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  • APG

How to get your paper shortlisted – top tips from this year’s Chair of Shortlisters

Getting your paper shortlisted is dead easy, as long as you follow these simple guidelines:

Read a lot of past papers The only reliable way to write well is to read well, so look at past winners and learn.

Be interesting Make sure your paper is a fascinating and enjoyable read.

Tell a story Follow the classic rules of storytelling and provide a satisfying narrative arc with an objective, obstacles along the way, and ultimate success at the end.

Describe why it was difficult Degree of difficulty will be a consideration, so point out how hard it was to get influential strategy out on your brand, or in your sector.

Tell people what your strategy was, and make sure it’s actually a strategy A surprising number of papers fail to clearly identify what the strategy was, the ‘clever’ bit that you’re asking the judges to reward. And many confuse tactics with strategy.

Tell your story Ultimately this is a story about your quest, so make it individual and put a bit of your personality into the writing.

Explain the context Assume that judges don’t know about your brand or your category, so explain the context your strategy had to work in, and find interesting ways to make them understand the influence of your strategy.

Present evidence Not evidence of success, but evidence of thinking – the actual diagram you drew to explain the issue to the creative team, or the research report that unlocked the insight.

Tell them what could have happened without you Point out the other plausible, but less good, strategies that could have been followed if not for your brilliance.

Everything looks easy in hindsight So make sure you point out that your success was not inevitable, and was hard to discover, hard to sell, tricky to execute.

Don’t worry about making it look pretty Focus on the story and the words. There is no advantage to be had in getting it typeset in studio, all presentation gloss will be disregarded in favour of the story of the strategy.

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