Awards and why they matter

Awards, such as Communiqué and PMEA, allow us to celebrate great work; crucially they can serve as a catalyst to improve patient outcomes. With the right categories, patient-focused judging criteria, and opportunities to learn about the winners’ approach, awards raise the bar and inspire us to strive harder to make a difference.

Making a difference matters to all of us working in pharmaceuticals – that’s the bigger picture of what we do day-to-day. After all, our skills could equally be applied to marketing the arts, communicating Government transport policy or selling IT systems; but we haven’t chosen those paths. The core of what we do is ensuring patients get access to innovation, to live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Awards allow us to showcase inspirational examples of how we can use healthcare marketing communication to improve treatment pathways, optimise the use of medicines and put patients at the centre of care.

So identifying best-in-class work matters, and I also reckon celebrating these achievements serves a purpose.

A time for celebration
Many of us have sat in a vast dining hall, the most dapper we’ve been all year, an industry peer steps up on a stage; they smile at the celebrity compere, open an envelope and, as we hold our breath and hopefully think ‘please, please, please’, they announce: “The winner is…” When it’s your name, company or campaign the rush of adrenaline is overwhelming, causing air punching, hugs, whoops of joy and in my case the odd tear of pride for my winning team.

We then dance the night away and have a thoroughly good time. This celebration is vital. We care that our work is best-in-class – it’s a privilege to have been considered by our peers to have made a difference. This positive feedback focuses our minds on delivering outstanding work.

It’s about judging criteria
I’ve been a judge for many awards, most often for the Communiqué’s, and although award schemes in general showcase new ideas and new approaches, creativity isn’t enough on its own to win a Communiqué award. At its very best, the work we do delivers behavioural change, and therefore there is a demand for measurable outcomes that will make programmes and initiatives worthwhile.

Communiqué awards have evolved to place an increasing emphasis on measuring what we have actually achieved with our work, how we are enhancing patient outcomes, which in turn has helped the industry and our clients to develop new ways to track and measure results.

With judges looking at criteria such as ‘measurable impact on patient outcomes’, the entries that really deliver get the highest scores. The big winners at this year’s Communiqué awards will demonstrate measurable impact.

Some improvements in showcasing needed
One area where award programmes could be enhanced would be in the showcasing of the best practice of the award winners – this helps to raise the bar. It does happen to some extent, but would be great to see as standard practice.

I’ve set out my stall on why I believe awards do matter and can make a difference to patients and you’ll find me on the dance floor to celebrate your success at the award ceremonies this year.

Aurora is up for a couple this year at Communiqué. Would be fab to win consultancy of the year for a second time :+)

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