Want to create an award-winning campaign? Here are my five steps to success.

From the outset, Ketchum and AMV BBDO knew that #bloodnormal, our brand purpose campaign for Libresse, was a special one. The challenges were immense, but the reward has been too, with #bloodnormal winning a Glass Lion for Change Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018 – an absolutely incredible achievement for all involved. Libresse has also been celebrated at prestigious industry platforms such as the Campaign Brand Film Festival and D&AD Awards 2018 for its powerful advertising, and at the PRWeek Global Awards and the EMEA Sabre Awards for the strategic and creative communications approach that enabled it to resonate with target audiences and travel across the world.

It’s safe to say that the era is one of bold, social cause-led work that does justice to the cause it’s promoting to a wide range of audiences. Beyond winning multiple advertising and PR awards, the campaign provided a real springboard for a change in the perception of menstrual periods.

Looking back at the success of #bloodnormal through a PR lens, here are some tips for delivering a truly integrated, award-winning campaign:

Push the boundaries – don’t be afraid to do work that provokes uncomfortable conversations. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t shy away from the subject, but delve a little deeper. It certainly made us feel uneasy speaking about periods openly in the office and asking our male colleagues about their opinion on showing period blood. But we knew we were scratching the surface of a very important topic – and if we shied away from the crux of the subject we would never have communicated it so coherently and diligently.

Maximize your network – we used expertise from around our global network to shape the campaign and to give best in industry client counsel. From research, to strategy, design, corporate and brand, this campaign needed ongoing specialist expertise from around the business.

Truly live your brand purpose – our clients at Libresse truly believed in their brand purpose (to create a world where women can live the life they want, by breaking category taboos) and had the conviction to push, and push, a campaign that spoke to this brand purpose. Often, I see brands trying to execute purpose-led campaigns, only to end up losing focus while buckling under the pressure of meeting sales targets. Libresse has the bravery and focus to stay committed to executing a brand purpose campaign, and winning at Cannes shows that it paid off. A simple question “Does this support our brand purpose?” asked at regular touch points usually helps to stay on track.

Be brave – it takes a lot of guts to put out a campaign that you know from the start could cause controversy for your brand. But Libresse and its agencies knew that what they believed in was not only right, but fitted perfectly into the current zeitgeist of female empowerment and equality. Even when the ad was banned from TV and by Google and Facebook, Libresse didn’t give up. But bravery does come with caution – and that’s when they listened to Ketchum’s counsel on how far we could and should push certain parts of the campaign.

Work as an integrated team – we were lucky enough to partner with our Omnicom sister agency, AMV BBDO, and being in the same building meant we could see them face to face regularly, as well as Zenith and Poke. Nurturing a strong inter-agency relationship is absolutely key; to work as one team, face challenges together and show the client you are coming at the brief and challenge as one fully integrated team. We positioned ourselves as a key support and strategist for AMV BBDO, which helped to ensure we were part of the whole journey and an important touch point for the client when challenges arose for comms.

Alexandra Marsh is an Associate Director within our London office. She was the communications lead on Libresse’s #bloodnormal campaign, which recently won Titanium and Glass Grand Prix Lions at Cannes.