Laurier takes home 12 international marketing awards

(Graphic by Steph Truong)
(Graphic by Steph Truong)

Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) recently earned 12 top awards in the Hermes Creative Awards competition in recognition of its communications and marketing.

Sponsored by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, the Hermes Creative Awards invite those in creative professions to submit their work to be judged at an international level. These professions could be anything from corporate communications, graphic designers, advertising agencies or universities.

Ed Dalheim, the director of the Hermes Creative Awards, said that they have many university entrants.

“I think one of the reasons is because they have big marketing departments,” he said. “It’s a very competitive business trying to get students to come to your university. So we see a lot of universities and colleges, junior colleges and trade schools.”

Laurier has been submitting their work since 2011.

“It’s one of the ones that we like to enter regularly because it gives us a good benchmark…across the spectrum,” explained Jacqui Tam, assistant vice president of communications, public affairs and marketing at Laurier.

This year, entries came in from sixteen different countries, totalling to 5,600 entries.

Two judging panels, one based in Washington, DC and the other in Dallas, Texas, take six to eight weeks to review the submissions. Each piece is given a numeric grade which then determines whether the award receives platinum, gold, an honourable mention or nothing at all.

According to Dalheim, 15 per cent of the 5,600 entries earned the platinum award, the highest level. 19 per cent earned the gold.

Laurier’s Inspiring Lives brand and Inspiring Lives print campaign earned two of the six platinum awards the university earned in total. Its MBA program guide and Inspiring Lives video series earned two of the six gold awards they received in the competition.

When asked what earning an award says about a business, Dalheim responded, “I would say they have a commitment to excellence. That they’re spending time, energy, and money in their marketing efforts.”

He noted that the time, energy and money of a business is also taken into consideration by the judges. In this way, smaller businesses, such as Laurier, can be graded separately from the larger international agencies.

“We’re trying to provide them with some recognition when they’re doing a great job with what they have to work with,” Dalheim explained. “Otherwise the only winners would be the Maddison Avenue agencies, which we get plenty of; but I know how much time and energy they can expend on a project, whereas a university may have money to do a good job, but they’re going to have to put out a lot of work.”

For Tam, the competition functions not only as a chance to see how Laurier “measures up”, but also “allows [them] to be able to ensure that [they’re] known in communities we probably wouldn’t be known by before and talk about the Laurier story.”

Being able to tell the Laurier story on a national scale was a goal that began in 2011, the university’s centennial year. Entering competitions such as the Hermes Creative Awards is one of the ways in which they are hoping to achieve this.

“We’re able to demonstrate that Laurier does quality work in this area,” she said. “But it’s not just the quality of work; it’s the story that we’re telling which is really important.”

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