The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy 2012 - Entry tips

What will make a winning entry in the 2012 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy?

It's worth making some general points on the kind of cases that do well in strategy competitions:

  • Common elements in good strategy case studies include some form of original insight and a strategic leap that has not been made before. Often the thinking flies in the face of convention and challenges category norms. It could spring from a commercial understanding of a brand's business. It could be based on deep insight into consumers. It could start with the recognition of a new media opportunity. Or it could simply be looking at existing information in a new way.
  • Great strategy must do two further things: drive powerful marketing activity (including creative work) and deliver business objectives. Entry papers will be expected to show how the strategy was implemented and how it worked.

In the 2011 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, the judging panel made a number of comments that may help entrants this year to formulate their cases.

  • According to the judges, many entries last year had not framed the business objectives well, and this meant that the insight and strategy was not 'rooted'. Cases that had a clear 'strategic thrust' in response to a clear business objective did well.
  • Judges also looked at the sustainability of the approach – did the strategy lay down a long-term platform for the brand to succeed?
  • Is the case a genuine strategy case? Some cases felt like strong effectiveness cases rather than genuine strategy cases; while results are clearly important, for the purposes of this Prize they needed to flow from the thinking at the start of the case.

Finally, it's worth dwelling on some of Warc's own analysis of which entries did well last year. In a piece looking at effectiveness measures, it was suggested that judges leaned towards entries that could show hard business results (sales, share or profit, for example) as well as intermediate brand measures (such as awareness).

However, it's worth pointing out that the shortlist of 25 showed a huge variety of campaigns from across Asia, from a host of categories, and including both expensive multi-channel work and smart low-budget ideas.

As long as entrant has smart thinking at the heart of their case study, they'll be in with a chance.

Good luck!