What's Your Creative Compass?

By Conrad Winter, Copywriter for Transportation and Logistics

I love awards shows. 

Back when I was studying copywriting, my first instructor mandated that everyone in the class buy a One Show awards annual, a 2-inch thick book of the world’s best advertising for the year. The price was a heavy hit for me at the time, but I quickly fell in love with it.  

I still have it, and I still I love advertising award shows. They give all of us a chance to be inspired, see what others consider to be good and know how high to set the bar in our own work.

As a creative person and copywriter, my biggest pet peeve about awards shows (next to not winning, of course) is when organizers don’t give people a chance to see the work. 

So it always surprises me to go to an awards presentation and not see any of the winning work hanging on the wall or even flashed on the screen as the winners go up to accept their awards. And I’m always disappointed when there's no awards annual (print or pdf!) or way of any kind to view the work online. It just seems to me that if you’re there to celebrate the work, you should show the work.

I brought my pet peeve along with me to this year’s TMSA Compass Awards during TMSA’s Annual Conference. Just so you don’t think I’m leading you down the road of a rant, let me just say that, yes, the organizers showed the work on a big screen onstage—and it was beautiful. Some great art direction, smart strategy and clear copywriting…it’s just that it was only onscreen long enough to get the gist, and the quick glimpse left me wanting more. Then when I looked to see if the work was hanging somewhere, I couldn’t find any.

If I’d searched a little harder, I would have found the booth with flipbooks of the work and everything. But instead, I up and decided to take the opportunity to make “a suggestion.” I sought out TMSA board member and Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group, LLC, Kris Rzepkowski,to congratulate him on his recent victory and lament that I wished I could have seen more of the “Branding Bennett’s Safety Culture” campaign. (Or any of the other winning work for that matter.) 

Without missing a beat, he pulled out his smart phone, navigated to the members-only portion of the TMSA website and showed me where all the winning entries were available to view any time. (If you’re a member, you can check it out here.)

I was a little embarrassed, but mostly impressed. The format is really good. It’s set up to be a learning resource for members. The work is shown in case study format and the campaigns are comprehensive. One from Landstar in particular struck me for how detailed it was. 

The net effect is that if you’re a marketer in the transportation and logistics field and you want to see an example of award-winning white papers, driver-appreciation ads or email drip campaigns—they’re all there. You get a rare and invaluable peek behind the curtain.  

As someone who’s trying to learn more about this industry, I’ve been eating it up. Between the Compass Awards and the TMSA Annual Conference itself (Read my takeaways here.), I’ve learned a ton. Nothing beats seeing an actual example of successful work—because unlike pure creative awards shows, results factor into the Compass Awards, which makes them even more useful to all of us.

The Compass Awards remind me of the Effies, an award show revered by marketers across industries for its focus on results as well as for its case study format. The advantage of the Compass Awards is that it is industry-specific. When you want to see how it’s done in transportation & logistics—the gallery of work is pure gold.  

If you’re a TMSA member, don’t overlook one of the best benefits the group offers. (And if you have yet to join, here’s yet another great reason.)

Conrad Winter is a freelance copywriter specializing in content and copywriting for transportation and logistics. Based in Metuchen, NJ, he creates website copy, campaigns, blog posts, whitepapers and case studies for carriers, 3PLs and industry associations. 

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