Excellence in Communications Awards Program
The 2023 awards cycle is closed. Submissions for the 2024 cycle will open early next year.
AACOM’s Excellence in Communications (EIC) Awards Program is designed to recognize the important role communications plays in advancing osteopathic medical education and the profession. It also seeks to inspire higher levels of performance among our members.
Each year, entries are reviewed and award winners are chosen by an expert panel of judges—consisting of AACOM's Marketing and Communications team, AACOM senior staff members and guest judges who specialize in all areas of communication—based
on creativity and effectiveness in achieving the project's stated objective related to the mission of the submitting osteopathic medical school.
See the EIC Submission Guidelines below.
EIC Submission Guidelines
The AACOM Excellence in Communications Awards program recognizes the important role that marketing and communication plays in advancing osteopathic medical education and the profession. It also seeks to inspire higher levels of performance among our members.
Award winners will be individually notified in early April after judging takes place. First-place winners will be recognized during Educating Leaders 2023, the AACOM Annual Conference to be held April 26-28. All winners will be recognized at the Marketing and Communications Advisory Council (MAC) spring meeting.
Submissions will close at 11:59 PM ET on Monday, March 20, 2023.
College or university-based marketing and communications departments engaged in the management and operations of the marketing and communications program at an AACOM member college are eligible to submit entries.
Work accomplished between January 1 and December 31, 2022, will be considered.
Entry Categories & Submission Requirements
All entry submissions are entirely digital. Submittal requirements may vary depending on category. Read individual category descriptions below for requirement details. Entries that fail to follow submittal requirements will be penalized in judging.
Click each category below for submission information.
Integrated campaign elements designed to support a paid ad campaign around a communications or marketing objective. Could be recruitment-related, but could also be related to other COM goals, events and initiatives.
Requirements: A PDF of printed ads, or a PDF containing each ad if a series. If entering digital pieces, include a web link to view published digital format online.
Integrated campaign elements designed to engage and encourage alumni contributions to the COM through print and/or electronic communications, including but not limited to ads, brochures, form letters, pamphlets, postcards, announcements and email promotions.
Requirements: PDF, images or online links to the communications pieces used in the campaign. For digital pieces, include a web link to view original digital components online.
A print or digital publication containing a COM’s annual highlights, strategy updates and financial results.
Requirements: A PDF of the printed report or a web link to view original digital format online.
A print or online article published by a COM and written by a COM employee, student or alum that serves to meet a communications or marketing objective.
Requirements: A PDF of the published print article or a web link to the article published online.
A print or digital infographic highlighting in a visual manner key data or statistics relating to your COM, your COM’s programs, students, faculty or other relevant information.
Requirements: A PDF of the published printed infographic or web link to the infographic published online and a description of how and where it was used.
A printed or digital serial publication or periodical that presents one or more points of view.
Requirements: A PDF of each of the last three issues of the publication. If entering a digital magazine, include a web link to view the last three issues online in their original digital format.
Any marketing effort that utilizes online social media tools to provide a platform for thought leadership, collaboration and user interaction. Can be one platform or a combination of platforms. Examples of social media include but are not limited to blogs, networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook), content-sharing sites (e.g., YouTube, Flickr) or news sites (e.g., Reddit).
Requirements: A PDF of screenshots of all the pieces in the social media communications program, as well as web links to view original content online.
Integrated campaign elements designed to recruit potential students through print and/or electronic communications, including but not limited to ads, brochures, look books, form letters, pamphlets, postcards, announcements, virtual tours and email promotions.
Requirements: A PDF of all the pieces in the communications program. For digital pieces, include a web link to view original digital components online.
A video (less than two minutes) that highlights specific COM programs, community outreach and/or special (non-recruitment or virtual tour) events. Video programs are filmed communications, with or without audio.
Requirements: Include a link to view the video online and a description of how and where it was used.
Entry Submission Questions
The questions below accompany each submission you enter online. For a more streamlined experience, please prepare your answers prior to logging into the online submission portal.
- State your strategic marketing objectives and goals or intended outcomes. (1,500 characters)
Jurors will be looking for a clear marketing strategy and specific goals.
- Explain the planning and thought process used to make your piece or program stand out from other communications aimed at your target audience. (1,500 characters)
Jurors will be looking for methodology for collecting and evaluating results, target market and specific tactics and strategies that support the overall goals and objectives of the project. They will also evaluate projects on whether they exhibit an innovative approach or breakthrough idea.
- What is the intended messaging of this entry? (1,500 characters)
Jurors will be looking for a clear marketing message for the intended audience, that the piece or program reflects the COM’s strategic direction, that the marketing approach is compelling for the target audience and that the writing is coherent and error-free.
- Describe how the entry conforms to the overall branding of the school or initiative. (1,500 characters)
Jurors will be looking for how design, graphics, typography and other branding elements are effectively leveraged to create interest, engagement or otherwise meet the objectives of the project.
- What actions did the target audience/s take after receiving your materials? Did you achieve your intended goals and outcomes? What were the overall results? (1,500 characters)
Jurors will be looking for statistics, measurable ROI and any supporting testimonials or feedback.
Awardees will be notified in early April. The panel of judges will be composed of volunteers submitted by applicants, as well as AACOM staff. Judging scorecards will not be made public.
Submissions will be adjudicated by the panel using a point system. The judging panel will review and assess each submission using a 10-point rating scale. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria: Objectives, Planning, Messaging, Branding, Deliverables and Results.
This year AACOM is providing the judges for the awards. However, if you would like to nominate a judge, please include them in the online application or contact email@example.com.
Judges must be:
- Unbiased (does not work for any college of osteopathic medicine)
- A professional in marketing, communications, publishing, design, journalism or a related field
- Available to serve as a judge if selected. Judging will be virtual and judging will take place in March.
Submitting Your Entries
Each entry must include the following to be considered for judging:
- Completed online entry form.
You will need to create an account. We recommend preparing answers to the questions in advance.
- All submission requirements.
- $50 submission fee payment per entry.
Payment can be made online through the AACOM online store (Visa, MasterCard and American Express).
To pay online by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express): Go to AACOM’s online bookstore, fill out an order form and then select ‘Add to Cart.’
If you are purchasing multiple submissions, add the first submission by clicking "Add to Cart" and, in the shopping cart screen, adjust the quantity to the number of submissions you wish to purchase. Be sure to keep your payment confirmation number, as it is required on the digital submissions form.