Entry & Judging Process

Your entry should show:

1. Clear evidence of innovation - for all categories - we are looking for new ideas, new ways of doing things. A fresh and revolutionary approach.

2. Evidence of impact - what impact has the innovation had on the business in question and for the market? Note: Both criteria are important but 2 is only relevant to the judges if 1 is convincing. See each individual category for more detailed requirements

What do we mean by innovation? What are we looking for?

Any business when considering a project, a product or a marketing initiative is faced with a choice - whether to simply match their competitors or whether to try and gain an advantage by trying something new. These awards are focused on those businesses and brands taking the second route - the path to successful innovation.

In general, we are simply looking for something new and original. It may be in use in other markets or countries, yet still new to this market. Or it may be genuinely brand new. In either event we are very interested to hear from you.

New what? - That depends on the category - but all categories, whether people based like the Marketing Team award - or proposition based - should evidence innovation. For the people based awards this may be about the way in which a team is organised, or relates to the rest of the business. Or it may be about the influence the team has had on innovations in the business.

Innovation may be about doing new things, or it may be about doing things differently - both are valid claims to innovation

Where the entry is focused on creative outputs then we are again looking for an indication, or evidence, that real fresh thinking and execution is involved.

Innovation must be tangible - an innovation is more than just an idea. It will start with a spark of an idea, it will be then be developed and tested and only when it is put into practice - and can be said to have made an impact, or an difference - can it be called an innovation. An innovation must drive some form of change.

That's why in the IMAIA criteria we also ask for evidence of impact. It does not mean that the IMAIA's are another effectiveness awards programme - but it does mean that to do well in the IMAIAs you must be able to show innovation and its impact on the market. Otherwise, we would be simply giving awards for the best ideas.

Why enter?

Having your work recognised by a jury of experts is real recognition of the effort your team has put in. It sends a message to the market and it sends a message to your own business. Innovation can be hard, many attempts will fail and often it may seem easier to simply execute competently. Successful innovation must of course be competent as well - but it also offers you an extra edge. Recognising that is why the IMAIAs were founded - and why now in its sixth year it is established as an important fixture in the calendar. We look forward to seeing your work!


The deadline to submit has now been extended to Friday 17th April 2020. No entries will be accepted after that date, nor can entries be supplemented or edited after that date.

Where applicable we will ask for visuals to be uploaded to accompany the entry, and a link to the work in question. If you are shortlisted further supporting material may be requested from you.

The entries will then be assessed by the independent judging panel, firstly online with each judge coming to an independent assessment of the entries. Then at a date in May the judges will attend a judging day chaired by chairperson Tom Wright at which all winners will be decided. If the judges feel necessary a highly commended may also be awarded.

If a judge has a conflict of interest they will not judge the conflicted category and will not be present in the room for the final judging session.

Chairperson's decision is final.

Using the entry website

We are using a new website platform for 2020 so here are some guidelines to how the system works.

1. During your first time using the website you will be asked to create, and then verify, an account using your main contact details. You will receive email instructions on how to verify - and you will not be able to move forward without completing the verification process. 

2. Once the above step is done, you will be able to log in using your new account details. Once into the system you will be able to select which category you would like to enter first. Please note, you do not have to complete it at this stage. You can save it in your 'SAVED ITEMS' and come back to it later by logging back in. (Log in by visiting the ENTER NOW page). 

3. When you're ready to submit your entry, simply visit your 'SAVED ITEMS' page and click 'MOVE TO BASKET' and then follow the instructions.

We hope you find the process easy to use!