The Stevie Awards Blog

Ahjo Communications Puts Burning Creativity into Business Strategy

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 12:29 PM

Public relations teams strive to represent people, companies, services, or messages in a favorable light. Ahjo Communications is a public relations agency in Helsinki, Finland that considers itself an organization that achieves that goal with creative fire. Their vision to be known for renewing communications and the communications culture has led them to winning both a Gold Stevie® for "Crisis Communications Campaign of the Year” for their work with Heart Hospital, and a Silver Stevie for Communications or PR Campaign/Program of the Year in The 2017 International Business Awards. 

Bringing Heart to Work

Ahjo communications.jpgAhjo has been the Finnish affiliate of Weber Shandwick since 1992. Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations firm with offices in 81 countries around the world. The Ahjo team consists of Senior Advisor Sari-Liia Tonttila, who is one of Finland’s leading crisis communications experts with experience in various company crisis communications; Communications Consultant Eeva Louko, a former journalist; and Senior Consultant Meri Marttinen, who has a background in healthcare and consumer communications in which she focused on developing influencer marketing.

“The impact has been good. Our clients have been happy for us and the prize has given us new positive publicity. The client, Heart Hospital, is very happy,” says Marttinen about Ahjo’s success with Heart Hospital. “The team is a perfect combination of three creative, brave women who always aim high and think beyond the box—strategically, but every time toward client's business goals.”

Balancing Passions

Ahjo Communications acknowledges that their success has come from many facets of their lives. Senior Advisor Sari-Liia loves to ski, exercise in nature, and come up with great, big ideas for her clients.

“[Sari-Liia] is an example of a person who works for her goals to achieve them: she wanted to bring the world-leading PR summit, ICCO, to Finland for the first time. Her work paid off. Now this year ICCO is organized in Finland!” says Marttinen.

Marttinen dreams of learning as many languages as possible, and Eeva will definitely write a book.

“Many of us enjoy hiking in nature. In addition, we love to read and spend time on other arts. We are not scared to bring out our ideas. We protect small, delicate ideas as they may grow big when further planned.”

When You Grow, They Grow

With effective communication to implement business strategy and supportive, strong networks, future pioneering positions are likely to grow in their market. Ahjo Communications provides workshops for professionals and business owners who want to build on their established platforms to reach career specific goals.

Ahjo does this by designing workshops to meet strategic and developmental needs of executives and department leaders. In the ‘Idea Leadership Workshop’, Ajho Communications helps business leaders crystallize ideas or brand goals in an understandable, pragmatic form that employees, stakeholders, and customers can carry with them and share.

Ahjo Communications wants to help you grow.

Tags: communications awards, PR awards, public relations awards, event marketing

New Owner Helps Event Marketing Firm Stay on the Cutting Edge

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 02:26 PM

Trade shows and conferences can be great opportunities for businesses to meet prospects—but they can also be crowded places where exhibitors find themselves in competition with hundreds or even thousands of other companies to catch the eye of attendees.

That’s why many exhibitors hire experts like Live Marketing, a U.S. firm that specializes in creating memorable experiences. For example, a food ingredient developer enlisted them when it sought to create a buzz around its newest solutions at an important industry event. Live Marketing’s answer: RFID sensors to trigger an interactive, multi-screen display when guests “pick and place” various food items, a novel approach that helped the client exceed its lead-generation goal.

Live Marketing pic.jpgFor a medical device maker, the team created a unique conference display featuring a glass-encased laboratory dotted with scannable hotspots that let the visitor experience its products firsthand. Each interaction prompted a brief video or augmented reality sequence, resulting in an immersive tour through the lab.

Underpinning those examples, and many other projects, is a reliance on technology to push the boundaries of what a live corporate event can be. It’s an approach that Anne Trompeter, then a 10-year veteran of the Chicago-area firm, brought to the forefront when she bought Live Marketing in 2014.

The organization has long had a prominent position within the world of corporate events. Launched in the 1970s, the agency was a pioneer in the experiential marketing industry. It was the brain trust that helped introduce the Intel Pentium processor and the world’s first flip phone to the marketplace.

When she took the reins four years ago, Trompeter’s goal was to make sure the firm didn’t grow stale. “I bought Live Marketing from its original founder with a clear vision to reinvigorate and refresh the company to be relevant for today’s sophisticated experiential marketing and technology-activated approaches,” she says.

In a short period of time, she’s helped make that vision a reality. The company has won numerous industry awards for its innovative, tech-based exhibits, and Trompeter recently garnered the Silver Stevie® award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in The 2017 American Business Awards.

A Team Effort

Breathing new life into the agency hasn’t been a solo task, something Trompeter readily acknowledges.

One of the changes she made early on was to get the most out of what she saw as untapped potential within the staff. “I’ve shifted our creative process so we are all challenged to bring in new engagement ideas on a regular basis,” she explains.

She’s also put a premium on helping employees grow, either within their role or in new positions. In one instance, a member of the marketing team expressed an interest in being a producer, a job with which she had little experience. Not wanting to lose one of her valued employees, Trompeter helped ease her into the new role over a period of 18 months. “By mid-2017, she was full-time producer and is very happy and productive,” the executive says.

In another instance, the executive leveraged an employee’s degree in theater management by moving him up into a production role. Once an assistant to Trompeter, he’s now a full-time creative director with a roster of his own clients for which he writes and develops concepts.

“I consider it an achievement to cultivate the very best team who feels appreciated and able to do their finest work at all times,” she says. “The way I do that is listening to my team members and making adjustments based on what I’m hearing.”

As if running a top-tier events marketing firm isn’t challenging enough, Trompeter does it while juggling a litany of other roles. Among them: parent, church choir member, and triathlete.

Rather than detracting from her business responsibilities, she says those outside endeavors help keep her energized. “Training for races and triathlons plus my overall commitment to fitness keeps me physically and mentally healthy,” she says. “I apply that same focus and drive to my business. But I recognize the importance of a healthy work-life balance, not just for me, but for everyone on my team.”

A breast cancer survivor, Trompeter uses her professional success to support cancer research and other philanthropic causes and encourages her employees to perform charitable work as well. “Several employees suggested giving back more specifically to the communities where our offices are located,” she says. “So beginning last year, each office identifies and does two hands-on charitable give-backs, like serving in local soup kitchens and doing food distribution.”

“In 2018, our theme is ‘Get Engaged’,” says Trompeter. “I feel strongly that now more than ever we have a responsibility to be civic-minded. Getting more involved in our communities’ neediest populations is an immediate and personalized way to get engaged.”

Tags: marketing awards, women awards, best marketing team, business developement, event marketing

2018 American Business Awards Final Entry Deadline Extended

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of The American Business Awards, announced today that the final entry deadline for the 16th annual ABA competition has been extended to April 13. No additional late fees will be charged. Entries submitted through April 13 will not be penalized in any way in the judging process.

“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 March 14.

GET THE ENTRY KIT HERE

ABA 2017 9-2.jpgThe American Business Awards are widely considered to be the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations— public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large, and small. The 2018 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2017. Entry details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

The American Business Awards recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Categories include:

New categories in the 2018 American Business Awards include seven new Software Solution categories, four Lifetime Achievement Award categories, four additional Marketing Campaign categories, two new PR Campaign categories, one new category for Live Events, and Best White Paper or Research Report.

More than 200 executives on 12 juries have already begun the process of rating nominations to determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

Stevie winners will be announced on May 1, and the awards will be presented at a gala banquet on June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Attendance is not required to win.

The list of past Stevie Award winners in The American Business Awards reads like a who’s who of innovation and business success in the U.S.A. Explore the list of last year’s winners.

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, marketing awards, PR awards

Call for Entries Issued for Fifteenth Annual International Business Awards®

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

The Stevie® Awards has opened entries for The 15th Annual International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition, which attracts nominations from organizations in more than 60 nations and territories each year.

All individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to The International Business Awards. The early-bird entry deadline, with reduced entry fees, is April 11. The final entry deadline is May 9, but late entries will be accepted through June 13 with payment of a late fee. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/IBA.

IBA winner woman 2017.jpgREVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Juries featuring more than 150 executives will determine the Stevie Award winners. Results will be announced 9 August. Stevie Award winners will be presented their awards at a gala banquet in London, United Kingdom on 20 October.

The International Business Awards recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Categories include:

A variety of new categories are introduced for the 2018 competition, including a new group of categories to recognize the Entrepreneur of the Year and Founding Teams in many industries. In addition to seven new Software Solution categories in the New Product & Services section, there’s a new selection of categories to recognize Content Solutions. There is one new category, Best White Paper or Research Report, in the Publication categories and one new category, Engaged Community of the Year, in the Marketing categories. There are two new PR Campaign categories in the Public Relations section. Finally, there are four new Lifetime Achievement Awards categories in the Management section.

Stevie Award winners in the 2017 IBAs included: Cisco Systems (USA), Domino's Pizza (Turkey), Freelancer.com (Australia), Garanti Bank (Turkey), KT (South Korea), Llorente & Cuenca (Spain), Meltwater (USA), MSLGROUP (USA), PRIZM (Hong Kong), Sunny Side Up (Japan), Syncron (Sweden), Telkom Indonesia (Indonesia), Thai Life Insurance Plc. (Thailand), Viettel Group (Vietnam), Weber Shandwick (United Kingdom), WNS Holdings (P) Ltd. (India), and Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting (USA).

Tags: marketing awards, PR awards, company awards, international business

Improving Customer Satisfaction with DiCentral

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Mar 12, 2018 @ 12:03 PM

DiCentral is a global leader in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), solving complex EDI and supply chain integration challenges.

DiCentral enables customers to expand their supply chain without limits. For small business communication systems with multinational enterprises, this is pivotal in delivering greater return on investment and in reducing redundant, error-prone data entry.

Kayla Adair, EDI Onboarding and Connections Lead, has won the Gold Stevie® Award for Back-Office Customer Service Professional of the Year in The Business Services Industries category of the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

DiCentral Excels in Customer Support

Dicentral.jpg
Founded in 2000 with headquarters based in Houston, Texas, United States, DiCentral has become a leading global provider of EDI and supply chain solutions. The company has 10 offices worldwide supporting a diverse business customer base in over 27 countries.

DiCentral offers computer systems communication solutions for automotive, energy, government, health care, manufacturing, oil and gas, and related industries.

“DiCentral solves complex EDI integration challenges,” says Tina Jaekel, DiCentral Marketing Manager. “As markets continue to fluctuate, leading organizations rely on DiCentral to innovate while they integrate with their trading partners.” Jaekel has expertise in ERP partnerships, certifications, channel sales marketing, automotive EDI marketing, and manufacturing EDI marketing.

DiCentral focuses on developing efficient ways for relevant product and supply chain data (inventory, order, shipping information, invoicing) to be easily viewed and shared between retailers and suppliers. They also standardize accurate and timely product-related information for trading partners looking to build aisle assortment quickly and electronically.

Being a global leader in EDI and supply chain solutions means using proprietary technology instead of outsourcing key functions, such as providing live technical support over the phone that never leave clients waiting in a queue.

“The Stevie Awards nomination gives our company credibility so that we can continue to shine,” says Jaekel. “We are delighted that the Stevie Awards has recognized our company. It gives us the pride to continue to excel in customer support.”

Kayla Adair, EDI Onboarding and Connections Lead, won the Stevie Award for training their support team. DiCentral and Adair realize the need to deliver and go the extra mile to ensure each customer is satisfied.

Proactive Engagement

DiCentral and Adair have announced expansion in their leadership team with two new senior hires as part of a global effort to drive and scale growth. Let DiCentral proactively engage with your trading community to identify your customers' unique EDI requirements and respond to ongoing mapping, communication, and business rule changes.

Tags: business awards, customer service excellence, business developement

Stevie Awards Announce Winners in the 4th Annual German Stevie Awards

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

The organizers of the Stevie Awards announced the winners in the 2018 German Stevie® Awards. The big winner overall with a total of ten Gold Stevies is Crowdconsultants 360 GmbH from Berlin.

With ten gold, one silver, and one bronze Stevie Award, Crowdconsultants 360 GmbH is the most awarded organization of the German Stevie Awards this year. The Berlin-based company can look forward to Gold Stevie Awards for most innovative company, startup of the year, and more.

German stevie 2016 3-2.jpg50 executives from all over Germany were named as a part of the expert judging panel who determined the Stevie Award winners. They have reviewed over 400 nominations, selected the most innovative solutions, organizations, and individuals, and finally crowned the winners of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Awards.

Agenda Informationssysteme GmbH & Co. KG from Rosenheim and the Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA from Heidenheim each won five Gold Stevie Awards. Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards, congratulates all winners on their achievements. "We are looking forward to a great award ceremony in Berlin", he says, and is proud that it takes place at the Hotel Adlon. On 27 April 2018, the winners will receive their trophies at a festive award ceremony.

All winners of the Golden, Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards are listed on the homepage of the German Stevie Awards.

Anyone wishing to be one of the winners of the German Stevie Awards next year can request an entry kit on the awards website in order to be informed in good time about deadlines and participation documents: www.stevieawards.com/Germany.

Tags: German Stevie Awards, company of the year, top business awards

Simplifying the Complex: The Key to Stand-Out Videos

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Mar 05, 2018 @ 03:43 PM

The team at Vend, a San Francisco, CA based point-of-sale software company in the USA, has built a multitude of features into their retailer software that can be confusing to the average person—from inventory management and digital receipt generation to customer loyalty capabilities and an analytics dashboard.

Such abundant functionality is great for users, but can be a headache for the marketing team. How do you convey all those benefits in a short presentation that doesn’t lose the audience’s attention?

Vend seems to have found the answer, as evidenced by a brief video it shares with prospects via YouTube and other channels. Using in-house talent, including writers Simon Pound and Nick Houldsworth and their Director of Design, Michael Ramirez, the segment earned the company its second Gold Stevie® Award in three years.

Vend.jpgThe goal: communicate everything the app can do, in just two minutes. That’s no easy task when your product’s prime benefit is being an all-in-one solution that retailers can turn to for their sales optimization needs.

The creatives at Vend developed a video that laid out the software’s top five selling points, but also imparted a lively feel that keeps the viewer engaged. To do that, they used animation that quickly bounces from one scene to the next. Underscoring the narration is buoyant music—a contribution from James Dansey—that gives the work a lively, playful feel.

One of the virtues of the video is that, for its considerable scope, it never loses the viewer. The uncluttered graphics certainly help. Throughout the piece, for example, the team uses the same flower pot to represent the merchandise it can help users manage.

The resulting production is proof that you don’t need an off-the-wall idea or gimmicks to make a great video. Sometimes a simple idea and solid execution will do the trick.

The payoff: a Gold Stevie in The 2017 American Business Awards for best video in the sales-technology category—not bad for a $5,000 internal production. Considering the company brought home a Gold in 2015 for a product overview video, the creative team is clearly on a roll.

Reflecting on that initial win, Pound says the impact was significant. “That was great. It helped us recruit, get media attention, and double down on a creative approach,” he says. “It opened doors with partners and led to us winning other awards in Stevies around the world.”

The Growing Role of Video 

Since its founding in 2010, Vend’s cloud-based point-of-sale and retail platform has become the tool of choice for sellers around the globe. It’s now used by more than 20,000 stores in over 150 countries. Through its mobile platform, the company likes to say that users are able to run “the next generation of retail.”

In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, the company now has offices in Auckland, Toronto, London, and Melbourne, and has raised more than $45 million (U.S.) from top-tier investors.

A smart marketing strategy has certainly helped hasten that growth. Online video, in particular, has proven to be an effective medium, Pound says, because it’s being used in a way that marketers can easily track.

“We are loving that with new retargeting and audience creation tools available to us we can now measure and convert from video, meaning it is back in the front of our plans,” he explains.

This latest video, entitled “5 ways Vend will transform your business,” has proven to be a particularly powerful tool. People who have seen the video on Vend’s website are twice as likely to request a demo and take a trial.

The production was also key to a re-engagement campaign for older leads that it was trying to convert. The effort led to 200 trials, simply by showing how the software has evolved in a compelling way.

It’s not the only video for which the company has received attention of late. Its recent e-commerce and PayPal videos have also won awards for their ability to drive results.

What’s the formula for success? “Quality, creativity, and originality,” says Pound. “And trying to make complex things simple.”

It’s a recipe that seems to be catching the attention of business owners, not to mention a panel of experienced judges. “Winning Stevie Awards have been huge for our business to ensure we are at a world-class level,” Pound says.

Tags: video awards, marketing awards, business developement

A Chico, CA Startup Connects Travelers with RV Rentals

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Mar 01, 2018 @ 10:52 AM

Vision, discipline, and going against the grain are three principles Bonnie Worthington embraced as she set out to establish RV Rental Connection, an online site allowing RV owners to rent their vehicles to prospective vacationers.

The online enterprise based in Chico, California in the United States is a team of three, led by Worthington as founder and CEO, and operates in 30 U.S. states and Canada. The site offers multiple styles of recreational vehicles, from pop-ups, to trailers, and multiple-bedroom motorhomes.

RV REntal.jpgRV owners are able to begin with a free trial to test the success of the rental exchange program before making the decision to sign up for a monthly, no-contract subscription. RV Rental Connection even makes insurance coverage recommendations for renters and rentees with an emphasis on excellent customer service.

Worthington’s creative brand idea culminated with the tagline, “Rent the RV. Own the Experience.” The innovative business model has earned her recognition with The Stevie® Awards for Women in Business in four categories: Startup of the Year and Company of the Year, with 10 employees or less, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and Maverick of the Year.

Not only was Worthington surprised with the award, but she was also in awe when she realized she would stand next to successful business women from around the world (from companies such as Microsoft and Verizon) at the November 2017 Stevie Awards in New York City.

“Our team has worked very hard this year to provide great value to our RV Rental Listing Members and website visitors who want to rent an RV from a private owner,” Worthington says. “We couldn’t have won these awards without our loyal RV rental owners and dealers who believed in us as a startup and have hung in there with us as we grow and prosper.”

This budding CEO champions the discipline to integrate strategy and to implement it towards achieving goals. Worthington told her local publication ChicoER that she was not afraid to operate a little differently from the rest of the vacation business and online marketplace, positioning RV Rental Connection as a “disruptor to disrupters.” This is what earned her the Maverick of the Year award.

In her lifetime, Worthington has won awards in academics, writing, golf, and competitive horseback riding. She is committed to staying fit and “keeping her mind sharp” with reading, math exercises, and other mind games. She remains dedicated to success, believing if she is driven to achieve, she will.

Tags: company of the year, female entrepreneurs, maverick awards

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