Behind-The-Scenes with Awards Judge, DJ Min

I was honored to judge this year’s In-House Creativity Awards along with a dozen other industry leaders. IHAF received 756 entries. If a single team completed one new project every day, it would take over three years to hit this number. Instead, this impressive body of work was submitted by a diverse group of in-house agencies that make up our outstanding community.

After evaluating hundreds of inspiring entries, here are my key takeaways:

Now, more than ever, in-house agencies support DEI through their work. Whether the work represents their customers, employee culture, or general community, I see more projects directly or indirectly elevating diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s great to witness. Using their superpowers of storytelling, design systems, and living the values of team cultures, in-house agencies are becoming more-active ambassadors of DEI.

Omnichannel reigns, even in the digital age. Regardless of industry, the fact that there are 38 unique categories that comprise IHAF’s In-House Creativity Awards means that omnichannel marketing is here to stay. While some organizations are still catching up on digital transformation and marketing automation, many are already there.

In this digital age, videos are finding new meaning beyond TV while print remains the irreplaceable choice for certain audiences. Event marketing is also critical for B2B and B2C experiences alike. While I have spent most of my career with digital creatives, the future of brand marketing lies at the intersection of all of these different channels.

Creativity awards still matter. In-house creatives don’t work to win awards. At the center of everything we do, the goal is to help move the business forward. However, participating in creative awards is also one of the most tangible ways to expose our teams to what else is out there—to inspire and motivate them.

From fun magazine layouts to smart, online tools to quality video productions, I was wowed and challenged by many of this year’s submissions. Beyond recognition, teams are fueled to do more-creative work when exposed to such top-notch executions. I was delighted to review the submissions for the “Stuff The Client Didn’t Pick” category. Examples like this feed the creative soul. They show us we can push the boundaries beyond simply checking the box.

Thanks to everyone who entered this year’s IHAF Awards, contributing to an amazing body of work. And congratulations to the winners whose examples are a testament to the high standards set by in-house talent. I look forward to meeting and celebrating with you at the IHAF Conference & Awards, where the winners, including the all-star Best of Show, will be revealed.

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