Entries in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 require the submission of both a work plan and work sample. The work plan acts as an executive summary of your communications strategy. It’s your opportunity to tell the story of your project and show the strength of your work.

Your entry’s work plan should:

  • Describe the context for your project
  • Clearly state the communication challenge or opportunity
  • Provide an analysis of your target audiences
  • Demonstrate high-level goals and SMART objectives
  • Provide insight to your strategic approach and state your key messages
  • Highlight your budget and resources
  • Provide an abbreviated tactical execution plan
  • Discuss any challenges that you faced during planning and execution
  • Demonstrate the use of research and collaboration with stakeholders
  • Provide measurable, meaningful results that are aligned with your stated objectives, audience and business needs

If you’re entering the same project or elements of the same project into multiple categories, be sure to tailor your work plan so that it fits each category.

Format

Work plans must follow the standard format for IABC Awards. We recommend using our Virtuoso Awards Work Plan Template and reviewing the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3 for a fulsome guide on preparing your work plan.

Entrants must include basic entry information, such as the entrant’s name and organization, an entry title, project time period and short project description. This information is not scored but will help provide context for evaluators. The work plan then consists of six sections of IABC’s strategic communication planning model which are scored against IABC’S Global Seven-point Scale of Excellence.

  1. The Business Need or Opportunity
    Basics
    : What need or opportunity did your entry address? Make sure you create context. Clearly describe the environment in which the organization operates. Identify challenges and opportunities. Detail how your project affects the business. State the communications challenge and opportunity. You could look at performance, reputation, image, profits or participation. Highlight any formal or informal research findings that support your analysis. Make sure the need or opportunity is aligned with the business need and described from the perspective of communication or marketing.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
  2. Stakeholder Analysis
    Basics: Identify your primary audience and any other audiences. What was the audience’s state of mind? What key characteristics did you consider when developing your solution? Think about psychographic and demographic characteristics, communication preferences, the impact of different age groups, the corporate culture and other factors that shape how people think, feel and behave. Share any audience research.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
  3. Goals and Objectives
    Basics: Goals describe what your strategy is intended to accomplish. Think big picture. Choose only one or two key goals and make sure they are aligned with the business needs of the organization. Goals don’t need to be measurable, but objectives do. Objectives should be stated in terms that are outcome-based, although you might include some output-based objectives as leading indicators. Output-based objectives typically describe volume. Finally, make sure the objectives are realistic and measurable. Goals and objectives should follow the SMART formula: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-framed. The answer to this question is critical, because poor objectives will lower the score in other parts of the evaluation.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
  4. The Solution Overview
    Basics: Outline your solution and the logic that supported it. Tell us why you did what you did. The solution should demonstrate your thought process, imagination and approach to problem solving. Discuss how you involved stakeholders in developing the solution. Identify key messages. Present the tactics and communication vehicles you used and tell us why you used this approach. Identify your role in the project and your level of involvement and responsibility.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
  5. Implementation and Challenges
    Basics: What was your budget? What time and people were at your disposal? How did you use the resources available to help you plan and deliver the strategy? Discuss any limitations or challenges that you faced when selling, implementing and communicating the program. We’ll be looking for flexibility, collaboration and problem-solving abilities. Note any special circumstances and tell us how you handled them.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
  6. Measurement and Evaluation
    Basics: How did you measure your results? Every result should be linked to one or more objectives. Experienced entrants often report results against objectives in a table format by listing the original objectives, the targets, and the outcome or output as results. Evaluators look for measurement of outputs (usually volume-based) and outcomes (measurements that influence audience awareness, opinions, behaviors or business goals). Measurements should be objective, clearly explained and appropriate for the project. The results should show the relationship between the objectives that were set and the results that were achieved. They should be thorough and convincing. The program must deliver meaningful, measurable results. If you have set strong objectives and measured against them, scoring will be easy. If the original objectives were weak, your scores will not be high.
    To learn more about this section and how it is scored, please review the How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
Rules

Work plans are limited to four 8.5×11 inch pages using a font size no smaller than 10-point and margins no less than 0.5 inch (1.27 cm). Your work plan must be submitted in PDF format and cannot exceed a file size of 5 MB. Files should be saved using the following naming convention: WorkPlan_Div#Cat#Lastname(ProjectName).

Learn more about eligibility and rules. 

Tips

Division 4: Communication Skills

In lieu of a work plan, entries to Division 4: Communication Skills require answers to eight standard questions to complement the work sample. The purpose is to demonstrate the project’s strategic alignment, the creative process and measurable results. The questions are available for download.

As with the work plan for Divisions 1, 2 and 3, you should tell the evaluators a story, and be thoughtful and concise with your responses. We recommend reviewing the “How-To Guide for IABC Awards: The Midas Touch Division 4” and the score sheet for Division 4 before preparing your entry.

NOTE: You will have the option of submitting answers to the eight standard questions using text boxes on the entry form or by uploading a PDF. If you choose to upload a PDF, it cannot exceed a file size of 5 MB. Files should be saved using the following naming convention: Answers_Div4Cat#Lastname(ProjectName).