How to make content count at The Drum Awards

— Cecilia Dominici, Digital Strategy and Content Director 

Judging The Drum Content Awards is always an interesting side of the ceremony to sit. I’ve been lucky enough to be on different judging panels for The Drum for the past three years across social and content, and I always find it a fascinating experience, different than “consuming” content by following brands. Instead of making assumptions about what a certain brand was trying to achieve, we get to delve deeper, quantify and qualify, and have conversations with other content industry professionals about what matters right now and why. The motion is always changing, and judging is a great opportunity to see which brands and agencies can keep up, adapt and deliver. 

The Drum Content awards showcases the best content brands are producing right now, through their agencies and in-house teams. Of course, “content” is such a broad-ranging category, so something that immediately came up through discussion with the other judges was the role context plays, and whether it makes a difference to the content itself. This was such an interesting point to discuss, as I feel that content should always be framed in the right context, but really the key is staying true to the objective. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to capture the zeitgeist and understand cultural and societal nuances, otherwise creative work runs the risk of being tone deaf. Aren’t we all trying to recover from Pepsi and Kendall Jenner’s infamous advert back in 2017?

How to bring your video entry to life

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in entries submitted in the form of short videos. In a way this is a no brainer as many of the campaigns are centred around video, and creating a bespoke one for the entry is a great way to tell the story of a campaign. As with written entries, a successful video submission is all about being concise and to the point. I want to know what the insight was, the strategy, execution and the results, with key takeaways and metrics. The entry itself is a story, and needs to follow a logical narrative, rather than being a collection of stats.

What do winning campaigns have in common? Outstanding creativity, of course

We all know how crowded our newsfeeds are, which is why judges always want to see content that stood out and grabbed consumers’ attention. My reflection on this is that content shouldn’t be creative just for creativity’s sake. That’s the kind of work that marketers love and that wins awards, but if it doesn’t move consumers, either through entertaining them or informing them, it’s just contributing to the “digital landfill.” Content must be able to cut through the noise and answer consumers’ needs.

Strive for authenticity

Brands are continuously striving to be authentic with content. The complex thing about that is we all have our own interpretations on what this means. Our Brands in Motion 2019 global study revealed that although consumers’ expectations never decrease, brands should always aim to find their purpose and lead with it. If brands want to create content with purpose and authentic content, half-hearted attempts won’t cut it. Consumers — and judges — will spot phony attempts every time.

And the winners are…

So, who took in the above and stood out in the Content Marketing Agency of the Year category? My fellow judges and I were happy to honour Jungle Creations, which has built a truly impressive proposition and platform through innovative content, with an impressive audience to match.

When it came to the Best Use of New Social Platforms category, it’s clear that TikTok is the innovative platform. I think brands are still trying to make sense of it, and perhaps that’s the beauty of it right now. It’s a very creative space where Gen Zs and young millennials express themselves more freely than anywhere else. The Best Use of New Social Platforms award went to Nike with its Italian campaign, ”Stop at Nothing,” created by AnalogFolk, as it was built on a genuine cultural and local insight, and showed a clear understanding of the platform and its target audience.

Congratulations to all the winners. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings in terms of content innovation!