Turner PR

How To Create An Award Winning Campaign

This year has been a roller coaster, but there is still light to be found within the darkness. Today, the Public Relations Society of America announced the 2020 PRSA Silver Anvil Awards winners — and TURNER, in collaboration with Visit Houston, won big. Our Space City: The Moon Landing 50th Anniversary marketing campaign was awarded the “Best Of” Silver Anvil, which represents the “pinnacle of excellence in public relations programming and demonstrates public relations’ strategic value and ability to drive critical business outcomes.” For PR professionals, this is pretty much like taking home the “Best Picture” Oscar at the Academy Awards. While we didn’t get to walk the red carpet this year, we did make lasting virtual impression at this year’s ICON conference, which you can watch below.

Putting together a project as wide ranging as the Space City integrated marketing campaign required us and our client to dig deep into our respective toolkits, utilizing virtually every skill we possess. Here’s what we learned along the way.

Start Now

Like right now. However much time you think you need for planning and execution — double it. At the beginning stages, make sure that you dedicate plenty of hours to the creative process. Think big. Think risky. Think! At this point, no idea is too expensive or out-of-the-box. Will these ideas end up in your final campaign? Maybe, maybe not. But they’ll get the creativity flowing and set the tone for what comes next.

TURNER Public Relations

Pull In Collaborators From Every Part Of Your Team

You will likely have a small team working tirelessly on your campaign. But don’t forget about the rest of your resources, who are often just steps (or, in 2020, a Zoom call) away. Bring in as many team members with different skills/mindsets as you can in order to get a more wholistic view of what the campaign can be. Find those people who are experts in specific niches, even if on the surface, that niche might be miles away from your campaign’s focus. They’ll stimulate fresh ideation, suggest unique partnerships and ensure you aren’t missing any pieces of the puzzle.

Think About Every Channel

It’s a multi-platform world — and a really spectacular strategic campaign can’t be dominated by one single approach. It’s not an advertising campaign, a public relations campaign, a social media campaign or an influencer campaign. Instead, it’s all of those things and more. And the sooner you start thinking of how your campaign fits into every possible channel — from social media to broadcast and guerilla-style events to AR ads — the better your results will be. You can’t snap your fingers late in the game and pull it all together. Your campaign needs to be integrated at the starting line.

Be Willing To Take Risks

No risk, no reward, right? It’s an easier philosophy to talk about than put into practice — especially when it comes to budget allocation. But a willingness to experiment, to try something unconventional, is the secret sauce to any successful campaign. Not sure where to start? The good news is PR is the best (and most affordable!) way to take a risk. Big ideas do not necessarily have to have big budgets. We started the Space City marketing campaign with a few wild and crazy PR-driven ideas. Because our client trusted our vision, were able to work together toward executing a champagne campaign on a beer budget. It can be a leap of faith, but if you trust your partners, it’s a leap worth taking.

Find The Right Partners

If two minds are better than one, imagine what you can accomplish with a whole hive of minds that are working together toward a common goal. Getting Houston’s community – 60+ businesses, hospitality members and attractions in all – to build their own thematic offerings was essential for the Space City marketing campaign. It’s what grew a single idea into a larger moment worth hopping on a plane for. An award-winning campaign is all about maximizing your resources, expanding reach and doing something different that inspires others.

Measure Your Impact

You can put all of your blood, sweat and tears into an integrated marketing campaign. But once it’s over, you need to have the measurable results that demonstrate that all of your hard work was worth it. Media coverage is important of course. But much more than impressions and articles, it’s essential to show how your campaign actually accomplished a business goal. Pay attention to previous award-winning campaigns; what specific metrics did they highlight? For a tourism-centric project like ours with Visit Houston, it’s comes down to visitation numbers. Stats don’t lie — make sure you’re gathering them and using them!

TURNER is beyond thrilled and honored to receive this year’s PRSA “Best Of” Silver Anvil award… and up for the challenge to dream up the next best-in-class campaign!

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