What kind of impact does a Gold Quill win have? And how can you get closer to a win? We spoke to Ian Donabie, a 2014 Gold Quill winner and communications specialist for Anglo American to understand how this prestigious industry award has benefited him and his organisation. Ian developed a series of award-winning internal videos focused on Mark Cutifani, who took over as CEO at the company in 2013.
IABC UK: What did it feel like when you found out you had won?
Ian: I was very pleased that the project got this level of recognition. The video project that we won the Gold Quill for was very well received by the business but this award felt like validation for the amount of effort that had been put in to developing and executing it.
We created four ‘video diaries’ filmed in Chile, Australia, Brazil and South Africa, each one highlighting a different strategic aspect of our business, (e.g. our people, operational improvement, stakeholder relationships) and providing the view on each of our CEO, Mark Cutifani. They were used internally to introduce Mark to the business and provide a sense of his leadership style and approach [see all AngloAmerican videos here].
IABC UK: What made your submission so special?
Ian: It was risky project to undertake. Mark’s visits to the business units were critical to further his understanding of the business and the work that needed to be done.
We couldn’t be seen to be distracting him from the sensitive work at hand and we couldn’t put the video project at the forefront. However, we were granted access to many of his interactions with both internal and external stakeholders which gave a fantastic insight into Mark as leader and also the atmosphere and feeling on the ground with employees.
The four films also proved to be a great demonstration of our leadership living our values and our brand in action.
IABC UK: What impact has the award had on your business?
Ian: In our business we put a great deal of emphasis on visible felt leadership (“vfl”) – demonstrating strong leadership behaviours, setting the right tone and leading from the front. This project proved to be the epitome of this approach.
It sent out a clear message about Mark’s leadership style and what he expected from the business, the leadership team and all employees.
For many employees it was the first time they had seen or ‘engaged’ with the new CEO and so these video diaries had a significant impact on how they viewed him. It also set a precedent for how Mark Cutifani would treat communication. He clearly saw its value and was more than capable of effectively using the channels available to him.
As a communication team it opened up many opportunities, not only to present Mark in an impactful way but also the wider leadership team.
IABC UK: Why are awards such as these important to those working within comms?
While it is nice to get the recognition from such awards, they also provide the opportunity to properly review a project – something we as communicators are not always great at.
Ian: We will often finish a project and move straight into the next one, not always having the chance to take the learnings on board. Awards such as these help us take stock of what was done, what was successful and what could be improved on. They are useful as a benchmarking exercise and getting an idea of best practice. We can always learn from what others are doing.
Imagine what being awarded an IABC Gold Quill could do for you?
Begin your journey, be innovative, get creative and enter the 2016 IABC Gold Quill Awards.
We look forward to you and your team entering this programme, and hopefully we can join together in celebrating a UK winner!
The Gold Quill Awards is an awards programme staged yearly by the International Association of Business Communicators. Recognising and awarding excellence in strategic communication worldwide, the Gold Quill is the only awards programme that honours the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale.
Ian Donabie is a communications specialist with 15 years’ experience across numerous media and industries, currently working in Marketing Communications for Anglo American. He was a Gold Quill winner in 2014.