Crenshaw Nominated For 2020 PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards

The Crenshaw  team is delighted to be nominated for a 2020 PRSA Big Apple award. The Big Apples are the gold standard of excellence for PR practitioners in the New York metro area and celebrate the best work of PR agencies, companies, governmental bodies, and not-for-profit organizations during the prior year. 

This year, we have been nominated in the  B2B PR category for our campaign on behalf of event management software company Bizzabo. “EMPOWERing Gender Diversity in Events” helped Bizzabo build brand visibility and align with diversity-conscious event and marketing decision-makers. Winners will be announced September 30 during a virtual awards ceremony. Good luck to all who are nominated!   

Leveraging the PR Potential of Awards

Awards can be a gold mine for public relations professionals to leverage client exposure and boost their reputation. News stories and articles are essential, but they have a shelf life. Awards – independent, third-party validation of excellence – are forever.

The application process isn’t always easy. When prestigious awards are up for grabs, count on multitudes of highly qualified applicants (and their PR firms) seeking to distinguish their work and bolster an image as an industry leader. You need to do anything and everything to position your product, service, or company executive as unique in each category and as superior to every other applicant (maddeningly, you generally won’t know the other applicants). Here are some tips to keep in mind during the process.

Step up the research. Positioning your candidate as unique and superior in a given category requires an examination of everything you know about the market, competition, projections, etc. Do the research and ask the right questions to submit a successful award application. This will force you to take stock of everything you know and will identify potential gaps in your knowledge. A side benefit: Ensuring your inventory is complete will yield information you will use throughout the life of a campaign.

Get to know principals. Awards for individuals provide the impetus to get to know your client or company principals in a more personal way than time generally permits, but it’s worth it on both sides. When thoughtfully conducted, these interviews yield pearls of wisdom, experiences and rich anecdotes you can use for strategic exposure and engagement in other media.

Promote, promote, promote. In addition to the traditional announcements – industry and “hometown winner” –  get the word out via press releases, website adds, newsletters, and on social media. Ask groups, collaborators or peers in your industry to share the news. Have the winner consider adding the award to his e-mail signature. Your applicant isn’t just a “Chief Scientific Officer,” he’s a “Medical Design Excellence Award” winner.

And keep in mind… Awards tend to beget more awards. Once you have the process down, applying for others is far less daunting and more likely to succeed.  Keeping detailed notes, agendas, recaps and other documentation will also make the application process much easier, as will notes on conversations you have with your collaborators. 

6 More PR Awards We’d Like To See

This witty post on 8 PR Awards You’ll Never See by Critical Mention’s Dave Armon looks askance at some less-than-scrupulous PR behavior, but it was food for thought as we look back over a year in which we were recognized with three different “legit” PR awards for client campaigns.

Awards criteria in our business are fairly similar; you describe the goals, strategies and tactical plan for a campaign and showcase outcomes that are presumably not simply a laundry list of media hits but those that show the campaign supported business goals. And while this peer recognition for a successful media relations or B2B PR campaign is appreciated, it seldom touches on what happens “behind-the-scenes” of a winning program.

The awards we’d really like to see (but are equally unlikely to) would recognize those endeavors for which we all toil but seldom reap anything beyond private satisfaction or a great war story. Or, they might wag a finger at those practitioners who fail to follow best practices. We think you’ll agree. Read on.

Pig Wearing Lipstick Award. Someone (the boss, perhaps?) has come up with a boneheaded, self-serving or just plain bad idea with no inherent earned media value. Despite thoughtful, fact-based protests, you have no recourse but to try. Miraculously, you manage to tweak it into a newsworthy concept and eke out some stellar coverage.

Stuffed Press Release Award. Earning this accolade will require at least 10 consecutive and utterly nonsensical, jargon-heavy sentences, a minimum of 6 links and at least five keywords in the first paragraph.

Best Link-Bait Headline Award. This recognition will be bestowed on the most alarmist, repulsive, or deceptive headline on a blog post or bylined article. Bonus points for body copy that is utterly irrelevant to the header.

Most Creative Campaign Under $20 Award.  Okay, we’re exaggerating, but even awards that specify low-budget campaigns may not allow for a modestly budgeted one that had to compete with a splashy and overstuffed event with Kardashians at every turn.  You had zero OOP budget, no paid media spend, hired spokesperson or charity partner, and the campaign still garnered recognition through good old-fashioned creativity, ingenuity and media acumen!

Blood, Sweat and Tears Award.  Sabotage, psychological warfare and potential landmines at every turn? For this award, you managed to keep an even temper and achieve dazzling outcomes even though you had an egomaniac spokesperson, a committee of “direct reports” with different agendas, and a two-faced team member claiming credit for your efforts.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Award. Or, the Murphy’s Law Award.  “Oh calamity!” To earn this recognition, you and your team were plagued by a combination of calamities and crises such as disastrous weather at an event, breaking news on the morning of the announcement, or a competitive assault. Yet you persevered and claimed victory with resounding media results.

Which is pretty much what we do everyday, isn’t it? Kudos to you!

How To Be A Winner in the PR Awards Game

By guest blogger George Drucker

It’s awards season. No, not Oscars, Emmys, or YouTube. It’s the time of year where you or your PR agency, whether doing brand public relations, B2B PR, consumer PR or the like, can demonstrate your creativity, media skills, digital savvy and communications expertise in a truly competitive setting.
Winning industry awards, particularly those with few categories and high recognition, is not just a great ego boost for you and your team, but a solid way to distinguish yourself and build a professional reputation. Don’t we advise clients to focus on their “key differentiators”? Industry recognition is by definition a key differentiator.

But don’t do it for yourself. Do it for your clients as well. It allows the client to bask in the glory of recognition, and it may enable them to merchandise PR strategies within their organization. It can create a self-fulfilling sense of pride from the communications division to the C-suite.

We’ve had the good fortune to serve on many judging panels for the top PR Awards from the Silver Anvils to the SABREs, and there are many learnings from being on that side of the table. A few tips to help ensure that you get noticed or, better yet, win!

Set a time and expense budget. This one’s in the “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” category. It’s a waste to enter if you can’t devote the time, or if things are cobbled together at the last minute. Entries are often expensive as well, so you may choose to enter one, meticulously prepared campaign in a category that makes sense.

Definable, measurable, relevant research is essential. Gather the best information and data you can find to support and inform all elements of your campaign or activity, from strategies to goals to tactics and conclusions. And don’t make it nebulous. Make sure it’s relevant and precise.

Be strategic. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s vital to get it right. Make sure you distinguish between a strategy, an objective and a tactic. They are distinct and serve different purposes, so make it clear to the judges you “get it.”

Show creativity. It doesn’t matter what the campaign or activity is, whether a public affairs issue, a crisis action, or consumer campaign. Inventive thinking really matters. Sometimes it’s a simple twist on the traditional or a new execution for an “old” idea. It’s how you can get heard above the noise and make the effort remembered and recognized. Yet, a creative idea without strategic direction is creativity lost.

Choose categories wisely. Be careful and clear in selecting the right category (or categories) for your entry. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Be very mindful of the published criteria for submissions. Judging dozens of written entries can be overwhelming and time-consuming, and sometimes the judges are looking for a reason to eliminate one to simplify the task. The wrong category will also raise a red flag about your thinking and attention to rules.
Now go home and polish your acceptance speech.