On April 26, 2012 the Canadian Public Relations Society Toronto (CPRS Toronto) celebrated the PR industry’s elite at the annual Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards gala.
The ACE Awards gala was full of celebration for winning campaigns, where Fleishman-Hillard Toronto won a prestigious ACE Award in the Best Use of Media Relations Under $50,000 for “The National Garage Sale for Shelter” media relations campaign.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Teresa Cugliari, Associate Consultant at Fleishman-Hillard Toronto, to understand more about the success around the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation: The National Garage Sale for Shelter.
Can you tell me about your winning campaign? (What was the objective and why was it so successful?)
Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, known as The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to supporting women’s shelters and ending violence against women and children. Each year, the Shelter Foundation hosts The National Garage Sale for Shelter – a one-day charitable garage sale which takes place in more than 120 communities across Canada. Royal LePage brokers and agents volunteer to host the garage sales, which are often held outside Royal LePage offices. One hundred per cent of the funds raised are distributed to local women’s shelters in each community.
To help raise awareness and drive participation in The National Garage Sale for Shelter, Fleishman-Hillard (FH) developed and executed a community relations strategy under $50,000 CDN. FH was engaged to support all communications activities around the event including research, planning, materials development and media relations. At the core of the strategy, Royal LePage brokers and agents who volunteered their time to participate in the event were identified as excellent community champions given their passion and dedication to supporting the cause.
While the media relations strategy called for FH to conduct national media relations, a plan was developed to empower Royal LePage volunteers to conduct their own local media relations to generate awareness and drive event participation in their communities. FH supported this strategy by developing media toolkits for all designated spokespeople consisting of local release templates, interview tips and other marketing materials for use in Royal LePage offices. In addition, FH held a media coaching session with all regional spokespeople via conference call where tips were shared to maximize local media coverage and community engagement while ensuring strong key message penetration.
What inspired you to submit for an ACE Award?
The FHteam felt that this campaign was worthy of an award submission since the media results and overall funds raised exceeded initial goals. Overall, the 2011 National Garage Sale for Shelter generated a total of 369 media stories – a 77 per cent increase over 2010’s total – and 35,833,867 media impressions, an 84 per cent increase over last year. FH was successful in generating coverage in national, major regional and local media outlets, with 21 per cent of all coverage appearing in Tier One outlets.The mix of media coverage shows that messaging developed for the Shelter Foundation resonated with both local communities and larger metropolitan areas alike.
The increased amount of media coverage for the 2011 National Garage Sale for Shelter also led to increased participation in the event, which resulted in a record-setting fundraising total. In 2011, The National Garage Sale for Shelter was successful in raising more than $417,000 for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation – a 32 per cent increase (and counting) over 2010’s fundraising total.
What are the benefits of winning an ACE Award?
Awards help set you apart from the competition. Not only do they build your agency’s reputation but they also help recognize the hard work put in by your colleagues. FH purchased additional copies of the award for each team member as well as our client. It’s a symbol of success as well as the memories of both the campaign and the gala ceremony. It was a very fun evening that we look forward to each year.
Winning the 2011 CPRS ACE Award for Royal LePage’s Shelter Foundation validated the great results we achieved throughout this campaign and also shows FH’s clients that we are willing to go above and beyond to get them the recognition they deserve.
Do you have any tips for others submitting for Award consideration.
Be sure to get a head start on the submission process and be mindful of submission deadlines. It can be somewhat of a challenge juggling client work as well as your agency’s marketing and promotional needs. Be sure to loop in team members to help with the process so you can submit a high quality award that reflects your team’s hard work.
Also, if you know you are working on an award-worthy campaign, start taking notes during the campaign for your submission. As time passes, you will find these notes invaluable since almost a full year can go by before you start pulling together your submission binder.
What did you make sure to include in your binder submission?
FH’s submission binder included a range of media materials (press releases, social media releases, media advisories, as well as the volunteer media outreach toolkit and interview best practices) and supporting metrics (MRP reports and coverage samples) that allowed the judges to get a better understanding of how the FH team met and exceeded our measurable objectives.
In addition, the FH team also included a sizzle reel highlighting national Tier One broadcast coverage secured with their key spokespeople throughout the campaign. This multimedia addition is a more personal touch that allows the judges to visualize the campaign and give a sense of depth to the quality and variety of coverage FH secured.
How did it feel to receive your award at the gala?
Receiving the award at the gala was extremely meaningful for both the FH team and our client, who was in attendance that evening as well. Lots of hard work and effort was put into the campaign and it was great to share this experience with fellow communications professionals.
Fleishman-Hillard Team Members: Sarah Louise Gardiner, Teresa Cugliari, Michael Gotzamanis
Royal LePage Shelter Foundation Team Members: Shanan Spencer-Brown, Tammy Gilmer, Royal LePage spokespeople