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.

Topics: communications awards, International business awards, PR awards, public relations awards, event marketing

Vigilante Efforts for Community Building from Family League of Baltimore

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 @ 10:40 AM

Nonprofit organizations can face challenges when it comes to planning and executing successful communications and community engagement work. But Family League of Baltimore (FLB), an intermediary nonprofit, has uniquely positioned itself to invest in initiatives that provide access to resources and opportunities not readily available to children and families in many city neighborhoods. Their deep collaboration and capacity for building with local leaders, community-based organizations, funders, and other stakeholders have all contributed to their Gold Stevie Award in the Communications Department of The Year category in The 2017 American Business Awards.

Positive Changes that Align with Community Priorities
Each year, FLB makes collaborative efforts, and targeted investments to help open doors to education, health care, and economic opportunity for tens of thousands of children, youths, and families living in Baltimore, MD USA. Amy Bernstein, Director of External Relations at Family League of Baltimore says winning a Gold Stevie has made an immediate impact on their organizations.

Family league.jpg“It prompted a meaningful conversation with our CEO and COO about the true strategic role and potential reach of communications as an organizational asset; validated our professionalism; and gave us an opportunity, through Facebook, to link the recognition with our dedication to sharing stories and progress about people and programs in the communities where we invest public resources.”

FLB occupies a unique niche in Baltimore's nonprofit landscape. In large part, as a hub organization that's able to braid together federal, state, city, and private dollars to ensure these funds are invested in programs and services that align with community priorities; direct resources towards the needs of the “whole” child, from prenatal and family health care up through college and career; strengthen the capacity of existing service providers across the City; and advocate for meaningful policy changes to improve lives and build equity.

Vigilante Efforts

Since FLB relies on government funds, a great effort in working closely with elected officials at the state and local levels is necessary for continued success. Bernstein keeps a close eye on their, “value proposition and ability to achieve results that matter to children, families, and their communities.” This requires constant and vigilant efforts to educate and inform leaders on an almost daily basis.

Trends in personal and institutional usage of technology -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, etc. -- also helps them deploy the right mix of tech to suit. Bernstein believes access to internet services plays a huge role as well.

“Our message and our target demographics depends more and more on online communications, it's increasingly challenging to reach people who do not use the Internet regularly.”

Constantly Learning From Each Other

Bernstein is a big fan of their three-person team aimed at reflecting diversity in terms of age (GenX, Millennial, and Baby Boomer), work experience, and core skill sets. In many workplaces, navigating inter-generational relationships is a source of tension and conflict.

“For us, it is a source of strength; we constantly learn from one another. We approach every communications campaign with clear goals in mind; we listen closely to our internal "customers" as to what is needed”

Staying as creative and integrated as possible is the name of the game. Whether in their graphic design, social media or print and video campaigns, “striving for authenticity in our work--using real images, voices, and testimonials of real people from our local communities, as much as possible is a significant predictor of success.”

Bernstein acknowledges how important experiences in collaborative efforts are when the time comes to sway partnerships to their path. Inexperienced professionals may or may not be ready.

“Our team has over 50 years of combined experience in almost every communications niche--ranging from corporate PR to journalism to executive speechwriting. There is hardly a challenge that comes our way that we have not dealt with before, in some way, which helps us find the best solutions. Together, in less than a year, we have built a versatile, proactive communications shop virtually from scratch.”

Topics: communications awards, PR awards, American business awards, public relations award, non-profit 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(
REVIEW THE ASIA-PACIFIC STEVIE AWARDS ENTRY KIT HERE.)

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.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards for women in business, women awards, ir awards

How a Stevie Award Winner Thinks Globally and Acts Locally in Germany

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Dec 02, 2014 @ 05:56 PM

F&H Porter Novelli in Munich Germany won a Silver Stevie® Award and two Bronze Stevie® Awards in the Communications Awards, IR Awards, and Public Relations Awards categories of The 2014 International Business Awards.

F&HFreiherr Helmut von Fircks, CEO of F&H Porter Novelli, is a regular judge for the International Business Awards. We talked to him about what winning a Stevie® Award means to him, and for his view on the upcoming German Stevie Awards.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

On winning a Stevie® Award, Helmut von Fircks had this to say: “Winning an award is a big honor both for the client and for the account team. And it not only motivates the dedicated team, the whole agency also benefits from a real boost to morale.”

Raising Awareness
We asked Helmut for his thoughts on the new German Stevie® Awards.  “Having a German Stevie Awards program will attract even more German businesses to attend and be part of this wonderful awards program,” he commented. “Having a German Stevie Awards is recognition of the importance of the German market and its role in the communications world. It will raise the awareness of the Stevie Awards tremendously.”

Think Global-Act Local
For companies already operating, or considering expanding into the German market, Helmut offers the following advice: “We suggest companies adopt the rule: Think global–act local. Even though we are part of the EU, Germans expect a tailor-made personal approach. So a campaign that might work in the U.K. does not necessarily work here in Germany.”

A Bright Future
Helmut is optimistic about the future. “Communications is an evolving industry, always at the heart of future trends and innovation,” he told us. “Learning something new every day keeps us excited and motivated for future challenges.”

About Freiherr Helmut von Fircks:
Helmut von Fircks founded the F & H agency whilst studying economics. Even though he started his career in advertising, he soon discovered the power of public relations within the communications mix. He has built a team of creative strategists who love consulting for large global organizations as well as medium-sized businesses. His heart beats communications, especially in challenging situations, and he is a proven crisis-communications specialist.

In his private life this father of four enjoys long walks with his Labrador Lady Mercey.

About F&H Porter Novelli:
F&H Porter Novelli was founded in 1980 and currently employs 60 people in its Munich office. The agency is exclusive German brand partner of Porter Novelli. F&H is amongst the top 20 PR agencies in Germany. The full service agency offers all parameters within a modern communication mix from PR to advertising. F&H Porter Novelli is a strategic communications consultancy supporting com- panies, organizations, institutions, and people in a variety of communications needs. Areas of expertise include traditional and social media public relations, crisis, special situations and long-term stakeholder communications. F&H offers international communications consulting from creative strategists. Bold and pas- sionate, the F&H team develops successful high quality solutions. More information via http://www.fundh.de/

Topics: communications awards, International business awards, PR awards, German Stevie Awards, public relations awards, ir awards, Busines Awards

Bridging the Culture Gap: Useful Advice From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 @ 07:42 PM

Tore Claesson, a Director of U.S.-based creative agency TIO, has been sharing his time between the US and China since October 2013.  Tore was a judge for The 2014 International Business Awards, covering the Communications Awards, PR Awards, and Creative Awards categories.

The 2015 International Business Awards will open for entries in January. Join the mailing list and we'll email you once the entry kit becomes available.

ToreWe talked to Tore about his experience of judging for the Stevie Awards and were gratified by his enthusiasm. “I think I’ve learned more from judging the Stevie Awards than from any book on creativity!” he told us.

Tore sees judging as an opportunity to peek into other professionals’ brains. As he puts it: “To see how others have solved certain business and creative problems is invaluable. It’s like a secret peek behind the curtain.”

Why China?

Tore had a pithy response to why he has been in China for the past year. “To fill a void.”

Tore explained: “There are simply no agencies focused on small and medium-sized businesses and brands that can bridge the culture gap between the U.S. and China, or Europe and China. And that applies whether a Chinese brand is going west or a Western company is trying to penetrate China.

“You either get an agency that finds a ‘partner’ in China for adaptation work, or—if you’re a Chinese company—you may go to a Chinese agency, which most likely has no experience in the nuances of US communications.

“Nuance is key to all communication. Being on the ground in China, with a mixed Western and domestic team, means we master those nuances. With an agency in New York as well as an agency in China, both cultures are a daily part of our work.”

The Importance of Social Media

Tore stressed the importance of social media in China. “One has to immerse oneself in all social media in China such as Wechat, QQ, Weibo, Youku, etc.  China may have a long way to go before it is on a par with the US and Europe on branding and marketing communications—the industry is still young in China—but in social media, which is a much newer business, they are way ahead. The West can learn from China when it comes to using social media.”

Future Judging

The Stevie Awards recently introduced the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, and the 2015 competition opens this month. (For more information on how to participate, sign up to receive an Entry Kit.)   Tore is intrigued by the possibilities of this competition and has expressed interest in judging the newly revamped and expanded entry categories.

Life in China

Since October 2013, Tore has been working in China and is based in Chengdu, Sichuan.  Tore told us, “Chengdu is China’s fourth biggest city with 14 million people, a fantastic kitchen if you like spicy food, a world famous Panda park, and Geely, which makes Volvo cars.

“Chengdu is known as the Silicon Valley of China—a real tech-hub—and Chengdu Hi-Tech Zone (CDHT) is home to 33,237 hi-tech companies, of which 1,115 companies are foreign-invested enterprises, including over 120 Fortune 500 and world-renowned companies.”

When we asked Tore what kept him inspired or excited about the future, his apt response was: “In my case it’s a curiosity to see where the road leads. I can’t stand still. Petrification is for statues!”

You can read and see more of Tore’s adventures in China on his blog or view some of the work being done in China on his LinkedIn site. His profile page links to a showcase for a Swedish company, Sveba-Dahlen, that needed a Chinese name and more.

About Tore Claesson

Tore’s background at agencies such as Ogilvy and Anderson & Lembke McCann, based in Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong in Asia, and Amsterdam in Europe, in addition to his many years in New York, means that TIO has a leader that knows the ins and out of cross culture communication better than just about anybody on this small planet.

About TIO Agency

TIO is a creative agency specializing in brand strategy, market communication, advertising, and design. TIO helps businesses communicate to their stakeholders with a unique, clear, and consistent voice. To be heard in today’s over-saturated media landscape, efficient brand communication must be designed holistically to convey a unified message to internal and external stakeholders, then transmitted via multiple media.By aligning to each client’s strategic vision, TIO ensures that its work is focused on concrete marketing objectives, rather than dictated by simple creative whims or technological indulgences.

TIO was founded in 2009 by designer Norman Rabinovich and brand strategist Michael Raisanen. Its team consists of 20 creative professionals across design, strategy, communication, technology advertising, public relations, and new media. The agency is headquartered in New Canaan, Connecticut, USA, with an office in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Topics: communications awards, International business awards, PR awards, creative awards, Tore Claesson, TIO Agency

Pushing the Envelope for its Customers Pays Off for Stevie Awards Winner TELUS

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 05:43 PM

The National Field Support division of TELUS Communications in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, won the Gold Stevie for Support Department of the Year in the Support Awards categories of TELUSThe 2013 International Business Awards.

(The 2014 International Business Awards is still accepting entries.  Review the entry kit here.)

According to Mark Klotz, Director of TELUS Communications’ National Field Support, winning a Stevie Award represented an international acknowledgement of his team’s formidable accomplishments, and has contributed to further success in three areas. “First, the team achieved an all-time high team-engagement score, 7% above the ‘best employer’ index that we benchmark ourselves against,” Mark reported.

“Secondly, it elevated our already amazing culture to a level where front-line agents are driving unprecedented levels of continuous improvement. Lastly, it greatly benefited our customers, because the hope of being recognized by the Stevie Awards for a second year in a row has driven my team’s desire to push the envelope on all our key metrics.”

Providing Technical Support
The TELUS National Field Support (NFS) department trains specialists that capture and resolve anomalies that prevent orders from automatically provisioning in the myriad of complex systems.  They repair these anomalies to meet the customer needs prior to their due date.

These specialists also provide technical support to field technicians by aiding the installation and repair of TELUS products and services for consumer and small business markets in a timely and responsive manner.

The Pressures of Constant Change

Communications service providers are under continual pressure to optimize operational costs, gain agility, and offer superior services to customers. The business of providing voice, data, and TV services requires specialized skills on advanced provisioning systems in order to provide customers with the best possible service in a highly competitive telecommunications industry.

Making Life Simpler for the Customer
The constant evolution of technologies also puts pressure on the team to proactively evolve their skill sets. This evolution has enabled NFS to remain the support team of choice.

We asked Mark what changes in technology he thought would most affect telecommunications customers in the future.

“I see the integration of services, applications, and content as one of the biggest changes coming down the pike,” Mark observed. “This will allow customers to take advantage of more flexible and personalized services and will make their lives simpler than ever before.”

Driving Continuous Improvement

Setting extremely high standards has enabled the National Field Support Department to answer 91% of customer calls within 20 seconds with an average speed of 15 seconds. All calls are directed to a live agent, and 99.6% of all proactively resolved orders meet the service level agreements, demonstrating the TELUS commitment to the customer. Any orders not meeting the level required are handled in real-time by an agent to maintain customer commitment.

As Mark puts it: “The high quality training, the 365-days/year availability, the stringent service level agreements, and the ‘no phone call goes to voice mail’ policy have made the NFS team into a premier support team.”

Enhancing the Customer Experience
Mark reports that his team continues to challenge the status quo and bring forward innovative ideas to help enhance the customer experience. Says Mark: “Despite the unremitting evolution of technologies and processes, the team continues to deliver high levels of success.”

Staying Organized
Mark’s favorite business app is Evernote. “It helps me stay organized using ‘notebooks’, which can include images, photos, and notes,” he told us. “I can seamlessly sync Evernote on my Windows, iOS, and Android devices. There are also several other useful apps that integrate easily into Evernote.”

Inspired By Change

Mark is excited about the future. “The constant pace of change and emergence of new technologies inspires me every day,” he told us. “With that change comes the challenge to constantly prepare and anticipate methods and processes to integrate new technologies with existing ones while making it seamless and transparent for our customers.”

About Mark Klotz:
Mark Klotz has led the National Field Support team through the optimization of office locations and the implementation and integration of the outsourced portion of the team. He is the department’s biggest advocate of change and has instilled within his leadership team a culture of constant evolution.  His thought-provoking challenges continue to raise the bar for the department. Mark brings to the team experience from Information Services, and from Consumer and Business Marketing, Marketing Communications, Channel Management, Strategic Planning, Sales Incentive Management, and Call Center Operations.

About TELUS:
TELUS is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $11.4 billion of annual revenue and 13.3 million customer connections. In support of its philosophy to “give where we live,” TELUS, its team members, and its retirees have contributed more than $350 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 5.4 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. TELUS was honored to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.

Topics: customer service awards, communications awards, business awards, International business awards, stevie awards, TELUS, Mark Klotz

How Makovsky Repositioned a Traditional Ad Medium for Digital Success

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 04:25 PM

Makovsky Integrated Communications received the first-ever Grand Stevie Award for Interactive Services Agency of the Year in The 2013 American Business Awards, the top business awards program in the U.S.A.  (Entry to The 2014 American Business Awards is now open. Find out more here.)  Here we look at what winning the Grand Stevie has meant to the company; and at Makovsky’s work for MediScripts, which earned them two Gold Stevies in the Marketing Awards categories of the 2013 ABAs for Online Marketing Campaign of the Year and for Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year.

When Timothy Kane, Makovsky’s Executive Vice President, Digital Branding, heard that his firm had received the 2013 Grand Stevie for Interactive Services Agency of the Year, he was both delighted and surprised.

Timothy Kane “It was especially gratifying because we’ve made a major effort to build our integrated and interactive capabilities,” said Tim. “In fact, I joined the firm specifically to establish a digital practice. This Grand Stevie is a wonderful acknowledgement that we are accomplishing our goal.”

MediScripts’ Marketing Challenge

Tim was the executive in charge of Makovsky’s multiple Stevie Award-winning MediScripts marketing campaign. “For nearly 20 years, MediScripts had enjoyed an almost effortless increase in sales and profits,” he explained.  “MediScripts’ personalized prescription pads were the perfect way for pharma companies to put their messages right in physicians’ hands at the exact point of prescription.”

But then everything changed.

A Shift to Digital Channels

In recent years, pharma marketers have been shifting an increasing percentage of their marketing dollars away from traditional marketing vehicles and into digital channels. Younger brand managers began to dismiss MediScripts as just another tchotchke.

Makovsky’s challenge was to find a way to move MediScripts out of that tchotchke graveyard and into the world of multichannel marketing.

Introducing a New Medium

The first step was to reposition MediScripts as an actual advertising medium:

MediScripts. The most engaging medium. The agency then redesigned MediScripts’ brand identity, with a modern proprietary font and an icon specifically designed for use in digital applications.

Next, Makovsky suggested a shift in targeting. Over the years, MediScripts had aimed the majority of its marketing efforts toward senior brand marketers at the major pharmaceutical companies. Makovsky suggested broadening their targeting strategy to include younger brand managers, agency media planners, and agency creative directors. Why? Because brand managers control the budget; media planners control the buy; and creative directors control the campaign idea.

The new MediScripts launched in September 2011:

  • A new MediScripts website featured separate user interface pathways for its three targets: Brand Managers, Media Planners, and Creative Directors. (This award winning website won a Silver Stevie in the website awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards.)
  • A campaign of provocative digital ads confronted the conventional media wisdom. Headlines like "What ad is more effective than any ad on this site?" drove MediScripts’ targets to the new website in record numbers.
  • Erez Lapsker, the young CEO of MediScripts, became the public face of the brand, authoring bylined articles, white papers, and podcasts, and hosting a Marketing Agency Happy Hour with representatives from key organizations.
  • Feature articles in major pharma marketing publications such as Med Ad News, PM360, and PharmaVOICE repositioned the company and legitimized point-of-prescription advertising.

From Antiquated to Innovative

Makovsky’s work for the new MediScripts produced immediate results. In the first 90 days of the campaign:

  • Website traffic shot up by 120%; unique visits increased over 80%;
  • Six feature articles and a corporate announcement produced 65 million media impressions;
  • The podcast was downloaded 765 times by key targets and the white paper 104 times;
  • The advertising produced historic click-through rates—as high as 4,800% above industry norms.

But there was one final—and unexpected—result. MediScripts, once considered an antiquated company with an irrelevant value proposition, was named PM360’s Most Innovative Company of the Year, for its ability to show value within the digital space and convey measurable engagement.

Tim summarized it this way: “The hardest part of any digital campaign is how to measure its success.  Not only was MediScripts able to see an increase in meetings and sales, but also the campaign paid for itself almost immediately.”

About Timothy Kane
Timothy Kane is Executive Vice President, Digital Branding at Makovsky Integrated Communications.  In his thirty-year career as an award-winning writer, designer, and marketing strategist, Tim has developed a unique perspective on the value of branding. "The market always rewards strength," he says. "And strength is revealed through communications." 

About Makovsky Integrated Communications
Kenneth D. Makovsky launched the firm in 1979 with a simple philosophy: “There is no task so difficult that it can’t be accomplished by a team of smart people working in harmony.” That mantra holds true more than 30 years later. Though many of Makovsky’s people have big agency and big brand credentials on their résumés, everyone shares an entrepreneurial mindset, infusing everything the company does with a sense of urgency and total commitment to results. That fosters a culture of collaboration, bound by a shared dedication to exceed clients’ expectations.  For more information visit: http://www.makovsky.com/

Topics: makovsky, communications awards, business awards, marketing awards, American business awards, stevie awards, agency of the year

Cynthia Good of Little PINK Book on the Value of Business Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 @ 04:31 PM

Cynthia Good is the founder and CEO of Little PINK Book, and is chair of the final judging committee for the media awards categories in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for women entrepreneurs, executives, employees, and the organizations they run. We asked Cynthia about her experience as a Stevie Award winner, the value of awards programs for women in business, and what inspires her.

Here’s what Cynthia had to say about being a Final Judging Committee Chair, and her own experience of winning a Stevie Award:

Cynthia Good SAWIB Judging Chair“I personally value the invitation to chair one of this year's final judging committees.   At PINK, we have found that whenever we contacted our friends - all senior level women, at Walmart, HP, Accenture, Estee Lauder, Ahava, JPMorgan Chase, and UPS - they were thrilled to join the committee to judge the Stevie Awards.  It speaks volumes about the Stevie Awards organization that some of the most prominent women at many of the world's top companies are willing to take the time to be part of this.  It also shows the commitment their own organizations have to helping women succeed.

“The Stevie Awards have a great reputation and many longtime partners of PINK also participate. We have been excited to share the work PINK has done and to be recognized for the hard work the team at PINK has put in over the years to tell the story about women, career, and advancement.

“At PINK we were especially pleased to have received the Gold Stevie Award in the website awards category for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012) from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. I’m so proud of the PINK team. It is their hard work that resulted in this recognition. And we all appreciate the support given by the Stevie Awards to organizations working to promote women in business.” 

We asked Cynthia for some advice on what Corporate America can do to expand the roles of women and minorities in the workplace.  Here’s what she told us:

“In our work with corporations to advance women and minorities we’ve found that most companies rely primarily on mentoring, networking, affinity groups, and sponsorship programs as the means of advancing diversity; but this isn’t enough to change the metrics.

“At most companies, diversity engagement becomes the responsibility of the HR and Diversity departments in order to make sure a company is compliant and that minority employees have a sounding board. But this does not drive real change and may even contribute to a continuation of the status quo.

“How to fix it?  What we at PINK have found is often lacking is full endorsement from the top. Once the CEO of a company decides to measure and then increase diversity participation in leadership roles, then we can bring about real change.

“At PINK, we will only work with companies to increase diversity leadership when there is full support and direction from the top. This makes it far easier for Diversity and HR to set--and then achieve--specific goals.

“Advancement within a company or organization requires not just the full participation of the individual diversity candidate: it means finding out what each candidate is most passionate about; what the obstacles to advancement are; and what it will take to overcome those obstacles.”

When asked for her sources of inspiration, Cynthia told us:

Eighty percent of those in PINK’s community say they advanced in their career because of Little PINK Book. It is those individual stories of inspiration that keep us motivated and excited to get up every morning.

“You can read one example in a recent feature story we ran on America’s Top 10 Female CFOs.  Another was the Facebook Contest we organized that gave one contestant a week at Canyon Ranch Spa for sharing how she had found the ‘courage to do what she loves.’ We also share the wisdom of women leaders every year at our signature events.  The next one, our 9th Annual Fall Empowerment Event, is November 12 in Atlanta, and we will be live-streaming it free for women around the world to watch, learn, and be as inspired as we are by these leaders’ stories of triumph.”

2013 Judging and Awards Dinner and Ceremonies:

The final judging committees of the Stevie Awards for Women in Business are currently determining the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the winners. In addition to the media categories, The Stevie Awards for Women in Business final judging committees will also confer marketing awards, new product awards, management awards, company awards, and PR awards. The awards will be announced and presented, and the recipients and judges will be celebrated, at the 2013 (10th annual) awards dinner and ceremonies. The dinner will be held on Friday, November 8 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York City. Tickets are still available.

About Cynthia Good:
Cynthia Good is the founder and CEO of Little PINK Book, America's #1 digital platform for career women. PINK launched in 2005 as the only national women's business magazine, which under Cynthia’s leadership grew to a readership of 650,000. She then grew the digital version, LittlePINKBook.com, into America's top online resource for working women. Now she's bringing advancement directly to Fortune 500 companies with programs such as ITAP (Identify, Track, Advance, Promote), enabling corporate America to increase the diversity representation of women and minorities in leadership roles. "It's our legacy work," says AIG.

PINK has won numerous industry honors including the Ozzie Award for Best Feature, and the Gold Stevie for Best Website from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business for two consecutive years. Stories featuring top women in business on LittlePINKBook.com continue to inspire generations of ambitious women. Cynthia has written six books and appears regularly as a women's business expert on evening newscasts. She gives speeches to corporate and entrepreneurial groups alike, including The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, McKesson, Andrews Kurth, Hilton Worldwide, Deloitte, and KPMG.

A self-described Famillionaire, Cynthia knows riches are in family. She lives in Atlanta, GA, USA with her husband of more than 20 years and their two sons, Alden and Julien; two miniature horses; four chickens; and Lucy their giant orange cat.

About Little PINK Book:
Little PINK Book describes itself as:  “Your daily dose of encouragement and inspiration to follow your dreams and have the beautiful career and beautiful life you deserve.”  For more information, go to www.littlepinkbook.com.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, women awards, women in business awards, creative awards, women executive awards, cynthia good, little pink book

How Stevie Awards Winner MAC Presents Used Social Media for AT&T and Samsung

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 03:39 PM

MAC Presents of New York, New York USA won the Gold Stevie® Award for Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year in the communications and marketing awards categories of the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for women entrepreneurs, executives, and the organizations they run.  (Another MAC Presents campaign also won a Gold Stevie for Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year in The 2013 American Business Awards.) The entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business is August 28 - get the entry kit here.)

Here we look at the highly successful AT&T/Samsung sponsorship that MAC Presents put together with the New York fashion label rag & bone.

For the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note, AT&T and Samsung wanted to target the creative, fashion-forward mobile consumer, who would not only want the latest in advanced technology but would also view the device as a fashion accessory.

A custom promotion solution was needed that would establish a Galaxy Note social community within the fashion world during New York’s Fashion Week. Ideally, this social platform would integrate the phone into the daily life both of a fashion designer partner and of respected fashion bloggers.

The Ideal Collaboration

MAC Presents worked with AT&T and Samsung's marketing teams to select the ideal designers for them to collaborate with, and to create the unique marketing that would effectively reach the Galaxy Note's target audience.

MAC Presents developed a custom program that enabled AT&T/Samsung to partner with rag & bone, one of today's leading fashion brands based in New York City. To help reach the Galaxy Note’s influential target audience, MAC Presents worked with rag & bone to create an exclusive case for the Galaxy Note device.

The Galaxy Note was integrated into rag & bone’s 2012 fashion show during New York Fashion Week with signage and an exclusive, branded VIP area backstage. Additionally, influential fashion bloggers such as Bryan Boy, Leandra Medine, and Susie Bubble were given Galaxy Note devices to use for posting to their blogs and tweets during New York Fashion Week.

Comprehensive Media Plan
MAC Presents developed a comprehensive media plan that included print, outdoor, and online advertising as well as social media and public relations outreach. Bus shelter advertising was utilized to promote the partnership in key locations around New York City.

All creative featured the still photography of New York-based photographer Danny Clinch. Danny also shot a :30 commercial for the Galaxy Note featuring rag & bone's designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville. The pair also hosted a private Galaxy Note launch party in New York City that included a performance from Band of Horses. With many celebrities in attendance, the event attracted millions of press impressions.

MAC Presents’ combined media outreach efforts garnered over 114,000,000 million consumer impressions.

Online Campaign

An extensive online campaign was implemented to increase awareness of the collaboration between AT&T/Samsung and rag & bone. MAC Presents partnered with fashion publications Front Row Daily and WWD to create rich, online advertising opportunities. Additionally, MAC Presents partnered with Billboard.com to reach the fashion, music oriented consumer.

Facebook Advertising

A daily Facebook advertising plan was put into effect to launch the campaign and build awareness of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

In total, over 4 billion consumer impressions were garnered through online efforts.

Marcie AllenThe Value of Social Media

Marcie Allen, president of MAC Presents, comments: “Social media has opened up brand involvement beyond tour sponsorships.” Allen points to MAC Presents' launching of Nokia Music with AT&T through a sponsorship with Green Day that has garnered more than 165 million social media impressions, as well as a Gold Stevie in the 2013 American Business Awards. “All the programs we put together in 2012 were heavily based in social media,” she says. “There has to be value. You have to be able to measure and track sales. You can do that with social media.”

Inspiring Women

“As a woman in the music industry, recognition in the Stevie Awards has proved an effective tool for me to encourage more women to enter this industry,” continued Allen. “As someone who has been in the music industry for 18 years, I want to inspire women and show them that anything is possible.  All power to the Stevie Awards for Women on its 10th Anniversary!”

About Marcie Allen
Marcie Allen is President of New York City-based sponsorship and fulfillment agency MAC Presents. Allen leverages her eighteen years of music industry experience to negotiate high profile sponsorships between the world’s leading brands and artists. Allen has executed partnerships on behalf of brands including Jeep, Microsoft, Samsung, CITI, AT&T, and Nokia.  She is a seven-time nominee and two-time winner of Billboard Magazine's Concert Marketing and Promotion Award. Allen was named to Billboard’s Women in Music in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and Billboard’s 40 under 40 in 2013.

In April 2013, The White House honored Allen as one of their Hurricane Sandy "Champions of Change." The event highlighted people and organizations directly involved in response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Allen directed a documentary short, “Beach 119,” about her efforts in Rockaways, New York, after the storm.

Prior to starting MAC, Allen owned and operated MAD Booking & Events, which booked and produced music festivals across the country including On the Bricks in Atlanta, GA. Allen is on the board of directors for Musicians on Call and the TJ Martell Foundation.

About MAC Presents
MAC Presents is an award-winning sponsorship and fulfillment agency based in New York City that executes partnerships between the world’s leading brands and artists. With expertise in the music industry, MAC creates authentic brand connections that produce unique experiences and ignite consumer passion.

Topics: communications awards, marketing awards, stevie awards for women in business, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, women executive awards, samsung, mac presents, at&T

PR Award Winner APRA Porter Novelli Tackles Obesity for Nestlé

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 @ 02:59 PM

APRA Porter Novelli of Sofia, Bulgaria has won the Stevie Award for Best Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Reputation/Brand Management in the public relations awards categories of The 2011 International Business Awards. Here we look at their award-winning campaign to fight the flab.

Nestle Fights ObesityThe devastating facts behind APRA Porter Novelli’s LIVE ACTIVELY! campaign were that each year more and more people in Bulgaria were suffering from obesity and related health problems, particularly children, the elderly, and young working people. Contributing factors included a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of education on balanced nutrition. Bulgaria had recently ranked fifth in Europe for having the most obese population, according to the EU’s Diogenes project.

LIVE ACTIVELY! Campaign Objectives

Nestlé Bulgaria is the country’s biggest Nutrition Health and Wellness (NHW) Company, with products targeted at people from all age groups and social and professional backgrounds. Nestlé is also a socially responsible company, dedicated to long-term investment in the health and well being of consumers.

Research showed that obesity-related problems strike everyone, even children. APRA Porter Novelli therefore created the LIVE ACTIVELY! campaign for its client Nestlé to address the mass public.

LIVE ACTIVELY! Events

Since 2005, APRA Porter Novelli and Nestlé Bulgaria have organized an annual campaign to raise public awareness of the benefits of an active lifestyle and to promote the importance of physical activity in an urban environment. A key element in the project is to promote walking as a simple way to not only stay fit and healthy, but also to improving the environment and reduce air pollution.

APRA Porter Novelli organizes LIVE ACTIVELY! events each year in open air spaces that include central streets, parks, and beaches.  LIVE ACTIVELY! 2010 integrated the following events into one campaign:

  • Sofia, June 20: Official Opening Ceremony, a walkathon, sports activities, concerts, and educational games.
  • Varna, August 10, Nessebar, August 12, and Primorsko, August 14: Beach sports activities, tournaments, and educational games.

Communications Campaign

APRA Porter Novelli supported the 2010 LIVE ACTIVELY! project with a huge communications campaign that included the distribution of thousands of branded hats and T-shirts, special LIVE ACTIVELY! footsteps stuck on the ground to mark the route of the Sofia walkathon; 120,000 leaflet insertions in newspapers and magazines; 60,000 posters; print ads; TV and radio spots, outdoor billboards; Internet banner ads; and a Facebook fan page.

In addition, APRA Porter Novelli arranged for the distribution in Sofia schools of 10,000 maps of South Park, with locations and details of related sport activities; and at the opening ceremony, 50 LIVE ACTIVELY! Gold Medals were awarded to top Bulgarian sportsmen.

VIP Support

LIVE ACTIVELY! received support from numerous Bulgarian VIPs, including the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov; the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova; Olympic athletics champion Tereza Marinova; World rhythmic gymnastics champion Iliana Raeva; World Champion weightlifter Armen Nazarian; and Olympic shooting champion Maria Grozdeva.

Overwhelming Results

The amount of publicity and total media space devoted to LIVE ACTIVELY! events has doubled each year.  Over 300 media outlets covered the events in 2010. The number of participants has grown by over 1,500% over the past 5 years, with 28,500 people taking part in 2010. Over 83,000 people were involved in all the 2010 LIVE ACTIVELY! activities, including 18,000 Facebook fans; and the most active participants received a total of 30,000 sports awards.

LIVE ACTIVELY! is currently the biggest sports event in Bulgaria. It is Nestlé

Bulgaria’s flagship initiative for Nutrition Health and Wellness.

About Tomislav Tsolov and Lubomir Alamanov:

Tomislav Tsolov and Lubomir Alamanov founded APRA Porter Novelli in 1994.  Under their guidance, it has evolved into one of the most experienced communication groups on the Bulgarian market, setting trends for the whole Bulgarian market.

APRA Porter Novelli was among the founders of the Bulgarian Association of PR

Agencies, and Lubomir Alamanov was its first Chairman, from 2001 to 2008. During these years the foundation of the PR industry in Bulgaria was formed and the Stockholm Chapter of Ethics was adopted.

About APRA Porter Novelli:

APRA Porter Novelli is a full-service communications agency with a team of over 70 experienced staff.  For more information go to www.apraagency.com.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, International business awards, PR awards, public relations awards, APRA, porter novelli

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