APEX PR’s Jennifer Stein on the importance of celebrating success

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Last year, APEX Public Relations & Walmart Canada took home the ACE Award for Best Creative for the innovation and creativity behind their “Back-To-School with Walmart” campaign. We sat down with Jennifer Stein, vice president of APEX Public Relations, to look back on the award-winning campaign and the importance of celebrating success.

  1. What inspired you to launch Back-To-School with Walmart?

The inspiration started with the Snack Report. In our research we found out people were talking about lunch and dinner solutions, but not snack solutions. When I think about kids I think of them trading snacks on the school ground. Kids have snack envy, and that really set the tone for what we did.

  1. Why do you think the campaign was so successful in the end?

We really touched on a nerve on something that was applicable. We had a hypothesis, we did a survey to prove the hypothesis and the hypothesis was true.

It wasn’t just 50 per cent of moms, it was 85 per cent of moms that have this problem, and we knew we needed to provide this solution for them. We worked with a recipe developer to create fun recipes that would resonate with everyone. The content was amazing and when you have amazing content the media is more apt to pick it up.

  1. You have your finger on the pulse with key industry trends. How important is it to know your audience?

Not only do you need to know your target audience, you need to know what their habits are. How much time they’re spending shopping, how much time they’re spending watching TV, online and listening to the radio so that they can really be targeted, otherwise your message isn’t getting to them.

  1. Was an ACE Award priority during the campaign, or was it after it ended that you decided to submit?

After. Even though we knew we really blew it out of the water with media impressions, we didn’t know until a couple of months later when all the sales data came in that we helped drive sales and in-store foot traffic. It’s not until you get that insight that you know you have a winner.

  1. Back-To-School with Walmart was completed and your client was satisfied. Why submit to the ACE Awards?

I think it’s a nice way to congratulate the team. Awards can be tedious, but everyone squeals when you get an e-mail and it tells you you’ve won an award. It’s a feel-good ending to a campaign and something you can show the client, too, that it was an award-winning success.

  1. Do you think it’s important to submit to recognition awards like ACE?

Yes, often in our industry we do a campaign, we wrap and then we’re on to the next. We don’t take the time to sit back and relish how amazing the campaign was because this industry is so fast and furious. This allows us to take a step back and reflect. Not enough people do.

  1. Why do you think APEX won last year?

We had amazing content, content that was backed by research. And the campaign helped drive sales and at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

  1. What advice do you have for those PR campaigns being submitted this year?

If you have a sales stat, always use a sales stat to show your success. Or stakeholder analysis. The more you can dig deep into that the better your awards submission will be.

  1. When you found out you were competing for the highest ACE Award, how did you prepare for the Best in Show judging?

We treated it like a new business pitch to a panel of 12 people we didn’t know. We put together a presentation, we vetted it and then we rehearsed. We rehearsed three to four times as a group.

Written by Bianca Jimeno, Post-Graduate Student, Humber College

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