Winning an award comes down to three things – having the right narrative, robust numbers to back it up, and a bit of luck that others in your category don’t have a story or data better than yours.
To be in the strongest position your story needs to be incredible, we use Christopher Booker’s theory of Seven Basic Plots to help craft our clients’ entries, taking inspiration from Hollywood to create compelling narratives.
So here are the three movies you need to know to win an award.
Cinderella – an award-winning story
With several awards to its name (for both the original 1951 and later 2018 remake) Cinderella is the classic rags-to-riches story.
In a business context, you’re looking for a story that takes something which wasn’t great and makes it amazing.
In the same way that Cinderella is the same girl in a better dress and shoes by the end of the film, your project, team, or organisation needs to have improved, but be the same at its core.
Think of yourself as the Fairy Godmother, magic-ing up the improvements. That’s the story you need to tell the judges.
James Bond – overcoming the existential monster
We all know the James Bond plot arc – there’s a threat to the world/a country/Bond himself and it needs neutralising, preferably via as many thrilling car chases as possible. Ably assisted by Q, Bond brings his cunning and innovative weaponry to bear on the threat, overcoming it just in the nick of time.
The monster, in business terms, is any threat you have overcome. That could be about changes in your market, a new competitor, a problem with a major project, or a system becoming obsolete. (The pandemic was everyone’s monster, but we are all a bit over talking about that now!)
For this plot to work in an award entry you need to bring your monster to life. What was it about the threat to your organisation that was so big, bad, and scary? How is your monster more dangerous than the ones faced by other entries in this category? And how have you been incredible at overcoming it?
The Grinch – a transformation story
In Booker’s terms, The Grinch is a rebirth story. He starts the film hating Christmas, stealing presents and tearing down decorations to make the Whos in Whoville sad. By the end he has been transformed into a devotee of the celebration, holding hands and singing carols around the Christmas tree.
The Grinch is a truly different person by the end of the film. This is why it’s not the same as a Cinderella story. She’s the same girl, better clobber. The Grinch’s heart is not only bigger, which is how Dr Seuss describes it in the book, but it has changed from hating to loving Christmas.
Transfer this to your organisation and you’re looking for a transformation story. It might have been a huge project, with a transformation team dedicated to delivery. Or it could be changes to a team, function or even set of processes which make things run totally differently, for the benefit of your clients or customers.
You’ll need to show the need for the transformation (which may in itself have been a monster), take the judges through how you made the changes and demonstrate how you know things are better as a result.
Expert help with your award entries
We hope sharing these three movies has given you a way to create your own award-entry narrative. If you’re still considering entering an award but want some expert support to figure out which of the three movie plots you need to use, get in touch to talk about how we can take a job off your list.