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13 Nov 2013

Spark Awards Judging Updates for 2014

Spark Awards Judging Updates for 2014

Creating an awards show that fairly and accurately represents the best marketing and communications work throughout our region is a tough task. This is what the Spokane Regional MarCom Association has always strived to do through the annual Spark Awards.

We are so fortunate to have such an engaged membership that provides thoughtful feedback about the Awards show, giving us ideas on how we can improve the judging process, scale and awards distributed to make them the best they can be.

In the spirit of continual improvement, the board is introducing a few judging updates for the 2014 Spark Awards. Our hope is that membership will embrace and welcome these improvements with open arms. We truly feel that even these few small changes will greatly improve the quality of the awards show and add more value to the awards distributed.

Judging Scale:

How it’s been done in the past.
In the past, two awards have been handed out per category with an Excellence Award going to the top earner, and a Merit Award going to second place.

The problem?
The problem with this historic judging scale is that we could have an Excellence Award go to an entry receiving 99 points and a Merit Award going to an entry earning 98 points. Both high earning awards that both succeeded in achieving their goals, yet one receives a lesser award for a one-point difference.

The other problem that can arise is as the rules are currently stated, an Excellence Award  can be given to an entry that receives say 82 points in a category, only because they’re the highest earning entry in that particular category.

To us, this just isn’t fair.

Our solution.
To allow for higher judging standards and to lend more credibility to the awards that are distributed at the Spark Awards ceremony each spring, a new judging scale will be put into place for awards in all categories.

  • Excellence Award: To receive an excellence award, you will now have to receive between 90 – 100 points.
  • Merit Award: To receive a merit award, you will now have to receive between 80 – 89.9 points.

Additionally, two awards will still be distributed to the top earning entries in each category, but the difference will be that those two awards can both be Excellences, or Merits, or a mix. To be clear, this could mean we distribute one Excellence and one Merit; two Excellences and no Merits; or, two Merits and no Excellences. No awards will be distributed in a category if there are no submissions that receive the point value needed to earn a Merit or Excellence award, based on the updated judging scale criteria.

Judging Process:

How it’s been done in the past.
In the past, two judges have independently reviewed and scored each entry.

The problem?
The problem we see with this style of judging is that it allows for wide variance in feedback and in scores.

Our solution.
To allow for less variance in scores, better quality feedback, and more time spent reviewing, discussing and considering each submission, we will now have 3 people judge each award entry, preferably with direct experience in the category for which they’re judging. As a group, judges will discuss each entry and determine its effectiveness given the goals identified in the entry. After discussion, each judge will fill out their own judging form. Once each judge has completed a judging form, scores will be averaged to get the overall final score for the entry. As always, all judging forms will still be provided to show individual feedback.

Awards:

How it’s been done in the past.
Historically, the top award for the Spark Awards has been The Dussault Award. It has aimed to highlight an entry in Division 2 that was also a Brightest Spark, and that had a significant impact on the vibrancy and prosperity of our region and/or target audience.

The problem?
The issue with this award is that it lacked a clear objective. In past years, some judges have wanted to focus more on an entry that’s had a local impact, while others have wanted to rely more heavily on pure numerical score. This creates inconsistency in judging from year-to-year and makes it difficult to select a winner.

Our solution.
To give clear objectives to each award, and to have top awards that give perspective from both local and national/international campaigns, we will distribute the following awards starting in 2014:

  • Excellence Award – up to two awards per category, receiving between a 90 – 100 overall score.
  • Merit Award – up to two awards per category, receiving between an 80 – 89.9 overall score.
  • Brightest Spark Award – three highest point values overall will receive this coveted award.
  • The Blaze Award – This “best of show” award will be given to the highest scoring entry that was submitted in Division 2 and was also one of the Brightest Spark Awards. This award recognizes a campaign or program from Division 2 that demonstrated clear impact on its target audience. The Blaze Award winner will be asked to make a 20 minute presentation about the entry at our monthly meeting in June 2014.
  • The Dussault ‘Community Impact’ Award – This community award will be given to an entry that was submitted in Division 2 and demonstrated clear impact within the Spokane community. This award will not only be based on overall score, but will be given at the discretion of the judges.  The Dussault Community Impact Award winner will be asked to make a 20 minute presentation about the entry at our monthly meeting in June 2014.*The Dussault Community Impact Award winner does NOT have to be a Brightest Spark Award winner.

If you have any questions about the changes to the judging scale, process, or awards, please contact Emily Easley, Spark Awards Judging Chair, at emilye@desautelhege.com