Archive for the ‘Awards’ category

The 51st Best In Maryland Call for Nominations is open! Have questions?

March 22, 2012

We’ve changed the Best In Maryland program for 2012. To help with the transitions, we’ve created a list of questions that you may have and supplied the answers below. Please don’t hesitate to chime in with any additional comments or questions. Or email us at info@prsamd.org.

Why aren’t you doing the usual call for entries? And why the shift to a nomination process?

Last year, PRSA MD celebrated 50 years of our Best In Maryland awards program, an anniversary of which we are extremely proud. During the last 50 years, the awards have focused on specific programs and products that successfully addressed a communications challenge. This year’s program shifts focus from the product to individuals and teams that represent exemplary contributions to the public relations profession in Maryland.

What exactly are you looking for and what are the categories?

We’re looking for the best PR pros, teams, students, educators and partners. Categories include our two signature awards, the Lifetime Achievement and the New Professional of the Year, as well as 5 new awards including Educator of the Year, Partner of Distinction, Social Media (Individual Or Team), Improvement of the State Award (Team Or Individual), and Innovation and Technology (Team). We will also be awarding two $500 Kathleen Kelly Undergraduate Scholarships this year. Go to PRSA MD Awards for descriptions of each award.

Is there a fee to nominate someone?

There is no fee. You need only submit the application. What’s more, you can do so electronically, saving you time and money. No more hours or anxiety spent putting together a binder.  And no more shipping fees.

Can I nominate myself and/or my team?

You can self-nominate in the following categories: Partner of Distinction, Social Media (individual or team), Improvement of the State Award (team or individual, paid or pro bono), and Innovation and Technology (team only). Students apply for their own scholarships.

Do I need to submit reference letters along with the application?

Reference letters (no more than two) are optional for all the awards except the Kathleen Kelly Undergraduate Scholarship, which requires two references. Please be sure to carefully read the requirements for the scholarships.

What about the scholarship? Who is eligible and who completes the application?

The Kathleen Kelly Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded to a student with a PR focus who is in his/her sophomore or junior status at the time of the application. The student completes the applications and submits along with two letters of recommendations (one from a professor and one from an internship supervisor or other source).

What is the deadline?

The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 2. The deadline for the student scholarship is Monday, April 9.

I’m not nominated nor am I nominating anyone. Why should I attend the Best In Maryland Awards event on May 10?

The program is more than just an award ceremony. Whether you’re a seasoned PR pro or a newbie, here’s your opportunity to hobnob with savvy PR professionals throughout Maryland, and to make connections that you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll also hear from our keynote speaker Bill Toohey, communications director for the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Bill has been named Baltimore’s best public sector PR man – or Best “Flak” – three times: once by Baltimore magazine and twice by the Baltimore City Paper. Finally, you’ll be there to honor the best in PR including our Lifetime Achievement and New Professional of the Year winners as well as winners in 6 other new categories.

Regarding the full 2012 program schedule, what happened to the monthly events?

PRSA MD recognizes that with shrinking budgets and staff, getting to monthly events has become more difficult for our members and guests. But we also recognize that professional development and face-to-face networking are still important aspects of any professional association, so this year programming will be a combination of webinars and quarterly face-to-face events. Our first face-to-face was held on February 29, and if you attended, you already know how successful it was – we had over 35 people! Other face-to-face events include the Best In Maryland set for May 10 at 6:30 pm, a summer networking event in August, and the 2012 Annual Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Conference set for November 8. Our first webinar is set for March 29 and will feature MGH on the new business Facebook Page. Go to www.prsamd.org for information on all upcoming webinars and events.


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2011 PRSA MD Best In Maryland a resounding success!

June 24, 2011

This year’s Best In Maryland reception was held at the 1840s Ballroom, a beautiful venue with outstanding service. Guest entered through a gated courtyard where staff directed them upstairs to the 1840s Carroll Salon. The evening started off with a chance to networking and dig into some delicious food and drink catered by Hunt Valley Catering.

The Best in Maryland awards portion was opened with a few words from Katie Mercado, our vice president and Best In Maryland co-chair, who welcomed everyone reminding us that this is the 50th anniversary of Best In Maryland. She gave us a quick recap of what Best In Maryland means to our chapter, and thanked the board of directors and the BIM committee for their hard work in planning this year’s reception. She also acknowledged Dave Imre of IMRE for his continuing support of PRSA Maryland, and our go-to photographer Bob Stockfield of Stockfield Photography. (Check out our photos of who came at Gallery of faces and who won at Gallery of awards photos.)

The awards were presented by Reagan Warfield of the Mix 106.5 Morning Show, who did a great job announcing the winners while delighting the crowd with his charm, and Katie Mercado, who handed out the awards to each winner (Katie got her picture taken quite a bit that night!). During the ceremony, Reagan pointed out that this year we added new categories and streamlined others making the competition tougher—and more interesting—than ever. Several of our categories had a large number of entries with Story Placement leading in number received. For a detailed list of all winners, go to 2011 Best In Maryland Award Winners!.

We then turned to the New Professional of the Year award. Eleni Polites from Weber Shandwick took this honor, a complete surprise for Eleni who had no idea she was even nominated. It was fun watching her realize she was the recipient as Reagan read her bio. And it was even better when she discovered we had been hiding her family in the corner where they waited eagerly for her chance to shine.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented by Gene Bracken (the 2010 recipient) to Jacqueline Lampell of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.  Jacqui was nominated by her co-workers for her professionalism and dedication to excellence within her field. Her nomination was lauded by other seasoned professionals, especially Gene who was honored to present her with the award.

The final two awards of the evening were announced last. The Best Representation of Theme is presented to the entry that best exemplifies the current theme, and this year’s went to Baltimore Gas and Electric’s  for BGE Smart Energy Savers Program Marketing.

The Best In Show is presented to the most outstanding entry in the Program category. This year, the honor went to Catholic Relief Services for their The Haiti Earthquake: Catholic Relief Services Responds to a Major Disaster. The crowd erupted into cheers when the announcement was made. John Rivera accepted the award on behalf of his staff, lauding their continuing dedication to the CRS mission.

After the awards presentation, the evening continued with an array of yummy desserts and the chance to continue the celebration.

Finally, we’d be negligent if we didn’t thank our judges—the Rochester Chapter of PRSA—who said they were impressed by quality of the entries. We thank them sincerely for their hard work.

Winners: Additional awards may be ordered by clicking here. All orders must be received by COB Wednesday July 6, 2011.

Best in Maryland is next week. Here’s what you need to know!

June 9, 2011

Can you believe that our annual Best in Maryland (BIM) Awards presentation is next week on June 14? Plus, it’s our 5oth anniversary of BIM! A momentous occasion! We’ve heard you and we listened – we’ve made this event an evening networking event again, rather than keeping it tied to our Chesapeake Conference. Join us next week, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. Register today!

Here they are, the 2011 Best in Maryland Awards finalists.

 All are finalists for a Best in Maryland, an Award of Excellence and/or one of two special awards — Best Representation of the 2011 Theme and Best in Show. We’ll also honor one special PR professional with the Lifetime Achievement Award and a young professional with the New Professional of The Year Award.

 This year, the event will be at the 1840s Ballroom – truly gorgeous! Plus, it will be hosted by Reagan Warfield of JoJo and Reagan’s Morning Show on Mix 106.5!

We’ll have some great food, so join us for networking, mingling, and meeting PR leaders and professionals. Come to see what others have been working on!

Come on June 14 to find out who won what!

Heading into the Afternoon with Lisa Shenkle

June 11, 2010

After sailing through a sea of sessions in the morning, prepare to anchor yourself in the main meeting room to enjoy a bountiful lunch and hear from afternoon keynote speaker, Lisa A. Shenkle, president of VERB! Communications. Lisa will take you into the world of international PR via Sail Baltimore. As a board member for Sail Baltimore, she will illustrate how she successfully promotes a concept without a structure, navigates political landmines and sensitivities, and how PR helps Sail Baltimore achieve its mission of maintaining and
improving international goodwill.

Lisa A. Shenkle, President VERB! Communications
From book campaigns and national book publicity tours that took authors to nearly every market in the country, Lisa Shenkle, Principal at VERB! Communications moved from publishing into broadcasting to promote nationally and locally produced PBS programs. Her work in entertainment, whether with books or in television, offered her an opportunity to create promotional partnership opportunities with the Smithsonian, Baltimore Museum of Art, Lender’s Bagels, Kraft, Inc., Pillowtex Corporation among many others.

She developed, and won awards for, her community grassroots campaigns that engaged citizens and created positive tie-ins with related organizations in private industry and non-profits. Lisa also developed public education programs, promoted environmental issues relative to transportation, drafted Governors’ speeches and talking points on crisis management issues. In addition, Ms. Shenkle oversaw the Port of Baltimore’s international advertising and public relations efforts to steamship lines and maritime customers while tenured at the Port of Baltimore.

Her awards include three local Emmy’s, Best Overall Campaign by PRSA and a PBS National Promotion award for Overall Campaign. She volunteers as a Board Member for Sail Baltimore, the non-profit organization that provides free, annual public programs of visiting ships and maritime events and is a board advisor to the Maryland Respite Care Coalition (MRCC).

And the Finalists for the 2010 PRSA-MD Best in MD Awards Are…

June 7, 2010

We’re so excited to announce the finalists for the 2010 Best in MD Awards! We’ve had some excellent entries this year, and the competition was tough, but here is who’s still in the running:

2010 Best in MD Awards Finalists

A. Bright Idea
Anne Arundel Medical Center
Barb Clapp Advertising and Marketing, LLC
CareFirst Blue Cross BlueShield
Crosby Marketing
Devaney & Associates, Inc.
Himmelrich PR
idfive
IWIF Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Maryland Lottery
Mayes Communications Inc. & Strategic Design Studio
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
Notre Dame Preparatory School
Sky Design LLC
Weber Shandwick

Of these finalists, two will be the recipients of the most coveted prizes: Best of Show and Best Theme.

This year’s presentation will take place as a luncheon during the 33rd Annual Chesapeake Conference. Will your agency/company receive one of these top prizes? Register for the Chessie conference now to find out. Follow us on twitter at #chessie10.

We’ve assembled some of the best speakers in the industry who can’t wait to impart their knowledge on hot topics such as social media, ROI/measurement, SEO, and more.

Full-day Chessie registrants will also receive a ticket to the awards luncheon, which will include a compelling presentation from the keynote speaker, Lisa A. Shenkle, President of VERB! Communications, that you don’t want to miss. If you don’t have time to attend the conference, remember that you can purchase Best in MD luncheon tickets separately. See you at the 2010 Best in MD Awards!

The Speaker Line up and Program Details are in!

April 26, 2010

June 17th is fast approaching, and before you know it, the 33rd Annual Chesapeake Conference will be here. During the conference you will learn from industry leaders on the essentials needed to sail into the new decade of public relations.

Set your alarm clock and have ready your cup of Joe! You will not want to miss technology entrepreneur Dave Troy when he delivers the morning keynote where he will talk about the inspirational and creative efforts put forth by public/private organizations to could bring Google’s ultra high-speed Internet trial to Baltimore. Dave is one of the principal players working with Baltimore’s Google Czar Tom Loveland. Dave will share with attendees Baltimore’s PR, social media, and buzz strategies, lessons learned, why Baltimore is a good fit for Google Fiber, and when Google will reveal its decision.

After your much enjoyed lunch and the Best in Maryland Awards program, we will kick off the second half of the conference with our local Emmy Award winner Lisa A. Shenkle, president of VERB! Communications and board member for Sail Baltimore. As the afternoon keynote speaker, Lisa will describe how the art and skills of public relations help her navigate political landmines and sensitivities associated with international ships visiting the Port of Baltimore. Discover how she overcomes challenges in scheduling press events, gains permission to get the media on board visiting vessels, and engages all parties for the greater mission of establishing goodwill between our country and others.

Breakout sessions include:
• How Media Fragmentation is making it harder (and easier) than ever to reach your targets
• Putting SEO to work: Writing with search engines in mind
• Red flags of social media: A legal perspective
• Great marketing ROI for a lousy economy
• Writing for the web and social media
• Media ethics
• PR measurement
• APR roundtable discussion
• How not to pitch the media roundtable discussion

See full line up here.

Don’t miss the boat, register today for the Chesapeake Conference and Best In Maryland Awards on June 17 at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson.

Online registration and downloadable forms now available.

Follow our official twitter hashtag, #Chessie10 for updates, and check back at our More Than PR Basics blog for our series of discussions leading us up to the 33rd Annual Chessie Conference.

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Creating a Winning Awards Entry

April 7, 2010

So you have a great success story. Now you’re wondering if its award-winning material. Only one way to find out – submit it for one of the industry’s prestigious awards like the PRSA Silver Anvil or PRSA MD’s Best in Maryland. (Note the 2010 Best In Maryland entries are due May 7 with a discount on fees for entries received by April 23!).

Before you finalize that submission, did you know that at least 25% of entries get pushed aside not because they aren’t creative, effective and successful, but because the entry wasn’t – as in wasn’t creative, effective, well-presented.

Here a few tips from some pros – pro’s at winning and at judging – that may help you create an entry that is as successful at your program.

Peter Stanton, APR, Stanton Communications:

Keep in mind that the awards are as much about what you did that’s new and innovative as what you did well.  While the judges may be impressed that you scored a major hit in the national media, it’s far more interesting to know how you did that.  Did your overall program incorporate some new approach or some new tactic that galvanized media attention?  Was there something in your program that could be instructive for the rest of the profession?  If
so, flag it.

Judges may be called upon to review dozens of entries.  If you are hoping they discern the key element of your creativity, they may miss it.   If you are hoping they will be awed by very traditional tactics and outcomes, you may be disappointed.  Demonstrate innovation and prove that it accomplished your goals and not just achieved a nice news piece.  That’s the way to win.

Chuck Fitzgibbon, APR, Weber Shandwick

Two thoughts:

Judges value outcomes more than output.  Behavioral change is seen as more valuable than volume of messaging, impressions, material distribution, etc.  Smaller, local programs that moved the needle and affected real change often receive higher scores than massive national programs that had a lot of output, but didn’t demonstrate real change.

Organization is key.  If your entry isn’t organized as specified in the guidelines, judges may overlook critical information in your entry, or may assume that either you’re not paying attention, or just resubmitting an entry from another competition.

Paul Eagle, APR, Imre

Winning entries go far above and beyond typical campaigns …

  • Results must match objectives
  • Campaigns are too focused on media placements – especially “integrated campaigns”
  • Pay close attention to the categories you enter – I judged three last week that were simply in the wrong category
  • Backup is critical – if you say you wrote a plan, include it…or at least parts of it so we know it exists
  • Research is more than “we conducted an informal poll at our agency”

Jody Aud, APR, MedImmune

Make sure what you are entering is really a “campaign.”. So often I see entries that are really a single tactic. – such as the launch of a  newsletter or an Intranet and the entry focuses on just the tactic and why it was selected, audience reach and so on. That’s the kind of thing you enter in a Bronze Anvil. For me, an entry that’s primary importance on the research, planning and evaluation – and secondary importance on the tactics is usually one that will stand out from the rest.

Lisa Miles, APR, Miles Public Relations

My biggest frustration when judging entries (both Silver Anvils and other chapters) is that MEDIA RELATIONS IS NOT A MEASURABLE OBJECTIVE!  It’s a tactic used to reach your target audience.  Start asking yourself the question of “why” each time you write an objective and if you can get to something measurable and timely, THEN you have an objective.  Also make sure your objectives match up with the rest of the program, particularly the results.  I heard a great quote from another judge when we were at the Silver Anvil judging this year – it’s the Alpha and Omega that we look at first – the beginning and end.

Harry Bosk, APR, Bosk Communications

Make sure when you say that you want to increase awareness that you state with whom, why and by what measurement.  Otherwise, it’s not a measurable objective.

Have your own tips and ideas? Add them. Have questions for the “pros”? Ask away here or send an email to PR Awards Pros at info[at]prsamd[dot]org.