Public Relations Awards

Revelations From a Stevie Awards Judge in Vietnam

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Dec 08, 2014 @ 12:52 PM

Dale E. Gerstenslager is General Manager, Public Relations & Communications for Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam Co., Ltd.  He has been a judge for the Stevie Awards for Women in Business for the past two years, and plans to to assist with the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards judging early in the new year.

Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 edition of the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, which are open to all organizations operating in the 22 nations of the Asia-Pacific region.
APSA judge(

We talked with Dale about his company, working in Vietnam, and judging the Stevie® Awards. He told us he’d learned some useful things from his judging experience: “First and foremost I’d have to say that as a judge for the Stevie Awards for Women in Business I’ve learned a great deal. It has been an opportunity to see some amazing Public Relations and Communication campaigns.  The entries spanned the globe and covered a wide spectrum of categories.  Many times I found myself taking notes and thinking: What a great idea.”

A Virtual Think-Tank

Dale is now looking forward to reviewing the Corporate Communications Awards, Investor Relations Awards, and Public Relations Awards categories of the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.
“The Stevie Awards create a virtual think-tank that provides fertile ground where creativity can blossom and grow,” commented Dale.  “Rarely in life do true ‘epiphanies’ occur; so anytime people share ideas, doors in the mind begin to open and possibilities expand, with one idea leading to the next.  That’s how programs like the Stevie Awards help business leaders find new opportunities to increase market share and expand their business.”

An Unbeatable Package

We asked Dale why The Doosan Group, an international company headquartered in South Korea, was operating in Vietnam.  “The Doosan Group chose Vietnam for its $330M investment because of a unique set of incentives and circumstances offered by the leaders of Vietnam,” Dale explained.  “It began with a set of critical criteria followed by a lengthy global search and an extensive due diligence of the many proposals put forth by countries from all over the world. Doosan ultimately selected Vietnam because of the outstanding support and stability of the local, regional, and national governments, an unbeatable package of financial incentives, an eager labour force, and a coastal location that allowed us to build a dedicated port that would give us ready access to major sea lanes.”

Be Flexible

Since Dale is a specialist in communications in the region, we asked him for some tips for companies thinking of doing business in Vietnam. “First, do your homework,” advises Dale. “And that should involve consulting with those that have ‘been there, done that,and have the T-Shirt to prove it.’ That will save a ton of time and money in the exer-cise and get you into production much faster than would happen otherwise.
“Second, Vietnam is evolving at such a rapid pace that you should be prepared to be flex-ible—like you’ve never been before or even imagined possible—then double that.”

Future Potential

We asked Dale what excited him most about his work. “Communications is foundational to all that we do in life,” he told us. “So finding a new, more effective way to reach someone—be it a customer, co-worker, or community—is both challenging and exciting. It keeps my wheels turning and my mind working.  Here in Vietnam, the communications industry is morphing on an almost daily basis. It is still developing, but to look back just a few years and compare it to today, I see tremendous improvement and even greater potential.”

About Dale E. Gerstenslager:

After a 25 year career in the media, living and working in six countries and 14 U.S. states as an award winning editor, journalist, and publisher, Dale Gerstenslager moved from mass communications to public relations and communications.  He accepted a position In Vietnam with Doosan in 2008 where he planned, launched, and now leads the Public Relations and Communications function for the Doosan Group’s $300 million investment in Vietnam.

About Doosan Vina:

Doosan Vina is a high-tech industrial complex in the Dung Quat Economic Zone of Central Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province.  It covers 110 hectares, employs 3,000, and has shipped over $1 billion U.S. of product to global markets.  The company supplies the mega infrastructure products that make modern life a reality. Doosan Vina’s products include: boilers for thermal power plants; heat recovery steam generators that increase the efficiency of a typical power plant by over 30%; 4,500 ton desalination plants that are the size of a football pitch and turn 95 million liters of sea water into fresh per day; material-handling systems like the cranes that are the heart of logistics at ports around the world; and chemical processing equipment that turns the earth’s natural resources into the useful products we use every day.  

About The Doosan Group:
The Doosan Group is a global multinational focusing on power, water, and other infrastructure developments worldwide. The company is Korea’s oldest business operation, tracing its roots back to 1896 with the opening of the Park Seung-jik Store. The company is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and has operations in 37 countries, over 35,000 employees, and $22 billion in annual revenue.

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, women awards, ir awards

How PR Award Winner Gravitas Communications Brought Good News to the US Auto Industry

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 @ 05:01 PM

Owned by PR expert Jocelyn Johnson, Gravitas Communications of New York, New York, USA, won a Stevie Award for Communications Campaign of the Year in the 2010 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.  The 2011 edition of this global program, which honors women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run, is accepting entries through September 30.

Jocelyn JohnsonHard Times in Detroit

2009 was a dark year for the American automotive industry, with US automotive manufacturers desperately shuttling between Washington, D.C. and Detroit in an effort to save their businesses and get back on track.

In the context of this bleak environment, the editors at Motor Trend magazine decided that the 2010 Car of the Year (COTY) award—announced in November 2009—needed to be a bigger event than ever before.

Motor Trend magazine recognizes the best of the automotive best each year with its COTY award. This venerable award, in its 51st year in 2009, was faced with an unusually narrow field of contenders, but there was a poignancy associated with the ultimate winner, the Ford Fusion.

As the nation and the world worried about whether Detroit could be saved, it seemed fitting that the oldest and strongest of the “Big Three” would emerge triumphant among the field of global contenders.

Motivating the American Auto Market

Gravitas Communications was tasked with launching a campaign for the 2010 award that would reach new levels of coverage and serve as a positive and motivating boost to the American auto market—but with half the budget of previous years.

The goal was to appeal to a mass audience with the widest possible national
and international media coverage.

Publicity Plan

There were several challenges to overcome, including tight timing from completion of testing to the announcement, maintaining the editorial integrity and ownership of the announcement, and executing a huge announcement with a relatively small budget.

The Gravitas team put together a comprehensive yet cost-effective publicity plan designed to reach the broadest audience possible, and using all major communications channels including print, television, radio, web, social media, and online video.

Social Media

The buildup began with social-media teasers two weeks before the COTY award
announcement. These appeared on the brand’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and included social-media press releases promoting the announcement date. The Gravitas Communication’s team coordinated and shot b-roll footage for use among local media and via satellite distribution.

Live Webcast

Gravitas also approached the winning manufacturer to stage a live Webcast from its global headquarters. Not only did this approach leverage the resources of the award winner to promote the COTY award, the event also served as a high-energy morale booster for Ford’s executive management team and employees.

This event also proved to be the ideal backdrop for Motor Trend magazine’s first live Webcast, and Fox Business also provided live broadcast coverage of the announcement.

Amazing Results

The 2010 Motor Trend Car of the Year awards program was considered a great success. It resulted in 1,200 Tweets, 175 television hits, 400 online articles, 4,187 streams on the Webcast—6 times more than was hoped for—and the winner’s video garnered more than 67,000 views on YouTube.

The story was nationally syndicated in an Associated Press article. It was the main story on,,,, USA, and broke a million page views overall, only the second time the site had achieved that level of traffic.

”The COTY award is one of the most prestigious awards in the automotive industry and we felt honored and motivated to make it the biggest announcement in the history of the awards,” said Jocelyn Johnson, founder, Gravitas Communications.  “It was thrilling to watch the press react and the coverage come in. The client was ecstatic and that is what counts.”

About Jocelyn Johnson

Jocelyn Johnson founded Gravitas Communications in 2005 with more than
fifteen years of experience building and executing smart, strategic public
relations and communications programs for her clients. Jocelyn has worked with
industry goliaths and start-ups alike. From Google to Thwapr, Jocelyn has
worked with nearly 100 companies over her career and has launched more than 36 start-ups. She has a passion for technology, digital media/entertainment, retail, and media companies and is obsessed with how technology is changing the way we communicate and interact. Jocelyn is also proud to be a co-recipient for several PR industry awards.

About Gravitas Communications

Gravitas Communications is a strategic communications firm that operates at the nexus of PR, social media, and search engine optimization. Founded in 2005 by Jocelyn Johnson, Gravitas understands the constantly evolving landscape of media and how technology has forever changed how we communicate and interact. 

Tags: communications awards, PR awards, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, public relations awards