The Stevie Awards Blog

Stevie-Winner Offers a Place of Hope and Healing for Trafficking Victims

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 @ 02:53 PM

 By all outward appearances, Jeanne Allert had everything going for her in the mid-2000s: a successful career as an internet consultant, an elegant home, and a sizable income. Inside, however, she remembers feeling an emptiness.

“I reached a point in my life where I said, ‘Is this all there is?’” Allert recalls in an online video.

Little did the American businesswomen know her life would forever change when she met a group of volunteers who were performing outreach to women caught up in prostitution. It was there, on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, United States, that Allert saw the magnitude of the sexual exploitation crisis—and the power of a helping hand.

samaratinOne particular victim moved Allert so deeply that, in 2007, Allert decided to launch the Samaritan Women, the mid-Atlantic region’s first residential care program for females ensnared in the domestic sex trafficking industry. It meant selling her lucrative business, putting her home on the market, and dipping into her savings to buy an abandoned 23-acre estate in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

The organization started providing around-the-clock shelter, counseling, and medical care to women and girls who had been coerced into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. As a Christian-based entity, it also began fostering spiritual healing in its residents, many of whom were suffering emotional trauma as a result of their experiences on the street.

Allert says the people who work at the homes often serve as the positive role models who have been lacking in the residents’ lives.

“When we show forgiveness, grace, and compassion, the women are observing our behavior,” says Allert.

According to Shared Hope International, girls as young as 14 to 16 are among the most commonly exploited. Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable, including those who have suffered child abuse or grew up in broken homes. They often find their victims through social media platforms and internet sites, as well as at schools and local hangouts.

Traffickers then offer the girls false promises of shelter and protection; instead, these girls face a cycle of physical and emotional abuse. By one estimate, roughly 100,000 American children are exploited in this manner every year. While getting accurate data is always difficult, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime makes it clear that sex trafficking is very much a global problem.

People in all walks of life know that freedom is a basic human right, and human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” says Linda Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Samaritan Women.

Addressing a Shortage in Care

Despite the enormity of the problem in the United States, Thomas says 17 states don’t have a single shelter program to serve this population. Another 11 states have only one residence. Allert, who earned the 2018 Silver Stevie® Award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, is trying to fill that vacuum.

She and her team opened up two more homes for trafficking victims, enabling the group to create a full continuum of care for young women. Though limits exist to how many people the organization can impact directly, it’s trying to help other nonprofits meet this need across the country.

Toward that end, the group created the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance, which serves as a trade association for shelter programs across the country. Its goal is to improve the effectiveness of shelter care nationally through advocacy, networking, agency accreditation, and an annual conference.

Another new initiative, the Institute for Shelter Care, serves as a research, training, and equipping entity to help establish new shelter programs, to stabilize and to improve current programs, and to facilitate qualified research in order to advance national standards of care and best practices.

“Human trafficking is a problem both internationally and domestically,” says Thomas. “We have only scratched the surface of providing care and healing for victims across the world.”

Tags: women awards

40 Million Reasons to Keep Going

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 06, 2019 @ 05:31 PM

After raising more than $40 million in January during a series D funding round led by Al Fahim Group, a Berlin, Germany-based, automotive and travel conglomerate, 2018 was going to be a make-or-break year for Blacklane GmbH as it continued its expansion.

Jens Wohltorf, CEO and co-founder of Blacklane, highlighted the high-end chauffeur service’s vision and ambitions, declaring that “this investment accelerates Blacklane’s ability to bring end-to-end peace of mind onto the road and into airports around the world.”

Blacklane GmbH is taking an alternative approach to capital-intensive transportation start-ups, such as Uber and Didi. While those companies target growth and demonstrate scant regard for losses, Blacklane aims to create a highly efficient back-end system for managing rides and customer care. The system is a proven success, winning a 2018 Gold Stevie® Award for Technology of the Year. The system will ultimately allow Blacklane to beat its competitors on utilization rates and, therefore, prices.

blacklane

While its funding levels and recorded losses pale in comparison to larger rivals, frugality and efficiency are of great importance in its domestic German market. By emphasizing these characteristics, Blacklane offers an attractive alternative to investors who are eager to give money in the transport innovation sector but are wary of the all-or-nothing strategies of other start-ups.

With its emphasis on ensuring sustainable growth, investors expected tangible deals and value-adding investments from Blacklane. The company delivered on this while demonstrating its potential. It earned the aforementioned Gold Stevie Award for its back-end technology, as well as a Gold Stevie Award for Transportation Company of the Year and a Bronze Stevie Award for its carbon-offset program in the Corporate Social Responsibility category in April. The company, however, did not simply rest on its laurels. In May, Blacklane announced its integration with the SummitLink booking tool provided by SummitQwest. This put Blacklane at the disposal of the platform’s corporate clients, who even have the option to choose it as a preferred service provider.

The company’s official goal for 2018 was to expand its services to 300 cities worldwide. It achieved this in early September when 32 more cities were added to its roster. According to Blacklane representatives, Limerick, Ireland, became the 300th city the company served. The remaining 31 cities were located in countries all over the globe, including France, Germany, Switzerland, India, Japan, and Malaysia. The careful selection of targeted regions again speaks to the company’s discerning approach, underscoring that Blacklane enters markets suited to its service rather than entering them simply to boost growth rates.

An August announcement swiftly followed wherein Blacklane introduced a “Green Class” to its services. Tesla BEVs became available for booking in 20 cities the company covers, including locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

“We welcome battery-electric, chauffeur-quality vehicles from all premium automakers to our fleet,” Wohltorf says. “Supporting business and leisure travelers with green travel options is essential to a healthy planet.”

While unlikely to generate significant extra revenue alone, the availability of a green option is of great importance to the company’s reputation in its domestic market, as well as any other markets that value environmental sustainability. As more people and countries grow concerned about the impact of climate change, a green transition is inevitable. By considering environmental concerns early on, Blacklane puts itself in a prime position to take advantage once that tipping point is reached in any given market.

In November, Blacklane then reached an agreement with the Shangri-La, an Asian luxury hotel chain. The agreement stipulated that members of the hotel chain’s Golden Circle loyalty program would receive incentives, including fare discounts and extra loyalty points for using Blacklane. This news coincided with the announcement that Blacklane opened an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Following the significant investment made by the Al Fahim Group in January, Blacklane then announced Emirates Airlines had selected Blacklane to provide its complimentary chauffeur service to first-class and business-class passengers in Bangalore, India; Bologna, Italy; Chennai, India; Delhi, India; Hyderabad, India; Milan, Italy; Mumbai, India; Rome, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; and Venice, Italy. Both deals seem likely to give a significant boost to the company’s revenue.

In reflection, 2018 was a very successful year for the multiple-Stevie-Award-winning company. The funds raised at the beginning of the year were deployed gradually and strategically, and the company rigorously followed its strategy of sustainable growth. Investors are happy to see the funds allocated to Blacklane are being used to grow revenue and market presence, as well as to bolster the company’s green credentials. It remains to be seen whether Blacklane can manage to reduce its losses—or even to turn a profit—in 2018, let alone gain the upper hand over its larger competitors.

However, by seeking to differentiate itself from and to improve upon their rivals’ business models and by consistently pursuing its strategy of sustainable growth, day-one efficiency, and strategic partnerships, Blacklane certainly created an impressive foundation upon which it can build.

Tags: technology awards

How Italy is Transforming the Auto Industry

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 30, 2019 @ 03:14 PM

With the influx of electric car companies, automobile functionality and design are finally becoming smarter, but are car-related rules and regulations keeping up? Artificial intelligence capabilities are migrating from our phones and finding new ways to be helpful behind the steering wheel, but these advances in computers, sensors, and software mean legislation needs to address new problems and situations. Simply put, these laws must provide a more nuanced and modern take on what today’s drivers need.

Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) is a public institution dedicated to promoting and safeguarding the interests of Italian motorists. They carry out their mission to promote road safety, to act for a sustainable mobility, and to support and to develop motorsports by enhancing their positive attributes. The company also aims for all Italian citizens to have equal access to mobility-related services. To that end, they provide the necessary support to ensure social programs are never negatively affected by any kind of private profit.

aci automobile

Over 100 Years of Service

ACI and motorists want new measures aimed primarily at eliminating older and obsolete vehicles. This will contribute to decreased pollution, as well as less vehicular accidents (in number and severity).

Luckily, ACI is a governmental institution. Ludovico Fois, the external relations and institutional affairs advisor at ACI, speaks to that.

“It’s our duty to provide all citizens with proper, correct information and assistance concerning all mobility-related matters, regardless of the interests from various business players.”

ACI has been working for mobile Italian citizens for over 100 years, guiding and assisting Italian motorists, as well as supporting the development of a new mobility culture. As a result, Italian road users recognize ACI as their reference point for many mobility-connected matters.

“Public policy considerations clearly guide all our activities, and we commit ourselves to establishing a concept of mobility that’s smart, sustainable, accessible, and inclusive.”

Electric Challenges

Intelligent transport systems and services, digital applications, electric-powered engines, and a litany of unforeseen changes all look to contribute to future mobility challenges. Deep technological changes in the automotive sector will require more dynamic, rational, flexible, and environmentally friendly responses to sustain this new mobility culture.

ACI spent years creating a wide network of field offices, acting as a model for other companies looking to create concrete change through legislative bodies. They eventually covered the entire national territory and had a main office based in Rome, Italy. This led to widespread cooperation with governmental Italian institutions, trade associations, and European organizations, a critical synergy for progress.

ACI also organizes a wide range of activities, including road safety and driver education classes, roadside assistance, vehicle paperwork, traffic information services, and motorsport events. The breadth of offerings is indicative of the complex needs of the industry which will have to be monitored as the technologies evolve.

Just like ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, and countless tech firms trying to eliminate or to mitigate driving-related annoyances with new technological advances, ACI is traversing this wild west of mobility. For their campaign to promote a new mobility culture, ACI won a Bronze Stevie for Communications or PR Campaign of the Year in The International Business Awards®.

“We’ve worked very hard to achieve a deep culture shift, and we’ve definitely learned it needs the generalized involvement of decision makers, designers, and technicians, as well as road users.”

Tags: PR awards, marketing awards

Six Predictors of Success for Teams

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 @ 10:34 PM

For older businesses that began in the pre-digital era, there’s a race to get up to speed technologically to meet new security and regulatory standards in a data-driven world. Regardless of the service offering, a company needs to design and implement innovation that helps that organization reach its full potential and profits.  

Accedia is a professional IT services company that specializes in technology consulting, software development outsourcing, and development of end-to-end IT solutions for businesses across the globe.   The company’s aspiration is to be a leading IT solutions company where technology experts are inspired to create.

accedia

Yana Doshkova, the marketing manager for Accedia, details how much growth the Bulgaria-based firm has seen since they started in 2015.   “Since its establishment, the company has grown to a team of more than 150 people, and it has achieved 388% revenue growth from 2015 to 2017. In August 2018, Accedia also moved into a new office, which has opened so many doors for us.

We’ve doubled the team’s size and implemented a number of new initiatives. The company’s vision for the future is to keep up the fast-paced development, expand in to new locations, and launch its own software solution to help businesses excel in the technology ecosystem.”   They also take part in interactive nature groups, which inspire various kinds of team growth, including developing advanced technology expertise, cultivating product-to-market knowledge, and unleashing analytical and leadership potential.  

What Does It Take?  

Regardless of the company, sector, or industry, maintaining a business focus that supports the organization's values can drive progress. Although Accedia is a relatively young company, its success speaks volumes about how professionally mature it is. Accedia shared six characteristics that they believe are the best predictors of how successful teams or individuals will be:  

1. Reaches for the stars. Strives for continuous personal and professional improvement.

2. Enjoys variety at work. Involves oneself in a sea of different tasks and      responsibilities.

3. Takes initiative. Brings game-changing ideas to the table.

4. Adapts quickly. Jumps headfirst into the unfamiliar without hesitation or fear.

5. Shares know-how willingly. Eagerly shares the exciting things learned.

6. Is always up for a beer. Prizes being friendly and making social connections, whatever the circumstance. Whichever sector you work in, building your career on these tenets will provide you with a solid foundation.

Striving for continuous personal and professional improvement, for example, can help employers notice you, as well as inspire fellow employees to work harder.   Driven by these ideals, Accedia won the Silver Stevie® Award for Company of the Year in Computer Software in The International Business Awards.

Tags: business awards, International business awards

The Glue for Popular Consumer Products is the Users

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 @ 04:04 PM

Even early in the development process, Irish inventor Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh believed she was onto something special: a moldable glue that sticks to virtually any surface and forms a strong, rubber-like material overnight.

With the help of entrepreneur Roger Ashby, she launched FormFormForm Ltd. (based in London, England) and started marketing her flexible new product, dubbed “Sugru,” to retailers in 2009. The challenge was convincing big-box stores they needed yet another glue product on their crowded shelves.

Ni Dhulchaointigh, though, had a compelling way to show just how versatile her product was: thousands of user-generated YouTube videos and pictures on the company’s website. The company even devised a Twitter hashtag (#MySugruFix) for customers to share their creative solutions.

sugru

There’s the homeowner who resealed his torn swimming pool liner, the guy who fixed his tattered laptop charger, and even an adventurer who used the silicone-based glue on his ski poles during a trek in the Arctic Circle. In one case, a motorcycle enthusiast used Sugru to stick a camera on his helmet, which he used to film his journey on the open road. To stimulate participation, the company provides discounts to the most impressive social media submissions.

The uniqueness of the product—a pliable glue that can withstand moisture and extreme temperatures and cling to any number of surfaces—was a powerful selling point, but the social media strategy helped showcase Sugru’s usefulness in tackling a broad range of everyday projects. What’s more, it created much-needed buzz around the adhesive during its start-up phase.

Over the past few years, the company’s customer base has swelled. To date, the company has sold more than 14 million single-use packs of Sugru to people in over 175 countries and territories worldwide. Time magazine went so far as to include it on their “50 Best Inventions of 2010” list (12 spots ahead of the iPad.)

“Start Small, and Make It Good”

The idea for Sugru dates back to 2003, when Ni Dhulchaointigh was working toward a master’s degree in product design at the Royal College of Art in London, England. Rather than attempting to develop a whole new product, she decided to work on something that could extend the lives of things people already owned.

Her first prototype for a moldable glue—a substance she describes as foul smelling and slimy—was well short of the mark. She was convinced, however, the idea itself was valuable.

“I knew that by tapping into people’s innate creativity, all kinds of products could be fixed and reimagined,” she writes.

In addition to hiring Ashby, she enlisted two former Dow Corning scientists who served as consultants on her project. Ni Dhulchaointigh set up a small lab to help refine the formula, and she relied on family and friends to provide real-world feedback.

“The company motto has always been to start small and to make it good,” she says.

In 2009, she offered samples to several journalists. When one of them gave the product a glowing review on a popular U.K. news site, it turned the company’s fortunes around immediately. The first product run sold out in a mere six hours. More importantly, she and her business partner, Ashby, started to gain interest from investors who could help them ramp up the operation.

Eventually, the company won over product buyers from national chains, such as Target and the Container Store, moving the entrepreneur closer to her lofty goal of getting Sugru into every kitchen drawer.

The company’s tinkering didn’t stop with its original product, though. FormFormForm Ltd., which now employs a team of 70 people, later introduced a family-safe formula that’s gentle enough for even younger users to try. This latest iteration also proved a winner, earning the 2018 Bronze Stevie® Award for New Consumer Product.

Ni Dhulchaointigh hopes the ability to get kids involved will lead to even more creative ideas for users to share on platforms like YouTube and Twitter.

“Repair inspires creativity," she says. "People are more creative than they think, especially when it comes to saving things they love—and potentially some money at the same time.”

Tags: new products, company awards

Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality Apps Are Changing the Fashion World

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Jan 04, 2019 @ 05:07 PM

There is a tech side to just about every industry, including fashion. It goes beyond purchasing a new favorite sweater on Amazon. Today, you can scroll through Instagram, click on a photo, zoom in to see a product, and buy it with one click.

AI technology is even finding its way into traditional store shopping. You can go to a store and take a picture of a shirt, pants, or a jacket—and using one of several apps, such as Kim Kardashian’s Screenshop app, you can upload the picture and find similar styles and products all over the world. There are even avatar-based apps, such as Dressing Room, that allow individuals to try on clothing virtually. When ready, you can pay for the item with Apple Pay, which is located in your smartphone’s digital wallet.

joorLike any industry, the bottom line drives fashion-related businesses, and technological advances are constantly challenging that bottom line. However, the data points collected from searches and purchases are narrowing the gap between product supply and demand, meaning product numbers are more accurate, and fewer materials are wasted. Data are also helping companies predict trends and provide products their customers actually like and want.

As with most business verticals, the fashion industry maintains wholesale production intermediaries. JOOR is one of those companies leading the digital wholesale charge, using analytics within the fashion vertical. Their digital platform connects buyers and sellers online, helping buyers save time and cut costs and leading sellers to better analyze the performance of their inventory.

The company’s model embraces the global shift to mobile-first access and capitalizes on the ease and convenience of streaming handheld devices. Digitizing streamlines the fashion buyer’s process, and as is typically the case when digital technology is implemented, this reduces errors and saves time. The success of JOOR was recognized with a Stevie® Award in Best New Software Product or Service Category.

JOOR was founded in 2010 and is based in New York City, New York, United States. CEO Kristin Savilia is at the helm. She came on board in March 2017 and brought with her 18 years of retail experience and over five years in e-commerce with XO Group (the parent company of popular websites The Bump, The Nest, and The Knot). Even in the hustle and bustle of a technology-driven fashion industry, Savilia—a proactive mother of four—strives for a positive work-life balance.

While she helped lead JOOR to the head of the fashion AI and VR app curve, more technological changes are on the horizon. NextWeb reports the world is ready for the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Apparel items will have digital capabilities that open communication between retailer and customer, such as NADI X, yoga pants with built-in sensors that guide users into alignment by vibrating as they move through the various yoga poses. This example and other IoT apparel items interact with the user to collect data that help retailers understand the needs and concerns of buyers, and then companies can implement solutions to create a more personalized experience.”

In this landscape, individuals will be able to interact with businesses through their yoga pants, informing the companies that made them what they liked best and least. This will allow the companies to make more of those kinds of pants or to offer improved versions, depending on feedback.

That is technology and fashion coming full circle. Try clothes on a virtual reality avatar, search AI apps for any and all styles you like, and then communicate with the product and company directly using the IoT. Companies analyze the data, and the technological personalization and product customization cycle evolves.

In the long run, this seems cost effective and efficient while reducing waste—but it remains to be seen if consumers want to wear yoga pants and other products with AI sensors. Many consumers, however, already talk to Siri (Apple) and Alexa (Amazon), so it might not be too long before this is the product norm.

Tags: female entrepreneurs, company awards

Despite Long Odds, Young Entrepreneur Makes Allergy-Friendly Food a Winner

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jan 03, 2019 @ 11:07 AM

As recently as 2014, just about everyone (other than Julianne Ponan) doubted her fledgling health food brand would survive—let alone find widespread distribution throughout Europe.

As the owner of Creative Nature, a UK-based company specializing in allergy-friendly vegan snacks and baking mixes, Ponan staked her fortunes on a crowdsourcing effort aimed at raising £150,000 of capital. However, the attempt to capture investors fell well short of the mark.

The failed fundraising campaign was the latest in a series of setbacks for the company, which was losing money at a fast clip. Three years earlier, a 22-year-old Ponan, then working as a financial analyst, was brought in to diagnose why Creative Nature was operating in the red.

creative natureAt the time, the company marketed a wide range of products, from home goods to natural food products. The latter gave Ponan hope. After all, she knew firsthand the importance of a carefully selected diet. The entrepreneur suffers from multiple food allergies to this day and survived two acute cases of pancreatitis as a young girl.

Ponan says doctors gave her four hours to live after diagnosing the first case of pancreatitis when she was nine. She lived, but it resurfaced at 17, when physicians gave her just a few short years to live.

“After beating it a second time, it still wasn’t smooth sailing,” she recalls. “I contracted pneumonia in my first year at Creative Nature.”

She ended up executing a management buyout of the London, England–area business in 2012, with the goal of growing the superfood segment. It wasn’t just her personal experience she banked on, though. She also saw the continent’s rising obesity levels and the increased prevalence of food allergies as proof this niche market was poised for growth.

The number of Europeans who suffer from chronic allergies tops 150 million, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The group estimates half of the entire EU populace will be impacted by 2025.

“I took over Creative Nature to cater to people like me—people who want healthier snacks without the nasty additives,” she says.

Company Gets Its Big Break

With her business partner, Matthew Ford, the company started focusing on snack bars and baking mixes that were free from 14 of the most common food allergens.

“Most ‘healthy’ snack companies insist on filling their products with tree nuts, peanuts, and seeds, which completely ignores a whole consumer base of allergy sufferers,” Ponan says.

When the crowdsourcing plan turned south and it looked as if the whole enterprise might be a flop, the breakthrough finally came. Creative Nature captured the interest of a buyer at Tesco, a major UK supermarket chain. Virtually overnight, it seemed as if the company’s fortunes were turning around. Still, one major hurdle remained.

“Tesco wanted all our new packaging for launch in just four weeks. This normally would have taken eight weeks to produce,” she says. “Instead of telling them we couldn't launch, we bought self-adhesive labels and spent three weeks hand-labeling around 10,000 tubs—all while continuing to run the rest of the business.”

As it turned out, the two-person team made the launch and used the deal as a platform to propel themselves into more supermarkets. Today, the company, which now has six full-time employees, is stocked in more than 15 countries, including Switzerland and Denmark.

Because of the organization’s compelling turnaround, Ponan earned the Silver Stevie® Award for Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

“I’ve known about these awards since starting the business, always dreaming one day I would be able to win one,” she says. “I managed to walk away with a Silver Stevie, so I’m incredibly proud.”

Tags: womens awards, female entrepreneurs

Using Creative Talent to Battle Cancer

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 @ 10:55 AM

Oncology is the study and treatment of tumors. Although three major fields exist within oncology -- medicine, surgery, and radiation, it’s generally understood as a branch of medicine that treats cancer. What do creativity, brands, design, and advertising have to do with any of that? A lot, as it turns out.

Navicor is an integrated marketing communications agency with oncology at their core. In an effort to make a difference in the world, employees use their creative talents to make compelling brand stories that are inspired by real patients. The Navicor team is comprised of oncology experts, clinicians, and award-winning creative professionals dedicated to launching successful platforms that support life-saving therapies.

Inavicor for blogt’s the perfect example of a meaningful marriage between the arts and health care.

“We expertly use the data to tell the most compelling brand story, but we also see the people behind the data points on that K-M (Kaplan-Meier) curve,” says Marvin Bowe, managing director at Navicor. “Each one of us is inspired by the patients whose lives we help touch. They’re the reason we get up for work in the morning. Or stay up late at night.”

Bowe profoundly believes in using personal talents to make a difference in the world, which the general public doesn’t regularly connect with creativity and marketing to patients with serious ailments.

Universal Truths

Oncology is the most progressive therapeutic area at the moment. With hundreds of new treatments in development, this field is seeing some of its biggest breakthroughs to date.

Bowe lists his organization’s core values. Although oncology demands specific attention—both surgical and managerial—the list contains items any organization can identify with. To that end, Navicor operates on the following principles:

1. We can do well by doing good.
2. Everyone is an idea person.
3. Good work is the enemy of great work.
4. Feedback is essential in business.
5. Befriending our clients leads to long-term business relationships.
6. Optimism is a force multiplier.
7. We should operate with integrity.
8. Working hard requires playing hard with your colleagues

Most of these tenets are tailored to ensure staff members are getting the support they need. The company also clearly understands the value of having fun while at work.

“Happy employees truly do produce the most creative ideas,” says Bowe.

The company’s history proves that having fun at work can yield huge gains. They participate in walks and 5K runs as a team to help raise awareness and money for cancer advocacy groups. Last year, Navicor raised over $20,000, ranked as the eighth-largest corporate supporter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Philadelphia, and received an award for the most creative idea to raise money.

Doing Great Work

Most people can relate to that feeling of not doing enough for those in need. Cultivating a genuine concern for the lives of strangers and putting that concern into action is an amazing feat.

Garnett Dezember, the CEO and founder of Navicor, expresses the foundation on which he built the organization.

"Cancer is our cause. Cancer has affected each of us, and we use that experience to motivate us daily."

Empathy and the will to use one's talents to help others resulted in Navicor winning the Silver Stevie Awards for Employer of the Year in the 2018 Stevie® Award for Great Employers.

“While oncology is highly scientific, that doesn’t mean your brand communications should be clinical white papers,” says Dezember. “We use some of the best creative strategies to ensure your brand’s message is received, and our industry recognizes our efforts by honoring us with trophies from some of the most prestigious award shows.”

It’s easy to measure success by prescription data and usage trends, but Navicor exemplifies what can happen when you add award-winning creatives to your team, help clients achieve their goals, and capture the attention of a global audience.

Tags: Marketing, public relations awards, company awards

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 President & CEO, Philip A. Nardone Jr.. “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 Nardone. “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

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