by Leveraging its 2011 Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions” campaign, which won a prestigious ACE Award in the Best Use of Media Relations over $50K category.

I had the pleasure of talking with Andrea Lekushoff, President of Broad Reach, about the success of this campaign and the widespread eminence Broad Reach created for it.

Can you tell me about your winning campaign? What was the objective and why was it so successful?

In late 2010, Deloitte Canada (Deloitte) asked Broad Reach to develop and implement an English-language media relations campaign to secure widespread national, regional and trade/industry media coverage for its 2011 Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions report. We were also asked to generate a second wave of media coverage over a two-week period, during which TMT Predictions events were held across the country in St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton.

The overarching goal of this campaign was to showcase the knowledge and expertise of Deloitte TMT leaders across the country by generating widespread media coverage for TMT Predictions among target audiences in national, regional and online stories. In doing so, Broad Reach ensured that all aspects of the communications plan positioned Deloitte’s TMT Predictions and spokespeople as the leaders in global and Canadian TMT Predictions.

The launch of this media relations campaign exceeded all goals, objectives and client expectations. An unprecedented volume and quality of media coverage was generated: over 128.5 million audience impressions were generated in 210 on-message stories, 95 per cent of which appeared in top-tier media. It wasn’t easy to improve on last year’s campaign, which was very successful at 92 million impressions, but we committed to delivering even better results this year. And we did.

In addition, at least five top-tier media stories were generated in each region (with most regions receiving between two to six times as many stories). All stories mentioned Deloitte in a very positive tone; 92 per cent of stories focused exclusively on TMT Predictions; the term TMT Predictions was included in 80 per cent of stories; the report’s co-author, Duncan Stewart, was featured in 60 per cent of stories; all 10 regional spokespeople participated in high-profile media interviews; and 26 media outlets attended road show events across the country.

How did winning an award contribute to the agency’s brand?

This campaign was among Broad Reach’s most successful media relations campaigns to date. A prestigious ACE Award positions us as a leading Toronto PR agency that produces outstanding work and delivers exceptional results. It is also rewarding to have some of our best work recognized by our peers.

What inspired you to submit this campaign for an award?

We knew that this campaign was among our most successful and, as a result, we wanted to honour the team that worked on it by submitting it for an award. We were also fortunate enough to win a CPRS National Award of Excellence and IABC/Toronto OVATION Award for this same campaign.

What were the challenges associated with submitting the campaign?

The only challenge was that it was time consuming, which is to be expected. However, the Broad Reach team rose to the occasion and it paid off in the end.

What were you sure to include in your binder?

We included a wide range of materials including: the research and rationale for our recommended approach; a series of quantifiable goals and objectives; our strategy, a list of target audiences; a description of the campaign theme; our media relations tactic; a wide range of media materials; spokesperson briefing documents; an MRP (Media Relations Rating Points) report of all media coverage generated; a high-level results report; and clips of both TV and radio coverage.

How did it feel to receive your award at the gala?

I’m thrilled that our team has won yet another prestigious PR award for Deloitte’s TMT Predictions. This award is a testament to our unique business model of only working with seasoned senior practitioners. It also demonstrates that when talented and experienced practitioners have the opportunity to work in a flexible and family-friendly work environment, they can produce outstanding results together.

Case study: MAVERICK Public Relations and the People for Good campaign

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By Liza Butcher

On April 26, 2012 the Canadian Public Relations Society Toronto (CPRS Toronto) congratulated the PR industry’s elite at the annual Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards gala.

The ACE Awards gala was full of celebration for winning campaigns, including MAVERICK Public RelationsPeople for Good campaign, which picked up a bronze ACE Award for Best Use of Media Relations in the Under $50K category.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Kirsten Walkom, Senior Consultant at MAVERICK Public Relations, to discover more about the success around the People for Good campaign and the ongoing buzz and excitement spreading throughout Canada.

Can you tell me about your winning campaign? What was the objective and why was it so successful?

Each year MAVERICK Public Relations works with a variety of probono clients, including People for Good, founded by Mark Sherman of Media Experts and Zak Mroueh of Zulu Alpha Kilo.

The People for Good campaign was launched through a multifaceted creative advertising program, beginning with interest-sparking advertisements and week-long whisper campaign targeting citizens and media in major Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montréal and Halifax.

MAVERICK Public Relations and the People for Good campaign chose extremely engaging, interactive messages and images, with the purpose of challenging Canadians to be nicer to one another. Some acts of kindness suggested were smiling at a stranger; giving up your seat on the subway, bus or streetcar; while on Facebook, just pick up the phone and give your friend a call; and cutting grass or shoveling snow for your neighbour.

The success of the People for Good campaign was tied directly to the media coverage and creative strategy of the campaign, including outdoor, interactive, print, guerrilla and online advertising, and the engagement, positivity and interest of Canadians to be kinder to one another.

Since the launch of the People for Good campaign, Kirsten has continuously been receiving inquiries about how individuals can start a People for Good campaign within their own towns, communities, schools and other public places.

How did winning an award contribute to the agency’s brand?

MAVERICK Public Relations has had a great year, not only winning a bronze ACE Award for Best Use of Media Relations in the Under $50K category, but also winning an ACE Award for Best Use of Special Events and the International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Small Agency of the Year award.

The success of winning an ACE Award has had a positive impact on the agency’s brand. The awards have helped MAVERICK Public Relations in market differentiation and raising their company’s profile, leading to the growth of existing relationships, helping attract new business and positive acknowledgement by peers and the public relations industry.

What inspired you to submit?

MAVERICK Public Relations knew they had something interesting, unique, thought-provoking and engaging which was proven in their results. The results proved that by utilizing the creative possibilities of the advertising world, social change was possible.

What were the challenges associated with submitting an award?

The process of submitting an award was fairly straightforward and gave the team a great opportunity to reflect on the campaign and really pull all the work they did together into a cohesive submission.

The only challenge mentioned, as many in the industry can relate to, is time can be a scarce resource, however Kirsten and her team are passionate and dedicated to the People for Good campaign and made time to submit.

What were you sure to include in your binder?

MAVERICK Public Relations was sure to include coverage from all mediums, including social, digital, print, and broadcast. In addition, MAVERICK Public Relations included numerous key messages, planning and tactical documents, which confirmed their strategy and how their approach led to the successful results expected by their client.

Also including the binder was Media Relations Rating Points (MRP) reports to give the judges a clearer picture of how MAVERICK Public Relations met their objectives.

How did it feel to receive your award at the gala?

Receiving an ACE Award was exciting and pleasing for the whole agency and the campaign team. “It was like the academy awards,” said Kirsten.

What advice would you give to other entrants?

Take a chance and be positive. It is a time commitment, but is a lot of fun to reflect and celebrate the success of the work done.

Networking tips: Get more out of our events

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Here are three tips to help you get the most out of our season opener on Thursday, September 27:

Know your objective. Would you like to make new contacts in your practice area? Are you looking for business intelligence or leads? On the hunt for an internship or job?

Work the room. Stay in any one group long enough to meet its members and establish the subject in discussion. If the topic is not right up your alley, bow out politely and move along.

Exchange business cards. Offer your card when you find a fit. Or, if you do not have a business card, inquire about the option to take a card from your new contact. Remember to follow-up afterward, too!

Further reading: Networking mistakes you don’t know you’re making, Networking is to easy as shouting is to quiet.

What’s the Secret to APEX PR’s ACE Success?

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By Parm Chohan

Executing a successful public relations campaign can be quite challenging.  Summarizing months of planning, brainstorming and program results all into an Executive Summary – and then in to a concise binder’s worth of details for an award – can be just as difficult.

APEX PR managed to pull off both with their “UPS Peak Season 2011” campaign, winner of a Gold 2011 CPRS Toronto ACE Award for Best Use of Media Relations.

I had a chance to chat with Erik Bauer, Consultant at APEX, to learn about and experience the journey that APEX and UPS Canada embarked upon, delivering exceptional program results and an award-winning submission.

Can you tell me about your winning campaign? What was the objective and why was it so successful?

The holidays are a busy time, especially in the world of transportation and logistics. In the month leading up to Christmas, UPS sees a 60 per cent volume increase in its normal daily delivery volume. UPS knew that in order to maximize business efficiency and provide stellar customer service during this demanding period it would have to develop a communications strategy to inform customers about peak season forecasts, packing tips and pertinent shipping deadlines.

UPS approached APEX to develop a public relations campaign to educate Canadians about the many potential complications associated with holiday shipping and thus ensure that more packages were delivered in time for the holidays.  APEX implemented a strategy that targeted consumer and online media, with images and messages of how to properly package gifts. The intent was to cut through holiday media clutter by showing how to give, rather than what to give.  Tactics included creating and distributing a VNR that allowed UPS to overcome challenges associated with media interview facilitation; a driver ride-along opportunity in mid-sized markets, and national media relations.

The success of the campaign was tied directly to the resulting coverage, which represented a nearly 200 per cent rise in reach from the previous year.  Furthermore, UPS’ key messages were prevalent in all the coverage, which allowed the brand to ensure that its target audience was informed and educated about all of its peak season offerings.

How did winning an award contribute to the agency’s brand?

The public relations industry is tremendously competitive. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for businesses to receive recognition for their outstanding achievements in order to distinguish themselves from competitors.

At APEX we pride ourselves on developing innovative communications campaigns that are based on sound strategic planning. More than anything, winning the 2011 CPRS ACE Award validated our strategic thinking and the stellar results that we achieve for our clients. It also helped to differentiate our business offerings from those of our competitors while at the same time building our reputation in the industry.

Finally, the award validated the hard work and dedication of the team that developed and executed this campaign. Although we all strive to achieve the best results possible for our clients, the truth is that sometimes we need to be recognized for our hard work!  This award was particularly significant because the judging committee consisted of a group of diverse and experienced fellow communicators. Being recognized by a group of peers made the award that much more meaningful.

What inspired you to submit?

First, it is important to note that not every campaign is worthy of an award submission; the process is lengthy and costly and therefore needs to be looked at like any other business decision. Every year APEX strategically considers its most successful campaigns in an effort to determine which ones warrant an application. The 2011 UPS Peak Season Campaign was a particularly strong candidate for an award submission for a number of reasons. Most importantly, the results of the campaign exceeded all of its goals, most notably in the quality of the coverage, all of which was positive and included UPS’ key messages. The coverage secured represented a 200 per cent increase from the previous year.

What were the challenges associated with submitting an award?

Anyone who has worked in the industry knows that time is a scarce resource. It can be difficult to balance the necessary demands of priority client work and addressing our own agency’s promotional and marketing needs. Luckily, we have a team of dedicated practitioners who – year after year – ensure that deadlines are met and that the submissions reflect the quality of work that we produce.

What were you sure to include in your binder?

Our supporting material included coverage from all mediums: digital, social, broadcast, and print.  We were also sure to include MRP reports and other supporting metrics that allowed the judges to get a better understanding of how we met and exceeded our measurable objectives.  In addition, we included a number of key messaging and planning documents that demonstrated our strategy and how our approach led to the results our client expected.  Lastly, we included a number of additional assets that we leveraged throughout the campaign, including digital b-roll, images, news releases, and other media materials.

How did it feel to receive your award at the gala?

Receiving the award at the gala was extremely meaningful for all of the team members involved.  As mentioned earlier, there is nothing quite like being recognized for your success by a group of your peers.  Accepting the award in front of a room full of seasoned communicators meant a great deal to the team; all of whom had put months of hard work and effort into the campaign. Furthermore, it was also great to share the experience with our client, who was in attendance that evening as well.

What advice would you give to other entrants?

The most important part of any award submission is ensuring that you are offering a full and accurate glimpse into the success of a campaign. Sound strategic planning is the foundation of any successful communications campaign, so be sure to illustrate how you developed tactics that were informed by a strong strategy. Lastly, ensure that you include measurable objectives, coupled with results that can be quantifiably analyzed by the judging committee.  Most importantly, be proud of the work you do and seek out the recognition you deserve!

Where is my ACE Submission?

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By Nicole Laoutaris

You spent hours perfecting your entry for the CPRS 2012 ACE Awards and you made darn sure you got your submission in before the deadline, but what the heck happened to it?

If you’ve ever been riddled with such wonder about where your submission goes after you hit the send button, then read on to assuage your curiosity!

The journey of your ACE submission starts and ends with the judging panel. This panel – a group of more than 20 experienced communications professionals, many of them accredited – engages in a methodical process for both the executive summary and full submission stages.

Stage 1: The Executive Summary Submission

This stage is really an initial screening and allows the judges to narrow down the sheer number of entries before the next, more cumbersome step of reviewing the “big binder” submissions. After you submit your executive summary, it is divided at random to be assessed by two independent judges. For this portion of the process, the judges have a few days to complete the evaluation.

Your final score is then determined by the average of those two evaluations. Once all the numbers are in, those who have met a threshold score of 70 per cent move on to the next round. There is no limit to the number of submissions that can be put through to the next stage.

Stage 2: The Full Submission – “The Big Binder”

The full submission stage is the time and place for you to provide all of the shining evidence of the success of your campaigns for the judges’ consideration. These submission are larger, longer and far more detailed; this is the Big Kahuna.

Imagine this: one room with piles upon piles of huge binders containing budgets, media clippings, photos, research summaries and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears – figuratively, of course.

How many days must it take to evaluate these submissions? 10 days? eight days? It can’t be less than five days, right? Surprisingly, the full submission judging takes place in only a single day.

The judging panel meet all together and then are divided into teams with submissions divided equally amongst them. Everyone randomly selects binders for their team to tackle. At least two judges evaluate each binder and, once again, the average score between them determines the final success level.

Stage 3: Best in Show

Once the full submission scores are compiled, the four highest rated campaigns are judged yet again for two coveted prizes: Best Creative Campaign and Best Overall Campaign. Only the full submission scores are taken into account for Best in Show.

If your submission has risen above the rest, then you will be invited to present your work in person before the judges. This is your opportunity to compete against the other stand-out entries of the year by delivering one last pitch to highlight your campaign’s excellence for the judging panel.

That’s all, folks! Now that you know what goes on behind those judging doors, you can appreciate the daunting task the panel faces each year. Be sure to check out Preparing Your Ace Submission and Your ACE Submission: Round Two! for tips and tricks to make your submission stand out.

And what’s the best way to celebrate all of this hard work? By attending this year’s gala on Thursday, April 26, 2012! Be sure to save the date.