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Entries for the IoIC Central and North Awards are open until the end of the month. Are you ready to enter?

The IoIC Central and North Awards celebrates the value that in-house internal comms teams and agencies are delivering in the region.

Entries are now open for the 2018 awards and the deadline for entering is not too far away, with an early bird discount available for those who get their nominations in by 17 November, and the final date for submissions 30 November. Five categories cover strategy, skills, people, print and digital channels.

Entering the awards can help teams benchmark their activities and projects against the competition and winning an IoIC award can demonstrate to senior leaders the impact of internal comms and engagement campaigns. You can download the entry kit here.
Still not convinced? We asked some of the 2017 winners about their work and projects and what collecting a gong meant to them.
Virtually brilliant
Purple Monster’s Virtual Village, a conference that allowed for international collaboration and engagement without delegates having to leave the office, was awarded standout communication at the 2017 awards.

Vicky Holding from Purple Monster’s event design and facilitation team says the success of the project for Mondel─ôz Internationalwas down to the team’s “boundless creativity”.
“Our design approach brought to life the innovative idea of making a virtual, online conference just as good as those you’d attend in person,” she says. “We had belief in a good idea, the unwavering support of the client team, a strong narrative and a stunning visual concept. We learned that through creativity, having an open mind, and being willing to try something new or different, we’d end up with truly innovative results.
“By winning the award, it was inspiring to know that others felt the same way about the Village as we did.”
The concept’s success has continued, Vicky adds. “The online community has not just lived on, but is actively expanding, piloting and implementing a brand new social media tool for the organisation worldwide. The virtual meetings continue quarterly, and the client is planning its fourth Virtual Village meeting for early next year.”

Keeping staff Informed
The University of Derby won a digital award for writing for Inform, its weekly all-staff e-newsletter, which head of news Alice Oliver says has become “one of the biggest success stories of all the University’s internal communications channels”.

Inform has evolved over time, but has stayed true to the brand, with the needs of a diverse audience and the wider organisational goals at the centre of editorial decisions. 

The response from staff has been fantastic, says Alice. “We are often overwhelmed with prospective content, and readership is up week on week. The results of a recent staff survey indicated that 73 per cent now felt better informed about new developments at the University, which is all the proof we need.”

Alice says it was great to receive recognition from the industry. “We were so proud to win the award for something that was relatively new. It’s given the team a tremendous boost.”
Shining a light on people
The best digital channel at the 2017 awards was Mercedes-Benz’s colleague magazine, SPOTLIGHT. Internal communications manager Katherine Simpkins says the publication embraces the culture of new media and is inspired by the blogs and lifestyle communications that colleagues enjoy outside of work.
“We look beyond the working day to give an insight into the people behind our brand and the things that make them unique and individual,” says Katherine. “SPOTLIGHT celebrates success, promotes talent and gives the colleagues of Mercedes-Benz a voice – and they haven’t let us down. Colleagues have fully embraced this new approach to internal communications by contributing amazing stories, and supporting other colleagues through comments and sharing.”
Winning the Central & North Award has inspired the team to push things further.

“SPOTLIGHT was created as an internal communications game changer for us, so to be recognised as a class winner has encouraged us to continue looking outside of the box,” says Katherine. “The award is a true testament to the incredible people we have working with us and proof that great things can be achieved when you put colleagues at the heart of what you do.”

Shocked team
The SNC-Lavalin Rail and Transit Team was named best in-house team, largely for its work on a rebrand project that involved creating the right messages for the audience and re-branding a huge amount of materials within a tight timescale – all within a limited budget!
“We are a small team, but we strive to deliver in a big way,” says Craig Wilsoncroft, marketing communications designer (pictured with senior communications adviser Ellie Cook). “To be a good team, you need to communicate well with stakeholders, recognise their views and understand what you need to bring to the table.”
Winning the award meant a lot to the team. “We worked very hard on the project and put in a lot of hours to meet the deadline, so it was nice – but quite a shock – to be recognised by IoIC.”
The team has since been integrated into the company’s global network of communications professionals, which has brought new challenges, says Craig. “We’ve had to reach out and develop new relationships with people we hadn’t worked with before. But it’s been very rewarding, as some of our methodologies and practices have been taken on by the wider business.”

Full details of how and what to enter are in the entry kit, which you can download from this link. The deadline for submissions is 30 November, and the awards event is 1 March 2018 at the National Space Centre in Leicester.
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