NGA Creative Choice Awards Categories

2020 brought grocers a year of unprecedented challenges and changes, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. We know that meant your usual lineup of promotions likely was drastically changed, perhaps even tossed out altogether to start from scratch. But knowing that independent grocers are among the most innovative and resourceful retailers around, we’re confident that your stories of triumph this year will demonstrate your ability to flourish even in the most trying times. We have adjusted our categories a bit this year in deference to our “new normal,” knowing that the adjustments you’ve had to make yourselves will shine through!

Marketing Categories

Connections through Social Media

This year, more than ever, customers needed connections to their communities and many of those connections came in virtual formats. Grocer reached out to their communities and shared information through innovative campaigns on social media through graphics, pictures and videos. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and more. Don’t forget to let us know how you defined success with your social media initiatives, whether it be event attendees, engagements, impressions, an increase in followers or other key performance indicators.


Connections through Digital Marketing or Mobile

The digital space understandably exploded with stay-at-home orders brought on by the need to slow the spread of COVID-19. How did you using the digital space to enhance your customer engagement and ensure access to essential goods and food products for your customers? Share with us how you’re telling your story and reaching you customers in new and creative ways in the digital space. Submissions may include email campaigns, website enhancements, blogs, digital ads, texting initiatives and more.  Campaigns focusing on social media should see category #1.


Traditional Media – TV, Radio and Print

Did your company utilize television, radio or print ads to communicate with your customers this year? Submit your original TV, radio (cannot be more than 60 seconds in length), print, billboard ads, and tell us how and why this exposure yielded positive results for your business. All entries in this category must have been broadcasted or published. Videos that were created for online platforms should be submitted in category #1.


Grand Opening or Remodel

Were you able to pull off a grand opening or remodel during these extraordinary times? Enter to boast about this incredible feat in this category. Any form of media is accepted, as long as marketing submissions support a store opening or remodel announcement.


Merchandising Categories


Local, Specialty or Emerging Products
What new and exciting products are you merchandising in your store? Tell us how you’re engaging shoppers through creative merchandising set-ups, virtual demonstrations, recipes, partnerships and more to introduce local, specialty or emerging products to your customers. Did you work with new suppliers or collaborate with other vendors to satisfy emerging demands from your customers?


Community Engagement

Independent grocers are the cornerstones of their communities and are constantly finding new ways to give back in the areas they serve. Entries in this category should demonstrate the ways the store(s) served a need within their community and engaged their shoppers to participate. Submission may include events (including holidays and seasonal), celebrations, demonstrations, outreach, sponsorship and contributions, buy-one-give-one promotions and more. Both in-store and parking lot/off-site event entries are welcome.


Center Store/Frozen/GM/HBC

Just about everything in the grocery store changed this year, including what happened in the center aisles. This category takes a closer look at excellence in merchandising in center store, frozen, general merchandise, beauty or healthy living products. Submissions should feature concepts and/or display visuals, including those that were virtual, that created excitement in any of these departments. Entries should specifically explain how merchandising efforts responded to the shifting consumer trends during the pandemic (includes all edible and non-edible consumer packaged goods).


Fresh Departments
(includes Meat/Dairy/Deli/Bakery/Floral/Produce)

Tell us about innovative merchandising happening in your fresh departments, especially when faced with hurdles brought on by shifting dynamics. These submissions should highlight promotions of a product or product line in produce, meat, dairy, deli, bakery or floral. Be sure to provide visuals and any notable sales outcomes.


Special Recognition

Kellogg’s – Supermarket Superheroes Award

Day in and day out, it’s our supermarket superheroes that continuously step up to serve their communities across the nation. Deemed as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, independent grocers are the ones who put food on the table for millions of Americans. As the nation struggled to free itself from the pandemic and labor shortages put increased pressure on store teams, grocers continued to rely on their associates to go the extra mile to deliver on shopper expectations. In what ways have you celebrated all of the accomplishments of your supermarket superheroes? How have you honored your hard-working and dedicated team? Tell us how you have spotlighted your staff efforts.

Unilever’s Exceeding Excellence Award

After a surge of foot traffic and new customers, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, independents have not only had to keep
up with this new momentum but work to ensure customers keep coming back. For the new shoppers you have acquired over the past year, what have you done to keep them coming back? Did
you create a new loyalty platform or leverage targeted offers to bring them back to store? Have you integrated curbside or online ordering? Created new shopper loyalty programs? Share your results and newly established best practices that enabled your success and increased shopper loyalty.

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