“SLIM Digis to raise the bar in Digital prowess recognition” – Blueprint committee

Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, the National body of Marketing in Sri Lanka andthe organizerof Sri Lanka’s most acclaimed and reputed awards ceremonies such as SLIM Brand Excellence Awards, SLIM – Nielsen Peoples awards, SLIM NASCO awards and Effies awards will be organizing the first Digital marketing awards ceremony in Sri Lanka; SLIM Digis 2018. The awards ceremony celebrates Sri Lanka’s best digital marketing work, innovation and talent, and recognizes the region’s growing influence on the global digital industry. SLIM has been promoting marketing excellence and elevating the status of marketing in Sri Lanka since its inception in 1970.

Expressing their views about the novel concept, Head of Jury, Imal Fonseka and Head of Blue Print Committee – Tilan Wijeyesekera describes about the process and the ethos behind the initiative. Following are excerpts of an interview conducted with them.

Q:What is the judging process of the SLIM Digis?

Imal:The judging process is followed under two rounds. The Preliminary Round is poised to determineshortlists. All entries will be judged by a minimum of six jurors and judges will evaluate and score each entry individually across all categories. Entries with the highest score in each category will be shortlisted and qualified for the final round. In the Final Round, the winners will be determined.

Q : What are the requirements of the entries and the contenders?

Imal: All shortlisted entries will be required to make a 7minute presentation. This will be followed by a 10minute Q&A Session. Judges will evaluate and score each entry individually from across categories. Entries with the highest scores in each category will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively. Shortlisted entries may or may not be converted to wins. It is not mandatory that each category have shortlisted entries nor have winners.

Q :What are the main focus areas of the judging criteria?

Imal: All the entries are evaluated based on the originality of the idea and creativity of execution. The contending entries will be rewarded with scores according to how convincing the argument made establishing a cause and effect between the objectives, strategy and results of the campaign.The entry will be evaluated on how well the chosen strategies and communications methods met the set objectives. Entries must provide quantification/proof of results from a credible source (and seek third party verification of awards winners). Judges will also looking for clearly defined strategic objectives with a link to business performance.

Q: Experts from which areas compose the jury?

Imal: The jury is composed of a carefully selected professionals and veterans of Marketing, Advertising and Digital fields providing comprehensive and reliable feedback mechanism to all entries equally.       

Q: What is the Rational and process behind the formulation of Blueprint for the First Digital Marketing Awards?

Tilan: The rationale behind the development of this awards program is to ensure that Sri Lanka has a truly credible and recognizedawards program for the Digital Marketing industry. To explain the process briefly, we decided to obtain the feedback of the various stakeholders in the industry including Clients/digital marketing practitioners/digital agency professionals/business leaders etc. to understand what should be the most important factors to be considered in devising a program of this nature and how they all assess the performance of digital marketing efforts. We then proceeded to do more research on how these efforts are assessed internationally and set about to devise our blue print with the formulation of a blue print committee comprising of recognized industry professionals.

The blue print itself defines the boundaries, policies, methodology and rules of the awards show in order to establish the most credible digital marketing awards program in Sri Lanka. It also spells out the judging process that Imal explained earlier.

Q: What are the aspects of the Blueprint that brings the competition to international standards?

Tilan: We must understand that this is a pioneering effort in the Sri Lankan digital marketing fraternity. Therefore our focus has been to firstly understand the Sri Lankan context and set up minimum expected Sri Lankan standards, although we will be benchmarking international standards. It’s of paramount importance that we first understand this journey as we move forward over the next few years where the blue print along with the process could be improved further to take our industry to truly international standards.

The key aspects we are looking at within the process include understanding the context and objectives facing any particular campaign, then looking at key insights and segments being targeted in formulating the strategy, the innovativeness and creativity of the big idea, and how the campaign is executed including how it was done, which channels were used, cost/investment, market and period etc. and finally how the integration of all these created an impact including achieving KPI which were set within the context where these were attributable to the campaign.

Q: How is the blueprint used to engage every category and sphere of the Sri Lankan Digital Marketing Industry?

Tilan: As explained before the process is used to assess all the core awards. The categories have been defined using the experience and insights we have through SLIM which runs the main brand recognition awards program namely Brand Excellence awards and communication effectiveness awards namely Effie awards.Where we have segmented the market to represent each industry. You could refer the entry kit for the different categories. However we have also developed special awards categories to specifically look at key important aspects that we want to drive and improve within the fraternity. These special awards are not applied for and are rather assessed by the judging panel across all the applicants of the core categories. They are namely Best Digital Marketing Innovation, Best Use of Branded Content, Best Use of Mobile for Marketing and finally judging the best of the best campaign of the year termed as the Digital Marketing Grand Prix.

Q: How is this initiative important to the contemporary context in Sri Lanka, and how will it strengthen the future of the Sri Lankan Digital Marketing Industry?

Tilan: The business and marketing environment as well as media landscape has been changing drastically over the past few years with theconstantly changing consumer lifestyles and habits. Therefore, traditional methods of marketing and their overarching conventional context are being questioned. In this context Digital marketing has been emerging as the newest force especially to focus on new emerging segments to deliver greater ROI. Therefore we as an industry must strive to improve our effectiveness and efficiency in order to deliver better value to organizations and thereby strengthen the industry. Thus the recognition of those efforts that deliver the best value would continue to drive the industry forward to reach international standards and improvethe productivity of our marketing investments with greater accountability for marketers and digital marketing professionals.