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IoIC’s ICon Awards celebrate individuals across the internal comms industry who have used their talents, ideas and intuition to produce creative and effective work for clients.

The 2017 winners will be unveiled in the next few months – and there is still time to put yourself forward or nominate a colleague. The deadline is Friday 29 September.

In the mean time, some of the outgoing winners share what it means to be recognised and the qualities you need to be an internal comms ICon.

Best IC manager
What did it mean to you to receive a 2016 ICon award?
I was incredibly proud to be recognised for the job I do by the professional body for my industry. It also got me some internal recognition – from colleagues and stakeholders. I even found myself as the subject of an article on the intranet for a change.
What do you think makes a good IC manager?
Excellent internal communicators don’t try to own communication. They help to enable it in an organisation by developing the right relationships and opportunities to involve, inform and inspire employees. And they do it in a way that creates a shared understanding of the business’s direction and ambitions and everyone’s role in achieving them.
Best writer
What did it mean to you to receive the 2016 ICon award for best writer?
I was thrilled. It's such an honour to be recognised by the Institute and to get a professional endorsement for my writing.
What do you think makes a worthy ICon winner for best writer?
It's important to always have your audience in mind and tailor your content accordingly. Content should always be written in a clear way, with short sentences that engage and entice your readers. And if you have good metrics to back up the effectiveness of your words, that is always a big plus.

Best designer

How did you feel to receive the best designer award last year? It was great to be recognised by Synergy as well as ICon. It meant a huge amount because this was the first time I have been nominated for any design award.

What makes an outstanding designer? Great designers design solutions that are appropriate, given the context of the scenario and target audience. Understanding context enables you to make sense of things. Context includes details that allow great designers to decide if something is relevant.

Best visual creator
What did it mean to you to win the ICon award?
It was massively important. It was the best recognition I could get for many years of driving video-based internal communications to be equal in quality and creativity to external campaigns. This has given me even more determination to continue that goal.
What makes a great visual creator?
A visual creator needs to understand how brand is applied. It’s not just about colours and a logo. You’ve got to really know how to bring the values of an organisation into the creative and let it form the direction. Every message had to be perfectly aligned as well as stunning to look at.
Best freelance

How did you feel to be named best freelance last year?
I was delighted to be recognised by my peers for my achievements in doing a job I find so rewarding. All my family and friends were also extremely proud.
What are the qualities and skills needed as an interim?
You need to be trusted and outcomes-focused, and show that you’re delivering value to the business quickly. You also need to be enthusiastic and flexible so you can adapt to the needs of your client. It’s important to become a valued team member and use your experience to develop others.
Rising talent
How did you feel to get the 2016 rising talent ICon award?
It was very reassuring – a testament that I have been heading in the right direction with how I work with my team and my clients, and how I navigate my career. 
What makes someone stand out as a rising talent?
From my perspective, what I think got me the award was my understanding of clients. We are in internal comms – it is not so much about the brands as it is about the people and culture of an organisation, and that is what you need to understand to really do right by your clients. If you take the time to learn about how a company wants their employees to feel about their work and workplace, then you become an extension of its internal comms team and your work becomes much easier and more impactful.
Internal communicator of the year
What did it mean to you to receive the 2016 internal communicator of the year ICon award?
I'd focused purely on internal comms for over 20 years and have now moved to a wider corporate affairs brief, so it felt like a fitting milestone on that journey. I was so delighted to get the recognition as I value the standards that IoIC sets for our profession and it really felt like a badge of honour.

What qualities and skills are needed to be internal communicator of the year?
A great mix of strategic thinking and creative delivery. I don't think you have to be operating at a senior level necessarily, but you do need to show evidence of results. The first quality you need is courage to put yourself forward – so get your entry in for the 2017 awards.

Entries are open for the 2017 ICon Awards until 29 September – see the awards section of ioic.org.uk for details of how to nominate yourself or a colleague.

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