LONDON: A total of 21 essays have been shortlisted for the Admap Prize 2014, sponsored by Kantar, in which contestants were asked to address the topic of 'How brands are built in the digital age'.

Now in its third year, this global, essay-based competition seeks to reward innovation and clarity in strategic thinking on the future effectiveness of brand communications. The complete shortlist can be read here.

Among the considerations were how brands are built using single or multiple communication channels; and through innovation, consumer experience, advocacy and purpose. 

The question over how and whether digital, mobile and social media can be used to build brands, rather than activation, was addressed by some entrants. Others assessed how the methods for building brands today can vary significantly within different sectors.

This year's Prize received entries from 16 different countries. "The geographic spread was very good with entries from Latvia, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico, as well as the more developed markets," commented Admap Editor Colin Grimshaw.

"The quality of the entries was also very high, with, as would be expected, a wide range of views expressed. I was a little surprised by how many entrants believe social media to be at the forefront of building brands today, more important than traditional communications channels," he added.

The Admap Prize offers a unique opportunity to have the quality of an individual's ideas recognised and judged by some of the leading strategic thinkers in brand communications globally from both agencies and clients.

This year's judging panel includes Marc Mathieu, senior vp of marketing at Unilever, Colin Mitchell, the worldwide head of planning at Ogilvy & Mather, Julie Kollman, the global head of insights at international brewer SABMiller, and Lois Jacobs, the CEO of Landor, the WPP-owned global branding and design consultancy.

The winners will be announced in May and those essays awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze, plus any commended by the judges, will be published in the June edition of Admap. A prize-giving event will take place at Cannes Lions on a date to be decided.

Data sourced from Admap