It is important to remember that the Image Awards program is a public relations competition. As such, it is the public relations aspect of the entry that will receive the greatest scrutiny by the judges. To this end, the judges first read and evaluate the two-page summary accompanying the entry. Seventy percent of the scoring is based on the summary that sets out the reason and need for the development of the public relations program or tool, how it was implemented, and the results. The judges then review the support materials for professionalism, innovation, and design to score the remaining 30 percent of the entry.

The judging method allows the judges to concentrate on the following criteria required in each two-page summary:

Research/Situation Analysis (10 points)

  • Defining the Problem (5 points)
  • Employed Research Methods (5 points)

Planning (20 points)

  • Goal-directed Strategic Thinking (5 points)
  • S.M.A.R.T. Objectives Provided (5 points)
  • Strategies and Tactics Distinguished (5 points)
  • Audience Identification (5 points)

Implementation (15 points)

  • Sequence of Events/Timeline (5 points)
  • Effectiveness of Plan Messaging (5 points)
  • Program/Plan Creativity (5 points)

Evaluation (10 points)

  • Objectives Met (5 points)
  • Goals Met (5 points)

Budget (12 points)

  • Budget Documentation (5 points)
  • Budget Justification (7 points)

Entry Clarity (3 points)

Support Material Section (30 points)


FPRA revamped its Image and Golden Image judge scoring process in 2020 to provide more specificity. This revised judging instrument requires specific criteria to be met to earn an increasing level of points. 

Because additional information is required, the one-inch margin rule was changed to a .75 margin and the double-spacing requirement was changed to 1.5 spacing. These changes provide entrants with additional space to cover the criteria outlined. New requirements implemented in 2020 include the following:

  • Goals should be identified.
  • Strategies and tactics should be provided and identified.
  • Audience identification should address psychographic and demographic information.
  • Communication channels used to reach target audience should be included.
  • Sequencing of events (or timeline) should be addressed within implementation section.
  • Assigned responsibilities for plan execution should be addressed within implementation phase.
  • Communication messages used to reach identified target audiences should be included.

For specifics related to these new judging metrics, please consult the judging rubric.  Download the Judging Rubric.

The rubric is grounded in our profession’s established body of knowledge. Sources used to develop the rubric include Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations, Eleventh Edition, the “APR Study Guide from the Universal Accreditation Board,” and Public Relations and the Power of Creativity: Strategic Opportunities, Innovation and Critical Challenges.