Public Relations Awards

Michael Gallagher

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Stevie Awards Winner Reveals What It Takes to Succeed in Asia-Pacific

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 02:45 PM

Weber Shandwick | Asia-Pacific won two Gold Stevie Awards in The 2013 International Business Awards.  Their Beijing office won in the app awards categories for an app created for McDonalds in China; and their Singapore office won for a community relations campaign in the PR awards categories.  (The 2014 International Business Awards is currently accepting entries. Get your entry kit here).

We asked Simon Dang, vice president, inline strategy, at Weber Shandwick Beijing, for his insight on what companies and organizations should be doing to better promote their goods or services in the Asia-Pacific region.

Engaging with the Consumer

Simon DangSimon told us: “Throughout Asia Pacific, and in the China market especially, social media and mobile access simply cannot be ignored.  Brands really need to start with a mobile strategy first, not as an afterthought.  Whether it is investing in a custom APP or creating content on social media mobile such as WeChat and Line or Weibo, branded customized communication experiences on mobile devices need to meet the demand for the on-the-go, always-on lifestyle of today. “

Simon added: “Just as many consumers today expect to be able to chat directly with a brand one-on-one via WeChat, WhatsApp, etc. It’s a huge opportunity for brands to further engage with personalized conversations and learn more about their consumers.”

Dedication to Clients

Weber Shandwick’s Stevie® Award-winning entry in the Apps categories, Olympic App Strikes Gold with Youth,” is a perfect example of how the agency helped their client McDonald’s reach the youth market through the use of social media.

Simon told us that he regards the Stevies as one of the major awards in the industry. “We are honored and delighted to have received this award.  It’s a testament to the exceptional dedication and skill of our entire team and the work we do for our clients.”

He added that the Weber Shandwick team had had a lot of fun creating the app for McDonald’s.  “It was used to truly engage and tap into the passion of the Olympic fans of China.  Winning this award has energized the team to really push the boundaries on what types of mobile apps to create for upcoming campaigns, and how we can make more apps that truly engage audiences and make a difference.”

Getting Around in Beijing

Being a part of the on-the-go, always-on lifestyle himself, Simon tells us: “It’s really hard to get taxis in Beijing so I like using 嘀嘀打车(Didi Dache)along with WeChat’s integrated payment system.”  Useful information if you are doing business in Beijing.

Historic Change

We asked Simon what excited him about the future.  He told us it was the limitless possibilities for the Asia-Pacific region.  “It’s often said that there’s not a lot of innovation coming out of the China,” Simon explained.  “But as many Stevie Award winners show, that’s completely false.  We are living in an historic period of change. We’re already seeing so much being led out of Asia Pacific—and there is much more to come.“

About Simon Dang

Simon Dang is vice president, inline strategy, at Weber Shandwick Beijing. He provides strategic direction across digital and traditional PR teams to oversee integrated marketing and media strategies that inspire clients and target audiences in both the online and offline worlds. His ten years of experience in digital includes paid search, social media, display media buying, above-the-line advertising, and creative content production that spans FMCG, finance, retail, travel, and technology verticals.  Simon’s current clients include McDonald’s, Unilever, Microsoft, California Walnuts, and Ocean Spray.

Prior to Weber Shandwick, Simon was the global search director at Mindshare NY overseeing the global account for SAP and the North America region for all Unilever brands.  For Unilever, his team created and executed social media, community management, influencer engagement and integrated marketing programs for Unilever, including a Facebook campaign that led to top fan page growth in 2010.  Simon was also invited to join Unilever’s North America Digital Innovation Board as an advisor on all brands for search and digital media strategy.

Simon has spoken at various international conferences, including BeaPon’s Annual Asia Social Media Summit, the Beijing Government Affairs Forum 2012, SES China, SES London, and OMS New York, and was a guest lecturer at the Zicklin School of Business in New York.  Simon is a volunteer at TED-X Beijing and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

About Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations firm with offices in 81 countries. The firm’s diverse team of thinkers, strategists, analysts, producers, designers, developers, and campaign activators has won the most prestigious awards in the world for innovative, creative approaches and impactful work. The firm deploys deep expertise across sectors and specialty areas, including consumer marketing, corporate reputation, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate social responsibility, financial communications, and crisis management, using proprietary social, digital, and analytics methodologies. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, public relations awards, weber shandwick, simon dang, IBAs

Why Media Relations Are Still Relevant, by a Stevie Awards Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

5W Public Relations, in New York, New York, USA was named Public Relations Agency of the Year in the PR awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards. (Entries to The 2014 American Business Awards are now being accepted.  Get your entry kit here.)  Agency founder Ronn Torossian shares with us his views on the relevance of media relations today.

Ronn TossorianEvery year, the argument of how “PR firms are overrated” or “You don’t need a PR firm” floats about, usually thanks to an influencer who doesn’t see the results he anticipated or because of an article in the mainstream press. As the CEO of a large PR firm, I am not angered by these comments; rather I appreciate the discussions they foster. As 2014 begins, we media relations experts must continue to showcase our ability to lead the communications discussion and execution by understanding the following:

1. Crisis communications issues are magnified.  In the past, a company could botch an order, have an employee do something stupid, make a big quarterly loss, or experience some other major dilemma, then simply wait for the crisis to blow over. Now, mostly due to the advent of the Internet, crisis issues can destroy companies if they aren’t handled correctly.

It can begin as a blog post that is tweeted and is then seen by a small town reporter who writes an article that gets picked up by a wire service … the next think you know—BOOM!—a horrible story about your company is on the front page of the Huffington Post and your competitors are stealing your clients and customers.

So, what role can media-relations experts play? They can navigate these waters by speaking with the blogger and getting the post revised, or maybe they can jump on the phone with the small town reporter and explain where the blog post erred in its reporting and why it’s NOT a story.

Someone without a communications background may be ill equipped professionally to tackle these issues. 

2. Everyone is a reporter… literally. Because we all have blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter handles, LinkedIn profiles, and more, companies need to tread lightly around sensitive issues, yet be aggressive in their promotion of positive ones.

Understanding who are the correct bloggers to reach out to, or which introductions to make at conferences or trade shows—not to mention who to respectfully stay away from—are not skills learned overnight. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of crafting smart messaging—and delivering that message to the correct people.

Companies that adhere to the “any publicity is good publicity” adage are often found by outsiders to have inconsistent messaging and confusing company structures.  This can sometimes result in missed stories that should have been big—or small, negative stories that should have been killed. Being able to discern the difference between an opportunity and a pitfall are two things that any media-relations expert can identify. 

3. … While influential Print/Radio/TV reporters are getting harder to find. While it is true that these days everyone and their neighbor is a reporter, the truly influential traditional reporters still exist. Your parents are not crazy, and many people do still read publications like The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Entrepreneur, and The Wall Street Journal cover to cover—and not on their Kindle. EVERY industry—no exceptions—has at least four or five reporters from whom all the experts, bloggers, specialists, etc. take their cues. 

Knowing who these influencers are, and having the relationships to make introductions and to generate coverage that moves the needle, are the most important reasons for companies to hire a public relations firm.

4. SEO is of high importance. This should come as a shock to no one. An entire industry has been built around search engine optimization and online reputation management, and the connection between these and public relations cannot be ignored.

Having online media results that rank very highly—especially when these reflect company messaging or are a ringing endorsement of your company—such results will not go unnoticed, particularly when third-party members of the media draft them. Prospective buyers, clients, and partners do perform due diligence, and having the online reputation to support your business is what makes the difference between an incoming lead or a phone that doesn’t ring.  And its just as important to have the volume of online content to battle negative reviews, false stories, and other content deemed detrimental to ones brand.

These objectives can all be met by having a media relations team in place to build positive online search results filled with media coverage. 

5. Content marketing both requires and creates a need for PR. Yes, even in 2014, people still use brochures and one-pagers for marketing. They also use—perhaps more than ever—webinars, white papers, video, and e-mail marketing.  These are all tools most marketers keep in their work belt.

Public relations outreach is often what drives people to download, sign up, or request more information for content marketing tools. More importantly, once that e-mail address is captured or that trade show is booked, something needs to be delivered. This is where media articles, videos, and sound bytes can best be utilized. Rather than sending out an email blast telling your prospective leads how great your company is, you can send out that same blast with a Forbes article, which will do all the telling for you.

Public relations experts know that media results speak for themselves—and they know how to use them to get results from your marketing practices.

Read more on the 5W PR Agency’s blog.

About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the founder, president, and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations (5WPR), a top 25 US PR Agency with more than 100 employees.  Ronn is known for his resourceful, results-focused approach and for his close relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians, and celebrities. Under his leadership, the firm has become one of the fastest growing agencies in the industry, with work that spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional businesses, government agencies, and academic institutions, managing both their routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. 

Ronn has been recognized as a semi-finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and named to the "40 Under 40" lists of both PR Week and Advertising Age. The country's most influential media frequently feature Ronn's commentary and opinion on reputation management issues. His book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, was released in 2011. Ronn is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and serves as a board member of numerous non-profit organizations. Ronn was born and raised in New York City and resides with his family on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

About 5W Public Relations
5W Public Relations is a full-service PR agency known for innovative programs that engage with businesses, individuals, and ideas. With over 100 experienced professionals serving clients in industries spanning Beauty & Fashion, Consumer Brands, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Travel & Hospitality, Technology, Nonprofit, Corporate Communications and Reputation Management, Public Affairs, Crisis Communications, and Digital Strategy, 5W provides leading organizations and individuals with a resourceful, creative and results-oriented approach to communications.

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, agency of the year, public relations awards

Call for Entries for 22nd IPRA PR Awards for Excellence

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

stevie_ipragwa_sitelogo_newThe 22nd edition of the International Public Relations Association's Golden World Awards for PR Excellence is now accepting entries.

You may access the entry kit here.

The GWAs are the world's top international public relations awards competition, featuring a wide variety of categories for agencies and communications departments.  All organizations and individuals worldwide are invited to submit entries. 

The Golden World Awards initiative, established in 1990 by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and now managed by the Stevie® Awards, recognizes excellence in public relations practice worldwide.  There is no more prestigious international public relations awards program.

Here is the calendar for the 2014 competition:

14 April is the early-bird entry deadline with discounted entry fees.

5 May is the final entry deadline.

19 May is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee.

Judging will take place: 1st Round in early June, 2nd Round on 26 June.

The winners celebration will be held in fall 2014, date and setting to be determined.

If you have questions about how to prepare or submit entries after you've reviewed the entry kit, please don't hesitate to contact us.
+1 703-547-8389


Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, public relations awards, IPRA

PR Awards Winners Announced in 21st IPRA Golden World Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 @ 11:39 AM

Winners have been announced in the 21st annual IPRA Golden World Awards, the top international public relations awards competition.

See the full list of 2013 winners here.   Among the top winners with multiple awards are Bacardi Limited, Citi, MSLGroup, and Weber Shandwick.

IRA GWAThe IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence offer world-wide recognition and acclaim to world-class public relations programmes. The 2013 competition, conducted by the International Public Relations Association, was open to local, regional, national or international public relations programmes carried out or completed in 2012/2013.

The number of categories in the GWA doubled this year, with separate categories for Agency and for Inhouse entries. Entrants may submit any number of nominations to any number of categories, which include: Community Relations, Corporate Communications, Crisis Management, Digital Media Relations, Event Management, Internal Communications, Launch of a New Product, PR on a Shoestring, Publications, Social Media for PR, and Technology, among others.

Entries submitted to the Golden World Awards competition were judged by an international panel of senior practitioners.

The GWA are managed on behalf of IPRA by the Stevie® Awards, which organizes the world’s premier business awards programs including The International Business Awards, The American Business Awards, and the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. Questions about IPRA’s Golden World Awards may be directed to

Entries for the 2014 edition of the Golden World Awards for PR Excellence will open in January.  Join the mailing list to ensure that you are emailed the entry kit as soon as it's available.

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, public relations awards, IPRA

Finalists Announced in IPRA's Golden World PR Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

Finalists are announced in the 21st annual IPRA Golden World Awards, the top international public relations awards competition.

See the list of Finalists here.

IPRA LogoThe IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence offer world-wide recognition and acclaim to world-class public relations programmes. The 2013 competition, conducted by the International Public Relations Association, was open to local, regional, national or international public relations programmes carried out or completed in 2012/2013.

The number of categories - and entries - in the GWA doubled this year, as now there are separate categories for Agency and for Inhouse entries. Entrants may submit any number of nominations to any number of categories, which include: Community Relations, Corporate Communications, Crisis Management, Digital Media Relations, Event Management, Internal Communications, Launch of a New Product, PR on a Shoestring, Publications, Social Media for PR, and Technology, among others.

Finalists were determined by an international panel of senior practitioners. Final judging to determine the overall category winners will take place in Cologne, Germany on July 12.

The 2013 GWA are managed on behalf of IPRA by the Stevie® Awards, which organizes the world’s premier business awards programs including The International Business Awards and The American Business Awards.  Questions about IPRA’s Golden World Awards may be directed to

Tags: communications awards, PR awards, stevie awards, public relations awards, IPRA

Top 2 Tips for Businesses Trying to Break Into Latin America, From a PR Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Sep 01, 2011 @ 10:19 AM

Q&A with Edward de Valle, CEO of AMGW Agency of Brazil and Miami, Florida, USA, which received the Stevie Award for Public Relations Agency of the Year in Mexico, Central, and South America in the PR awards categories of The 2011 International Business Awards.  The IBAs are open to all organizations worldwide.  This year’s awards ceremonies will be on October 11 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Edward de ValleWhat are your top tips for U.S. and European companies or organizations thinking of doing business in South and Central America?

1. Do not try to take on the entire region at once, as it is extremely large.  Focus on key markets that are of interest to your organization. Each section of Central and South America has a different cultural working environment. For instance, if you want to focus on Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile that would be considered a Southern Cone business push. On the other hand, if you prefer to work with Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia, that is known as the Andean Pack. Focus on the markets that would best utilize your goods or services.

2. Tailor your goods or services for the markets you decide to work in. For example, if your company is a marketing consultancy like my own agency—which offers public relations, media placement, translation, and creative services out of our Miami offices—you might do well to offer just a few of those services in Central or South America.  Not all of your products or services may make sense in the competitive make-up of such widely different markets. In Brazil, for instance, we have found it best to offer media placement and public relations, but not our creative services.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

I am fascinated by news stories on the ever-changing global economy. When I learned recently that American corporations were working very hard to increase their global sales rather than focusing on the U.S. and Canada, I felt that finally someone was listening to what I have been trying to tell people for years. The profits of American corporations will be over 50% of their P&L by 2015 (right now it is at 40%) so I feel that AMGW Agency is in the right place at the right time to help these companies expand their ever-growing businesses into new areas.

Do you have a favorite business app?

Not an app per se, but I follow an applicable way of thinking and working using ZMOT from Google. Amazing! It’s incredible how quickly marketing is changing and I am constantly going back to ZMOT to reference great new thinking and ideas.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

Motivational speaker. I believe that youth globally is headed in a very dangerous direction. Expecting instead of creating has become the norm. We need to create, create, and create.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

That they love what they do and are eager to help our clients get a return on their marketing investment—which can be very difficult at times.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work? 

Counting how much money you will make off each paycheck or client profit. If you work thinking only about what you earn, you do not have passion. Passion comes first and money later. Also, people first and money later.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

To be honest with you, sometimes I do not know. I think it must be the drive inside me that never stops wanting to make things happen for others. I love helping people and I work every day with this in mind. I see a great company with bad marketing tactics and I salivate to get them on track. That’s the real thrill for me: getting results for clients.

About Edward de Valle

Edward de Valle established AMGW Agency ten years ago.  Prior to that he worked in the publishing industry, most recently as Director of Sales at Newsweek Latin America.  His career began at General Electric as the Marketing Manager for GE Power Systems Latin America.

Edward is Cuban American. His great-great-grandfather, Alfredo de Zayas y Alfonso, was the 4th President of Cuba and his great grandfather was the owner of one of the largest newspapers in Cuba, El Avance. More recently, his father ran a construction and real estate business in Florida, while his mother is a director and principal of education. His formal education includes a B.S. in International Business, an M.B.A. in corporate marketing, and three years of completed doctoral work in the science of organizational behavior at Nova Southeastern University.

About AMGW Agency

AMGW Agency provides essential services for luxury brands, developers /hoteliers, and medical/healthcare companies around the world. With its core services in media planning and buying, public relations, sales consulting, and interactive marketing, AMGW executes marketing strategies in all seven continents. The company has regional offices in the United States (Miami, New York, San Francisco); Mexico; Panama; Colombia; Venezuela; Dominican Republic; Brazil (Sao Paulo, Goiania, Brasilia); United Kingdom; Italy; Netherlands; Russia; India; Dubai; Qatar; and Lebanon. Recently AMGW Agency formed a global alliance with El Taller Creativo of the Dominican Republic, making AMGW the number one advertising, PR, and communications firm for The Americas and Caribbean. Its newest offices are located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. To learn more about the agency visit

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, stevie awards, agency of the year, public relations awards, AMGW

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

PR Awards Case Study: How ING Bank Inspires Employees to Excel

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 @ 12:07 PM

ING Commercial Banking, Amsterdam, The Netherlands won the Stevie Award for Best Communications or PR Campaign of the Year-–Issues Management in the Public Relations Awards categories of The 2010 International Business Awards.  (The final entry deadline for this year’s IBAs is June 30.)  Here we look at a successful program developed by ING’s Internal Communications team.

Following one of the most turbulent periods in the banking industry’s history—and consequent structural changes at ING—management at ING Commercial Banking (CB) Belgium found that it needed to address key organizational issues within a short timeframe. 

At the top of the company’s agenda were:

-       defining a clear strategic direction for prevailing market conditions;

-       maintaining employee engagement; and

-       empowering employees to get involved in ambitious plans for growth.

Leanne CarmodyTo address these issues, ING’s Internal Communications team in Amsterdam, headed by Leanne Carmody, designed “Going Further” as a bottom-up style program that would accelerate ING’s ambition to become the leading commercial bank in Belgium with active staff participation.

Employee Involvement

The most challenging of the key issues, however, was tackling employee empowerment. Ongoing research had indicated that employees did not feel involved in delivering the ING CB strategy in Belgium.

Having alerted management to the issue, the Internal Communications team developed an additional 2-step implementation plan to ensure that all employees in Belgium were fully invested in the Going Further program. 

The implementation plan motivated both management and employees to share their views while actively supporting the project teams—made up of colleagues from across the business—that were tasked with developing feasible plans for achieving the company’s business goals.

Powerful Visuals

To support the program’s top priorities, ING’s Internal Communications team used various tools to engage employees in helping the project teams to develop practical initiatives.  Powerful visuals and information tools supported the Going Further bottom-up approach, starting with an eye-catching video which captured the essence of where the organization was and where it wanted to be by the end of 2010.

Intranet Site

To promote the interactive element of the program, an intranet site encouraged employees to post ideas and view video reports from the project teams. The working groups each received a Flip camera to film the different steps in the project. Team members used these cameras to post videos depicting the teams as champions for the project. Regular email newsflashes and intranet articles helped employees stay up-to-date with the program, and senior management—playing a strong, visible leadership role—encouraged employees to get involved.

Senior Management Commitment

To demonstrate the commitment of the company’s key leaders to the program, employees were given access to the presentation by senior management of ING Belgium and Commercial Banking Global to the Board of Directors.  Internal Communications also worked with management to provide quarterly updates on the program at Town Hall-style meetings that were attended by at least 250 CB Belgium employees.


The impact of Going Further became evident throughout the organization:
• it changed the mindset within CB Belgium, where a more solutions-
based approach has now been adopted;
• employees reported they felt they had a greater role to play in the ING
strategy and had a greater sense of ownership;
• the project teams and the colleagues they involved collectively produced no fewer than 36 concrete initiatives; and
• the microsite, launched in October 2009, proved invaluable in engaging
employees, attracting over 25,000 visits by the end of April 2010, when

proposals were finalized.

Going Even Further

Today, ING CB Belgium’s senior management is still using the “Going Further” tools provided by its Internal Communications team to address key issues, and continues to integrate communications with other business activities by linking them to overall objectives and business priorities.

Following the program’s success in Belgium, Going Further launched in CB’s Central, Eastern Europe region in April 2010 and was implemented in other CB business areas later in the year.

About Leanne Carmody:

At the time of this program’s launch, Leanne Carmody was the Head of Internal Communications for ING Commercial Banking. Based in Amsterdam, she led a communications team with global responsibility for strategy and management communications, internal channels, internal branding, and embedding values and performance goals. In 2009, the team won the CiB award for Best Global Campaign. Recently, Leanne was appointed Head of Internal Communications for ING Banking.

Prior to ING, Leanne held senior communication roles at ABN AMRO and was a consultant with Cap Gemini.  She is currently on maternity leave.

About ING:

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million private, corporate, and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of more than 107,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping its clients manage their financial future. For more information, visit

About ING Commercial Banking:

ING Commercial Banking meets all of the banking needs of corporations and large multinationals, as well as financial institutions. With a history that stretches back some 200 years, ING helps clients build successful businesses.

3 Tips on PR Campaigns in India From a PR Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 11:43 AM


Atul Ahluwalia is chair of the final judging committee for the Corporate Communications and Public Relations Awards categories of The 2011 International Business Awards, the competition that's open to all organizations worldwide.  The entry deadline for this year's IBAs is May 11, and the IBA entry kit is here.

Atul AhluwaliaWhat are your top 3 tips on how to plan a PR campaign in India?
To be effective in India, a PR campaign should have a central big idea, which is derived from key stakeholder insights.

It is also critical to identify potential advocates at the outset, engage them effectively, and make them co-owners of the campaign.

Depending on the nature of the campaign, it will need to integrate a variety of media. India is a diverse country with a multilingual population. Consequently, integrating the multitude of media channels spanning print, television, radio, and social media across languages can be a real challenge for people not familiar with the country. 

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The Japan crisis involving the crippling of the Fukushima power plant and the resultant potential radioactive fallout is at the top of my mind. While being faced with the daunting task of containing damage at the nuclear plant, the Government of Japan has been measured in communicating with its citizens and with the international community, and I think this has helped prevent panic among the population at large. 

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Filmmaking, as it is also a creative profession.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
A desire to excel in every aspect of work.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?
Lack of proactivity and a pushback attitude.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
An opportunity to make a difference to the discipline of Public Relations.

About Atul Ahluwalia:
Atul Ahluwalia joined Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick when the Delhi office was first set up in 1994.  With an astute focus on client business outcomes and strong leadership, Ahluwalia rose to become head of North and East India operations for the agency, and was appointed president in 2009.

Ahluwalia's core strengths include corporate and industry-related strategic counseling, media, and crisis management.  During his time at Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick, Ahluwalia has successfully won a range of impressive clients spanning diverse industries and has led many challenging assignments. With over 20 years in public relations, Ahluwalia's industry experience includes hospitality, consumer electronics, aviation, FMCG, information technology, telecommunications, and banking, among others.   Prior to joining Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick, Ahluwalia spent five years in advertising.

Ahluwalia has been instrumental in making Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick the most consistently awarded PR agency in India, winning such global awards as the IPRA Golden World Award, PR Week's Asia-Pacific Campaign of the Year, an Asia Pacific SABRE Award, the United Nations Grand Prize for PR Excellence, a Stevie in The International Business Awards, and a PR Silver Lion at Cannes.

Ahluwalia is an alumnus of St. Columba's High School and Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University.  He is a founder member of The Public Relations Consultancies Association of India (PRCAI), and is a regular guest speaker at advertising and PR institutes.

About Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick:
Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick (CVWS) is a joint venture company owned by Weber Shandwick, a unit of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG) headquartered in New York, and MAA Group Holdings headquartered in Bangalore. Founded in 1992, the firm has grown to become one of the largest and most-awarded consultancies in India, providing a suite of services in corporate reputation development, management, and public affairs.

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

Case Study: PR Awards-winner Hilton Hotels Boosts Brand Image With Global Media Center

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 @ 04:34 PM


The final entry deadline for The 2011 American Business Awards is fast approaching (it's March 31, although late entries will be accepted through April 27 with payment of a late fee). The corporate communications and public relations awards categories are among the most popular in the competition, so we thought we'd take this opportunity to publish Hilton Hotels' Stevie Award-winning Communications or PR Campaign of the Year entry from last year, in order to remind you that virtually all of the past Stevie Award-winning entries are published on the awards' website. You'll find the 2010 honorees in the ABAs here.

Hilton logoHilton Hotels was honored last year in the category of Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Reputation/Brand Management. The nomination was submitted by Hilton's agency partner, Covalent Logic. 30-40% of all entries submitted to Stevie Awards competitions are submitted by agencies on behalf of their clients, and the entering agency's role in preparing and submitting the nomination is always acknowledged.

You'll find the entry kit for The 2011 American Business Awards here.

We recently published a tipsheet called 10 Tips for Winning PR Awards in the 2011 Stevies - get it here.

Tags: communications awards, business awards, PR awards, public relations awards, hilton