Why enter

Why enter The Innovation SABRE Awards?

The industry has been talking about making inroads with marketing, owning social media, being best positioned to handle content creation — the Innovation SABRE Awards are the chance to 'show' instead of tell.  

The Innovation SABREs were created as the In2 (Insight and Innovation) SABREs in 2013 as a vehicle for recognizing the expanding scope of the public relations profession, from content creation across multiple channels—paid, earned, shared and owned—to the increasing use of data and analytics to inform, enhance, and evaluate campaign success.

In the decade since then, the range of content created by public relations agencies and in-house professionals has only increased, taking advantage of new digital and social platforms and developments in technology—from articifical intelligence to augmented reality to the emergence of the metaverse—to help their clients engage with employees, consumers, shareholders and every conceivable stakeholder group.

The Innovation SABREs serve two primary purposes: (1) to celebrate the full breadth and scope of the creative content produced by modern public relations professionals and (2) to recognize innovation—and innovators—in a wide range of categories essential to the future development and direction of the public relations profession. 

Winners from the Innovation SABRE Awards competitions are automatically entered into consideration for the Global SABRE Awards, which countdown the 40 best public relations programs in the world. The global awards will be presented at the Global PR Summit each October. And winning  Innovation SABRE Awards also helps agencies earn a place in our Global Creative Index.

What we care about....

Most awards competitions look for the same things—big, bold creative ideas; flawless execution; an impact on business results. We value those things too, but the Innovation SABRE Awards judges will ask several additional questions as they review your entries:

  1.  Did your creative solution take innovation? Was the agency innovative to suggest the strategy it did? Was the client innovative to agree to it? Innovation comes in many forms— inventing new ways of doing things, fighting the status quo, taking a creative risk, breaking a taboo, empowering new solutions. Also, was it insight-driven? Did the creative process include curiosity, data, creative exploration, and reasoning into the process? 

  2. Was it authentic? Did the core creative idea seem to arrive organically from the DNA of the company? Was it a true reflection of the organization’s mission, its vision, its values? Did the explicit or implicit story it told about the company fit with the way customers, employees and community actually experience the company and its brands?

  3. Was it engaging? In the past, it might have been enough for a public relations campaign to deliver a message. But the best campaigns today go beyond that, prompting engagement, encouraging the audience to respond both emotionally and in some tangible way: joining the conversation, participating in the debate, offering feedback, getting involved in a cause or issue.

  4. Was it inclusive? The best public relations campaigns take into account the media consumed by a diverse public and makes an effort to engage with people of all races, cultures, and orientations. Our judges will look for evidence that some thought was given to issues of diversity and inclusion in the planning and execution of winning campaigns.

  5.  Was it shareable? Public relations campaigns have always been about persuading people to share information. In the past, it was typically journalists sharing with their audience. But today it can involve almost any audience—bloggers, influencers, opinion leaders, ordinary people—sharing with their friends, via social media or good old-fashioned conversation.

  6. Was it sticky? Did the campaign lead to a single transaction or did it contribute toward a lasting relationship? Some campaigns are fleetingly amusing, a momentary distraction; others leave a lasting impression about the company or the brand, usually by making an emotional connection, convincing stakeholders that the company genuinely cares about something close to their hearts.

  7. Was it ethical? Honesty has always been important. It is even more important today, because in an age of radical transparency any dishonesty—and manipulation or deceit—will be discovered so much more quickly and punished so much more severely than in the past.

  8. Did it change behavior? There are two ways in which good public relations campaigns can change behavior. The first is by affecting the behavior of the audience (employees, consumers, voters, communities) so that they are more supportive of an organization’s objectives. Less common—but often more meaningful in terms of long-term relationship building—a good PR campaign can change the behavior of the organization and its management, bringing it into alignment with stakeholder expectations. Great campaigns may do both.

 ...And what we don’t

We have always taken the view that great work can originate anywhere. Big ideas don’t necessarily originate with big agencies, or for big clients. And they don’t necessarily require big budgets.

Over the 25 years of SABRE Awards, we have seen plenty of work from giant multinational agencies, tiny boutiques, and in-house teams. We have seen great work designed to promote blue-chip consumer brands and obscure business-to-business companies that few people had even heard of—before someone had a great marketing or PR idea.

And in the digital and social media age, the playing field is more level than ever. It doesn’t matter where a great idea originated; how big the budget was; who the client is; or whether the agency working on the business defines itself as a PR firm, an ad agency, or a digital and social specialist—all that matters is the quality of thinking, the thoroughness of the execution, and the ultimate outcome.