Congratulations to all of our Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellent in Communications winners!
We had a fantastic time celebrating all of your hard work represented amongst the 68 entries into this year’s award program. The awards banquet was held on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at The Cannon Room, a new Downtown Raleigh event space operated as part of the HQ Raleigh program. What a breathtaking sunset we all were able to experience during the cocktail hour as we were perched high atop town on the 12th floor.
A very special note of congratulations to Susan Friday Lamb who was named our 2017 Watt Huntley Award for Lifetime Achievement winner – her gracious and supportive family joined us to accept on her behalf.
Our official post-event press release follows:
RPRS Honors Communications Professionals in the Triangle, Names Lifetime Achievement and Inaugural PR Pro of the Year Recipients
Annual Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication awards banquet recognizes PR practitioners for successful campaigns and tactics
Raleigh, N.C. – October 20, 2017 – The Raleigh Public Relations Society recognized local public relations and communications professionals during its 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication ceremony. The awards banquet, held on October 17 at The Cannon Room in downtown Raleigh, was emceed by Seth Crossno, the blogger behind William Needham Finley IV™ of ITB Insider™.
“We received a wide range of categorical Sir Walter Raleigh Award entries from an array of organizations and professionals this year,” said Kelly Propst, president, RPRS. “This is a great testament that Raleigh-Durham is an area acknowledged for high levels of creativity, diversity and strategy-driven public relations agencies and practitioners.”
The Sir Walter Raleigh Awards competition is a showcase of exemplary work by PR and communication professionals throughout North Carolina. The competition is held annually and recognizes projects that have achieved excellence in a variety of categories, as judged by an independent panel of judges. This year’s awards were judged by members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Memphis Chapter.
RPRS also recognized Susan Friday Lamb with the 2017 Watt Huntley Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award is given annually to an individual who has made meaningful contributions to the field of public relations over the course of a career.
Lamb served as the public information officer for the North Carolina Museum of History for more than 20 years. In a time with limited state-allocated funds for museums and state historic sites, she found numerous ways to highlight and promote these state treasures. Her dedication, professionalism, and mentorship towards other state agency public information officers and communications individuals are evidence of her service to the state of North Carolina.
“Susan is a veritable treasure!” said Betty McCain, North Carolina Museum of History Foundation Board member, as part of Lamb’s nomination. “Susan has made colleagues of many members of the media and they help tell our story through pages of the free press. She enjoys a real gift of descriptive and tantalizing stories that make North Carolinians proud of and interested in attending lectures, visiting the numerous sites and the wonderful museum of history. She works tirelessly to engage citizens of North Carolina in their own state history and all it has to offer.”
“Susan sparked my passion for public relations,” said Mary Withers, a previous North Carolina Museum of History intern. “…Without Susan’s mentorship, I never would have worked for a PR firm in Raleigh, and I would never be in my current position.”
In addition, Joe Mecca of Coastal Federal Credit Union is the first to receive the 2017 PR Professional of the Year title. In his role as Assistant Vice President Communication, Mecca serves as company spokesman, and is integral to the credit union’s public relations, corporate communication and political affairs functions. When he’s not working to build up Coastal’s public profile, Joe’s focus is on ensuring that employees and members are kept well-informed. He also lends his talent to several key committees at Coastal and is on the board of the credit union’s charitable foundation.
“Over the past year alone, Joe has strategically planned and communicated a number of major milestones for Coastal, all done with excellence and precision,” said Propst. “Coastal is embraced by its membership and well-recognized for its efforts in the community, all stories that Joe has helped to tell. We are thrilled to honor him with the inaugural RPRS PR Professional of the Year Award.”
This year, in an effort led by RPRS Awards Chair David Dean of the Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation, the RPRS board revised the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication categories and structure to better reflect the current strategies and tactics communications professionals are implementing in the field. For example, this was the first year to have categories for Blog, Live Streaming, and Corporate Social Responsibility. The updated categories led to a 52 percent increase in award submissions over 2016. In addition, category winners are named based on Platinum, Gold and Silver level award recognitions. Platinum winners must have an average score of 95 or above, with the highest average score per category taking the top recognition. Gold winners are any entry with an average score of 90 and above, except for the Platinum winner. Silver winners are any entry with an average score of 80 – 89.
Special thanks to RPRS Banquet Chair Lisa Jeffries of Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group for planning and coordinating this year’s awards banquet. For more information about the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication, visit www.rprs.org/awards.
The Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication recognized the following 2017 winners:
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Bang for the Buck
FleishmanHillard with St. Baldrick’s Foundation Bang for the Buck
FleishmanHillard has partnered with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise awareness for childhood cancer research through a comprehensive media relations program for 10 years. In 2016, FH was tasked with further educating the public about the impact of dollars raised for the Foundation, while also sharing the critical need for more childhood cancer research funding to new audiences. FH successfully secured national media placements of a story that did just that in Inside Edition and Martha Stewart Magazine, strategically building momentum that launched a viral reaction, resulting in more than 350 million media impressions.
FWV with Rodeo Right at your Fingertips
FWV with Nathan Beats the Heat with Focused Media Relations
FWV with Media Relations Campaign Puts Heads in Beds During the Off-Season in Wilmington, NC’s Island Beach
S&A Communications with Chad Michael McIntyre Louisiana Flood Relief Effort
FWV with Restoring the Luster of a Legendary Personal Brand
FWV with Introducing CRISPR-Cas3
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Branding (Community or Product)
FWV with French/West/Vaughan Drives Visitation to Family-Friendly Dude Ranches Across the Country
Few things evoke feelings of All-American nostalgia like the Wild West. While many people may dream of being a cowboy or cowgirl at some point, more well-known destinations usually win out when it comes time to plan a family vacation. The Dude Ranchers’ Association – a nonprofit organization representing more than 100 dude ranches across North America – needed to increase awareness of its association and member ranches among mainstream consumer audiences through a strategic media relations campaign in 2016/2017. Media features in respected top-tier travel and consumer outlets resulted in a 33:1 ROI on the client’s PR investment, surpassing all campaign goals.
Clairemont Communications – Il Palio Dishes Up Something New
FleishmanHillard – Rise Against Hunger Rebrand Launch
Tompkins International – Tompkins International Branding
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Community Relations
FWV with Fleet Feet Runs Wild with runMoji™
The interest and hobby of running was grossly under-represented in the emoji world, with just one emoji depicting the activity. FWV saw the opportunity for Fleet Feet Sports to create an emoji keyboard showcasing experiences of this broad audience and enabling the brand to be a constant presence in everyday conversations within the running community. This would not only keep the brand top of mind but further strengthen runners’ connection to the community and help solidify Fleet Feet’s status as an ambassador of the sport.
S&A Communications with SAS Championship Community Relations
FWV with Wrangler Honors Greensboro’s Textile History
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Organizational Identity/Promotion
Clairemont Communications with Wendell Falls Busts Real Estate Myths
Wendell Falls, one of the largest master-planned communities in the Triangle, opened in 2015 and faced the ongoing perception that it was remotely located, inaccessible and lacking vital resources. Developer Newland Communities turned to Clairemont Communications to bust the myths shrouding this new community. Clairemont crafted and implemented a strategic campaign leveraging creative tactics from school partnerships and themed open houses to media dance competitions and video challenges; their efforts ultimately increased home sales by 250 percent in one year and earned Wendell Falls the title as Best Master Planned Community in East Wake County by The News & Observer.
French/West/Vaughan – Fleet Feet Runs Wild with runMoji™
Clairemont Communications – Briar Chapel Back on the Map
Rountree Communications – 2017 Spring Edition of the Southern Ideal Home Show Promotional Campaign Entry
French/West/Vaughan – IGI Breaks Through to Millennials
French/West/Vaughan – Operation POTUS
FleishmanHillard – Lowe’s Arms Employees with Robotics
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Special Events
Clairemont Communications with Fire It Up! Briar Chapel’s 9th Annual Pepper Festival
FleishmanHillard with March of Dimes Marches for Babies One Step at a Time
French/West/Vaughan with Strait to Texas
North Carolina Biotechnology Center with VaccinatioNCelebration
CATEGORY – Campaigns: Word of Mouth/Viral
FWV with The Daredevils of Saint-Tite Quebec
Since its inception, the Wrangler Network has grown far beyond its original intended purpose. What began as a digital platform designed to allow rodeo fans access to the live rodeo competition coverage they were denied, has evolved into a comprehensive online environment that serves relevant video content to diverse audiences while benefiting the Wrangler brand as a unique content generator. In 2016, The Wrangler Network received 17M+ total content views, resulting in a 280 percent year-over year increase. The Wrangler Network is averaging 1M+ content views per month, and has an external revenue of up to $600K in advertising sales.
CATEGORY – Digital Communications: Live Streaming
FWV with Strait to Texas
Largemouth Communications with Mike Holmes Chats Electrical Safety
CATEGORY – Digital Communications: Social Media Campaign
Clairemont Communications with A Taste of Italy at Il Palio
Il Palio, Chapel Hill’s AAA-rated Four Diamond Italian restaurant, launched a $1 million renovation and revamped menu crafted by its new chef. The restaurant turned to Clairemont Communications to promote these improvements and boost acclaim. Clairemont crafted a creative social media strategy targeting food bloggers and culinary influencers through personalized, VIP experiences. This “Taste of Italy” campaign secured vibrant coverage, engaged new guests and ultimately helped to position Il Palio as a desirable, modern dining hotspot for all ages, earning the restaurant a Gold Medal from food critics as a “2016 Best Restaurant in the Triangle.”
French/West/Vaughan with Fleet Feet Runs Wild with runMoji™
Largemouth Communications with Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America
French/West/Vaughan with Wrangler (Basket)Ball Talk
Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department with Your Parks. Your Stories.
CATEGORY – Digital Communications: Video/Podcast/Videocast Program
FWV with Launching Directors’ Reserve
When the Directors’ Reserve product launched in 2016, there was no better way to tell the story behind its inception than through carefully crafted video. With a small budget and limited opportunities to drive awareness and demand, this video was at the core of the Directors’ Reserve launch strategy, designed to celebrate Pendleton Whisky’s pride in rodeo heritage, but also drive product sell-through among core consumer audiences. It is now the most asked about product on brand owned communication channels.
Clairemont Communications with Our Coffee Cares Video
mpiTOO with WakeUP Wake County Better Transit PSA
mpiTOO with Clarksville Players, Support the Dream Video
CATEGORY – General: Event Marketing
French/West/Vaughan with No Place Like Home, Wrangler Jeansboro Day
FleishmanHillard with Scott Safety Scott Sight FDIC 2016
Clairemont Communications with Vita Vite Creates “Raleigh’s Sunday Spot”
CATEGORY – General: Media Event
FWV with Bounce Back Bash
The premier female fashion brand, Riders by Lee, hosted an influencer event in New York City to raise awareness around their newest product launch, Bounce Back Denim. As a way to bring consumers closer to brand representatives, develop relationships and celebrate the new launch, the Riders by Lee team invited fashion, lifestyle, mom and plus-size influencers to sample and interact with the brand for an exclusive, experiential night out. Through onsite activation and proactive follow up, the influencer party garnered more than 2M media impressions and reached close to 850K targeted women on social media.
Clairemont Communications with Hoedown Showdown at Wendell Falls
French/West/Vaughan with Operation POTUS
CATEGORY – Publication & PR Writing: Opinion/Feature
S&A Communications with Ethics Article in Public Relations Tactics
Largemouth Communications with Pokémon GO and the Future of Fluid Power
CATEGORY – Publication & PR Writing: Press Release
Clairemont Communications with DQ’s Miracle Treat Day Benefits Duke Children’s Hospital
For more than 50 years, the Raleigh Public Relations Society (RPRS) has advanced the art and science of public relations and strengthened communication, understanding and cooperation among diverse individuals, organizations and institutions throughout the Triangle. The organization regularly hosts professional development opportunities, including monthly meetings, networking socials and the annual Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Excellence in Communication banquet, which recognizes the best public relations projects and professionals in North Carolina. For more information, visit www.rprs.org.