Guidelines for a #Winning Awards Entry - #MITXAwards

Posted by Jaime Reynolds on Thu, Aug 2, 2012

Interactive AwardsSometimes it is surprising how much strong writing skills can make a difference. In the case of Award competitions like our Interactive Awards, providing the judges with the right information, in the best form, and in the optimum length, can greatly increase the chances of winning. At MITX, we love when our people get recognized for their great work so we have put together some best practices for writing a #winning entry for our Interactive Awards competition, starting with an example of a real submission for a project that did, in fact, win: the 2011 winner in the Applied Technology category and of the Best in Show honor, Good Form Running (entered by Almighty on behalf of New Balance). While the way Almighty wrote their entry didn't guarantee the win (the work was innovative and amazing, and that's what ultimately lead to the award), they provided the information in way that made the judges understand their work easily and deeply. Check it out.

An Example of A Great Entry

Good Form RunningSubmitting Company:  Almighty
Client: New Balance
Entry Name:
Good Form Running Expo Experience
Category:
Applied Technology
URL: 
http://www.bealmighty.com/mitx2011/good-form-expo/              

Describe the entry

New Balance challenged Almighty to develop an experience for the 2011 Boston Marathon that would continue to demonstrate New Balance’s position as a leader in the popular conversation about running form, and to bring dialogue about running form into the running expo space. They asked that we design a solution that would work within the physical constraints of their booth, deliver a superior user experience and ultimately help the participant improve his or her form. Also: they wanted it to be an experience that was both spreadable and worth spreading.

Outline the client’s goals and objectives

New Balance has a history of dedication to running form. Their 2010 partnership with an organization called Good Form Running was designed to help the brand create content and experiences that help people run longer, and with less pain (which results in improved performance). There was a real desire to take the small, local clinics which Good Form Running has been conducting for years, and translate them into a diagnostic experience with far broader reach. The challenge and goal were not brand awareness, but rather self-awareness (as relates to one's own form) that would drive runners to an extensive library of content around running form that Almighty had created on NewBalance.com.          

Describe the strategic approach you took in planning the entry

Our approach came from two simple insights:

  1. That most of us never really learned to run - that, in fact, we tend to run with the form we developed as children until age and pain combine to force a change.
  2. Most of us have no idea what our running form actually is (what we look like when we run).

These truths combine to make diagnoses and improvement of running form profoundly difficult. With this in mind, we set out to design a system that would give runners a holistic look at their form (not just their foot strike - pronation analysis is neither new nor comprehensive), and some simple means of making measured improvement - all in a few minutes, in any shoes they liked, in a way that started an ongoing conversation with New Balance.         

Describe the entry’s execution

Almighty developed a set of applications that enabled a very straightforward user experience:

  1. Visitors to the expo could register using a custom iPad application to have their form analyzed on a treadmill in the New Balance booth. A large screen in the booth managed the flow of visitors through the experience.
  2. Each visitor ran at a comfortable pace on the booth treadmill for 20-30 seconds, while a high-definition camera captured his/her form from head to toe.
  3. An in-booth station using the Dartfish software package processed the captured video, creating wireframes that overlayed the video clip, highlighting angles of the head, limbs, spine and feet through the stride (and calculating cadence - a critical component of form).
  4. The processed video was streamed over a local network to a series of iPads that were used by trained form analysts to conduct a 2-3 minute diagnostic session for each runner.
  5. Each runner left the booth with a printout highlighting his/her form along with the recommended improvements. The runners also received an email with a dedicated (shortened) URL at which they could review the video of their form and diagnoses, along with more information about Good Form Running.       

Detail the effectiveness of the entry

Over the three days of the Boston Marathon expo, several hundred people went through the Good Form Running experience (volume was limited by a single treadmill). More than half of those people opened the resulting email and clicked through to view their page within 48 hours of starting the conversation. Dozens of NB Minimus and NB890's available for try-on beside the experience were used on the treadmill, and many of those were purchased on-site (not an objective in any sense, but a nice outcome). New Balance experienced its' highest retail sales volume ever at the Boston Marathon Expo, and has frequently cited the Good Form Running Experience as a key component of that success. Finally, what was planned as a single-event project that we could iterate upon was so successful that it was deployed the following weekend at the New York Running Show. The next weekend, it traveled to Indianapolis for the expo of the nation's largest half-marathon. It will be a key component of New Balance's presence at the 2011 Chicago and New York marathons.     

Why should this entry win?

People and agencies and companies make cool stuff with technology every day. For this experience, we took a wireless network, five iPads, some iPod touches, a camera and a high-definition TV and built something in which technology was both central and barely-visible. We helped people see themselves a little better, improve the way they do something they love, and start a conversation with a brand that's dedicated to helping them continue to run better. We think it's elegant and useful - and that that's the very definition of innovative use of technologies.

Why is This Example So Great?  Your Checklist for Writing an Award-Winning Entry.

  1. The answers directly answer the questions.
  2. The answers are clear and concise; they meet the word counts (sometimes they are even much shorter), and they provide judges with just the right amount of information.
  3. The entry is written without marketing jargon, nor embellishment of the results or efforts.
  4. There are no grammatical or spelling errors.
  5. Numbered/bulleted lists are used where appropriate, making it more readable.
  6. They provide a URL to learn more – and it works - and it provides all the supplementary information judges need to understand the entry in ONE PLACE.
  7. The final question is answered with a response that directly considers the category.
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Submit your entry into the Interactive Awards now!

Entry Deadline: Friday, September 14th!