It’s official, giving at Christmas is still more rewarding than receiving

Last week I attended the DMA Awards at Old Billingsgate market. I was there as a guest of the DMA and a presenter of one of the awards categories. But more than any awards I’ve attended in the past I felt like the winner on the night. I’ll explain why…

Let me be the judge of that

I’d been asked a few months before to chair the judging for one of the sector categories; financial services. Having worked with over 30 financial brands across Europe, I don’t mind admitting I was flattered. A harmless nod of acknowledgment of my twenty years working in marketing (1), much of that in financial services and some previous judging experience. Following a precise and diligent briefing from the appointed invigilator, along with my fellow judges we settled in to review nearly 30 entries. And under the organised conditions and precise nature of the task I felt 100% in control (2); a rarity in today’s often frantic and demanding marketing environment.

IMG_5602[1]The best of the best 

As we poured through the nominations measuring them equally for strategy, creative and results excellence, it dawned on me why the next 3-4 hours would be a special half day in the working calendar. I would be reading and enjoying what the marketing industry’s finest (FS Finest rather than Tesco Finest) had to offer (3). As I read each entry I was captured by the various magic moments the teams must have been through; the client intention, the creative craft, the planners deliberation, the production finesse, the analysts analysis – all working toward this moment. A moment that now I was enjoying the magic of. The entries were of a high calibre; such is the attraction of the dmas. And when I left The Cumberland (above) for the category judging and then the Lateral Group following the Gala Prize judging, with Wayne Hemingway residing this year, it reaffirmed my belief that there are some brilliant people and ideas in our industry (4).

The gospel according to Stephen

IMG_6066[1]On the night of the awards the compere was Stephen Mangan. I’d seen Stephen run his corporate patter past the Loyalty Awards crowd a few months earlier, so I felt a little short changed at first. But then I recalled that at the Loyalty awards I’d spent much of the time listening to my fellow table guest talk about a new opportunity or something (I forget to be honest) and being a bit too accommodating to say ‘shhhh’, I half listened and nodded politely – which meant I didn’t fully hear Mr Mangan.  So this second chance allowed me to this time give it my full attention. And I am grateful I did. It was very witty and a well polished performance. Stephen proved if you can get your message (and pitch) perfect, you can re-use it again to great effect (5) – as Mr Mangan, delivered with as much conviction and energy as he did the previous time. It proved if you can connect with an audience on an engaging topic such as  ‘savour the moment when you win, it may not come along too often’, you can connect with the emotions of the people on the room rather than their egos (6). I’ll hold back on the content as it really is worth seeing Mr Mangan at work.

All present and correct

IMG_6087[1]When the awards ceremony began and the winners started to arrive  on stage to collect their gongs, I could sense their excitement and appreciate what that meant from afar, having recently read through the entries. And when it was my turn on stage to present an award, I ensured I’d learnt my ‘walk on’ drill to perfection; a new experience quickly conquered (7). I walked on the stage to a small cheer (#unexpected – but it was the 3rd to last award so maybe spirits were a little high). When the winners of Best User Experience came forward I was beaming with a sort of undefined pride for the winning team from LIDA (one agency I haven’t worked with before). I realised that I’d earned my place on the stage, like they had. Winning awards in the past certainly was enjoyable, but not nearly as rewarding as giving one (8).

And the winners is… (on the right)

In my opinion, from this encounter I gained as much as anyone else:

1) Recognition of experience

2) Stay in control of the outcome

3) Be surrounded by the best

4) Have Profession pride

5) Recognise the power of a good story

6) Remember emotional engagement is a powerful force

7) Instant learning occurs at age

8) Seeing others succeed is most important

If I can apply the above on any given day in the office, it’s a great day. I very much enjoyed my latest judging expedition, and for the reasons of receiving inner fulfillment explained I hope I get to give again and again. If you get the opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it and see what you get in return.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information please contact  or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris 

Who we work with…

clients mar 2013

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