Virtuoso Award entries are evaluated against the global standard of the communications profession using IABC’s Seven-point Scale of Excellence.

Each entry is thoroughly examined and scored by trained evaluators, ensuring that you receive a fair evaluation with meaningful feedback that can be applied to future work.

It’s important to note that with the exception of Best of the Best awards, the Virtuoso Awards is not a competitive awards program. Rather than competing against your peers, entries are scored against the global standard of the profession. There are no limitations to the number of awards presented in any given category.

New This Year

IABC London is making necessary improvements to our evaluation process. In the past, Virtuoso Award entries would be sent to a peer IABC chapter for evaluation. Starting this year, we will seek unbiased, carefully selected evaluators from our local communications, marketing and creative industries. This will allow us to select qualified professionals who meet set criteria, and ensure they are consistently trained to evaluate fairly and provide meaningful feedback on your project.

We have also lowered the Virtuoso scoring thresholds slightly to align with recommendations from IABC International. Entries will still be scored against the global standard of the profession using the Seven-Point Scale of Excellence and winners will hold the same prestige, reflecting excellence in their profession. To win an Award of Merit, an entry must score between 5.0 and 5.24. To win an Award of Excellence, entries must score between 5.25 and 7.0.

Best of the Best awards will continue to be awarded to the top scoring entries in each division. In order for a Best of the Best to be awarded, there must be at least two entries in the division that have earned an Award of Excellence.

The Process
  1. IABC London will begin recruiting local Virtuoso Award evaluators in January 2020. In order to be selected, an evaluator must have a minimum of five years of professional communication experience. To express you interest as an award evaluator, please email iabclondonawards@gmail.com
  2. Every evaluator will be required to complete the online IABC Awards Evaluation Training module – the same training that is required to evaluate IABC International Gold Quill Award entries. If an evaluator does not complete this training, they will not be assigned any entries.
  3. Each evaluator will also be required to register on the new Virtuoso Awards submission platform, which will also be used to facilitate award evaluations.
  4. Each Virtuoso Awards entry will be evaluated by a minimum of two evaluators. Every effort will be made to pair senior evaluators who have more experience with those who may be evaluating awards for the first time. Aligning with standard practice followed by IABC International, the two evaluators will need to meet (in person, by phone or virtually) to discuss their assigned entry/entries. A Virtuoso Awards Evaluation evening will be planned for late March or early April to facilitate evaluations. The two evaluators will need to come to an agreement on their scoring for each section of the entry (see score sheets) before inputting and submitting their scores. Each evaluator will also be required to provide meaningful feedback on each entry they score.
    1. If the assigned evaluators cannot come to an agreement on the scoring of their entry, they will notify the Awards Chair and the entry will be reassigned to two new evaluators.
    2. Each evaluator will be instructed to identify any conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest is identified, the evaluator(s) will be responsible for notifying the Awards Chair and the entry will be reassigned to two new evaluators. In the event that an entry is declared as a conflict of interest with multiple evaluators, the Awards Chair will seek trained evaluators from neighbouring chapters to evaluate the entry.
  5. Entries are scored out of seven following IABC’s Seven-point Scale of Excellence. All entries that score between 5.0 and 5.24 will receive an Award of Merit. All those entries that score above 5.25 will receive an Award of Excellence. There are no limitations to the number of awards presented in any given category. In addition, the top-scoring entries from each division will receive a Best of the Best award. In order for a Best of the Best to be awarded, there must be at least two entries in the division that have earned an Award of Excellence.
  6. Results, including entry scores and feedback, will be delivered to entrants by May 1, 2020. Those who win a Virtuoso Award will be asked to provide additional information for recognition and will be given the opportunity to order additional award statuettes at a cost.
  7. If there are any objections to the scores received, the entry will be re-evaluated by two senior evaluators (every effort will be made to ensure they have evaluated Gold Quill entries in the past). The decisions following this second review will be final.
  8. Award winners will be celebrated at the Virtuoso Awards Celebration in June 2020. Best of the Best awards will be announced at the event. Up to three of the top-scoring entrants in each Division will be notified before the event that they are in the running for a Best of the Best.
Scoring & Evaluation Criteria

Scoring and evaluation criteria for the Virtuoso Awards is aligned to that used by IABC Awards programs around the world, including the global Gold Quill Awards and the Canadian Silver Leaf Awards. To reflect the regional nature of the program, the scores needed to win a Virtuoso Award have been slightly lowered when compared to those needed to win a Gold Quill or Silver Leaf Award.

Entries are reviewed using standardized scoring and criteria. Winning entries must demonstrate that they have met clearly stated objectives, show originality and demonstrate results based on measured outcomes. Evaluators will consider how well a program was conceived and executed, how appropriate the chosen strategy and objectives were for the audience and desired results, and how the outcomes were measured and achieved.

Evaluators follow the scoring criteria that is presented in ‘The Midas Touch’ documents. All entrants are encouraged to review these documents before preparing their entries:

  1. How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3
  2. How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Division 4
The Seven-Point Scale of Excellence

To ensure objectivity, all entries are evaluated using IABC’s Seven-Point Scale of Excellence. All marks start at four, which represents a fully competent approach to communication planning and execution. Work is graded up or down, depending on the content and execution of the project. Marks of seven or one are very rare. Half-points may be awarded.

7 Outstanding An extraordinary or insightful approach or result

6 Significantly better than average Demonstrates an innovative, strategic approach; takes all elements into account and delivers significant results

5 Better than average Demonstrates a strategic approach and aligns the communication solution with the business need to deliver meaningful results

4 Average Competent approach or results; professionally sound and appropriate

3 Somewhat less than satisfactory Several key elements that are critical to the strategy or execution are missing, incorrect or under-represented

2 An inadequate approach or result A significant number of critical elements are missing

1 Poor Work that is wrong, inappropriate or not answered

All entries that score between 5.0 and 5.24 will receive an Award of Merit. All those entries that score above 5.25 will receive an Award of Excellence. There are no limitations to the number of awards presented in any given category.

In addition, the top-scoring entries from each division will receive a Best of the Best award. In order for a Best of the Best to be awarded, there must be at least two entries in the division that have earned an Award of Excellence.

Weighting
  • Divisions 1, 2 and 3 – Communication Management, Research and Education: 50 per cent of the marks are for the work plan and 50 per cent for the work sample.
    Note: For student entries, 35 percent of the score is based on the work plan and 65 percent on the work sample.
  • Division 4 – Communications Skills: The score is based on the work sample and its creativity, professional execution and alignment