How to create award winning brands

The deadline for entries to this year’s Annual Awards season is fast approaching, it made me think about what you could do to create award winning brands and campaigns surrounding your business.

If you are a business owner, agency or client, here are my top tips to get you started on some award winning work (even if you don’t plan on entering, having award winning ideas will benefit your reputation in the market).

1. Idea is The Hero

Client: Invest time to understand the mind of the agency you’re choosing to working with, get to know the team, ask them to showcase their creative minds with concept work and the rationale that saddles it.  You’ll want an agency that can think differently, even if – for now – you don’t need this ability.

Agency: Conceptual thinking, iconoclastic ideas and initiative. Make sure that the idea behind your campaign or project is very apparent. You need to display the thought process in your final result. Give the client what they want and add that bit of magic they didn’t expect.

2. Tell a story

Client: Before we start a project we invest a volume of time understanding the vision, researching and studying current/future market trends, unearthing your likes, dislikes, product/service and the personalities of the team – two thirds of our time is at these two stages of the AdBrand creative process, then we move on to the Concept and Roll Out phases.

Agency: I have a saying, “tell your audience nothing, show them everything”. If you’re building a brand from scratch or rebranding a heritage business, create a journey for the audience/customers show the story of your idea. Build a personal connection, appreciation and respect. Don’t forget, the best way to remember an brand is through the feelings it evoked.

3. Be true

Client: once you have worked through and produced a solid brief, let the agency get to work (ensuring they keep communication strong). This will allow the creative process to flow and deliver you the best results. Ensure the brief stays true to your values, the business and your future customers.

Agency: Make sure you focus on delivering the expectations of your client. Don’t over promise (you’ve already won the contract) if you give more than you promised then that’s a surprise bonus! Meet the agreed deadlines as there are many other elements involved in the business launch – it really helps relieve anxiety – and you’ll surely walk away with future work, or even better a future referral.

4. Two heads

Client: By investing time in the brief and clearly explaining what you do and don’t like it’ll help (more than you’ll realise), we’ve suffered ‘loose briefing’ in the past and upon submission of our creative and your counsel of peers opinions it can lead into a melange of subjective opinions which steer the results away from what’s right for your business.

Agency: When it comes to working on ideas, us creatives can let our opinions of what’s ‘right’ overshadow what’s right. If you’ve focused on the Understanding and Research phase you’ll be on track to deliver what the market wants whilst satisfying your client. Be sure to consult your wider internal team. Other opinions can make a difference and help craft a much better result (you could even share the brief with your junior designers and see what creative thinking they apply.

5. Give credit

Client: Us creatives have an ego (some manage it well through humility) however, we have put a lot of our sleepless nights, time, inspiration and soul into delivering you the best work we can. If you love the outcome tell them – warm and fuzzy is is a lovely feeling – you’ll also get more from the agency in future. As you’re proud of your new brand tell the world and the greatest honour is receiving a referral from a past client, 95% of AdBrand’s work comes from referrals!

Agency: If you deliver the greatest work you can, it’ll be because you’ve involved your team. Tell the client who came up with the final concept (invite them to the meeting with you). I believe it’s a responsibility of a Creative Director to share, inspire and build the character of those younger and less experienced. Traditionally, they have the original ideas, you just know how to make it work. Don’t be shy to ask for a referral or testimonial. If a client has loved the experience they will want to help.

6. Offer more  

Client: If your starting out in business or established a network is everything. By asking your agency if they know someone who can support them in Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, Content Writing, Leads there’s a good chance they can, do and will.

Agency: Be remembered as helpful. The ‘go-to’ guys for support, it continues relationship building, earns greater trust and a network is of no value if you don’t use it to help others. Be a farmer!


As you’ve read these tips, I hope there are several nuggets to help along your journey. Whether it’s How to choose the right branding agency, what a brand means to your business or how to help secure and win more clients or to read more, we have a showcase of blogs here.

These are all lessons I’ve learned along my journey building the AdBrand business. If you’d like to see our portfolio, you’re just one click away.

Adam Ridgway
Chief Creative Director