SHIFTers have had a lot to be proud of this year – whether it’s being named Digital/Social Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report, winning Bulldog Media Relations Awards for excellence in media and publicity campaigns, or bringing in amazing new people and clients on the daily, 2012 is off to a killer start.
Last night, we added SEVEN Publicity Club of New England Bell Ringer Awards to the list, including:
- Gold award: Best National Print Feature
- Silver awards: Best Product/Service High-Tech Campaign; Best Business-to-Business Product/Service Campaign; Best Response to Breaking News
- Bronze awards: Best Clean Energy/Green Technology Product/Service Launch Campaign; Best Social Media Campaign
In addition, Senior Account Executive Kate Binette was named the 2012 Young PR Professional of the Year, known as the Striker Award.
Since we’re all about our people and giving you an inside look at SHIFT, here’s the scoop from the folks who represented SHIFT at last night’s awards:
- Kate Binette, Senior Account Executive (@katebinette) – It was great to catch up with former colleagues that I hadn’t seen in a while. Last night reminded me how tight-knit the PR community in Boston is, and it was exciting to engage in some friendly competition and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. But I have to say, I think the SHIFT table takes the cake for fun!
- Jena Rossi, Account Manger (@jenarossi) – I was really proud to be a part of the Boston PR community last night at the Bell Ringer Awards. In addition to taking home some impressive awards for our awesome agency, we were also able to give back to an important organization, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- Dominic Weeks, Account Manager (@dominicweeks) – My favorite moment was seeing Kate Binette collect her Striker award. Having seen her in action with clients, prospects, colleagues, and reporters, I can testify that she’s a class act, so it’s great to see the New England Pub Club judges get it so right!
- Zach Servideo, Account Manager (@zachservideo) – Last night got me thinking – the annual Bell Ringer event represents so much more than individual accomplishments. The Bell Ringers are a yearly reminder that the local PR scene is dominated by a core group of talented, familiar names and faces. While we all may “compete” for coverage, this dynamic group shares in the same goal – to grow and improve the Greater Boston and New England business communities.
- Kelly Kane, Account Manager (@kellykane) – My favorite part of the night was a tie between bonding with awesome colleagues during the event and taking home the Gold Bell for National Print Feature!
- Danielle Mancano, Account Manager (@dmancano) – My favorite part of the Bell Ringer Award ceremony was spending time with my Boston colleagues, who I rarely get to see…and looking at David Wade’s HANDSOME FACE!
- Catherine Allen, Vice President (@catherineallen) – You know, winning isn’t everything. But it feels damn good. We mixed and mingled, enjoyed dinner amongst friends, laughed at the @davidwade commentary and toasted each other on another great year. Cheers!!
- Todd Defren, Principal (@tdefren) – I am proud, of course, of the hard work that went into bringing home the awards last night. But when it comes down to it, the company was what made last night really great.
Congrats to all of the winners last night, and big thanks to the Publicity Club of New England for a great event. Until next year!
SHIFTers with their awards.
By Catherine Allen (@catherineallen)
The winter chill and snow that hit New England recently didn’t keep the warm crowd away from the Publicity Club of New England’s first Masters’ Institute program of the season. The focus of the session, “Dissecting the Process of Tying Public Relations to Sales,” was too important to miss.
The passionate panel included moderator Kate MacKinnon of AT&T, and panelists Suzanne Locke of Dassault Systemes, Bernd Leger of Rapid7, Stacey Santo of Rue La La and Laura Tomasetti of 360 Public Relations.
There were three highlights that we came away with.
- Audience – The panelists addressed the ability of PR to build an audience. After all, if you haven’t built an audience you have no one to sell to, or no one to build brand loyalty with. PR can help become the pathway to purchase, especially as consumers (in B2B, B2C and professional service markets) begin their research on the Web where online articles and social media content become gold for SEO.
- Sales – A few panelists talked about the need for PR and social media education across the executive level. They agreed that if you’re “at the table,” so to speak, then you will hear all the best information to use in PR, align objectives, and educate on what PR can and can’t do. To take it a step further, some PR pros in the room shared their experiences of attending sales pitches, or helping to create sales decks, as well. They found it invaluable to hear the sales pitch, hear the lingo and hear the pushback. They felt it better prepped them for the next PR push.
- Measurement – Yes, it’s important to measure. But first, everyone must agree on the objective, so you know what to measure. It can also be helpful to isolate PR for certain marketing pushes – so you can truly tell the return of PR vs. an integrated marketing-PR-ad spend program. The panelists also highlighted the importance of “knowing your numbers” at all times, to be ready to answer questions from the C-suite as needed, and to keep your PR/social teams honest with the progress.
Smiles appeared around the room on one of the final topic of the morning: “What happens if we win?”
It’s a great place to be – to have planned a successful PR program or campaign, and been able to measure flawlessly and support sales or another objective. One panelist said, “We don’t just get the word out, we support the business holistically.” And another, “PR has been critical to opening doors for sales.” The rewards of success for these panelists have taken many forms, from increased headcount, to having the success presented to a company’s board and earning that recognition, to earning a higher budget or the incremental dollars to explore new PR opportunities for increased visibility for their company or organization.
And that’s a beautiful thing. Here’s to your success!
By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)
After much encouragement from my esteemed colleague Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) I had the opportunity to take part in this year’s judging for the Bell Ringer awards. For the uninitiated, the Bell Ringers are organized by the Publicity Club of New England and since 1969 has been geared to “recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions.”
The categories are as numerous as the opportunities robust for recognition amongst your peers. I served as a judge for the national broadcast category and the graphics category, and came away impressed with the results. I wish everyone luck as the winners are announced on June 7th at the Westin Hotel in Watch City, USA (aka Waltham.)
Here’s my take-aways when considering submitting for either the Bell Ringers or any other awards, lessons I humbly submit will also help in your everyday PR lives as well:
- Keep your writing simple – Reading through multiple submissions (think multiple pitches, speaking ops, etc.), the ones that stood avoided having the best nuggets lost in a fog of “classic” marketing/PR language.
- Use relevant details – Pertinent details made the best pieces come to life. Be careful not to overload your submissions with meaningless statistics that will take away from the story you’re trying to tell. Speaking of which…
- Tell a story – The outstanding submissions I read were actually on the shorter side, but told a very compelling story that cleanly progressed from situation to challenge to results. They didn’t attempt to recreate the wheel, rather excelled at painting a clear picture.
Anyone have other tips they’d like to share when pulling together award submissions? We’d love to hear them!