THE UNAWARDS19 ARE OPEN

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THE UNAWARDS19 ARE OPEN

The 6th annual UnAwards launch TODAY. They're the most accessible industry awards around. Now is not a time to quietly sit back and hope your boss recognises and appreciates your efforts. So try and get yourself shortlisted for an UnAward to really put your work on the organisational map.

by Darren Caveney

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5 THINGS YOU LEARN AT THE UNAWARDS AND WHY THEY'RE A FORCE FOR GOOD

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Judges awarded the innovative Comms Unplugged event both a winners spot and a highly commended tag at the UnAwards18. That’s some achievement for two people delivering it in their spare time. As always there is plenty of learning to share…

by Sally Northeast

In my second year of attending the UnAwards I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to call myself a ‘regular’ yet (hat tip to those five people who’ve been to all five events – I salute you!)

But I’ll admit I’m hooked.

This isn’t just any awards ceremony. I went to one earlier this year for my day job – my team was short-listed and I travelled to Manchester with my comms manager where we were assailed by an extremely glitzy, slick and expensive affair. It was enjoyable enough, but I’m not sure it had much heart.

The UnAwards have heart in spades. They also have friendship, they have ‘cool’ (the Everyman cinema is a genius place to hold an event) and they have talent and hard work.

So here are the five things I either learned, or was reminded of, at this year’s fabulous UnAwards.

  1. Keep trying: In 2017 Georgia Turner, Darren Caveney and I were fresh from our very first Comms Unplugged event and thought we’d chuck in an award submission for something we were genuinely proud of. We were ‘highly commended’ in the Best Small Team category which was a lovely moment. Following our bigger 2018 event, which gave us lots more evidence to back up our concept, we felt we had an even better chance of a win so entered six categories. To our absolute delight we won Best Small Team and were highly commended for Best Creative Comms, as well as being shortlisted for Best Collaboration. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

  2. Be proud: Whether or not you’re shortlisted, whether or not you win, entering the UnAwards is a chance to reflect on work you’re proud of. How often do we comms folk chuck out campaign after campaign, never really stopping to look back and think: “Wow, that was a great piece of work!” We’re busy moving onto the next thing (or being pushed towards it). I’m terrible for doing this so writing our award submission was a great discipline. When I sit and read it back now I think a) how the hell did we pull this off?! and b) what a brilliant thing. Enjoy your success – you deserve it.

  3. Learn every day: Keep learning is one of the five steps to wellbeing which we quote a lot in the unplugged world. And it’s true that there’s something to be learned from every new experience (and even from old ones!). There were 420 entries for the UnAwards and there will be something to learn from each and every one. Darren is gearing up to organise an UnAwards Winners Masterclass in the new year where the winners will share their tips for success – I look forward to being there as much to hear from others as to share the Comms Unplugged story.

  4. Dare to be different: I’ve said the UnAwards is not like other awards ceremonies. Equally Comms Unplugged, our winning entry, is not like other events. In both cases I think the organisers set out with a clear vision about the ethos of what they were trying to create. Darren always says he worries no-one will enter or attend the UnAwards. We thought the same about Comms Unplugged in the first year. Because it’s different to other conferences it took a while for people to get on board. But when you have a few ‘first followers’ you’re on your way. If you build it, they will come – even if it takes a while.

  5. Make friends: Comms Unplugged and the UnAwards have more in common than the ‘un’ bit. Here’s where we come back to heart. There’s a lot of positivity at the UnAwards and genuine pleasure at the success of others. It’s great to see good people being recognised and everyone is behind their comms colleagues from many different organisations. Comms Unplugged shares that positive vibe and has helped to create what I know will be long friendships among some of the unpluggers. You need to have a special bond if you’re going to share a compact Airbnb apartment with seven other ladies – and that’s what we did in Brum last week for the UnAwards. It was great fun and my trip to Brum was 48 hours I know I won’t forget in a hurry.

Finally, a massive thank you to Darren Caveney for giving us all the opportunity to share and celebrate our successes together with colleagues from across the UK and from a huge range of organisations. If you didn’t enter this year, start thinking now how you’ll measure that campaign you’ve just started so you can share your success at next year’s UnAwards. I’ll see you there!

Come to Comms Uplugged 2019 – it will take place on 5-7 September in beautiful Dorset. You can find out more here. And connect on Twitter at @CommsUnplugged

Sally Northeast is an organiser of Comms Unplugged and deputy director, communications and participation, at Dorset Healthcare

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DIE HARD + CHRISTMAS + CREATIVITY + FRIENDS = THE UNAWARDS18

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As the magic dust settles on the UnAwards18 I’ve been reflecting on what I think was the best UnAwards yet.

by Darren Caveney

There are too many highlights to savour and people to thank in just one post but I wanted to share some reflections as I sit here at home supping on a nice fresh coffee post-event.

As I mentioned at the ceremony, I don’t get nervous speaking at events or hosting events. It’s not a boast, I just don’t. But because the UnAwards is so personal and because I want everyone there to have a fabulous day - win, lose or draw - I have in previous years been a tiny bit tense on the day.

This year I did not. I just thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. It was relaxed with a room full of superb people.

If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it too.

So many highlights

There were many highlights for me amongst the winners. Think about a council like Northamptonshire, so often in the news these past twelve months because of the situation they find themselves in. Imagine how difficult it must have been for their comms team at times. To come through that and win an UnAward shows immense skill and character.

Think about the daily pressures front line NHS comms teams are faced with. To see so many shortlisted and some go on to win warrants huge credit.

And think about university comms teams under so much pressure to satisfy multiple stakeholders and now also help turn a profit too. Hats off to them for their shortlistings and wins.

Seeing teams like Warwickshire County Council win big at the UnAwards18 after years of trying shouts perseverance and that is to be applauded.

Three organisations picked up two UnAwards – Tower Hamlets Council, Loughborough University and Bradford Council, including Albert Freeman as best comms officer this year. One UnAward win is great, two is a little bit special.

Then there are teams like South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service winners for the second year on the trot. That isn’t a coincidence. It’s a great team full of ideas delivering consistently. Well doe to Alex Mills and the team.

A word about the private sector and a well done to Rebecca Roberts, owner of Thread and Fable, a woman who has left in-house behind and set up her own businesses which is now picking up awards.

And a shout-out for Sally Northeast and Georgia Turner - the people behind Comms Unplugged - who literally deliver something amazing in their spare time and on top of their regular and busy day jobs. That’s passion, creativity and desire all rolled up into one and I was very happy to see their hard work rewarded.

I was impressed with so many of the shortlisted entries. If you made the shortlist for best social media account and best social media campaign you are delivering truly exceptional work.

If you made the shortlist for best low cost comms work then congratulations. That’s where real creativity shines through. Bravo to you.

As it’s Christmas, when we do things in twelves, here are my top 12 key reflections…

1. It’s Christmas

The UnAwards now officially marks the start of Christmas for our comms community. As Paul Masterman put it “The UnAwards is the comms equivalent of the switching on of the Oxford Street lights”

2. Ever presents

There were five people in the room who have been to all five UnAwards. Wow. And six if you include me. I should give you all an UnAward for good attendance 😊

3. Local Government fights back

Local Government where the biggest winners this year picking up eight of the 18 awards. NHS, Police and Higher Education picked up two apiece.

4. We must learn from the winners

I will endeavour to find the sponsorship to put on another UnAwards Winners Masterclass in the new year where I’ll ask the winners to come and share the lessons of their winning work (please shout me if you’re up for supporting this) As always, it will be free to attend, true to the ethos of the UnAwards.

5. Truly UK-wide

Attendees came from far and wide across the UK – from Scotland, from Wales, from Yorkshire, the North East and North West England, from South West and South East England, and from the Midlands and Brum itself.

6. Making people feel good

Winners, smiled, laughed and cried. That’s a special thing to be able to enable.

7. Let there be music. Cool music…

If you want to listen to Ben Capper’s awesome #UnAwards18 playlist go here

8. Lifetime achievement

Huge congratulations to Dionne Mayhew, Rachael Shaw, Antony Tiernan and Jayne Surman for being nominated in the Lifetime Achievement award. That is a special accolade and one you should be really proud of – good people with huge skills. In the entire history of the UnAwards only 18 people have been nominated, and only five people hold the title. So it really is a unique band of communicators.

Well done to Jayne Surman who just pipped the other three.

9. Get your diaries out

A diary date for you – the #UnAwards19 will take place on Friday 6 December 2019 when we can do it all again and I can spend three month’s worrying about film choices.

10. The importance of giving

This year I wanted to have an official UnAwards charity and chose one close to home. Thank you to everyone who donated on the day to St Basils, who do amazing work for homeless young people in Birmingham. I shall give an update on what we collected on the day asap but if you would like to donate online you can do so here.

11. Die Hard IS a Christmas film

Strangely for such a film anorak as myself I’d never actually watched the whole film before. And never on the big screen. I thought it was brilliant and it’s my new favourite Christmas film. (I know, I am exceedingly late to that party)

12. Gratitude

I’m so grateful to get to run and host the UnAwards but even better than that is the chance to spend the day with a room of amazing people, some who I have come to value as friends. Thank you for making this the best UnAwards yet.

Some final, special mentions…

Luke Williams, Ben Caper, Adrian Stirrup and Nigel Bishop thank you for all of your help. You are a pleasure to work with and a talented bunch.

To the attendees, thank you for giving up a Friday in December. As Adrian Stirrup put it “what’s not to like about spending the day laughing with friends, recognising excellence, and watching Die Hard”

To everyone who submitted the record-breaking 420 entries thank you for allaying my annual fear that on one will enter because you’re all so busy.

The UnAwards remains a not for profit event and I am so grateful to the official partner Granicus, and the official sponsors Orlo, CAN, NUJ PRCC, the Local Government Association,  Alive With Ideas and Perago-Wales - without your kind support the UnAwards would not be possible.

A shout-out to Dave Worsell of Granicus, a supporter of the UnAwards from year one, but who couldn’t be there this year.

A shout to my buddy Phil Jewitt. You know why.

And finally an extra special mention to the lovely Caroline Roodhouse and Alan Oram of Alive With Ideas who sadly could not attend. You were very much missed.

Until next year…

p.s. if you were there and have any feedback on the day please shout me. And if you’re interested in being involved a sponsor for the UnAwards19 please shout – I’m on darrencaveney@gmail.com

Darren Caveney is organiser of the UnAwards, creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

image from Joanne Ford

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THE #UNAWARDS18 - YOUR GUIDE TO THE BIG DAY

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After a three-month build-up the #UnAwards18 is almost here. Here’s your guide to the big day…

by Darren Caveney

Now in their fifth year, there has never been a more important role for the UnAwards in saluting, recognising and celebrating the work of communicators across our industry. Some of you are working under tough conditions. Some of you are adapting to smaller resources and increased demand. And others are just delivering damned fine work.

The UnAwards is my own way of giving a little bit back to an industry which has been very good to me. I take huge pride and pleasure in being able to take a decent chunk of time out each year, away from the day-to-day consultancy work, to organise the UnAwards and to help fly a flag – in my own little way – for our communications community.

The big day

If you have managed to secure a ticket to the #UnAwards18, well done – you’re in for a treat.

The event is sold out. The 141 available tickets have been in huge demand. The fact that this year’s event is a week closer to Christmas makes them even more special.

Win or not you’re in for a great day

The UnAwards is my favourite work day of the year. It’s quite unlike any other industry event I’ve been to.

Not winning…

Of course, if you’re shortlisted but don’t win, you’ll be disappointed.

With 420 entries and 70 on the shortlist it’s stating the obvious in saying that not everyone can win.

If you’ve been to a traditional awards event, paid handsomely for it, and left empty-handed it can feel like a massive anti-climax. I know, I have experienced that.

The UnAwards is different.

The day is designed so that win or not you can genuinely enjoy a fun event and a unique opportunity to connect with industry colleagues new and old. That in itself is reason to be there.

Twitter will be buzzing

If you can’t be at the UnAwards18 follow it on Twitter using the #UnAwards18 hashtag.

Announcing the winners and snaps of the big day

We’ll be posting the winners names to the UnAwards18 website after the event.

We also have the fab Nigel Bishop taking snaps and filming the event and we’ll get these online as soon as possible.

Timings, ceremony, film and food

The venue for the UnAwards18 is the very cool Everyman Cinema up on the third floor of Birmingham's Mailbox, B1 1 RF

If you’re coming along aim to be at the venue at 9.30am for registration, a mug of fresh coffee and a croissant. The #UnAwards18 ceremony will begin at 10.00am.

After the ceremony we’re watching a brilliant film kept a closely-guarded secret until the day.

After the film you’ll tuck into hearty bowl of veggie chilli and be done by 3pm. I expect plenty of you may the stay behind for a pre-christmas celebratory tipple. And why not.

And the dress code is…

Whatever you fancy. Literally. This is NOT black tie, as you’ll have guessed 😊 But if you want to come in your fancy clobber then go for it. I will, as always, be giving the annual outing to my UnAwards velvet jacket.

Saying thanks

Thanks so much for your support again this year, it means a lot. Everyone who entered, tweeted and endorsed.

Special thanks too to the official UnAwards18 partner, Granicus UK, and our official sponsors the Local Government Association, Alive With Ideas, the NUJ PRCC, Orlo, the Council Advertising Network and Perago Wales. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there would be no UnAwards without you.

I look forward to seeing lots of you on Friday 7 December

#BestWorkDayOfTheYear

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0, owner of creative communicators ltd and organiser of the UnAwards18

image by me

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THE UNAWARDS18 SHORTLIST IS LIVE

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The wait is over – the UnAwards18 shortlist has been published

by Darren Caveney

It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s been a massive task for the UnAwards judges this year.

420 entries is a pretty astonishing return.

Huge thanks for the time and effort which all entrants took this year.

If you have made it onto the shortlist you should be really proud, it’s a major achievement.

And if you didn’t make it onto the shortlist you’ll of course be sad. We’ve all been there. But that should not detract from you being proud of your work.

Many on the shortlist this year didn’t make it in 2017. So please don’t give up – try again next year.

You can view the full UnAwards18 shortlist HERE.

BEING AT THE BIG DAY…

Each year the publication of the shortlist sparks a run on the remaining tickets.

I am going to limit ticket sales to two per organisation so that I can get as many shortlisted people to the big day as possible.

Ticket availability is limited and is first come, first served.

You can buy up to two tickets HERE.

SAYING THANKS

Finally a big, big thank you to the team of external judges - all 20 of them:

Dave Worsell, Matt Johnson, Emma Rodgers, Ross Wigham, Phil Morcom, Bridget Aherne, Carolyne Mitchell, David Grindley, Caroline Roodhouse, Alan Oram, Ian Curwen, Fran Collingham, Stuart Banbery, Rachael Richardson-Bullock, Matt Nicholls, Victoria Ford, John-Paul Danon, Phil Jewitt, Holly Bremner and Ben Capper.

It’s been a huge amount of work for you all and I thank you so much for your time and efforts. I owe you all a beer.

I look forward to seeing many of you on 7 December.

Darren Caveney is organiser of the UnAwards, creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

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THE UNAWARDS18 PUBLIC VOTE IS OPEN

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The UnAwards18 Public Vote is now Open which means you can now choose your favourites this year…

by Darren Caveney

After a record-breaking 400+ entries a team of 20 external judges are currently battling through a tonne of great work to draw up the 2018 shortlist.

But as you know, the UnAwards are different to other awards because YOU get the chance to choose three of the big winners through a public vote.

And that public vote is now OPEN.

You have a tough, tough challenge now to select the winners from three important categories:

>> LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

>> COMMS TEAM OF THE YEAR

>> BEST GUEST POST OF 2018

You can cast your votes HERE

The public vote closes on 26 November (midnight)

Choose wisely.

And good luck to all of you.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards

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AN UPDATE ON THE RECORD-BREAKING #UNAWARD18

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Well the 5th annual UnAwards has only gone and broken records….

by Darren Caveney

The 5th annual UnAwards promises to be the best yet. Over 400 entries swamped the UnAwards inbox and I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to make this happen.

Here are four big things to update you on…

1. ENTRIES

The entries have all been dispatched to a team of 20 external judges have been busy trying to select their shortlists. It’s an epic task but they are more than up to it.

2. THE SHORTLIST

Once the judges have done their thing the shortlist will be published on 19 November.

3. TICKETS TO THE BIG DAY

The venue is a belter with a strict capacity of 141 seats for an event which always sells out. Well done if you have already grabbed a ticket. The tickets are first come, first served so the only way to guarantee your ticket is to grab one now whilst you can HERE.

I will potentially then hold back a final allocation for any remaining shortlisted people. It’s a challenge to try to get everyone there but I shall do my very best to get shortlisted teams and individuals at least one ticket.

4. THE PUBLIC VOTE

The UnAwards are different to other awards and so you, the communications community, get the chance to vote for the winners in three categories – lifetime achievement, best comms team and best guest post of the year. There are some amazing people and teams to consider.

The public vote opens on 7 November and closes on 26 November and you can vote here from 7 November.

SAYING THANKS

Many thanks to the team of #UnAwards18 judges - Dave Worsell, Matt Johnson, Emma Rodgers, Ross Wigham, Phil Morcom, Bridget Aherne, Carolyne Mitchell, David Grindley, Caroline Roodhouse, Ian Curwen, Fran Collingham, Stuart Banbery, Rachael Richardson-Bullock, Matt Nicholls, Victoria Ford, John-Paul Danon, Phil Jewitt, Holly Bremner and Ben Capper.

And many, many thanks to the #UnAwards18 official partner, Granicus, and the official sponsors: The Local Government Association, Orlo (previously known as SocialSignIn), Council Advertising Network, NUJ PR Communications Council, Alive With Ideas and Perago Wales.

I’ve said it before but it’s so true, I couldn’t deliver the #UnAwards without your support.

More updates here and via @comms2point0 on Twitter very soon.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards

Image via Tullio Saba

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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN - THE UNAWARDS18 CLOSE ON THURSDAY

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The 5th annual UnAwards close on Thursday 25 October. So you still have time to enter, get yourself shortlisted and

really put your work on the industry map.

by Darren Caveney

Wow, year five of the UnAwards. They are a personal labour of love.

They have thrown up some brilliant work and given a platform for teams and individuals’ work to be celebrated and presented at industry events around the UK. That makes my heart sing and makes the many hours dedicated to making them happen so worthwhile.

Each year the UnAwards have a theme – this year it is this:

It’s the work which made a genuine difference, which nailed it creatively, which met its objectives, which could measure and prove its success. Work which changed something for the better. And captured your audience’s attention in a crowded, cluttered world.

Of course that can be easier said and done against a backdrop of further cuts and increasing work demand.

Team size, budget, skills and resource can impact upon our work.

But you will not be judged on these things.

So if you have a budget of £50 and a team of, well, just you, you can absolutely win an UnAward. Others have so why not you?

For our resources shouldn't - mustn't even - get in the way of delivering a piece of work, project or campaign which made that real difference.

Proving the difference which comms made is of course key. We are mature enough as an industry to know how to do this well now.

Sound great, huh – but you need to be quick…

The #UnAwards18 close on 25 October at midnight. So block out an hour in your diary to sit somewhere quiet (which for me would be my favourite coffee shop) and give your best work these past 12 months a chance to shine and be celebrated.

New to the UnAwards?

Well there's more here but in a nutshell they are the most accessible and innovative awards in our industry - free to enter, fun to attend and a celebration of our community's achievements.

There are 18 categories, so something for everyone

Even better you can enter the same piece of work in multiple categories to increase your chances of being shortlisted.

Don’t just focus on the obvious categories, think too about really important categories such as:

-          Best use of research/evaluation

-          Best use of email

-          Best use of ethical comms behaviour/diversity

-          Best comms team

-          Lifetime achievement

If you come along to the big day – shortlisted or not – you’ll enjoy one of the very best networking events of the year .

Oh and you get to watch a classic movie, which always remains a closely guarded secret until the day.

The UnAwards – they keep on giving...

Each year the winners are invited to showcase their winning work at the highly popular UnAwards Winners Masterclass in the new year. Also free to attend.

I know you’re really busy but no one else will do this for you...

That other non-important work demand which can stifle – meetings, ad-hoc requests, multiple distractions and the “could you just…” passing trade won’t go away. Ever.

But you might have a rather nice UnAward-winning certificate hanging proudly on your office wall. So be a little selfish with your time for once.

Have a good look at the dedicated UnAwards website here and you can grab the simple-to-complete entry form HERE.

Entries close on 25 October at midnight - you can see the full #UnAwards18 timetable HERE.

And remember – the UnAwards deadline is never extended.

I’m looking forward to seeing your brilliant work.

Keep watching @comms2point0 for all the latest news and updates.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0, owner of the creative communicators ltd and organiser of the UnAwards

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NOMINATE SOMEONE BRILLIANT IN THE UNAWARDS18

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We know that a common complaint from comms professionals is a lack of recognition for their work. The UnAwards18 is your chance to change that. In a big way.

by Darren Caveney

Whether it’s a brilliant campaign, managing communications through a crisis, or just turning up every day of the year and being the best you can be, it’s not a lot to ask to get the odd ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’.

But it doesn’t happen often enough for many and that is one of the reasons behind the comms2point UnAwards18 - to shine a light on the professionals proudly flying comms, pr and digital flags across the sectors.

Now there’s only one thing better than being shortlisted for an award - that’s being nominated by someone else for an award. It’s a special thing.  It means you’ve caught someone’s eye, demanded their attention or impressed them with your creativity, doggedness, enthusiasm and skills.

Know someone like that? Then why not nominate them in the UnAwards18?

There are two ways in which you can nominate.

Option one - If you think an individual or a team should be in the running this year just complete this short online form and hit submit. I’ll do the rest and contact them on your behalf.

Option 2 - you can nominate an individual or a team in any of this year's categories and complete the entry form for them. Two which really lend themselves to nominations are:

-          Best comms/digital team

-          Lifetime achievement award

For this second option, all you need to do is complete the simple entry form here and email it through to admin@comms2point0unawards.co.uk

When we set up the UnAwards we were absolutely clear that they would be the most accessible industry awards around.  Where the community were actively involved in shaping and deciding.

So, best of all you, the comms community, gets to choose the winners through a public vote in these two categories, as well as our 'Post of the year' category.

We’ll tell you more about the public vote soon.

HOW LONG HAVE I GOT TO NOMINATE SOMEONE?

The closing date is 25 October (midnight) so get nominating.

BE THERE ON THE DAY…

Want to soak up the atmosphere of the coolest comms, PR, marketing and digital event of the year in person? UnAwards tickets are priced at just £20 + vat each. See, we told you the UnAwards were really accessible.

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and will sell out so don’t hang around.  You can grab yours here.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point and organiser of the UnAwards17

image by Steve Snodgrass

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LAUNCHING THE EPIC, THE UNIQUE, THE BESTEST - THE ONE AND ONLY UNAWARDS

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The 5th annual UnAwards launch TODAY. They're the most accessible industry awards around. Now is not a time to quietly sit back and hope your boss recognises and appreciates your efforts. So try and get yourself shortlisted for an UnAward to really put your work on the organisational map.

by Darren Caveney

2018. It's felt to me a lot like 2017 only more extreme. Certainly for the communications industry, and pretty much everything else which has occupied our time and minds too.

So as summer turns to autumn September always throws me full pelt into UnAwards planning, a time to reflect on to ponder on the theme for this year.

But this year's theme actually emerged pretty quickly to be honest and is based on my travels around the UK working with teams this year and the work which really stood out.

The theme for the UnAwards18…

Is this:

It’s the work which made a genuine difference, which nailed it creatively, which met its objectives, which could measure and prove its success. Work which changed something for the better. And captured your audience’s attention in a crowded, cluttered world.

Of course that can be easier said and done against a backdrop of further cuts and increasing demand for some in the public sector.

Team size, budget, skills and resource can impact upon our work.

But you will not be judged on these things.

So if you have a budget of £50 and a team of, well, just you, you can absolutely win an UnAward. Others have so why not you?

For our resources shouldn't - mustn't even - get in the way of delivering a piece of work, project or campaign which made that real difference.

Proving the difference which comms made is of course key. We are mature enough as an industry to know how to do this well now.

New to the UnAwards?

Well there's more here but in a nutshell they are the most accessible and innovative awards in our industry - free to enter, fun to attend and a celebration of our community's achievements.

There are 18 categories, so something for everyone

Even better you can enter the same piece of work in multiple categories to increase your chances of being shortlisted.

And if you come along to the big day – shortlisted or not – you’ll enjoy one of the very best networking events of the year

Oh and you get to watch a classic movie, which always remains a closely guarded secret until the day.

The UnAwards grow in size and credibility year on year. Last year was a record breaker…

  • 414 entries
  • 70 shortlisted
  • 18 winners
  • 140 attendees
  • 10k unique visitors to the UnAwards website
  • 3k public votes
  • 557k Twitter reach in the week of the UnAwards alone

The UnAwards – they keep on giving...

Each year the winners are invited to showcase their winning work at the popular UnAwards Winners Masterclass in the new year. Also free to attend.

So, ‘People of Comms’

2018 is not the time for communicators to sit back quietly and hope the budget axe doesn't swing our way again for a while. Unfortunately it will for some of you.

How often have you heard the phrase – comms and pr people are bad at their own comms and pr?

That really shouldn’t be the case should it? Would you buy the services of a web agency who had a terrible web site?

So it’s time to kill that one off for good.

It's time to promote our successes – shout them, if not quite from the rooftops then at least down the corridors of power. Let’s be proud and celebrate our achievements.

Other professions do, and some may deliver a hell of a lot less than you do.

So embrace this rallying call and book out some time in your diaries to pull together your entries and showcase your best work.

No one else will do this for you.

That other non-important work demand which can stifle – meetings, ad-hoc requests, multiple distractions and the “could you just…” passing trade won’t go away. Ever.

But you might have a rather nice UnAward-winning certificate hanging proudly on your office wall. So be a little selfish with your time for once.

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Have a good look at the dedicated UnAwards website here and you can grab the simple-to-complete entry form HERE.

Entries close on 25 October at midnight - you can see the full #UnAwards18 timetable HERE.

I’m looking forward to seeing your brilliant work.

Keep watching @comms2point0 for the latest news and updates.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0, owner of the creative communicators ltd and organiser of the UnAwards

image via Tullio Saba

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LEARNING FROM WINNERS - A MASTERCLASS TO CHERISH

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Listening to a comms professional explain their award-winning work is a gem of a learning opportunity.

by Darren Caveney

The UnAwards has been a passion of mine for over four years now. It's taken up a decent chunk of my time to make them happen each year. But when you enjoy something so much, and it's packed with learning and connecting opportunities, it doesn't ever really feel like work.

This year the UnAwards Winners Masterclass showcased the work of eight winners and to a packed room of public sector communications professionals from around the UK. Each spoke about the challenge, the creative idea, the delivery, the results and the hard outcomes. Each winner overcame some significant competition to claim an UnAward so their shared insight was valuable to everyone in the room.

Connie Osborne from Greater Manchester Police brought a tear to most eyes in the room with her account of what she and the team did following the horrific Arena attack.

And Alex Mills made us all laugh with the story behind the brilliant Operation Chip Pan campaign and video.

Each winning speaker was a credit to our profession - and such excellent speakers too, by the way.

Thank you to every speaker for taking a day out of their busy schedules to share with the comms2point0 community.

I personally learned a huge amount at the Masterclass and I am so grateful to the official partners who made the day possible and free to attend for everyone.

The Masterclass partners were the Local Government Association, Granicus, SocialSignIn, The Council Advertising Network and Alive with Ideas.

Each partner is keen to talk to you more about where they can support and enable you in delivering your comms challenges. I genuinely recommend each one of them to you and will happily connect you with them if you shout me - hey I'm GDPR-friendly.

You can email me at darrencaveney@gmail.com

THE #UNAWARDS18 will open in September - more info nearer the date both here and on the official social media channel @comms2point0

Darren Caveney is organiser of the UnAwards, creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

image by Nigel Bishop

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IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR: REFLECTIONS ON THE UNAWARDS17

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The UnAwards17 ceremony was a chance to recognise excellence, celebrate success, connect with new faces and say hello to old friends.

by Darren Caveney

The UnAwards have become something of a pre-Christmas tradition with communications professionals from all across the UK converging on the event’s spiritual home, the Everyman Cinema in Birmingham.

Demand for tickets is always high and not everyone managed to bag a ticket this year. But the demand just adds to the special vibe experienced at Friday’s fourth annual UnAwards. What was pleasing to me was that half of the attendees had been to an UnAwards ceremony before. 10 people had even been to all four.

Each year I give the UnAwards a new theme and this year’s was perfectly reflected by all of the winners – being brave, doing it differently and swimming against the tide. Choosing a film for 140 people is always a bit tricky – not everyone would appreciate my ‘potential’ choices of Goodfellas, Rocky 3 or Pulp Fiction. Jerry Maguire was this year’s choice and definitely supported this year’s theme – and many of the audience seated in screen 3 hadn’t seen it.

Winning. Always be winning.

18 winners walked away happy that their work had emerged top against a huge volume of high quality competition. Those shortlisted and highly commended should be mighty proud of their achievements too. We’re a competitive bunch in our industry so those people will undoubtedly have been a bit disappointed not to have won. But they really shouldn’t. And if motivation were needed for the UAwards18 it’s that a couple of people shortlisted last year picked up wins this year, including a home-town win for Birmingham City Council.

The best thing of all about the UnAwards is the chance to spend some quality time with peers and to meet and connect with new contacts. A day out of the office, away from the daily pressures, to do this is really valuable. Is this work, some might ask? Hell, yes. In fact it’s my favourite work day of the year.

Here are some more thoughts and reflections now that the magic dust has settled…

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue equalled Sheffield City Council’s feat from 2015 in picking up three wins. A fabulous achievement and against very stiff competition. You can see their rather brilliant campaign video here. Well done, team.

There was so little to separate the four shortlisted best comms pros, and that really is a title to be proud of. Well done to Ceri Lewis, Rebecca Beck and Albert Freeman and to the winner Melissa Thermidor.

Likewise the winners of best comms team, Enfield Council, who were nominated by someone else and encouraged to enter. A lesson there for sure.

The best low cost comms was the most popular category with 60 entries. A clear sign of the times. Impressive work couldn’t even make the final shortlist but that has to be good in terms of continuous improvement and the raising of bars.

Greater Manchester Police winning the best crisis/emergency comms category will have been celebrated my many. The very least the team there deserve.

It was good to see an increase in the number of entrants and winners from the NHS this year. I hope this continues next year.

And the important category of best ethical communications behaviour and diversity too saw a good increase versus last year’s numbers. Let’s push this even higher again next year.

Having two previous Lifetime Achievement UnAwards winners to hand over to this year’s winner Jill Walden was special. Winning a Lifetime Achievement UnAward guarantees an invite every year so I hope that Jill Walden can join us and do the same in 2018.

The Lifetime Achievement award saw two exceptional police communications leads who have each done so much for their sector over a significant period of time. I thought it was so appropriate that, given some of the terrible and tragic events of 2017, that it was two police communicators nominated this year. It’s almost unfair to call one a winner as both Jill and Amanda Coleman deserve our thanks and recognition.

Talking to colleagues from the emergency services at the event it’s clear that employers have a responsibility to safeguard the mental health of their staff which includes comms teams. Some do. Others from across all sectors? I’m not convinced. I’ve thought and said for a while that I don’t believe we do enough as an industry to provide sufficient support for wellbeing for comms people and teams and this is something which needs greater attention. Comms Unplugged – highly commended in the UnAwards – has wellbeing at its heart and that’s what made it special for those who attended. More on this in future posts.  

Saying thanks

Big thanks to Granicus for being the official UnAwards17 partner and to Alive With Ideas, Perago Wales, the Local Government Association, NUJ PRCC, SocialSignIn, Social Simulator and the Council Advertising Network for sponsoring. It’s a pleasure to work with you all. If anyone from the comms2point0 community would like me to introduce you to any of these fine folk please contact me.

Finally

Well done to the 70 on the shortlist and the highly commended entries.

And a big well done to the 18 winners.

You can see the full list of winners here.

Finally, finally, some metrics…

The dedicated website has received over 10k unique since this year’s UnAwards was launched.

And in the week of the #UnAwards17 187 contributors created a reach on 557k of Twitter.

I know, they are vanity metrics. But it’s ok to be a little bit vain occasionally?

Finally, finally, finally…

If you want to look for yourself in the official pics by Nigel Bishop here’s the link (thanks, Nigel) and here is a short film too.

So the UnAwards17 ends. One of my next tasks is to organise the Masterclass next year to showcase and learn from the winners. Shout if you’re interested in sponsoring this.

And talking of next year I’m already off and running with plenty of new ideas. And there is already a date…

SAVE THE DATE – The UnAwards18 will take place on Friday 7 December.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards

pic by me

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