The Stevie Awards Blog

Bringing Stories to Life is the Core Message

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Dec 12, 2018 @ 01:50 PM

Whether it’s an entrepreneur starting out in an office or garage or if it’s a Fortune 500 company, any business must be visible to potential customers before a sale can be made. In most cases, awareness of a company is created through great stories, which elicit engagement and relationships with those potential customers.

Whether dealing with website traffic, email subscriber data growth, social media accounts, or hundreds of other engagement metrics, they’re all interconnected by one thing: an attempt to create a continuous relationship between the customer and the business.

With so many companies marketing that way, though, how do you stand out in a sea of legitimately competent competitors?

PAN Communications is an integrated marketing and public relations agency based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. They focus on B2B technology and health care industries that want a customer-first business model. They deliver this through PR and social, content, and influencer marketing. They also use data analytics and creative services.

pan communications“To bring great stories to life, that’s the core message,” says Ashley Thon, marketing coordinator at PAN Communications. “Those great stories are about the companies—their technologies and innovations—that are changing lives.”

The company’s ability to bring resonant, engaging stories to life contributed to them winning the 2018 Gold Stevie® for Public Relations Agency of the Year at The American Business Awards.

PAN Communications is one of the industry’s most trusted communications partners., It demonstrates that it takes an entire team of dedicated marketing and PR specialists to help clients exceed expectations.

Move Ideas and Build Relationships

Success in any venture doesn’t happen overnight. No matter how good you are at something or how certain you are about how to improve a problem, it takes time to develop and to hone sustainable relationships with your audience or paying customers.

The success of PAN Communications is due to the firm’s unique ability to offer the agility and personalized service of a midsized agency while also leveraging national and international relationships. This allows them to manage large-scale communications programs for brands such as SAP, AppDirect, Radial, and MediaMath. PAN Communications provides services, moves ideas, and builds relationships with customers at a level which competitors find difficult to match.

The PAN Communications business model demonstrates one thing clearly: Successful businesses must make their services and messaging available to potential customers over a variety of platforms.

Give Back and Put People First

The belief that great people can do great things is an underlying tenet of the PAN Communications mind-set. That’s why they focus on putting people and culture first.

“By fostering an environment free of office politics and rich in support and diversity, we believe we can rise above the industry noise and win the race,” says Thon. “The CEO of PAN believes his agency’s greatest assets go down the elevator every night: the people. Phil [CEO of PAN Communications] and the rest of the leadership team devote time and energy to cultivating the award-winning culture that currently exists at PAN. The agency takes a people-first approach and prioritizes a strong work-life balance for its employees.”

PAN Communications also believes in giving back to the communities that built the foundation of their agency. To that end, the firm launched a philanthropic program, PANcares, in November 2017. This allowed the agency to become involved in its local markets more consistently. As part of the program, PAN Communications partners with four nonprofit organizations dedicated to fighting against youth homelessness. Representing a cross-country collaborative, the partners are based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States; San Francisco, California, United States; New York City, New York, United States; and Orlando, Florida, United States.

As PAN Communications demonstrates, today’s PR agencies must distinguish themselves by delivering exceptional services and innovations to their clients. As a result, the industry is thriving. Brands demand more from agencies than ever before, asking these companies to prepare them for every stage of growth and to act as trusted partners along the way. PAN Communications is just one agency that shows the exceptional results that are possible when that happens.

Tags: PR awards, public relations awards, company awards

Making Sure Online Sellers Experience Benefits, Not Hassles

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Dec 05, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Merchants offer a variety of ways to pay for their products and services these days, including everything from old favorites like credit cards and checks to newer modes, such as NFC (Near Field Communications)-ready phones and smart watches.

That affords retail customers greater convenience, of course, but it also means more chances for technical issues to arise. This can potentially cause lots of extra headaches for the seller.

However, if retailers work with U.S. payment software firms like PayJunction, they greatly minimize the chance of encountering those stumbling blocks. PayJunction is based in Santa Barbara, California, United States. Working in an industry that doesn’t always enjoy a great reputation for customer service, the company has gone all in on its efforts to satisfy users.

PayjunctionBy just about any measure, it’s succeeding in that goal. Their customer service team upped its satisfaction score to 95.3% last year, from 94.2% in 2016. It did so after handling 13,500 more support tickets and 2,475 more calls than in 2016. What’s more, the service team, which operates out of the firm’s California headquarters, was also able to maintain an average wait time of just one minute.

“We've definitely developed a culture of respect,” says Christina Lavingia of PayJunction. “We work hard to value long-term relationships over short-term profits.”

This approach has led to a number of significant achievements, such as going three consecutive years without a single complaint file submitted to the Better Business Bureau and achieving the highest rating for a payment processor on Capterra.

A customer-first approach has also proven to have a positive impact on workplace morale. In 2017, PayJunction was selected as a Best Place to Work on Glassdoor.com.

“We treat our employees and customers like family and have prioritized doing the right thing in every facet of the business,” says Lavingia.

The company’s impressive call center team is one of the reasons PayJunction had a big night at the 16th Annual American Business Awards this summer. The firm captured the Gold Stevie® for Customer Service Department of the Year among financial services firms, as well as a Bronze Stevie for New Product or Service of the Year.

The team adds these accolades to its trophy shelf, which already included a Bronze Stevie for its customer service team from the 2017 awards ceremony.

Leveraging Its Awards

Founded in 2000, PayJunction succeeds, in part, by adeptly navigating the fast-changing world of payment processing. When it started, services like Apple Pay and Google Pay weren’t even around. Now, accepting those methods is increasingly viewed as imperative.

It has also been at the leading edge of efforts to combat fraud, which has long been one of the industry’s biggest challenges. Changes in signature requirements and the introduction of chip-and-PIN cards are having a major positive impact on retailers and businesses that process those cards.

“Equipping them with the technology they need for the future is truly exciting,” says Lavingia.

Today, the company processes $4 billion in sales each year, and thousands of businesses across the United States use its payment terminals and software. To meet this demand, the organization now employs more than 60 employees.

Perhaps, though, it’s the company’s laser focus on customer service that makes it stand out the most. For Lavingia, bringing home two Stevie Awards, including one for its customer care team, is a huge notch in its belt.

She notes the company was already bringing up its prior bronze prize during sales calls and in emails in order to help woo new customers, and she’s confident earning a gold this year will give them even greater prestige.

“We're able to leverage these awards to close deals with new merchants and to accurately showcase in a meaningful way how our software and support will positively impact their businesses,” Lavingia says.

Tags: company awards, tech awards

Artificial Intelligence Goes Where Hardware Can’t

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 @ 09:47 AM

Most information humans take in is visual and depth based. Although we do not emit lasers or lights to perceive our environments (as much as we might wish to), we still see everything very accurately with our comparatively low-quality eyes.

This means the brain is the driving factor behind the impressive results of our vision. Now, imagine a world where every device and machine has those capabilities. How well could that serve humanity?

The AI-based software solution from Lucid empowers dual-camera devices, such as mobile phones, robots, and others, to see in three dimensions, providing the depth perception of human eyes.

Lucid wants to be the platform that allows any device or machine to capture depth data in the world. In late 2018, Lucid is on track to bring in 10 times their 2017 revenue. They anticipate adding staff; opening offices around the world; and continuing to foster their culture of inclusion, work ethic, and continuous improvement.

lucidcam-virtual-reality-camera-2

Tech Giants Are Noticing

Lucid was founded in Palo Alto, California, United States, in January 2015. They focused on mimicking human vision in robots because they believed true depth vision should not be emission-based but AI-based. This defied how the entire industry was working at the time.

Han Jin is the cofounder and CEO of Lucid. He details where the company stood technologically before any tech giants entered the now growing space.

“We decided to build the world’s first VR180 camera, LucidCam, because we wanted to prove our AI-based software technology had a market,” says Jin. “There was no similar hardware until iPhone 7 Plus came out with dual cameras.”

After they successfully launched their device into retail spaces and millions of consumer hands, they observed the trend of dual cameras spreading to more than just phones.

This innovation keeps the company on track to recreate human vision through software, and they believe the deeper intermingling of humans and technology when both humans and robots are capable of doing and seeing.

Exploring New Territories

AI provides solutions to many problems caused by hardware limitations. For example, smartphone manufacturers need to ensure the price they charge per device continues to be competitive in order to hit volume benchmarks. However, when trying to incorporate depth-sensing technologies, the process becomes both bulky and costly. In consumer electronics, there’s simply not a lot of room for more hardware.

Space margins are extremely thin, and this is especially true of smartphones, where real estate is dire. Additionally, when you add an expensive sensor to a device, the price, unsurprisingly, goes up.

There’s no way around this other than finding solutions that incorporate depth sensing into consumer devices without the addition of hardware. This is precisely why AI software is leading companies like Lucid into territories that weren’t previously accessible.

Massive Potential

Five billion people have mobile phones, but the latest technological upgrades, such as built-in depth sensors, are currently too expensive for most device makers to incorporate. This disallows facial recognition, VR/AR, and 3D scanning.

At the same time, smartphone makers specifically are feeling increased downward price pressure as they try to come out with newer, more advanced devices that outpace their competitors.

The entire market is trying to find new approaches to solve this problem. As phone makers scramble to conceive new features that convince consumers to upgrade, depth sensing is increasingly on people’s radar.

When Lucid won a Gold Stevie® Award for Entrepreneur of the Year for Computer Software, the community took notice. Lucid is already improving its pure software solutions.

“This year, Lucid partnered with elite camera maker RED to build an H4V camera. The RED camera features two moving high-resolution cameras that adjust dynamically,” says Jin. “Our engine allows you to generate multiple views through AI with only two views being captured. This camera will use the new Hydrogen One phone with a holographic display as a viewfinder.”

Technology and innovation are at the core of what Lucid does, and other entrepreneurs and businesses can learn from Lucid’s alternative AI solution. Their work illustrates that software can implement capabilities much faster (and cheaper) than hardware currently can.

Teaching machines to see like humans could have huge ramifications in the technological world, and we’re just beginning to imagine all the possibilities.

Tags: tech awards, company awards

Winners in 15th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business Announced

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 @ 09:05 AM

Shining a spotlight on women executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations run by women, winners in the 2018 Stevie® Awards for Women in Business were announced on Friday, November 16.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business is an international competition produced by the creators of the prestigious International Business Awards® and American Business Awards®. The Stevie is widely considered to be the world’s premier business award.

With more than 500 businesswomen and their guests in attendance, the awards were announced at a gala dinner at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Nations represented at the event included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, U.S.A., United Kingdom, and Vietnam, among others.

women in biz 2018The presentations were broadcast live worldwide.

More than 1,500 nominations from organizations and individuals in 33 nations were submitted to the awards this year for consideration in categories including Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, and Startup of the Year, among others. Winners were chosen by more than 200 business professionals working in six specialized judging committees to determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award placements.

Grand Stevie Award trophies were presented to the five organizations that submitted the best body of entries to the competition, in their own names or in the names of one or more clients. Winners were determined by the number of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Awards won in the competition.

The Grand Stevie Award winners are:

  • Award Winning Accelerator, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia (#1)
  • Plan International Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada (#2)
  • DP DHL, worldwide (#3)
  • The Female Social Network, Sydney, NSW, Australia (#4)
  • Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (#5)

Notable Gold Stevie Award winners in this year’s competition include:

  • Aflac, Columbus, GA USA — Communications or PR Campaign of the Year — Reputation/Brand Management
  • Bon Choix Couture, Glendale, CA USA — Company of the Year – Business Services – 10 or Less Employees
  • Dee Hutchinson, Founder of Dee Hutchinson Talent Development Ltd, Waterford, Ireland — Mentor or Coach of the Year — Business
  • Laurie LaPat-Polasko, Vice President/National Director of Remediation, Matrix New World Engineering, Florham Park, NJ — Woman of the Year — Technology
  • PotomacWave, Alexandria, VA USA — Fastest Growing Company of the Year
  • Caroline Riseboro, President & CEO, Plan International Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada — Women Helping Women — Government or Non-Profit
  • HK Strategies, Mexico City, Mexico — Communications or PR Campaign of the Year — Public Service
  • Ashley Harris, CEO, LoveBug Probiotics, New York, NY — Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Products – 10 or Less Employees
  • Anne-Lise Dorry, Senior Director of Corporate Finance Products, Thomson Reuters, New York, NY — Employee of the Year — Business
  • Esther Rovira, CEO, CasaAPP, Barcelona, Spain — Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa
  • Sykes Enterprises, Tampa, FL USA — Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women
  • PharmaLogics Recruiting, Quincy, MA USA — Achievement in Equal Pay

The 2018 Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners reflect a diverse group of large and small organizations from around the globe. Organizations that won more than one Gold Stevie Award include Dignity Health, iTalent Digital, Jeunesse Global, LoveBug Probiotics, Plan International Canada, Simpson Healthcare Executives, The Cura Foundation, Thomson Reuters, and Tick Tock Boom Digital Agency.

For a complete list of Stevie Award winners and more information, visit http://www.StevieAwards.com/Women.

Entries for the 2019 edition of the awards will open in May.

Tags: women awards, Women in Business, Female Entrepreneur of the Year

Who's Coming to the Stevie Awards for Women in Business This Friday?

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Nov 12, 2018 @ 02:09 PM

38463795476_ff5f4f4cf1_zThe 2018 (15th annual) Stevie® Awards for Women in Business - the world's top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run - will be presented this Friday, November 16 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York City.  More than 540 nominees and their guests from more than 20 nations will attend for the announcement of the Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

Download the official program book of the awards presentations.

The presentations will be broadcast live, beginning at 7:30 pm ET.

Here are the organizations that as of this writing will be represented at the event on Friday.

2020 Mom
9th Gear Technologies
ACV Auctions
AdvancedMD
Allscripts
American Global Logistics
Ampla Education
Apple Growth Partners
ArcPoint Strategy
Aspire
AT&T
Avasant Foundation
Award Winning Accelerator
Belatrix Software
BiggerPockets
Braven
Brighton Health Plan Solutions
BrightSpring Health Services
Camp Broadway LLC
Care2
Caring Safely
Carolin Soldo Coaching & Events, LLC
Century 21 Real Estate
Chargebacks911
Choice Delights Inc.
Cisco
Coast Professional, Inc.
Compeat
Convergys
Copart
Covance
Creative Nature
D3 NYC
Dana's Bakery
DarcMatter
DDB Worldwide
DeFacto
DentalX
Deutsche Bank
DHL Express Mexico
Dignity Health
Editor World LLC
ELE Internacional
engage2learn
Eventerprise AG
Events DC
Extreme Reach, Inc.
FG Holding Group
Financial Voyages LLC
First Advantage
First Tennessee Bank
FIS
Fogo de Chão
FPI Fair Pay Innovation Lab
FULL Creative
Garden Light LED
Gendel Girls
Global Upside
GloveStix LLC
Goodwin Group PR
Gracyfy.com
Greenworks Lending
GroundLink
Hawke Media
HCL Technologies
Health4theworld
Hill + Knowlton Strategies
Home Heart Beats, LLC
Humanity For The World
Hundred Stories
IBM
IGEL
Improving
Income Access (a Paysafe Company)
InfoMart
Instructional Design and Educational Consulting LLC
Intellis
Interior Marketing Group
ISG
iTalent Digital
JP Morgan Chase
KATT Communications
LBR Insight
LoveBug Probiotics
Matrix New World Engineering
Mattress Firm
Maximum Games
Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
Mekky Media Relations Inc.
Meli Studio
Merck
Meritor Inc.
Montana State Fund
Mortgage Bankers Association
My City Gives
National Association of Women Business Owners
NCR Corporation
New Orleans Business Alliance
Newday Media JSC
Nic + Zoe
Nonda
Olin Corporation
Orange
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.
Papa John’s International
Pearson
Phaidon International
PharmaLogics Recruiting
Pipeline Entrepreneurs
Plan International Canada
Pocket Learning Spanish
PotomacWave
Procter & Gamble
Proforma Inspired Promotions
Purpose DRVN
Rachel Engler Andalaft
Red Hat
Revamp Interior Design
ReviveMed
RewardJet
Rimini Street, Inc.
Ritchie Bros.
Rocket Software
Savvy Marketers, LLC
Securing Water for Food Technical Assistance Facility
SEEN Connects
Sempra energy
ShieldX
SHIFT HR Compliance Training, LLC
Smarty Social Media
Snelleman Tom
Social Media Link
Southern California Edison
Southwest Michigan First
SPLICE Software
Squelch
Stay In The Game
Stericycle Environmental Solutions
Strategati LLC
Stripe Communications
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
Susan Davis International
Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated
T and T Consulting Services, Inc.
Tata Consultancy Services
T.D. Jakes Ministries
Tangible Words
Tata Consultancy Services
TBWA Istanbul
Tempaper
TetraVX
Tezgahçilar
The Ace Class
The Alpha Enterprise
The Ambit Group
The Female Social Network
The Financial Literacy Youth Initiative
The GREEN Program
The Inclusive Foundation
The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR)
The Malvern School
The Mane Choice
The Roundtable
The Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust
The White Company
ThermoBrush
Third Team Media
Thomson Reuters
Thought Bubble
TIAA
UBM Americas
UCSF
UK Power Reserve
Unique Wedding Cars
United Franchise Group
UnitedHealthcare
UpWell Health
USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore
Vested
WalkMe
WeUsThem Inc.
WorkForce Software
WorkWave
Xandr
YouEarnedIt
Ziegler
Zingbox, Inc.

The 2019 edition of the Stevie Awards for Women in Business will open for entries in May.  Join the mailing list and the 2019 entry kit will be emailed to you as soon as it is available.

Request the Entry Kit

Tags: womens awards, women in busines, stevie awards for women in business

Sixth Annual Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards Issues Call for Entries

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Oct 31, 2018 @ 10:13 AM

The Stevie® Awards has issued a call for entries for the 2019 (sixth annual) Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the only business awards program to recognize innovation in business throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region. 

The early-bird entry deadline is November 28. The final entry deadline is January 30, 2019, but late entries will be accepted through March 8 with the payment of a late fee. Complete entry details are available at http://Asia.StevieAwards.com.

The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards are open to all organizations in the 29 nations of the Asia-Pacific region: Large and small, for-profit and non-profit, public and private. Seven nations are added to those eligible to submit nominations to the 2019 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

APSA 10

The awards focus on recognizing innovation in all its forms, wherever it is achieved in the workplace. Entries will be accepted in eight languages – Chinese, English, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese - in the following awards category groups:

New awards categories introduced for 2019 include Most Innovative Startup of the Year and Most Innovative Tech Startup of the Year. There are no entry fees for the these categories.

Asia-Pacific Stevie Award winners will be announced on April 17. Winners will be celebrated and presented their awards during a gala banquet on May 31 in Singapore.

Scores of professionals from throughout the region will participate in the judging process to determine the Stevie winners.

Some of the Asia-Pacific region’s most innovative organizations have won Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards in the past five years including ABS-CBN Corporation, Bangkok Health Research Center, Cisco Systems, Delta Air Lines, Dentsu, Freelancer.com, GE Indonesia, Globe Telecom, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Huawei, Maras Group, MetLife Asia Ltd., MSLGROUP China, Ooredoo, PT Petrokimia Gresik, Samsung, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Singapore Power, Sony, Telkom Indonesia, Xiaomi, and more.

The Stevie Award trophies, made by the company that makes the Emmy and other major international awards, are among the world's most coveted prizes. The name Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned."

Tags: asia pacific awards, innovation awards, top business awards

A Stevie Winner's Pursuit of Life-Changing Products

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 04:42 PM

For most people, participating in conversations and listening to music are easy to take for granted. For those with hearing impairment, these everyday activities are a major challenge.

Over the past 71 years, Phonak, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, has been working to eliminate those hurdles for customers around the globe. After many years of dedication in the industry, the company’s achievements now include a litany of technological breakthroughs, each resulting in hearing devices that are more discreet, effective, and versatile than ever before.

phonakA member of the Swiss corporation Sonova Group, Phonak launched the world’s first behind-the-ear hearing aid in the early 1970s, and a few years later, they introduced the first digitally programmable hearing device. In the 1990s, Phonak developed the market’s smallest FM receiver, which paired with a wireless transmitter to minimize background noises and to enhance the clarity of individual voices.

The desire to push the boundaries of hearing technology still drives the company today, resulting in a series of high-profile accolades. Phonak recently launched Audéo B-Direct, the first hearing aid that can connect to any Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device. The product, which earned the organization a Silver Stevie Award for Best Product at The American Business Awards® this summer, automatically senses the user’s surroundings and adjusts the output to make answering phone calls and holding conversations simpler.

On the heels of that achievement, Phonak was named winner of the Gold Stevie for Best Product at The International Business Awards®. This time it was for its cutting-edge Virto B-Titanium hearing aid. Developed using custom 3-D printing, the device capitalizes on titanium’s lightweight and superior strength. The result is a hearing aid that’s virtually unnoticeable to the outside observer.

The Stevie Awards are an extremely important achievement to us. They demonstrate our ongoing commitment to create a consistent, scalable, sustainable competitive advantage within Phonak,” says John Urbaniak, Associate Director, Media Relations US Hearing Instruments at Sonova.

Helping Families Cope with Hearing Loss

The firm’s management has made research and development a top priority going forward. In April, Phonak announced a new audiological center of excellence at its audiology research center outside of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The center will serve as a hub for independent research, as well as ongoing collaborations with a network of top audiology experts and institutions around the globe.

“Tackling everything from pediatric to profound hearing loss, Phonak remains committed to creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives and help them thrive socially and emotionally,” Urbaniak says.

The Swiss company is using its stature in the industry to increase awareness of hearing loss solutions. To that end, it recently partnered with a charity called Songs of Sound, which helps improve access to hearing loss testing and the technology to help correct it.

With support from sponsors like Phonak, Songs for Sound holds a free weekend retreat each year that educates families of children with hearing loss about new technologies. It also teaches them how to navigate the health care system in order to get optimal care. In addition to the camp, the partnership with Phonak helps assist the organization’s Hear the Music Project and mobile clinic tours, which provide 10,000 to 15,000 people a year with access to free hearing tests.

Phonak also works to reduce the stigma that sometimes surrounds hearing loss by leaning on successful hearing-impaired celebrities. For example, it inked a sponsorship deal with stand-up comedian D.J. Demers, a contestant on season 11 of America’s Got Talent. His performances often revolve around his experiences as a youth in need of hearing aids.

The organization also turned Swiss aerialist Jason Brügger into a brand advocate. In this role, he’s involved in a range of projects worldwide to help support those with hearing impairments. Additionally, U.S. golfer and Deaflympics gold medalist Kaylin Yost was a guest keynote speaker at Phonak-sponsored summer camps for children with hearing loss.

“With these ambassadors, we've been able to reach thousands through conferences, community outreach, and speaking opportunities,” adds Urbaniak.

In doing so, the company known for developing state-of-the-art technology has also helped hearing-impaired people heal on an emotional level, too.

Tags: best product of the year, new products and services, new product awards, service awards

SparkPR Stays Ahead in a Rapidly Changing Market

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 01:16 PM

“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” —Richard Branson

Richard Branson is the prominent British business mogul with over 400 companies under the Virgin Group and a net worth of $5.1 billion. His insights on public relations (PR) and advertising come, quite obviously, from a great amount of success and experience.

sparkprThe sentiment also simply makes sense. The art of storytelling has connected generations, communities, and cultures for as long as humans have existed. Storytelling—or, in a broader sense, communication—is a foundational pillar of any civilization, culture, or people. The story and the emotion it elicits are why songs sell and why people celebrate holidays, attend events, and, ultimately, make purchases. 

PR tells a company’s story, and that story often connects a business with people in a stronger way than an often-overlooked print ad or a radio clip that goes in one ear and out the other. PR doesn’t act in a vacuum, though. PR, marketing, and advertising are all connected, and this trifecta can make or break a brand.

PR and marketing services are changing and evolving in the world’s fast-paced, global, and tech-saturated economy. Business analysts already project marketing services will be greatly affected by advancements in artificial intelligence.

Now, agencies are converging PR and marketing services to compete and to rise above the digital clutter.

This makes sense, given PR and marketing are connected at their cores. Offering digital marketing and PR services in tandem only strengthens the deliverables and elevates the brand. This isn’t a new idea; it’s just being reinvented on a digital platform.

SparkPR, who won the Bronze Stevie® for Public Relations Agency of the Year in the 2018 American Business Awards, has 20 years of experience in digital marketing. Specializing in helping innovation-minded companies transform their brands with powerful storytelling programs, SparkPR uses the latest digital analytics to amplify PR programs. Services include content and social development, programmatic distribution, paid media, and data-driven insights to inform strategic planning and to measure go-to-market plans.

This strategy has proved successful. Some of the world’s most innovative startups and industry leaders, including eBay, Electronic Arts, Flickr, Mozilla.org, Nokia, NVIDIA, Skype, the Economist, Trulia, Verizon, Visa, Yahoo!, and Walmart Labs, have partnered with SparkPR and reaped the ROI.

The methods SparkPR uses are adaptable to quickly growing tech and investment programs, too. For example, SparkPR provided comprehensive strategic communications and marketing services for blockchain and cryptocurrency leaders through what they call “Sparkchain.” This guides successful token sales to growing companies post-ICO, and Spark has emerged globally as the preferred partner for these highly specialized services.

The company’s ability to deliver has strengthened startup opportunities. A startup that might normally prepare for months to secure venture funding is able to create a business, launch it, and raise tens of millions of dollars in less than three months.

“Funding was secured for concepts, not betas, and money was often from wealthy individual investors, not VCs,” says Spark's co-founder Donna Burke.

Zucker develops strategies for written and creative content for their clients. She notes that many of the company’s startup clients successfully exit through acquisitions or go public through IPO, thus demonstrating how a successful partnership with SparkPR delivers ROI.

SparkPR aims to constantly stay updated with developments in cutting-edge technology, as well as to maintain the ability to translate those changes into a wider landscape.

“Collaborating with like-minded innovators is always ideal—especially those who are creating the next era of the Internet,” says CEO, Alan Soucy. “It’s truly an era of transparency, efficiency, and trust.”

SparkPR is one example of a company that has sought to raise the global tide and is fighting to stay ahead of the rapid changes. They also seek to be adaptable by offering various mobilized marketing and PR services, which have traditionally been separated—at least by department in the business world.

True to their storytelling mind-set, SparkPR believes their client successes and awards, such as the recent Stevie Award, will elevate their brand as well as their story, as the world enters a new digital age of marketing and the Internet. And, as Branson aptly stated, that story will do far more for them than any front-page ad.

Tags: best pr agency, PR awards, public relations awards

Who's Coming to The International Business Awards® on Saturday?

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 @ 04:40 PM

For the first time in their 15 year history, The International Business Awards®, the world's premier business awards program, will visit London, England this coming Saturday, October 20 for the sold-out presentations of the 2018 Stevie® Awards.  The InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel will be the setting for the event, with more than 400 executives from over 30 nations expected to attend.

More than 3,900 nominations from a record 74 nations were submitted to the IBAs this year.  More than 270 professionals worldwide, working on 12 juries, determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners, who were announced in August.  That announcement was closely followed by the announcements of best-in-show Grand Stevie Award winners, and the winners of People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Companies, a worldwide public vote.

Saturday's presentations will be broadcast from the IBA website, from 7:00 pm local time (2:00 pm EST).

brettmacfarlaneSaturday's presentations will be followed on Sunday morning by several social events for IBA delegates.  At 8:30 am, Brett MacFarlane, Client Services Director with EVRY Strategic Design Lab at Method in London, will speak during a session called Breakfast with Branding, sponsored by Stevie Awards partner AD STARS.

The presentation will be followed by delegates' choice of two whirlwind tours of London.

Here's the list of organizations that will be represented at Saturday's event.

7 Stage Advisors
Accedia JSC
Ahjo Communications
AICPA
Airport Railroad
Al Jazeera Media Network
Amorette Ltd
AmRest sp. z o.o.
APAX Recreation
Arçelik
ASDA'A BCW
ATREVIA
Biggin & Scott Knox
Binary Digital Advertising Inc.
BoardPAC
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Canadian Tire Corporation
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Directorate of Public Work of Sharjah
DRF Deutschland Fernsehen Produktions GmbH & Co. KG
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Edelman Intelligence
Eff Creative Group
Egypt Express
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endorfina events sp. z o.o.
Enerjisa Enerji A.S.
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Federal Demographic Council
Federal Electricity & Water Authority
First Advantage
FIS
Flamingo Group
Garden of Words
GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc
General Sport Authority
Gilan Holding /Publicity Genie
GRAFFITI
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GTT Communications, Inc.
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Hanaroadcom
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Herbalife Nutrition
HeyMoments® The Experience Design Company
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HUYA Bioscience International
I Am Enough
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ING Bank Turkey
IPRA
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KEPCO Nuclear Fuel Company
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SCHUFA Holding AG - Project SPIRIT
Seocho Gu
Seoul Metropolitian Government
Shade Tree Auto
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Super Life Saver Board Game
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Tezgahçilar
TH Food Chain Join Stock Company
Thai Life Insurance Plc.
The Female Social Network
The Saem International Co.,Ltd.
The Surgery
ThermoBrush
Thomson Reuters
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Ulled Asociados C.R.P. S.A.
University of Greenwich
Velocity Global
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Wayfair
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Westminster Abbey
Wharf China Estates Limited
Whirlpool Corporation
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Turning Frowns Upside Down in the Dental Industry

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Oct 05, 2018 @ 10:56 AM

Dental health is extremely important to growth, as well as overall health. The proper development of jawbones and muscles affects speech patterns, as well as supporting an attractive appearance, and these are just some of the many benefits of having access to a proper dental plan.

Staying on top of your dental health by informing your doctor about noticeable issues is, unfortunately, easier said than done. For a third of Americans, having access to the most basic dental care is hugely problematic, and it largely boils down to cost.

Steven C. Bilt, CEO of Smile Brands Inc., bit into this problem and cofounded Smile Brands in 1998 and OneSmile in 2015. He eventually combined the two businesses and now oversees 5,500 employees and affiliated providers at approximately 400 U.S. locations. Bilt is also a founding member and former president of the Association of Dental Support Organizations.

Smile brands“Our CEO, Steve Bilt, is a master at creating an effective corporate culture,” says the company’s chief marketing officer, Jody Martin. “He believes that, to be successful, the mission has to be motivating, both personally and financially to employees; inclusive to all employees, not just a few; and continually reinforced in a variety of ways.”

Incorporating recognition and a mindset of giving is also integral to the Smile Brands culture.

“At Smile Brands, every employee wears a blue ‘Smiles for Everyone’ wristband, and we continually celebrate everyday miracles. This includes calling out employees who do amazing things,” says Martin. “We also have the Smiles for Everyone Foundation, which provides donated dentistry to people in need here and abroad.”

Bracing Themselves

The cofounders of Smile Brands reacquired the company in August 2016 after prior ownership drove the business to the brink of bankruptcy. Despite this rocky start, Smile Brands won Stevie Awards in The American Business Awards® and the Stevie Awards for Great Employers.

“The team worked tirelessly on a highly successful turnaround,” says Martin. “Winning the Stevie Awards helps to validate all that hard work and the fact that Smile Brands stands apart in terms of financial strength and company culture.”

Bilt also reached a 97 percent approval rating, based on the past year’s Glassdoor reviews from Smile Brands employees and affiliated dental providers. Those numbers are sure to keep Smile Brands grinning from ear to ear!

A Simple Concept

As Smile Brands Inc. grows in to one of the largest providers of support services to dental groups in the United States, dentists can spend more time caring for their patients and less time on the administrative, marketing, and financial aspects of operating a dental practice.

This is an important step in the dental industry because new research continues to show links between chronic oral infections and heart and lung diseases, stroke, low birth weight, and premature births. Smile Brands aims to further build and to bundle comprehensive general dentistry with specialty care and to streamline experiences for both dental care practitioners and patients.

Even with all these moving parts, everything still comes back to one foundational and simple concept: smiles for everyone.

Tags: company of the year

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