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For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards have recognized and awarded excellence in strategic communication worldwide. Gold Quill honours the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale.


On the 22nd September we were proud to present the communication teams from Foxtel and QBE who rose to the challenge and were recognised and rewarded with a Gold Quill award in 2016.

The teams took attendees through their award winning projects, Jonathan Champ – 2016 Evaluation Co-Chair Gold Quill Asia Pacific region judge, facilitated the session and provided insights into the judging criteria as well as the process to enter.

His key pointers were:

To embrace the resources that can be found on the site, one of the presenters agreed saying that the ‘guidelines are your instruction manual to win a gold quill’. On the site is a Midas touch guideline; ‘A comprehensive guide to creating a work plan for the Communication Management, Training/Education and Research Divisions’. Jonathan talked about how this should be your first touch point when thinking about a submission.

To plan an entry from the outset, he said that the judges could spot entries that were retrofitted to the award and that a compelling entry had used the tools and communication plans from early on in their processes.

Those interested in submitting should look through all the potential categories; there are multiple entry points and that selecting the appropriate one would help guide entrants with their submission.

That judges are from across the world so you must be very clear about the project and the delivery and how it is positioned within your organisation as it is unlikely that the judge will know the context of the campaign let alone what sector your organisation operates in.

Our hosts for the evening; the QBE team Nicole Lawler QBE, Jacqui Rubin and Jessica Meers talked through how a bolt of inspiration from Humans of New York lead to their internal communication idea of People of QBE, a celebration of the people and diversity across the business which became their award winning entry. Their tips for success included:

Be clear about your objective

Don’t underestimate a simple idea (Jonathan backed this up when he spoke about the fact that simple ideas are often the most compelling and that if you have no budget or lots of budget make sure you talk about that and how you managed it)

Collect your measurement data

Megan Thomas and Sandi Shrimski then guided us through their very comprehensive entry for Foxtel. For them their Next episode campaign worked because of a number of factors including strong stakeholder support at all levels, trust and transparency and due to the fact that progress was tracked and shared throughout.

They spoke about the fact the award makes you consider why you choose audience channels and tactics. They said it was a great way to dive into the analysis and the ‘why’ of their decisions. They said that often as communicators we sometimes rely on gut instinct and experience of what works for a firm but that the award forces you to delve into the science, logic and structure behind your decisions.

The teams spoke about why they entered and from a personal and professional perspective; as a great accolade and recognition opportunity. As one of the few communication awards the teams said it was a chance to be in the spotlight but it also forced them to scrutinise their decisions and develop their skills through the process. The award even helped one of the attendees secure a new role. Our board member Ben Wyld is an award winner and in this blog he speaks more about how the award was a game changer for him in a personal and professional capacity.

Australia punches above its weight in terms of global industry standard. Last year Australia took home 17 awards. This year’s theme is inspire, we know this session got everyone thinking about their own ideas as well as an opportunity to view two world class best practice case studies in the communication sphere. So get inspired and take a look through the Gold Quill website for the resources you will need.

Thank you to QBE for hosting and to the team, Nicole Lawler QBE, Jacqui Rubin and Jessica Meers for showcasing their work, to Megan Thomas and Sandi Shrimski showcasing the Foxtel example, to Jonathan Champ for his wonderful facilitation and to all the attendees that participated.

We have just launched news of our marquee event for the year. We are thrilled to invite you to an evening with Australian of the year, David Morrison. More details can be found here.

Author – Kieran McCann – IABC Board member @flat_caps