An annual celebration of those truly innovative and outside-the-box marketing campaigns that break through the white noise of the Information Age, the ICCA Best Marketing Award (BMA), originally established in 1997, aims to recognise the excellence and outstanding achievements of meetings industry organisations in their effort to market their destination or product.
The competition welcomes entries of all sizes and from all ICCA Members, regardless of their sector, meaning the campaigns ICCA showcases during the Best Marketing Award's dedicated Congress plenary session are often unconventional and diverse in format and subject area. Ranging from full-scale campaigns and branding exercises to individual promotions and events, in its 22-year existence, the BMA plenary audience has experienced everything from Norway Convention Bureau's 'naked man' to the MEET TAIWAN's tech-ancient culture hybrid Shake to Share.
Apart from having the opportunity to profile themselves as sources of destination marketing inspiration in front of a global audience, finalists win a free ICCA Congress registration and winners receive a complimentary exhibition stand at the Best Marketing Award's sponsor The Meetings Show, as well as other prizes.
Impact-infused destination marketing
In recent years, as legacy has become the talk of the meetings industry, the organisations who enter the Best Marketing Award have sought to establish themselves as legacy innovators and demonstrate how meetings can create a positive 'beyond tourism' impact on both local society and the wider global community. The message is clear: the ROI from business events is durable, meaningful, and not just limited to the number of hotel rooms delegates occupy.
Last year's BMA submissions brought a new dimension to this industry-wide decree. Linking destination marketing to a showcase of intellectual capital, the three campaigns chosen to compete for the Best Marketing Award title at the 57th ICCA Congress in Dubai in November 2018 put enormous emphasis on stressing the knowledge transfer needs of their destination in their efforts to attract more association meetings business.
2018 finalist VisitScotland Business Events is the current Award holder, scooping the prize after their digital campaign, "Scotland Where Ideas Become Legend", was evaluated by a panel of industry experts and the live plenary audience made up of industry competitors and colleagues. Speaking to ICCA on behalf of VisitScotland immediately after they won the award, Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland Business Events, said: "We are honoured to get this recognition from our global peers and the judging panel. It’s a real endorsement of trying to pull together a strategy on a national level for Scotland to join everything together for the cities and the regions. We’re thrilled to bits, and there’s no higher endorsement than winning the ICCA Best Marketing Award."
Intellectual capital shown through social media
“Scotland Where Ideas Become Legend” was designed to distinguish Scotland as a unique destination for international association meetings with opportunities for associations across multiple disciplines. Mobilising social media as a tool with the hashtag #IdeasBecomeLegend, the ongoing campaign unifies participating organisations from inside and outside the country’s business events industry under a single national message: Scotland contributes to shaping the modern world. Showcasing Scottish innovation in 12 sectors, the participating cities and regions have a dedicated week to issue content via social media showcasing their strengths in each sector and what they have to offer to international associations.
Legends is an ongoing campaign and currently in its second year. Brownlee spoke to Mathijs Vleeming, ICCA's Director Marketing and member of the BMA Judging Panel, back in May 2019 at IMEX Frankfurt about the progression of Legends since they went home with the Best Marketing Award and how, with this added string to their bow, they've decided to use their 2018 win to shout even louder about Scotland's capabilities as a meetings destination.
Listen below to the full interview and also to hear why Brownlee feels other ICCA Members should enter the Best Marketing Award. You can also download VisitScotland's full BMA entry here to learn more about their campaign.
Submissions for the current edition of the ICCA Best Marketing Award close on Friday 13th September 2019. To find out more about how to apply, visit www.bma.iccaworld.org.