Finding the ‘best of the best:’ Five reasons for the world’s newest PR awards
Who is doing the best work in public relations in the world today? That’s something every PR client, agency, professional and academic should want to know. It’s a question the Global Alliance hopes to answer through our new COMM PRIX Awards. But why do award programs matter?
I have had a rare opportunity to read some exceptional case studies this year as a judge of PR award submissions from five countries (Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the United States), including various national competitions and the IABC’s excellent Gold Quill Awards program. This experience has made me an even greater advocate of the value of awards competitions to professionals everywhere. Here are five reasons:
- Thinking strategically: Most awards competitions follow a similar structure, asking applicants to analyze their business needs, audiences and stakeholder research, goals and objectives, strategies and tactics, implementation plans, budgets, challenges and measured results – all in a few short pages. The more professionals learn to think in this structured, succinct fashion, the better we become at developing and presenting strategy to our clients and organizations.
- Demonstrating value: Measurement is the ‘holy grail’ of public relations, and with good reason: we often have to measure intangibles such as reputational gain, or the value of crises that have been averted. Smart measurement starts with smart objectives, and the single biggest predictor of an award-winning program is specificity and alignment of these two dimensions. No organization should invest in public relations if objectives are vague (e.g., ‘build buzz’ or ‘make a splash’). By learning how to set smart objectives that are aligned with clear measurement, PR professionals better demonstrate their value.
- Benchmarking and raising standards: I’m proud that my firm is known for its award-winning work, not just because it’s motivating for our team to earn accolades from our peers, but also because it’s a valuable opportunity to benchmark our work against that of other leaders in the profession. We’re not the only ones doing the benchmarking: smart clients (and employers) are doing the same. The best way to raise your game is to learn from what others are doing, and to get feedback from senior professionals.
- Creating a culture of excellence: How do you decide what material to enter in an awards program? Just ask yourself what is the best work you’ve done this year – particularly if it was research-based, creative, strategic and measurable. This decision can generate some virtuous behaviour and friendly competition within communication teams, provided that managers are willing to choose fairly and invest in the relatively modest fees to enter awards programs. Every PR firm or team needs a culture of excellence, and generating award-winning programs can help achieve that.
- Generating knowledge: One reason the GA awards program has a special division for teaching case studies is that we see ourselves as the global bridge between the practitioner and academic communities. Every profession needs a body of knowledge, and by telling the stories of our finest work every year, we strengthen the position of public relations and communication management in business, and in global society.
There are three categories in the Global Alliance’s COMM PRIX Awards: (1) public relations and communication programs that have already earned an award from a local, national or international association or from a GA member organization (2) successful programs that are international in scope; and (3) academic case studies for use in an education. You can find out more and submit your entries here.
As the alliance that unites all the world’s major PR and communication professional associations and institutions, the Global Alliance has a unique opportunity to provide another level of recognition for our members, and to fill a unique need: finding the ‘best of the best.’
As professionals, we all speak often of the value of what we do. Awards programs offer us opportunities to prove it. It’s a chance for our profession to practise what we preach, and to perfect what we practise.
Daniel Tisch, APR, Fellow CPRS
Chair, Global Alliance for Public Relations & Communication Management