The Worthy Awards Are Back!

It’s Worthy Awards Time Again!

Worthy-AwardsSiteIn 2012, Greater Fort Worth PRSA’s first regional contest gave area communications, marketing and public relations professionals an opportunity to celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.

The contest returns in 2013 with a March 8 entry deadline. The second annual Worthy Awards dinner will be April 25 at the Fort Worth Club.

Think about your activities in 2011 and 2012. We have a two year entry time frame for campaigns, which require evaluation, and a one year time frame for tactical entries. You’ve probably completed several projects solved a problem or met a challenge and have award-winning potential. Don’t be shy.

First, read and think through the contest guidelines. Worthy Award entry standards are based on generally accepted parameters for communications contests throughout the world. There is a common format that lets entrants show an understanding of the marketing communications process, describe creative work and explain market specifics.

Here are some tips for preparing your entry.

A solid entry will address these points:

  •  What was done?
  • Why did it matter?
  • How was it evaluated?

Carefully read the entry parameters.

The judges (Las Vegas chapter) will look at each required area and base their scoring on how well the four entry areas are explained. Entrants should address each required point, and thoughtfully explain their good work, so that it is excruciatingly clear to judges not familiar with our area.

Rationale (Tactics) and Research (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain any type of research and why it was used. A textbook campaign would include formal, original research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, so entrants should clearly describe what was done. For example, a brain-storming session, a review of media clips or discussions with clients may be described as secondary, qualitative research … literature review … content analysis … anecdotal reports.

Objective/Purpose (Tactics) and Planning (Campaigns, Projects)

Why did you do this? Possible reasons are to increase sales, raise funds, create name recognition, affect public(s) behavior. Describe any factors about the project/tactic that will help judges understand the purpose and the market. Note that the purpose must – absolutely must – match the outcome. Read on to the Evaluation section.

Execution (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain which tactics were chosen and why. When there are several tactical options, the entrant should state, for example, that “these tactics were selected to expand the reach of our message.” Identify and justify each tactic.

Remember that the judges won’t know that your decisions and efforts were special unless you tell them. If your entry states that “TV station XYZ sponsored the event,” you must explain that “TV station XYZ rarely supports activities in Fort Worth.” Or, “TV station XYZ  sponsors only three events per year and we convinced the station to choose ours.”

Another hypothetical example: If your target market/public prefers electronic media over print, your entry should state, “Secondary research found that our target demographic prefers to receive electronic communications.”  Such data may be obvious to you, but your entry narrative also must make your decision and hard work clear to the judges.

Execution (Tactics)

Here’s where to explain who wrote copy, designed a magazine, edited content, provided photos, approved the budget and negotiated with a vendor. The Tactical section of The Worthy Awards is an explanation of who did what. If an unusual price or component was negotiated, say so, so the judges will understand the entrant’s extra effort.

Results (Tactics)

Tactics are created to meet a specific need, and are skillfully and professionally prepared. An evaluation of effectiveness and impact, based upon defined objectives, can be simply stated. However, the results must – absolutely must – match the purpose. If the purpose was “to generate five media stories,” the result must show five (or more) media reports. If the purpose is “to raise awareness,” the results must show a measurable increase in awareness.

Evaluation (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain how the targeted market, public or audience responded and how you learned about its response. This is the place to include quantitative data and analysis. Such measures may be a replication of preliminary research or measures of other activities. For example, measures can be election results, a sales increase, ROI, donor or donation increase, or a response that exceeded expectations. Include as much measurable and anecdotal response as possible, and describe future plans. If comprehensive research was not needed, say so. For example, “More than 5,000 people in our target public responded to the activity. We expected only 3,000, so we did not repeat our preliminary research to measure interest in the topic. However, we will analyze the experience of these respondents to plan future campaigns related to this issue.”

Good luck to everyone! See you at the April 25 awards presentation!

(Don’t forget to submit nominations for Communicator of the Year. There is no fee.)

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like more information:

The Worthy Awards Committee includes:

Jahnae Stout

Rita Parson

Megan Murphey

Meg Hasten

Megan Force

Chris Smith

Holly Ellman

Margaret Ritsch, APR

Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA

Setting Professional Development Goals in 2013

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN – Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA
If you aren’t constantly learning something new, you can lose your competitive advantage rather quickly in our fast-paced profession. So even if you don’t make New Year’s resolutions, you might consider at least setting some professional development goals in 2013.

Luckily, PRSA makes that easy. Each month except July, our Greater Fort Worth Chapter offers a luncheon program on a timely topic, including two half-day professional workshops planned this year. Already an expert on that topic? Go anyway. Members say they often get valuable tips simply from sharing a conversation at the table.

Can’t make a midday program? Try one of our evening mixers, primarily designed for networking but also to inform.

Senior-level practitioner? Go anyway. Giving back to your profession not only offers intrinsic rewards, but some senior members suddenly out of a job have learned the hard way that networking isn’t just something you do when you’re looking for work.

Feeling on the fringe? Get involved. With numerous chapter committees, there’s something for everyone to do. The important thing is to stay connected.

You can’t afford not to in 2013.