How to Win an Echo Award

August 30, 2019

By Robert Traino


Do you have what it takes to win an ECHO Award? There's still time to enter — submissions close today! No last chance for a Summer Friday!

Recently, I had the opportunity to confer with the chair of the ECHO Board of Governors, Josh Blacksmith, senior director of global consumer relationships and engagement at Kimberly-Clark. Josh's perspective shows just how much the marketing community needs the ECHOs, and how the ECHOs need to hear from creatives, strategists and brand leaders who have "data love" in their blood and know how to use it.


Q. Why does the advertising community need a global award program on data-driven, data-inspired marketing?

I believe now, more than ever, trust is fundamental to the future of the advertising community, and data instills trust. Modern marketers understand that data does not come at the expense of the creative product or add unnecessary complexity — there's only upside. Data, strategy and creativity should be sharing center stage in awards shows, and the ECHOs help fill that void.


Q. Who benefits most from such a competition — the agency, or the brand? Why?

It's not mutually exclusive — both stand to benefit in distinct ways. The ECHOs are ultimately a recognition of great agency and brand talent across all disciplines that contribute to transformative, business-building ideas. As we all compete and push to elevate the work, it's really the consumer who stands to benefit most.


Q. The ECHOs have a venerable history, spanning nearly 90 years. What makes the award competition so relevant for today?

What was true 90 years ago still rings true today — brands are hungry for ways to connect with consumers and inspire action. ECHO has been at the forefront of data-inspired creativity to enable the disruption and connection that brands are after. As this continues to become more challenging to deliver, the ECHO competition only becomes more relevant.


Q. What is the return on investment for entering award competitions? What is so valuable about having award content on demand?

It goes without saying that winning awards helps agencies attract both new talent and new clients. For brands, winning an ECHO award focused on driving business results is additional validation that the work the brand is doing is best-in-class.

I'd go so far as to say that the mere act of entering comes with benefits — whether it wins or not. The use cases developed as part of the process help align everyone involved around the narrative and how it ladders into the overarching vision for the business.

The last thing I'll add is that in this industry, far too often, we fail to take the time to reflect on our successes. We're busy with the day-to-day and always focused on what's next. Entering awards is a way for both agency and brand to celebrate and recognize the amazing work and talent at the forefront of our industry.


Q. For the first time in its history, the International ECHO Awards are being administered by the Association of National Advertisers. What advantage does that provide to entrants and winners?

The ANA is bringing a whole new level of connectivity between brands and agencies, which had been missing historically. In the past, an agency winning an award would find it was primarily other agencies recognizing and celebrating their achievement. Now, as part of the ANA, there's a significant contingent of brand-side marketers we're already seeing engaged and expect to see involved in a big way at the ECHO Gala in March — it's amazing exposure and recognition among a much more representative sample of our industry.


What client-side data-inspired story do you have to share this year with the brand community? Come March, we will all find out!


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