Preparing for the Eurobest Awards

In just the past decade, the awards program for public relations has grown and matured in exciting ways, with many new awards having been created and with existing awards continuing to broaden and deepen the ways they recognize achievement across the media landscape, especially in regard to digital and social media.

Recently, I was invited to serve as one of eight jury presidents for the Eurobest Awards, which are organized by the same team behind the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and which will be presented in late November in Portugal, and I was interviewed by the Spanish magazine El Periódico de la Publicidad about the meaning of the awards in Europe and for the public relations field overall. Below are the thoughts I shared.

Awards in public relations are critical to recognize excellence, establish best practices and to continually advance our field. I welcome your comments on this topic.

1. What does it mean for you to be chosen as president of PR jury of Eurobest Awards?
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the jury in this way, and also a responsibility I take quite seriously. The quality of PR activity in Europe is extremely high, and it will be challenging to recognize the very best.

2. What expertise do you have in this type of events?
I have had the opportunity to serve on other PR competition juries in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, so I know a little about how these contests work and hopefully how to find the true winners. I also served as chairman of the U.K. trade association of PR agencies, so I am familiar with great campaigns.

3. With the current financial and economic crisis, what is the situation of PR market?
More than ever, PR programs are held accountable for their real results on business — buyers want to know their PR investments work in measurable and predictable ways. That’s what we’ll be looking for: did the campaign meet its objectives and were the objectives important for the organization’s success?

4. What elements you will take into account where you will judge the campaigns?
As a jury we will need to agree the definitions of success together, but I think we will look favorably on the campaigns built upon research and audience insight, with a clear strategy, creative execution and measurable results.

5. What do you expect to find in this festival in terms of creativity, integrated communication or new trends?
I expect the entries to be extremely creative, built with social media at the center, and thoughtfully integrated across earned, paid and shared channels. At Ketchum we like to think about “break through” creativity and thinking, and we’ll be looking for this in the winning campaigns.

6. Which European country do you consider is in the best position, with more possibilities to win in PR category?
I think the correct answer must be Spain. Seriously, the great thing about the market today is that winning ideas can come from anywhere. I think we may be surprised where the winners come from.

7. How important for you are these awards? 
Are they the most important thing in the world? No, but awards in general and Eurobest in particular are great to show off exemplary work, raise the standards of our service, and generally celebrate our efforts to make good things happen with better communications. And there are worse places than Portugal in which to do it!