East Central District of PRSA 35th Annual Diamond Awards Accepting Submissions

The East Central District of the Public Relations Society of America is calling for shining examples of public relations campaigns and tactics for its 35th annual Diamond Awards competition. The Diamond Awards are presented to public relations practitioners who have successfully addressed a communications challenge with exemplary skill, creativity and resourcefulness. The Diamond Awards are open to any public relations professional who is a member of the 15 chapters in the PRSA East Central District or any nonmember whose place of business is within the district’s boundaries. The East Central District covers the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

This year’s contest is proudly hosted by the PRSA Dayton Area Chapter - Dayton, OH.

The 2012 Call for Entries is available here.

Entries are due on Monday, October 1. For more information, contact Natasha Baker, 2012 Diamond Awards Chair, at 937-545-1821 or by email at nbaker@nlbcommunications.com

PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference - Detroit

It’s a PRSA conference like you’ve never experienced before. It’s CommLab 2012: Where the Art and Science of Communication Meet. And it’s where you’ll gain insights from exciting keynote speakers, attend interactive breakout sessions, and network with professionals from across the state at the afterglow event. Register today to reserve your spot at the PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference scheduled for Thursday, May 17 at the Sheraton Hotel in Novi. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — with an Afterglow from 5 to 7 p.m.The cost is $150 for members and $200 for nonmembers.

  • Registration fee gets you 5 professional development sessions, 2 meals and an afterglow party.
  • Gain insight from exciting keynote speakers.
  • Attend interactive breakout sessions.
  • Network with professionals from across the state.
  • Registration fee is tax deductible if you are paying it on your own (employer doesn’t fund).
  • APRs earn 2 maintenance points for attending.
  • Conference is in your own backyard, no travel required.

Full conference details are available below.  Register here.


Mike Bonifer, author of GameChangers – Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, and the co-founder of GGameChangers, LLC, will open the conference with a keynote address that explores how we can draw upon the techniques of improvisation theater to build more compelling, memorable brand narratives through real-time conversations, especially within social media channels.

Anne Hubert of Scratch at Viacom Media Networks will join us at lunch. She’ll show you how brands can connect, collaborate and create the future with the Millennials, the biggest generation in American history. Scratch is a creative swat team that channels the reach, connection and creative force of Viacom in new ways to drive culture and commerce. Leveraging the power of MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and all of Viacom’s more than 170 channels and 500 digital media properties worldwide – their places in culture, creative talent, and audience connections – Scratch partners with brands on consulting, creative and consumer insights to create transformational results.


Customer Engagement in Healthcare Panelists: Tiffany Baker, Public Relations Specialist at Health Alliance Plan; Judith McNeeley, Manager of Public Relations for Oakwood Healthcare, Inc.; Debbie Babcock, Director of System Communications for Henry Ford Health System

Engaging customers is not an easy task for any industry, especially healthcare. How many people LIKE to go see a doctor or deal with an insurance company? As healthcare changes at a rapid pace, organizations are finding themselves working with customers before, during and after their experience. And, it's not just about engaging that one customer or patient, it's the employees of the organization, family members, community and physicians. During this session, panelists from Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., Health Alliance Plan and Henry Ford Health System will discuss how each finds its customers and audiences, and the tactics taken to engage those customers through traditional and nontraditional tools.

Crisis Planning with a Reputation Lens Andrew Gilman, President and CEO of CommCore Consulting Group

When a crisis happens, will you be ready? Recognizing a crisis and knowing how to prepare and respond before a crisis happens are key. Andrew Gilman, communications strategist and crisis counselor for more than twenty-five years, co-author of the best-selling book Get To The Point, lawyer and award-winning journalist, will lead this hands-on workshop that will explore:

  • Understanding the difference between an emergency and a crisis
  • The role of Check Lists in crisis response
  • Understanding the different types of crisis: Flash, Predictable and Chronic
  • In a crisis you are one of the 3 V’s
  • Social Media and crisis: Tales from the front lines

Kicking into High Gear: How PR Played a Role in the Comeback of the Auto Industry Moderated by Jeff Gilbert, Auto Beat Reporter at WWJ

Panelists: Ed Garsten - Head of Electronic Communications at Chrysler, Pat Morrissey - Director of Product and Brand Communications at General Motors, and Curt McAllister - Midwest Public Relations Manager at Toyota

It is no secret over the past few years the auto industry has faced several great challenges - from the bailouts to mass recalls and natural disasters, every auto maker was impacted. During this session, panelists from Chrysler, General Motors and Toyota will examine communications strategies that enabled them to overcome adversity and reconnect with their customers, and they will give you insight into how you can apply similar strategies in your organization or for your clients.

Developing a Best Practices Approach to Social Media Measurement Chuck Hemann, Digital Analytics Director for WCG

For years, communicators have struggled to understand what metrics they should use to define the success of their programs. That struggle has now made its way into social media. In this session, Chuck Hemann will explore how, as social programs achieve higher levels of sophistication, measurement will become even more critical in order to understand what has or hasn’t worked and how program tactics can be altered. You'll walk away with knowledge of how to come up with the right metrics to measure success and how to build an index to measure your communications programs more holistically.

Closing the Ethnic Diversity Gap in Metro Detroit’s PR Community Presented by Weber Shandwick Detroit (Panelists TBA)

Maintaining a diverse workforce is a challenge that the PR industry is still facing, especially in metro Detroit and across the state of Michigan. According to a study conducted in 2011, by Weber Shandwick Detroit with the support of PRSA-Detroit, 78% of respondents indicated that their employers do not actively recruit and retain ethnically diverse talent. While agencies and corporations are devoting more resources to expanding their multicultural employee base, there is still much that needs to be done. During this engaging panel discussion, the results of the 2012 PR diversity study will be presented and addressed by a panel of PR practitioners, with varying professional experiences and backgrounds. The panelists will discuss challenges, offer insight on how to address ethnic diversity disparity in the PR community, share best practices, and provide key take-aways on what PR professionals and leaders can do to move the needle to reflect a more diverse and inclusive working team.

Difficult Talks for PR ProsSM: Finding Your Mojo in Delicate Discussions Alan Cohen, President of Acts of Balance Coaching

PR people are some of the most extroverted people in the world – they are also some of the most conflict avoidant on earth. How you handle difficult conversations can often make or break relationships, and set the course of your business for years to come. This interactive workshop will include practical skills to survive dreaded conversations. The session will include philosophy, assessment, role-play, methods and resources to aid you in preparing for those high-stake conversations.

Why Mobile is Essential to Your Marketing Mix Sara Kowal, Vice President of Innovation at ePrize

What's the future of mobile in the marketing space? The fact is, the future is actually here. Stats on mobile usage are staggering, yet 79 percent of brands don't have a mobile-optimized site. It's time to pay attention. If you don't have a mobile app or mobile-optimized site, learn how to use mobile to reach consumers who are in market, ready for special offers, and could become your best brand advocates.

PRSA State Conference Looking for Speakers

On May 17, 2012, hundreds of public relations, marketing and communications professionals will converge on Southeast Michigan for the biannual PRSA State Conference. The conference is an opportunity for these professionals to learn best practices, share insights, be exposed to new technologies and approaches and expand their network. The board working on the conference is looking for engaging, thought-provoking and informative speakers that will provide our attendees with information, best practices and insight they have not heard before or that is presented in a new way.  Full details here.

PRSA East Central District Diamond Awards Due Date Approaching

The East Central District of PRSA will hold their 34th annual Diamond Awards soon, and the deadline for submissions is September 19, 2011 (with a late deadline of September 26). More information is available here:

Six Tips to Craft a Winning Awards Entry

So, you want to write a winning awards entry but are not sure where to start. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many pr professionals struggle to boil down their efforts into a concise, thorough summary with supporting documents.

With East Central District’s Diamond Awards season upon us, read these six tips to crafting a winning awards entry before you even hit “save as” on your summary Word doc.

1. Think Metrics

Without metrics, how is success defined? Strong entries start by identifying measurable goals and objectives and end by demonstrating their wins and shortfalls. Judges need to clearly understand what you set out to do (e.g. improve readership by 10%; raise $25,000; sell 1500 more tickets; increase Facebook followers by 20% in 3 weeks) compared to what was achieved.

While qualitative data is acceptable, hard numbers demonstrate this best. Stating that you “received several emails saying how great the music was at the event” frankly won’t cut it. If you must use qualitative results, do what you can to show how this was purposefully - even scientifically - gathered (e.g. fill-in-the-blank evaluations).

2. Don’t Assume

Keep in mind the judges do not have any history with your entry topic. Do not assume they will fill in the blanks. When writing, pretend you are explaining your logic - why you did what you did - to a stranger on the street. Keep it pithy and to-the-point - like the 30-second elevator pitch you may have seen on TV. Double check your explanation does not have any gaps by asking a colleague (preferably not from your organization) to poke holes in your entry.

3. Share your Challenges

Don’t count out your entry if your project did not reach the set objectives. Rarely is there a clear path to any goal. In fact, the twists and turns along the way often create heart in an entry. Take advantage of explaining the challenges showing how you adapted to changing circumstances and re-directed your project to accommodate them.

4. Enter the Correct Category

While it may seem simple, all too often excellent entries are entered in the wrong category. To avoid this embarrassing blunder, write your entry to make a case for achieving the category objective. For instance, Brand Management entries should demonstrate how your campaign helped your organization or client manage their brand. If you are not clear on the correct category, seek advice from the chapter or committee organizing the awards.

Also, be careful to enter into the correct division - for-profit, non-profit, government, etc. While you may work for an agency, if your entry is on behalf of a non-profit client, make sure you enter in the non-profit division.

5. Know the Criteria

The devil truly is in the details. Make sure you understand and follow the limitations and restrictions for things such as font size, page count, and supporting materials. It might seem tedious, but the last thing you want is to get disqualified for a silly oversight. Take the time to triple check your entry before shipping it for judging.

6. Check out the Competition

One of the best ways to improve your summary is to get inspired by reading past winning entries. Model their flow and format, modified to meet your unique entry. Like when you are conducting research for a new project, learn what the judges liked in past years and adapt those characteristics into your piece. Ask colleagues if you can read their winning award entries, or check out Anvil winners on PRSA National’s website.

Many of these ideas were adapted from PRSA’s Anvil Podcast series. For more information, download or stream the shows on PRSA National’s website.