The key to your contest’s success is communication! 

Aside from having a really good brief, it is vital that you engage with your contest for the best outcome. 

Engaging regularly and consistently will encourage more submissions throughout the contest. The best part is that the more you engage and guide the creatives, the better the submissions get (and, typically, the more fun everyone has throughout the process)!

We highly recommend logging into your contest once or twice a day to follow these best practices to ensure that you get the best results from your contest. 

Instant Feedback Ratings

Rating entries is the quickest and simplest way to communicate with creatives. Rating helps steer the engagement in the contest.

You may see a drop off in contest participation if you do not rate entries. This is because, without communication, creatives will not know what you need or what you are looking for. 

The ratings are as follows: 

🙁 No Thank You

This means that the submission is not a good fit for your brand, product, business, etc. By the nature of brainstorming, you will probably give a lot of “No Thank You” ratings, and that’s OK. 

Honest feedback helps the creatives get closer to what you need. In most contests, 60-75% of entries fall into this category. Again, don’t be afraid to give No Thank You's; this just lets the creative know to try another approach!  

😐 On The Right Track

This rating signals to a creative that they are headed in the right direction, but not quite what you are looking for. This is a good rating for an entry that has the right style of name, but the wrong concepts, or one that has the right values and ideas, but is too long or not using the right words. 

Here are the basic categories that we see fall into on the right track: 

  • I like this word but not that word (Name Squadcrowd, I like the word Squad but not crowd).
  • I like the meaning behind this name, but it’s a bit difficult to say or spell. 
  • I love this name! But it’s probably better suited for another project. 

🙂 Like It

“Like It” ratings let a creative know that you’re happy with a submission and want to see more like it.  

😃 Love It

A “Love It” rating places an entry on your shortlist, which tells the creative that you are really excited about a name and will consider using it. 

Private messages 

Private messages are a one-on-one communication between you and the creative. This sends a message directly to the creative, and it is only visible to you and the creative you sent the message to.

Here are some tips for private messages:

  • Focus on the top 10-20% of creatives. The best way to get closer to a perfect name is to work directly with the top performers in your contest. Single out those who have been getting closer, and communicate more with them. It is better to focus all of your energy on getting amazing results from the creatives who are close than it is to spread yourself thin and try to get less-amazing results from everyone. 
  • Encourage people! Helpful private messages encourage creatives and reinforce the direction of the contest.
  • Be constructive. Rather than simply saying that you do or do not like a name, provide more detailed feedback about what you like and what just is not hitting the mark. This will help the creatives see exactly how they can improve their submissions. 

Note: You may not share one creative’s ideas with a different creative through private or public messages. It’s just not cool! 

Here are a few examples of great private messages:

  • “I like that you use the word “Paper,” but I am not really a fan of the “Dreams.” Can you come up with some different variations using “Paper?” 
  • “I love the concept behind this name, but it’s a bit difficult to spell. Can you come up with some ideas that have the same concepts, but a different approach?”
  • “I really like this name because it’s short and punchy, but this specific idea is probably better for another project.” 
  • “Hey there, FrancisAB! I like how short and to the point this name idea is, but I am really looking to focus on values of freedom, expression, and individuality rather than on publishing itself. Could you apply this type of name to those ideas? Please keep submitting, I like your ideas!”

These messages are productive because they stay positive and encourage a creative who is already close to what you need. It clearly communicates what you like about the entry, and it also says what can be improved.

Public messages 

Public messages are messages that go out to all of the creatives that are participating in your contest. You can write a public message by going to the “messages” tab on your contest dashboard.

We recommend writing public messages daily to communicate with your creative community. This leads to better collaborative efforts and clear communication, which will ultimately yield the best results. 

It’s best to release a public message when…

  • You need to change direction. Perhaps you started this contest asking for practical, descriptive names like “Print Press” or “Publishing Link” that speak to what you do as a company, but after seen a few hundred names, you realize that what you’re looking for is more an intriguing name that speaks to your values, a name like “Trust Tree” or “Share Me.” Share these thoughts with your creatives so you can continue to see the best results. 
  • You need to clarify your focus. Sometimes, creatives read a brief and misinterpret a certain point. Public messages are a great way to course correct if you see people drifting from what you need. For example, if you stated in your brief that you want names that focus on ideas of collaboration, but then you start seeing too many names that are transmutations of collaboration like “Collabro,” you can tell creatives that you want to step away from using the word “Collaboration” and instead focus on getting ideas that capture the value in a metaphoric way.
  • Mini Brainstorming Activities. Brainstorming should allow you to explore many directions with your name. Public messages are a wonderful vehicle for kickstarting brainstorming activities like this: “After getting so many great submissions, I have decided to come up with a creative prompt. Please explore more ideas around creativity and idea sharing, but here’s a twist… I would really like to see some unique metaphoric story-driven names that relate to the early emergence of the printing press and the printing industry. Let’s find some great ideas that explore symbolism, mythology, and more!” Brainstorming activities like this can help you explore new directions, especially if you come up with one daily. 

Here are some tips for composing a great public message: 

  • Avoid saying what “not” to do. This can confuse some creatives or derail the brainstorming process by making people focus on the blocks rather than the new paths they can find. Instead, try to guide the creative direction with positive affirmation guidelines like “I would like to shift direction a little and start seeing more names that focus on a sense of coziness and community. Bring on the new submissions!”
  • Stay positive. Creatives are people, and too much negativity will discourage them from participating in your contest. 
  • Communicate openly. Because crowdsourcing takes place virtually and the contest holders and creatives never actually meet, 

Here is an example of a really good public message:

Hello creatives! 

First, I want to thank everyone for the great ideas so far. It really has been a great experience working with each of you. 

I have a good list of abstract names and would like to shift direction a little. Feel free to continue submitting along the original direction if you are consistently getting a good rating from me.

On the other hand, if you are in a creative rut or hitting a wall with the original guidance, then you can begin exploring any name you think best describe a modern publishing platform. This track will be more open to creative and intriguing ideas, so think disruptive and modern. Focus on names you think would standout at a tech/design conference. 

Here are some concepts you can build off of:

- creativity

- free press

- language

- access to knowledge and learning

- collaboration and education

I will continue to rate and give targeted feedback as best as I can. If you need additional guidance or have questions, then feel free to post a public message. I am happy to help you as best I can.

Good luck everyone!

As you can see, this message is positive and focuses on the collaborative aspects of the process. It sets clear expectations, communicates where the Contest Holder is at in the process, and encourages creativity. 

Other tips

Here are a few more tips for getting the best results from your contest:

  • Guaranteeing your contest is a great way to encourage more participation from a wider variety of creatives. Guaranteed contests usually have 40% more creatives participating because they are assured that someone will receive the award amount. 
  • Reach out. Another great way to encourage submissions as your contest winds down (about 24 to 48 hours before it closes) is by reaching out to your favorite creatives and encouraging them to keep submitting. A message like this works great:
  • Hey there, mrasparagus92, this is one of my favorite entries so far because it really captures the sense of freedom my product provides, but in an intriguing way. Can you please submit more ideas like this? You’re doing great! 


Squadhelp makes collaboration with a large number of creative people over a short period of time fast and easy. Collaboration is the best way to get the absolute most out of your project. These tips will really help! 

However, please keep in mind that more is not always better. Login once or twice a day and focus 90% of your effort on the top 10-20% of contest participants. Some creatives just won’t be able to get you what you’re looking for, and that’s OK--you can’t teach Picasso to paint like Rembrandt!

If you have any questions or need any further assistance, our customer support team is available to help you 24/7. Just click on the blue button in the right hand corner of any page of

We wish you the best of luck with your brainstorming process, and we hope you can have as much fun with it as we do! Enjoy! 

Watch this brief video about increasing your contest engagement below:

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