The Stevie Awards Blog

A PR Firm Unafraid of Controversy

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 12:23 PM

A meat lovers pizza with absolutely no calories? If it sounds just a little too good to be true, it is.

But that’s how the Stevie-winning nationwide chain Villa Restaurant Group playfully marketed its new product topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon, labeling it the “#AlternateFacts” pizza.

The name, of course, is a direct reference to the phrase famously dropped by Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. At the time, Conway was defending suggestions about the size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd.

Villa.jpgVilla’s humorous take on the episode became a runaway success, garnering 85 news stories and raking in more than 230 million media impressions.

Offbeat Ideas that Work

Behind the restaurant’s cheeky campaign was BML Public Relations, a young New Jersey firm known for pulling out-of-the-box ideas to garner attention for clients.

It’s a company that once concocted the “The World’s Largest Mug of Hot Chocolate” in New York to draw awareness for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council.

And when a competing fast food chain grabbed headlines by telling social media that a “hamburglar” was on the loose, it helped Wayback Burgers steal headlines by offering the villain a reward for giving himself up.

What made the #AlternateFacts campaign particularly novel was the client’s willingness to plug into one of the most highly-charged political climates in decades. That’s something a lot of companies have been hesitant to do, fearing blowback from their ideologically-diverse customers.

There are exceptions, but they’re relatively few and far between. For example, when ice cream maker Dippin’ Dots drew a number of slights from Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s on Twitter, the company offered to host an ice cream social at the White House.

BML’s CEO, Brian Lowe, believes the current environment provides a great publicity opportunity for corporate America, as long as they take a thoughtful approach.

“I think it is important for brands to be involved in conversations related to social and political issues, even if they are not taking a hard stance,” Lowe told NJBIZ, a New Jersey business publication. “There are a lot of eyeballs on the issues and, as marketers, our job is to put the brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible while being as careful as possible not to polarize our customer base.”

The marketing effort resulted in BML earning a Silver Stevie® Award for Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Social Media Focused, which they received at the June 20 American Business Awards ceremony in New York City.

Plugging Into the Headlines

It’s no accident that one of the company’s most successful ideas came from the world of politics. Each day, Lowe and his mostly female team meet to talk about the stories that are grabbing headlines locally and around the country.

Then, they brainstorm how their clients can leverage those stories to grab some of the media spotlight for themselves. The firm tries to generate input from as many staffers as possible until they land on the most promising concept.

“The idea must be able to go around the room without making anyone feel like they are not on the same page,” Lowe told NJBIZ. “Then, when we have an idea that is strong, that we know will generate brand awareness and help our client develop core connections with its consumer, sometimes we have to go in and fight for the idea.”

The strategy is one that worked especially well for Villa Restaurant Group, which was able to ride a tidal wave of publicity because of its tongue-in-cheek product offering.

It was just as big a win for BML, which got plenty of attention of its own out of the campaign, not to mention the Stevie Award, its first major accolade as a company.

The 2018 American Business Awards will open for entries in October. Request the entry kit now and it will be emailed to you when it's availble. 

Tags: PR awards, company awards, communication awards, public relations awards

The Success Story of a Leading Costume Design House

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 10:33 AM

Bon Choix Couture is one of the leading costume shops in the United States, and increasingly, the world. So impressive is its roster of clients that many who see the list online stop short: Michael Jackson (including the iconic sequined military-style jacket and white glove); Tom Cruise; Rod Stewart; Kenny Rogers; Prince; Robert Downey, Jr.; Sheena Easton; Siegfried and Roy. Their client list is a who’s who of music, film, TV and show business in general.

In the 2017 awards year for which the Los Angeles-based company won The Gold Stevie Award for Company of the Year – Apparel, Beauty & Fashion (small) in The American Business Awards and The International Business Awards, along came Disney Theme Parks with an invitation to become the official licensed costume house for Walt Disney World Wide. Dubai World Parks followed— then the cruise industry: Norwegian Cruise Lines, Holland America Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Lines.

But here’s where the real story begins: You’d never know from the superstar clients and fancy Bon Choix dressing rooms that until CEO and Creative Director Tagui Veronica Manoyan took over in the year 2000, the company was about to go under. 

Bon Choix.jpgControlled at the time by Manoyan’s mother-in-law and husband, Bon Choix was stuck in the wrong field at the wrong time: producing fancy clothing when the world was moving to blue jeans and sweats. Manoyan, then a stay-at-home mom, took instant and full control of the company. “What else was I supposed to do?” she asks matter-of-factly.

Call it “being hungry,” but within 24 hours, Manoyan was training under her mother-in-law and was quickly labeled a “natural.” Manoyan excelled at deadlines (all are a.s.a.p. in performing); at overseeing details (“I saw the costumes in my sleep”); at budgeting and finance (notably choosing to cut back and bank cash to reinvest); at technology (Manoyan was considered brilliant at mathematics and cybernetics); at managing others; hiring; and at doing what many consider the key to employee loyalty—doing anything that needs to be done, including driving the trucks each time the company moved locations— numerous times in a decade.

And it was Manoyan who chose to shift from fancy clothing to costumes and who manned the phones contacting representatives for the nation’s superstars. One by one, these artists sampled the costumes; and one by one they signed on and one by one they returned. The client return rate at Bon Choix was and is now 100%.   

As Manoyan also explains matter-of-factly, doing the best work is the best business ingredient. She opted to always create costumes that are unique (a must); comfortable (“they must behave”); and that “meet every challenge.” Take, for instance, the costumes that light up for Disney’s blockbuster 2016 "Paint The Night Parade" or its 2016 large-scale musical of the animated film “Frozen.”

Or Rod Stewart’s request, as Manoyan described it, for “a traditional-looking jacket that also works when he moves around and sweats a lot.” Or a similar request from rapper Chris Brown who “does cartwheels and crazy moves!” As always, Manoyan broke industry norms by removing all construction; by using multiple fabrics; by traveling the world to find the finest high-tech fabrics that mimic traditional ones; and by printing patterns on the jackets so that they look like the real thing while operating like the best of dancewear.  

Manoyan made another crucial business decision that runs counter to the industry: Do all work in-house. That meant purchasing the best technology (equipment and software) for embroidery, patterns and cutting in addition to offering hand-beading, custom stoning and hands-on 3D construction. The company is famous for its ability to reproduce costumes directly from original sketches. It is the only one in the business that, as of 2017, makes its own shoes in-house.

In 2016, Manoyan doubled the company staff and moved into a spectacular new 10,000-square-foot workspace in order to give her celebrity following what they craved: separate fitting rooms in addition to separate rooms for embroidery, fabric, sequinning and stitching.

Ask Manoyan the key to success and you’ll hear this: “I learn quickly!”

Indeed, not a day goes by even today when this powerhouse of a CEO isn’t learning something new; isn’t working past midnight to perfect it; isn’t traveling the globe for additional research; isn’t coming up with a new investment strategy for the future.

As Manoyan says, “Anything challenging and exciting I take on.”

Learn more about Bon Choix at www.bonchoixcouture.com.

Tags: company awards, company of the year, best companies, fashion awards, beauty awards

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers Final Deadline Extended through August 9

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Second Annual Awards Honoring World’s Best Workplaces Continues to Accept Nominations

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, announced today that the final entry deadline for the second annual competition has been extended to Wednesday, August 9. The Stevie Awards for Great Employers honors the world’s best companies to work for and the HR teams and professionals, HR achievements, new products and services and suppliers that help to create and drive great workplaces.

“We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was July 19. Gallagher emphasizes that no additional late fees will be charged for entries submitted through August 9, and late entries will not be penalized in the judging process. All organizations now have three more weeks to prepare and submit their entries.

SAGe female winners-1.jpgAll individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The 2017 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2016. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/HR.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Stevie Award winners in the 35 Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blending of the ratings of professionals and the votes of the general public.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers will recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year
  • HR Achievements
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • More than 50 New Product & Service Categories

Professionals on three international juries will determine the Stevie Award winners. Finalists will be announced on August 16. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced at a gala event in New York City on September 22.

Tags: hr awards, new product awards, best new product, solution provider awards

gemaker Takes Innovative Products and Services to Market in Australia

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 10:37 AM

Getting new ideas to market is one of the hardest tasks in the innovation process, especially for a completely new idea for a product or service. Failure to launch can stem from a lack of production capacity to an inability to create a demand for the product and everything in between. That’s where gemaker comes in.

gemaker helps Australia’s inventors take their ideas to the world, providing services in research-industry engagement and commercialization to bridge the gap between origination and growth. gemaker was named the winner of three Silver Stevie Awards in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Innovative Management in Business Product & Service Industries, Excellence in Innovation in Business Product & Service Industries, and Innovation in Business-to-Business Services.

A Benefit for All

Natalie-Chapman.jpgAustralian research and innovation has potential for huge positive impact in the real world, if innovators can just connect to the right scientific and technical experts. Natalie Chapman, co-founder and Managing Director of gemaker, is a commercialization and marketing expert with more than 15 years of experience turning innovative ideas and technologies into thriving businesses. She comments on Australia’s role in business development.

“Australia is transitioning to greater professionalism in technology transfer. There's a change occurring in attitudes and approaches in research-industry engagement which we're trying to foster.”

She goes on to say that empowering researchers with skills and resources to proactively engage industries with collaborative innovation solves diverse social and environmental problems that boosts the economy and ultimately benefits all Australians.

How They Work

gemaker’s success speaks volumes about how they work and why it’s so effective. Although their research and technology commercialization consultancy company consists of a small core staff, their flexible auxiliary team of about 20 regular contractors understands perseverance, passion and a great team works best when success is measured by the work you do, and not just the time spent doing it.

“gemaker is proudly built around a sustainable, flexible and progressive employment model that is project-based. This means paying people for the work they do, rather than paying them for being in the office for a set period of time.”

This model creates opportunity to tap the skills and expertise of a range of intelligent, qualified and experienced people who do not want rigid jobs, but still seek to make valuable contributions through meaningful careers.

The World is Noticing

There’s often a divide in the understanding and culture between different research organizations, such as universities and commercial companies. Closing the research-industry gap is a win for both sides that also benefits society in general. One way of doing this is with international attention that helps promote what gemaker is doing worldwide. Natalie is particularly proud of the Stevie for Innovation in Business-to-Business Services award they received for their Industry Engagement Training for Researchers.

“The award recognizes the importance and quality of the work we do to help researchers develop effective strategies to form long-term, productive and profitable partnerships with commercial companies.”

Whether it’s helping businesses achieve their optimal commercialization outcome, a spin-off from a research organization, growing sales of products or services, licensing agreements, or the sale of your business, gemaker is helping companies grow and evolve into new markets to reach new heights of success

Tags: innovation awards, management awards, best new product, new products and services

Follow The Stevie Awards

Subscribe to Email Updates

Opportunities

CMA_Alerts_125x125-1

Browse by Tag