A four-person panel of Thoth, SABRE, Silver Anvil and other award-winners stressed the importance of broad business goals, meaningful evaluative data and effective entry presentation for public relations award submissions at the Public Relations Society of America National Capital Chapter’s (PRSA-NCC) “How to Create an Award-Winning Thoth Application and Showcase Success” seminar Wednesday at the Navy Memorial.

The panelists included Marie Manning, vice president of public affairs for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide; Tori Fort, vice president of Zeno Group; John Forrest Ales, director of global brand public relations for Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Trent Flood, communications manager of enterprise business services for Lockheed Martin. News Generation, Inc. President Susan Matthews Apgood served as moderator. Overall, the panel agreed that strategy, substance and style are crucial for an award-winning entry.
Manning kicked off the seminar by discussing reasons for pursuing awards, ranging from positive attention for companies and causes to the career benefits of achieving professional recognition and sharing best practices. As a Thoth judge, she stressed proving points through pictures, graphs and color while providing context for measurement data.
“The most important thing is to show substance,” said Manning.
Fort then discussed the importance of budgeting enough time to develop and effectively proof award entries, sharing anecdotes from the American Urological Association and the NFL’s collaborative campaign to promote prostrate health. She emphasized internally analyzing strengths and weaknesses of the campaign and addressing special circumstances such as a volunteer-driven budget in the entry, even if exact figures can’t be shared.
Ales stressed the importance of creating a plan worth sharing by ensuring that every campaign includes strategic components of planning, research, implementation, evaluation and budgeting. Flood built upon this point by highlighting the importance of clear goals and objectives, which led Lockheed Martin to incorporate multiple phases and a tiered measurement structure into its I Campaign, which won the 2010 “Best in Show” Thoth Award. The panel then addressed concrete questions about the internal awards process, promoting shared clients and tracking real-world outcomes.
The deadline for PRSA-NCC’s Thoth Awards is Friday, July 8. 

Written by Jacque Riley, APR, Freelance PR Writer & Strategist

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