BIMA Awards – Categories Explained

8 Mar 2018

Posted by Rachel Johnson

Entries are open for the BIMA Awards 2018. This year, you’ll find some changes to the categories. Here’s what those changes mean, and why.

Digital doesn’t stand still. So any awards that recognise the best of the industry need to change too, acknowledging the fact that as the sector evolves, so do the roles and technologies that are essential to it.

The BIMA Awards are the original digital awards. When we held our first ceremony in 1985 ‘digital’ encompassed a very different set of skills and technologies. If the awards hadn’t changed with the times we’d still be celebrating the launch of Windows 1.0 (!) and acknowledging the pioneers who were doing magical things with CD-ROMS.

The changes to this year’s categories have been made to broaden the scope of the awards. Digital now encompasses a broader pool of talent than ever, and we wanted to ensure the categories reflected what’s really happening on the ground, and that no facet of digital was left looking at the categories thinking ‘what about me?’

So this year, here’s what’s new:

1. Main categories

Main categories have expanded from 5 to 6 and now include:

Communications & Content:

We’re looking for advertising and marketing that sets a new bar for its use of communications and content. If someone were to ask what great content looks like in the new digital economy, winners in this category would be the answer.

Data & Performance Marketing:

We’ve coupled data with performance marketing this year to clearly demonstrate that to win this category, you’ll need to show not simply that your project crunched lots of data, but that its capture, analysis or usage was innovative, and that it had an impact on the resulting digital strategy or experience.

Emerging Technology:

The danger with any too-tightly defined category involving new tech is that it’ll be out of date by the time the ceremony arrives. Hence our use of ‘emerging technology’. Right now, that could be Ai, VR, AR or a subset of them. By the time award nominations close, who knows?

 Product & Service Design:

This is the category that focuses on the end user. The winners of this category will have used digital to enhance the customer experience, the user interface (or both).

Transformation & Consultancy:

If there’s one single example of this year’s awards being a more comprehensive reflection of the digital industry, this is it. Because for all the (rightful) celebration of data, UX, content and tech, it’s frequently the application of such things to bring about wholesale digital transformation that can have the greatest impact on everyday life. The winners in this category will have shown how the application of their insights, innovation and expertise has enabled true transformation.

Website & Apps:

This category isn’t necessarily about scale. Whether it was the subject of a global rollout or a single execution servicing a niche need, what matters here is that the site or app isn’t simply a great example of the current state of the art. To be amongst the winners it should push further, setting a new standard for what’s possible.

2. Sub categories

Each main category now has the same five sub-categories ensuring that we explore more completely the skills and achievements within each. The five sub-categories are:

Small budget:

Yes, this is about ensuring there’s room for smaller agencies to show their capabilities, but it’s also about rewarding the projects (whatever the scale of agency tackling them) that may be relatively small in terms of budget (£70,000 or under) but not in terms of transformative impact.


This award celebrates pioneering work within each main category. Crucially, this category is about the idea and its potential rather than showing results…


…And as a balance to the Innovation sub-category, this award celebrates the difference your project has made to a business or its customers.


We’re still looking for an outcome here – well executed but ineffective won’t cut it. Winners in this category will have produced something innovative or impactful that also happens to be brilliantly realised.


“The effective application of digital expertise for social good” says the award description. Which just about says it all.

3. Advance Awards

There are two types of Advance Award. One is a jury prize for each main category, with nominees comprising the winners of the appropriate sub-categories. As a result, you can’t enter these awards.

The second type of Advance Award should be entered separately. Again, categories have evolved a little this year and include:

Inclusion & Diversity:

Perhaps this year more than ever, diversity has been the hottest of topics during awards season. We’re proud to say that diversity is an established award category at BIMA – and once again this year’s winner will have placed inclusion at the top of their agenda and/or have had an impact on diversity either within their own business or the wider industry.


To clarify, this isn’t about celebrating the talent within the industry (that’s what all the other awards do); this is about recognising innovative ways of attracting and retaining talent.

Startup of the Year:

Two key elements to this category: the first is that your business needs to have been around for 2 years or less. The second is that you must have disrupted your sector – either via the products/services you offer or the way you offer them.

Dynamic Business of the Year:

Previously known as the award for entrepreneurialism, this year we’re broadening the definition a little. It’s still about innovation and growth, but whilst that may be centred on your own business, it could also be focused on the wider industry or society in general.

Enter the BIMA Awards now

Early bird applications close 29 March 2018. Final Deadline 27 April 2018.

Find full details of all of this year’s categories here, and make your entries here.

Rachel Johnson
Posted by Rachel Johnson

Rachel has recently joined BIMA having worked for more than 20 years in the world of Marketing. Rachel has many impressive client, charity and agency-side results to her credit and stories to tell. As both a team player and independent advisor, Rachel loves to see the bigger picture and is a strong strategic thinker. She has led ambitious projects for start-ups, worked alongside growing businesses and has been fortunate to work with some of the UK’s most respected and renowned agencies. A self-motivated original thinker, Rachel is also an extremely able marketer. She brings out the best in people at all levels. Her wealth of transferable skills includes project management – often with direct budgetary control - results-driven commercial awareness, proven networking strengths, digital marketing expertise and broad IT literacy. However, her achievements do not end there! In her spare time, she makes full-use of her Cumbrian home-town environment, walking, biking and running, and spending time as an enthusiastic side-line rugby and football mum for her two boys – Louie and Harley.

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