AB Thinks  →  21st August 2017

Want to win an award? Work backwards

When do your award entries usually get written? I’m guessing the answer is when the competition deadline is looming, amid a million other tasks and well after your project has been delivered.

The best award entries are written – or at least conceived – at the very start of a project. When faced with a new communications challenge, it is useful to start at the end. How would you like your award entry to read in 12 months time? Creating a clear vision of success – in 1,000 words or less – is a useful starting point.

When writing your desired award entry, remove from your mind – if only for a moment – the limitations that are about to be placed on you. The restrictions that so often feel crippling – lack of time, budget, resource, seemingly endless approval processes and worse still, the need to find consensus. Instead, let your imagination run free. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Such visualisation techniques are common in sport. By raising the trophy aloft in their mind’s eye, athletes are more likely to create a mental state able to achieve this in reality.

Visualisation has an equally useful role away from the stadium. For communicators it liberates our creativity and primes us to reach for a bolder, braver solution.

So write your 2018 award entry today. Describe the seemingly intractable business challenge you were faced with. Explain your inspired communicating solution. Write about those smart, astute objectives you set at the start of the project and the stunningly creative work that followed. And finally, outline the measurement and insight process, along with the subsequent data, that proved, beyond doubt, your project delivered.

Psychologists tell us visualising success has the added advantage of being highly motivational.

And, as we know, with the right motivation anything is possible.