The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy 2013 - Entry tips

What will make a winning entry in the 2013 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.
  • You can read more on this in a recent Warc Blog post on how to win a strategy award, based on a session in London.

It's also worth highlighting some specific feedback from the judges from the 2011 and 2012 Prizes.

  • Show you understand the client's objectives. It was a common complaint in both 2011 and 2012 that entries were not framing the business objectives well enough. It's really important to show the context the strategy is working in (ie the client's business and its objectives), then show how the marketing objectives stem from this. Cases that have a 'strategic thrust' in response to a clear business objective tend to do well.
  • Make sure the results show how the initial objectives have been achieved. Entries that are able to move beyond intermediate measures, such as awareness, into harder business metrics, such as sales, are likely to do particularly well.
  • Judges also look at the sustainability of the approach – did the strategy lay down a long-term platform for the brand to succeed?
  • Don't overclaim, as judges will see through it. For example, only claim to have 'started a movement' if the evidence really justifies it!

Read the full judges' feedback from the 2011 and 2012 competitions.

One quote from last year's judge James Hurman, MD of Y&R New Zealand, is worth highlighting: "The entries that stood out the most were the ones that got to the heart of what strategy is all about: uncovering interesting insights that lead to solving well-defined problems in original ways."

But there is no magic formula for success in the Prize. The 2012 shortlist included 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 an entry has smart thinking at the heart of their case study, it'll be in with a chance.

Good luck!