Top Agency Awards: recognizing outstanding firms, people and campaigns
On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Ragan Communications and PR Daily celebrated all of the year’s most outstanding agencies and campaigns and top agency leaders and teams at an awards luncheon at the Yale Club in New York City.
It was a show that brought together the community to recognize excellence in the agency world! The event also featured Spotify’s global head of social media marketing Ken Gibbs as its special keynote speaker.
It was a celebration to remember!
Learn more about those that made the list by checking out the details below.
If you have any questions about the program or registration, please email Brendan Gannon at email@example.com.
160/90 gets the word out
It’s about people. Innovative work with content creators and influencers parallels 160/90’s internal retention and employee support and earned them recognition as a Midsize Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
With high-profile connections and wins across well-known brands, it’s been a good year for 160Over90, a midsize agency wholly owned by Endeavor. That’s true for both their business and their clients. From the business side, 160/90 acquired Mailman, a China-based social and digital agency. Overall global revenue increased by 28% YoY, with 71% of the revenue increase in the U.S. coming from organic growth. In a world in which everyone is talking about employees jockeying to move from company to company in ‘The Great Resignation,’ 160/90 retained 85% of its U.S. PR/Comms staff across the most senior levels from AD through SVP. They added three VPs to the leadership team, achieving gender parity with 55% of the leadership team being women in 2021.
160/90’s client retention also has been excellent, with 24 of its clients with the agency for 7 or more years, including Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Marriott and Visa. The agency continues to work with many high-profile brands, including T-Mobile, Hollister, Reebok and Allstate. They launched Klarna’s first Super Bowl ad and oversaw Victoria’s Secret’s brand pivot.
This support extends to employees, too. 160/90 includes an employee group called “We the Change,” which promotes inclusivity, anti-racism and social justice, as well as other social and interest resource groups. Employees can flex their creative muscles at “The Big Pitch,” in which they present content ideas to William Morris Endeavor (WME) agents.
160/90 focused on innovation in 2020, using three programs in particular: Brand Health Studies, Influencer as Programmatic Advertising and Creator Marketing. Brand Health Studies examines content creators for awareness, perception and purchase intent, finding the “why” behind the “how” of purchase decisions. With Influencer as Programmatic Advertising, the agency can drive mid/lower-funnel activity through activity matching. Creator Marketing, an agency-wide initiative, reexamined the relationship of the agency to influencers and creators to make year-long creator partnerships for longer-term success.
160/90’s focus on people — whether that be employees, content creators or celebrities — puts them in the top ranks of midsize agencies.
Congratulations to Vice President Jessica Nelson and 160/90. –MC
This ‘A-Team’ supports diversity and its clients in the health care space
Amendola Communications expanded both its workforce and its client list during the pandemic, moving beyond its traditional focus in the U.S. and internationally. It’s a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Nicknamed “the A-Team,” Amendola Communications has placed a strong focus on helping women start and grow their careers in public relations and marketing. The full-time staff is 63% female, 75% of the leadership team are women, and CEO Jodi Amendola actively seeks out young university women for the company’s internship program, helping them launch their careers.
Amendola grew to 25 employees in 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Amendola brought in more than a dozen new clients during a time when other agencies were paring staff and losing clients, growing to 50 national PR, marketing, content marketing and social media clients and achieving an estimated revenue growth of 250% over the past five years.
In the midst of the pandemic, Amendola expanded beyond its traditional focus on health care and health IT clients. It earned business from additional life sciences clients, including those involved in COVID-19 and other types of clinical trials, medical device manufacturers and digital therapeutics. It also took on health care providers, including a large regional health system in New York state, and expanded its international business.
Further, when the pandemic hit, the agency pivoted to take on some small projects that it had previously avoided; it also paused some contracts and rewrote others to offer clients greater flexibility. At the same time, Amendola expanded its presence in life sciences and medical devices and broadened its social and digital media services.
For its client Biofourmis, Amendola got a placement in Forbes that drew more than 126 million views; another one on TechCrunch achieved more than 15 million views. Similarly, its work for First Databank earned 1.2 million views with a placement in The New York Times, and more than 254 million on Yahoo News.
One challenge for PR agencies during the pandemic was getting through to reporters who were covering COVID-19 almost exclusively. Amendola worked to develop novel approaches to enable its clients to explain why their technology, services or other offerings were more relevant than ever amid COVID-19.
One example: Amendola created a thought leadership program for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a nonprofit that raises awareness about chiropractic care. Amendola developed multiple types of content that included press releases, e-books, infographics and e-newsletters to tell a holistic health and wellness story instead of simply discussing chiropractic care.
Kudos to team members Jodi Amendola, Tara Stultz, Marcia Rhodes and Philip Anast. –JC
From the tech industry to reality TV, the agency is expanding its offerings as its workforce grows. It’s a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
After launching in 2015 with just two people, Bospar now has a staff of 65 employees, more than $32 million in revenue and $3 million in net profit. In June 2021, Bospar cleared $1 million in monthly fees, something it had never done before, and has cleared a million dollars a month ever since.
It’s achieved its success with a philosophy of being “Politely Pushy” to make things happen for its clients.
Bospar’s growth has allowed it to expand its teams into two sectors: one devoted to enterprise and developer technology, the other focused on consumer-facing tech. Every practice within the sectors is headed by a VP who receives ongoing specialized training in those industries, giving Bospar expertise in a wide range of practices
Bospar’s dedicated content team produces blogs, bylined thought leadership articles, press releases, case studies and more, including website copy and newsletters. In 2021, it supplemented its portfolio of services with formalized messaging and positioning offerings; the social media team added three staffers (to five total) and eight new accounts (to 12 total).
Bospar doesn’t only represent technology companies, though. Celebrity treatment center All Points North (APN) engaged the agency for a case involving reality TV celebrity Scott Disick, who made news claiming APN “betrayed” him by leaking photos of him in recovery. APN secured a statement from the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” star that APN wasn’t at fault, but Disick’s team would only let the statement be published the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday in an effort to bury the news. Bospar used its tech PR savvy to secure an exclusive in People magazine, with coverage in more than 20 publications.
In another example, Bospar worked with Unistellar, a smart telescope, to provide perspective on the constraints of the lockdown. It shaped the narrative with help from Star Trek: Voyager’s Tim Russ, who told USA Today in an exclusive how Unistellar helped him find an asteroid orbiting Jupiter. –JC
Get in touch with high-profile media with Broadsheet Communications
Strong connections to tentpole media sets Broadsheet Communications apart, earning recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards. This highly sought-after boutique agency weathered the pandemic with a strong Rolodex of clients. As for employees, ultra-flexible work-life balance rewards good work and dedication.
“We’ve arrived,” boutique agency Broadsheet Communications confidently announced this year. The agency has only four years in the industry, but in that time has gained marquee clients including Bloomberg Media Group, Roku and Mediaocean.
On the inside, Broadsheet added 20+ people to the team in 2021, with zero employee attrition during the pandemic, by offering a total commitment to work-life balance. That means unlimited paid time off and work from home for the team. They also offer above-market compensation and bonuses for employees, and efficient work across time zones. The numbers bear out that this works:
2x growth in the last 12 months
4 million in billings
0 client attrition (even during the pandemic)
2x increase in its average retainer in the last 2 years
25% global portfolio
A full-service boutique PR and marketing agency, Broadsheet focuses on tier-one media coverage in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Its philosophy is to make business media the No. 1 priority, driving enterprise-level value to clients.
However, just because the agency has a background in print media to draw from doesn’t mean Broadsheet is behind the times. With data driving the relationships with the business press, Broadsheet helps clients to package anonymized first-party data into a media-friendly index of where a marketplace is going. That provides reporters with real value and conversation, not simply a mouthpiece for selling a product.
Kudos to Benjamin Billingsley and the team at Broadsheet. –MC
Dittoe Public Relations
Dittoe Public Relations shines with LGBT campaign
Dittoe shone in 2021 with campaigns like Not Another Second, a LGBT effort with more than 160 media placements. The boutique agency grew annual revenue by 19% in 2021, adding 28 new clients despite the hardships of the pandemic, earning a nod as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
With a “laser-focus” on its areas of expertise, Dittoe aimed to carve out a strong place among boutique agencies this year. Throughout 2021, annual revenue has increased by 19% over the last year. Dittoe added 28 new clients to its roster, in addition to expanding scopes and monthly retainer fees with seven existing clients. To date, the agency has 40 clients on its roster. It makes 95% or higher client retention a significant goal, backed up by quarterly bonuses for staff, and has achieved such each quarter.
In addition, Dittoe increased its average monthly retainer fee by 15% in the last year and more than doubled the size of the dedicated social media team since October 2020. Today, Dittoe PR employs 33 people, a 20% increase in hands organized during the pandemic and remote work.
For an example of the creativity and effectiveness of its execution, look at Not Another Second, the first in a national series of cultural awareness campaigns. In addition to celebrating and educating LGBT youth, it acknowledged the sacrifices and hardships of 12 LGBT+ seniors who lost years of their lives in the closet. The campaign generated more than 160 media placements, 2.9 billion media impressions and $26.9M in ad equivalency. The New York Times, The New Yorker, NBC News, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure and many more covered the initiative.
Another project, the Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns Study, used information about how and where people move to add context to media stories about how people were changing their lives in big ways during the pandemic. It brought in 208 earned media hits, $8.3M in advertising equivalency and 880M media impressions. Media hits to date for this year’s study represent a 201% increase over last year, and noteworthy national media hits included Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Cheddar and more. Another project, for the NCAA Final Four, garnered 24,089 new social media followers, 42,517,396M impressions, 2,661,956M engagements and 85,555 link clicks/profile actions across these channels through organic efforts alone.
Congratulations to Vice President Ashley McMuray and the team at Dittoe Public Relations. –MC
Elev8 New Media
Rising to new heights, Elev8 New Media focuses on ‘relations’
Elev8 New Media leverages an understanding of media practices and one-to-one connections with writers and reporters to get insightful coverage and lasting relationships for its clients. With over 430 media placements in 2021, it’s using an emphasis on the “relations” part of public relations to launch campaigns, earning recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Elev8 prides itself on person-to-person connections, putting the “relations” part in public relations. In 2021, the boutique agency secured over 430 media placements for its wide variety of clients, engaging with almost 500 writers.
As an example, Elev8 recently partnered with The Alkaline Water Company to promote its flagship product, Alkaline88, by teaming up with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. Taking the lead on this campaign, Elev8 New Media handled it from launch to current, ongoing public relations efforts. The team spread the news via email and phone with over 180 carefully selected media contacts and outlets. Personalized introductions created real connections with new media contacts. As a result, over 20 publications covered the product, including Rolling Stone, Business Insider, Adweek, Forbes, Good Morning America, The Washington Post and The New York Times. (Some of these publications already covered the news, while others are setting up time to interview Shaquille later this year and early 2022.) As a result of this ongoing campaign, PRSA awarded Elev8 New Media the Media Relations Award for Consumer Products at the 57th Annual PRSA LA Prism Awards.
“Communicating amid troubling times has proven to be a puzzle worth solving,” said Jessica Starman, chief executive officer of Elev8 New Media, upon receipt of the award. “Our team has proven their abilities to cut through the noise and deliver impactful messaging that yields tremendous results for our company.”
Meanwhile, Elev8’s is still growing, with an ever-increasing client roster. It also branches out to provide outsourced standard media relations services to IR and PR agencies.
Congrats to the Elev8 team. –MC
Evolve MKD grows despite adversity
EvolveMKD transformed its HR system and expanded its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiative in 2020 that brought both business and personal success. These efforts and more earned it recognition as a Midsize Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
While every business had to adapt in one way or another to the pandemic, EvolveMKD was working on not only adapting but sustaining its growth and survival. The midsize agency nearly doubled revenue year over year, going from just over $10M USD in 2019 to closing 2020 at roughly $19.8M USD.
The agency also took the opportunity to take a deep dive into the nature of the PR industry itself. With so much change in 2020, it was a unique opportunity to start from square one. EvolveMKD’s team worked on a study called “The Evolution of Communications” with mental health expert Dr. LaKeita Carter to uncover how the way women communicate affects their day-to-day mental health. It found that ‘always on’ social media negatively affects mental health. EvolveMKD got the word out by sharing the study at conferences, as well as in a social and traditional media push, positioning it as a roadmap into the post-pandemic communications world.
One of the agency’s most successful recent campaigns was with CooperVision’s MiSight 1-day lenses. It netted 875M potential parent impressions, and messaging reached 861M potential parents (+456% over goal). 609.3M of total impressions included a call to action (+5,046%) and 33.2M parents took direct action on social and digital channels. Nearly 9 in 10 moms who became aware of the product took action.
The agency also made some internal changes during this time of transition, and adopted a new HR platform, Lattice. This was a big change because the previous HR system did not allow for adaptive questions or review templates and did not allow users to input and track goals over time. The new platform adds those features, plus Slack integration to make it easier to celebrate wins and have a record of them for when review time comes around.
Congratulations to Casey Shenloogian and EvolveMKD. –MC
French West Vaughan
French/West/Vaughn survived and thrived during a tumultuous year for PR
Wrangler jeans combining with ‘Rick and Morty’ is just one example of FWV’s work spotlighting its clients’ expertise, making it a Midsize Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Amid the challenges of the global pandemic and social unrest gripping the country in 2020, PR agency French/West/Vaughn (FWV) managed to post a 22.8% year-over-year increase in fee income, with net income more than doubling over the same period.
Take a look at two campaigns that represent how FWV achieved this success:
When Wrangler jeans were mentioned in the season four finale of the Emmy award-winning series “Rick and Morty,” Wrangler partnered with Adult Swim to launch the Wrangler x Rick and Morty Collection, featuring a laser-etched jacket and an episode-inspired T-shirt.
FWV and its owned-affiliate agency, AMP3 PR, collaborated on the integrated marketing campaign, which included social media, web content, PR, product seeding, paid media and influencer content. The campaign’s execution focused on the larger marketing and media story, while at the same time pitching product to entertainment, pop culture and fashion outlets.
The campaign resulted in 45 earned media hits and 229M+ impressions. Key placements included AdWeek, Rolling Stone, Marketing Dive and more.
The collection sold out, helping Wrangler reach a younger and more mainstream consumer while also creating pop culture buzz and positioning the brand for more market-expanding opportunities.
Sound Royalties is a specialty finance firm working with music artists to advance capital funding secured by royalty earnings. It hired FWV to raise its industry and mainstream exposure, build credibility for the brand and position it as an artist-friendly service changing perceptions about royalty-based financing.
FWV reached out to media and music professionals, explaining market dynamics in the music industry, writing compelling case studies, media pitches and bylined pieces, and creating unique information resources, including an in-depth graphic, “50 Income Streams All Music Creatives Should Know About and Where to Find Them,” which was published by Music Connection.
FWV secured 65 placements in national outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Billboard, Variety and multiple music industry publications, generating more than 100 million overall impressions with a PR value over $10 million. The agency also led the development of a panel presentation at SXSW 2021, entitled “The New Marketplace of Music Royalties,” featuring Sound Royalties CEO Alex Heiche and Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean. –JC
Hager Sharp works from the inside out to sustain its rep
A focus on diversity and career development helped it maintain its grip on top projects for the CDC, FDA and more, making it a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Marketing and communications agency Hager Sharp took a counterintuitive approach to these last few years of unprecedented challenges, directing its attention not outward but inward to sustain its credibility and reputation. In other words, to continue to do good work, it focused on taking care of itself and its people.
To that end, Hager Sharp developed The Ten, a deck of cards outlining the inclusive behaviors it committed to practicing; participated in an assessment to explore its intercultural competencies and develop personal goals; renewed focus on its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) initiative that included mentorships, development activities, town halls and more; and established a career development planning guide to help staff identify and plan their growth trajectory within Hager Sharp; and more.
The pandemic forced it to think differently about how to achieve its clients’ goals. When mask mandates and social distancing requirements complicated in-person video production for the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, the firm shifted to animated video to encourage people in at-risk regions to perform personal preventive measures against tick bites and tickborne diseases. The campaign, “Get the Tips. Stop the Ticks,” included animated videos, social media posts and a newspaper insert that was distributed to 1.4 million readers.
When animation didn’t work for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) project, Hager Sharp staged an on-location shoot following federal COVID protocols (e.g., masks, vaccinations, daily testing) and set up a remote monitoring system for the client and outside experts to give instant feedback while minimizing the number of people on-set.
In a pandemic-driven assignment, Hager Sharp supported Kaiser Permanente to expand health care options for D.C. residents by establishing neighborhood health centers featuring “all-in-one-place” care. The firm’s goals were to develop a compelling name and brand, create awareness of Kaiser Permanente, shift nonmember perceptions and increase Kaiser membership. Kaiser Permanente selected the name Well, plus a logo, along with signage and visual brand guidelines for all communications and marketing needs. The first Well is now open in Washington, D.C.
Hager Sharp rounded out the first quarter of its 2022 fiscal year with more than $30.5 million in new contract wins addressing issues like maternal health, pediatric vaccinations, COVID-19 vaccination and more. –JC
KQ Communications helps viral messages go even farther
From viral videos to supporting students of color, KQ commits to both increased media exposure and social good. KQ takes concrete steps in its commitment to getting more people of color on the page and in front of the camera. Plus, it’s a story of determination and resilience in the face of the pandemic. These efforts have earned it recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards
A boutique agency located in Memphis, KQ Communications fosters its clients’ goals and makes concrete efforts toward greater diversity in PR and journalism. Founder and President Renee Malone created a national database, sourcesofcolor.com, to connect journalists with credible, reliable sources of color. This project has been endorsed by the Public Relations Society of America, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta, and will devote part of its profits to scholarships for students from marginalized communities.
LeMoyne-Owen College turned to KQ Communications to improve public perception and secure more positive media placement. To do so, KQ established pipelines between media and college departments, including a communications committee and Facebook group of social media ambassadors to share positive college news. KQ secured op-eds written by the college president, members of the board of trustees and other key stakeholders in local media outlets, including a nine-week op-ed series in the Tri-State Defender (TSD), a target publication for the college. As a result, the college gained 1,100 mentions in news articles since June 2020, and now averages four earned media hits per month. LeMoyne-Owen College is now sought after more often, providing sources for national publications such as Higher Ed Drive and Bloomberg News.
On top of the successful campaign improving public perception of the college from negative-neutral to positive, the agency also has run its own business successfully in the difficult business landscape of 2020-21. To think the agency was considering shutting down at the beginning of 2020. Instead, KQ Communications doubled its revenue, clients and staff since 2019.
They also demonstrated their knack for promoting contemporary, trendy topics. When Bobby and Sam White posted the cute viral video “Sam’s ABCs,” KQ Communications stepped in to support them with access to a book publisher, casting directors and further YouTube exposure. Sam’s song brought him to the Ellen Show, NBC Nightly News, Kids Nightly News, CBS This Morning and more.
The winning agency includes Founder and President Renee Malone, Senior Account Executive Amelia Ables, and team. –MC
With press releases and blog posts, Liaison takes PR into the third dimension
With digital effects companies, Liaison brings star power to stories of artistic and technological achievement, leading to recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards. They’re aiming to be part of the ‘Metaverse.’ In the meantime, the virtual production world looks to them to improve messaging.
Liaison has carved out a space for itself in both the present and the future. Its commitment to “3D” technologies means everything from 3D printing to the Metaverse, and the practice of looking at things from all angles extends to their practices, too. In 2021, the boutique agency with nine employees signed new accounts and saw existing current accounts grow. Revenue grew 30% in 2021 over 2020.
Liaison makes a name for itself by working with high-profile tech companies like Epic Games, Autodesk, Foundry and Digital Domain, among others.
This agency positions itself to apply the PR basics, including today’s social media and content strategies, skillfully to tech. They focus on both what’s new in each message and a core delivery: expressing “what’s in it for me?” to prospective customers.
For Epic Games, Liaison needed to craft copy that celebrated the company’s successes (including their workflow being used for The Mandalorian) and to inspire fresh 3D artists and innovators. Liason developed web copy for many central pages of Epic’s Unreal Engine website, as well as explainers for their blog. They also wrote copy for the viral MetaHuman Creator project, which is part of Epic’s push to create an ecosystem where independent artists can help launch the Metaverse into the mainstream.
With Liaison, Ncam wanted to secure their spot as the top virtual production technology company in Hollywood. So, the agency built a campaign that connected products to thought leadership. They have ghostwritten a number of op-eds and arranged case studies and press release coverage in the top industry trades. As a result, press have reached out to Ncam for Q&A requests, concreting it as the source for answers to the question, “Where is this industry heading next?”
Liaison brings Hollywood star power to its portfolio, too. For Digital Domain, one of the world’s biggest visual effects houses, Liaison met with the company to establish new messaging. This coincided with the company’s expansion to Montreal, meaning the scale of the business could be included in that positive messaging. Liaison also wrote and distributed press releases and crafted online pieces, print coverage and video segments.
Congratulations to the team. –MC
Marathon Strategies embraces flexibility and challenges after a year of upheaval
The agency moved to a hybrid workplace model while tackling high-profile assignments for its clients. It’s a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
As it entered a post-COVID landscape, Marathon Strategies had to adapt to the expectations of its current and prospective employees. Understanding and embracing how the workforce was changing became crucial to its growth strategy. From conversations with team members and internal polls, Marathon saw that flexibility was a top priority — the flexibility to work from home, from an office or wherever life happens.
In response, it offers a hybrid workplace model and unlimited paid time off to provide more flexibility, while also investing in technologies and resources employees need to meet clients’ complex challenges from anywhere.
One of those clients was health care data science company Cogitativo, whose lifesaving technology calculates an individual’s risk of hospitalization when exposed to COVID-19. Cogitativo was relatively unknown at the pandemic’s onset, but Marathon built a national profile for its CEO, establishing him as a thought leader on equitable vaccine distribution.
The effort generated stories on CNN, CBS Evening News and The Wall Street Journal, and secured a federal contract that could help save thousands of lives.
In another challenge, when the State Department was close to finalizing a historic agreement with Sudan regarding U.S. victims of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, key Congress members signaled opposition to the deal. With the news landscape dominated by COVID, Marathon sought to influence Beltway discussions about the victims’ 22-year pursuit of justice. It secured coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, leading to Congress passing the Sudan Claims Resolution in December 2020.
Despite the turmoil of 2020, Marathon retained nearly all its clients and added 46 new ones. It’s increased its average retainer size by 33% while growing creative and digital revenue by 50%. Plus, staff size increased by 25% in a competitive recruiting environment. –JC
MikeWorldWide’s client-centric, people-first ethos puts values front and center
From an expanded DEI initiative to a progressive parental leave program, MWW strives to build strong long-term relationships internally as well as with its clients. It’s a Midsize Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Company values these days are at least as important as company performance—if not more so. Independent agency MikeWorldWide (MWW) believes its client-centric philosophy is a strong contributor to its track record of building and growing long-term relationships. But MWW’s people-first ethos and inclusive, empathetic culture keeps its values alive to employees as well as clients.
Some of those values are illustrated by MWW’s internal Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which focus on hiring, retaining and advancing people of color (BIPOC) and other diverse audiences. In 2021 the DEI initiatives were expanded to support brands and organizations like Voto Latino and New York Power Authority, offering guidance to clients striving to better represent a diverse range of voices, perspectives and needs through communications.
MWW’s newest employee benefit, 12 weeks all-parental leave for new moms or dads, was inspired by one employee, an expectant parent in a same-sex marriage who pointed out the unfairness of traditional parental leave policies. In another response to the pandemic and the stress it added, MWW also added seven mental health days, along with monthly health and wellness stipends.
Seeking feedback on how its performance matches its values, MWW relies on LIFT Relations, a leading B2B client retention tool that uses AI to measure client and team satisfaction in real time. On one metric in particular, team chemistry, MWW’s scores came in higher than any of LIFT’s other marketing services clients. –JC
PAN seeks to provide a reliable voice in a turbulent era
The agency bulked up its resource library, created an Issues Response Team to lead crisis strategy, developed a hybrid workplace model for its workforce and more, making it a Midsize Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
The past few years have shown the urgent need for trusted voices in the age of misinformation. That drove marketing and PR agency PAN to add social and content marketing services to its PR programs. With departments collaborating to tell a consistent brand story, PAN’s integrated teams focused on creating cohesive PR campaigns.
PAN boosted its resource library with fresh content on:
Building a successful lead generation strategy;
How to take content marketing strategy to new heights;
Using original research to tell a compelling brand story;
Pre-IPO communication strategy guidance;
An increased demand for transparent, consistent and authentic communications in 2020 motivated PAN to create an Issues Response Team dedicated to leading crisis strategy and sharing best practices on internal and external communications addressing timely and sensitive topics. Composed of senior agency leaders, the team helps to foster mutual trust between PAN and its clients during challenging times while also supporting employee engagement, crisis communications and purpose-driven strategies.
PAN’s people-first culture focuses on establishing a strong support system for its 170+ employees through increased mental health initiatives, a commitment to DEI education and hiring practices, resources to maintain a healthy work-life balance and a return-to-office plan called HyFlex—a hybrid workforce with maximum flexibility. As PAN planned for reopening, it wanted to give employees the choice to come into the office full-time, part-time or virtually.
In 2020, PAN also expanded its academic mentorship network to four schools, including two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to bolster career development and diversify employment opportunities in the communications profession. –JC
Laughter is a serious matter for Peppercomm
The agency created the Laughing Matters Council to drive success with humor. It also takes on more serious issues, like the threat of distracted driving. It’s a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
PR agency Peppercomm’s Laughing Matters Council was based on scientific research showing that laughter creates a chemical reaction in the brain that elevates one’s mood, leading to increased productivity and reduced stress/anxiety.
Peppercomm brought together six distinguished industry leaders with an eye for humor and workplace culture to guide the firm and its clients in using the principles of humor to drive long-term business success. It also launched the Laughing Matters podcast: CEO Steve Cody and Senior Vice President Paul Merchan interview a range of guests, from journalists to business leaders to communications experts (including former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci).
But Peppercomm also addresses serious issues: As a member of the Diversity Action Alliance, a coalition of public relations and communications leaders, it’s committed to recruiting, hiring and training executives of color at all levels by the end of 2022.
The agency focused on client matters during 2021 as well, of course. Peppercomm worked with Travelers and TBWAChiatDay New York on a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. As part of its Unfinished Stories series, honoring lives cut short by distracted driving, Travelers commissioned renowned comic writers and artists and worked with family members to design a story honoring Zaadii Tso, a young boy whose life was tragically interrupted by a distracted driver.
The team created one of the first Navajo superheroes, “Zaadii: The Legend of Z-Hawk.” The effort included a digital comic book and a behind-the-scenes “making of” video.
The campaign generated 23 earned media placements in top-tier national and regional publications including CNBC, SheKnows, AdAge, Navajo Times and more. On social media, the campaign garnered 132 million impressions, 188,000 site visits and 9.5 million video views. –JC
Sachs Media expanded during the pandemic and kept its commitments to longtime clients
It tackled racial injustice, nursing home facilities, vaccination fears and more, making it a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Sachs Media survived the pandemic without reducing staff, hours or benefits. In fact, it grew in 2021, adding staff and new clients and introducing new benefits, all while delivering results for clients while working remotely. Some examples:
Sachs worked with renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, a longtime client, to promote a national conversation on racial injustice, securing high-profile national earned media coverage in USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN and many other outlets. When Crump’s represented the George Floyd family, Sachs facilitated up to 300 media interviews per week, in addition to drafting and placing op-eds in numerous national outlets and expanding his social media following to 1.5 million.
Sachs’ longstanding work with Florida’s foremost nursing home association led to new crisis contracts with three companies that operated 41 nursing homes in the state, including more than half the facilities most heavily affected with COVID-19 fatalities.
Sachs also helped the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network defeat legislation that would have let Oklahoma legislators raid the state’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.
The firm took the lead on a deep-reaching regional COVID-19 public education campaign, “Safe & Healthy,” funded and supported by local governments, health care providers and educators. Sachs’ pre- and post-campaign surveys found that the number of people worried about the COVID-19 vaccine dropped by 47% during the effort.
In 2021, Sachs recruited three new account managers and five new account executives and coordinators, and revamped its internship program to make it more attractive through competitive pay and a path to a full-time position; it also added new employee benefits and perks.
When COVID struck, the firm quickly pivoted to a work-from-home model that’s still in use, providing each employee with a $250 stipend to equip their home offices and creating numerous programs to help employees stay connected, including: weekly casual virtual gatherings; monthly virtual yoga sessions; a virtual zoo tour; and a two-day, in-person, full staff retreat. –JC
Si14 Global Communications
Around the world withSi14 Global Communications
From one side of the Atlantic to the other, Si14 Global Communications helps startups start up. Challenging clients? Not a problem with this future-forward messaging. Their efforts have earned them recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Although it is still classed as a boutique agency, Si14 has offices in CA, NY, London and Israel to provide global support as it focuses on high-growth U.S. and Israeli startups and scale-ups. In Israel, all of its business is through referrals, a large percentage from venture capital firms that point portfolio companies directly at the agency. This added extra challenge in 2020, as business people from either side of the Atlantic could no longer visit for media opportunities. However, the agency weathered the storm to remain successful and sought-after.
They focus on clients working in the area of complex technology, both U.S. companies and Israeli ones looking to enter into the U.S. market. So, they focus on making complex tech understandable and appeal to both mainstream and highly technical audiences.
When the startup Firebolt was looking for media hits, they turned to Si14 Global Communications. In the end, they successfully positioned Firebolt as a challenger for Amazon and Snowflake, a narrative which was picked up by Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Forbes and more. They also provided exclusive angles to top pubs, such as the reveal that they raised a huge round without an investor deck for Insider.
The agency also has marked success dealing with client challenges. AudioEye operated in a space with almost no media coverage, and basically no reporters that cover this kind of technology as part of their beat. To solve this problem, Si14 used the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act to generate top coverage, garnered thought leadership from ADA author former Congressman Tony Coelho, and tied the topic to COVID.
Intuition Robotics also posed a challenge since product is not yet available. Si14 kept its positive coverage going with a focus on robots and tech curing loneliness techniques for older adults during the pandemic, which was mentioned in WIRED, Fast Company, Forbes and Vox. It also started ongoing campaign featuring senior citizen beta testers in various U.S. markets to position the robot as tangible and useful.
Kudos to Founder Leron Kornreich and team. –MC
SourceCode thrives with focus on the human factor
The agency committed to workforce wellness, inclusiveness and pay equity; it also expanded its areas of expertise to accommodate clients, making it a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
SourceCode Communications’ philosophy centers on injecting humanity, empathy and storytelling into conversations about technology. It must be working — in 2021, SourceCode signed 26 new clients and boosted its top line by more than 60%. Its organic growth in the first quarter surpassed the entire total of 2020.
SourceCode credits its growth to, among other factors, investing in its people. Its #SourceCodeStrong program shifted the agency to a 37-hour workweek, ending Fridays at 2 p.m.; added a $900 annual mental wellness stipend on top of a $75 monthly cell phone reimbursement; and increased insurance coverage options for spouses and children. That’s along with quarterly meditation sessions, fitness/wellness challenges and two “Nope Days” when employees can take the day off with no questions asked.
The agency’s internal DE&I Taskforce helps SourceCode keep moving forward on its commitment to building an equitable and inclusive workplace. Annual audits ensure that there is no pay disparity between POC and non-POC staff.
On the client side, SourceCode expanded its narrative process, The SourceCode StoryHub. The agency also unveiled its Media Relationship Tracker, which gives SourceCode and its clients the ability to track media relationships over time and see the progression of engagement — from “Yes, I’ve heard of them,” to watching reporters reach out to clients first when they’re writing relevant stories to a client’s business.
SourceCode also expanded its core expertise into new specialties like health and wellness, analytics and others. Its new Strategy & Analytics practice identifies insights and differentiators that let clients make sound business, communications and creative decisions, helping them measure and communicate the impact of those decisions to key stakeholders and investors. –JC
SPM Communications pivots to remote work
SPM Communications’ efforts to pivot to remote work while keeping in-person events and media opportunities afloat at the same time has led to a spot as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
While clients whip up good food and fun games, SPM Communications brings the buzz. Working with the Chuck E. Cheese brand this year showed the agency’s creativity and resilience by putting together in-person events that could accommodate health protocols. In the end, the “No Jerks” policy keeps helping people have fun.
Dallas-based boutique agency SPM Communications focuses on promoting food, restaurant, retail and franchise experiences. Despite the hardships from the pandemic that struck across industries in 2020 and 2021, the agency pivoted to bring their “No Jerks” internal policy approach to hybrid and remote work.
Employees at SPM Communications have flexibility in terms of where they work. In-person presence is optional on a case-by-case basis, as peoples’ comfort levels allow, but 86% of the agency has returned to the office. Most people work in the office together Tuesday through Thursday, with all team members having the option to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. After client loss due to COVID-19, the agencies rallied and added multiple new clients to its list of retainer brands.
One of its most high-profile clients is CEC Entertainment, parent company of Chuck E. Cheese. For the restaurants’ Sensory Sensitive Sunday programming, which dims lights and provides other accommodations for children on the autism spectrum, the agency arranged a full month of media moments. SPM secured interviews for managers in San Francisco; Miami; Towson, Maryland; and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
SPM team members attended the Sensory Sensitive Sunday event at the Garland, Texas, location, capturing b-roll and images for media use. In all, SPM secured 79 total media hits, reaching an estimated audience of 5 million. Of these, 45 hits were broadcast clips, and all 26 priority markets saw coverage. The result went above and beyond what the client had hoped for, even amid the challenges of running an in-person business during COVID-19.
In particular, CEC Entertainment also wanted to open a new signature location in June 2021 in a way that would be both safe and effective. To do so, the agency split the event into two grand opening experiences – a “First to Play” event that invited deserving children from A Kid’s Place Tampa Bay to be the first children in the new arcade, and a grand reopening party for the community. Along with improving safety since the party was outdoors, this offered multiple media angles. The plan was successful, such that the team has used it for another 10 grand reopenings this year.
Congratulations to Senior Director Pamela Hughes and team! –MC
Stuntman PR swings from table to newsroom with top-tier food brands
With great food comes great responsibility. Stuntman PR took that on with two major engagements: the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium and the European Union on behalf of the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Consortium. These efforts earned honors as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
A boutique agency that focuses on food and hospitality, Stuntman PR has seen impressive growth over the last year. Despite COVID-19-related challenges, the agency maintains relationships with some of Europe’s premiere food consortiums and brands. Those flagship relationships are both tasty: the agency has 3-year engagements from both the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (starting 2018) and the European Union on behalf of the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Consortium (starting 2020). Since 2019, 100% of their growth has been new business/new accounts.
With two of the most seminal, iconic and historic agri-food products in Italy on board, more followed. Stuntman PR recently secured their place as the U.S. Agency of Record for Olivieri 1882, one of the most decorated bakeries in Italy.
As with other companies, COVID-19 hit hard, with clients no longer holding in-person events. However, 2020 also brought some hard-won successes. Stuntman PR put together a holiday campaign for the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center for Patina Restaurant Group in 2019, which the group would normally have repeated for 2020. With the company’s properties closed, they no longer needed the PR services, but agreed to stay “on hold” as the world tentatively got back to its feet.
Stuntman PR keeps on top of today’s trends and leverages longstanding media relationships with bloggers, social media influencers, magazine and newspaper editors, television producers, and talent bookers.
Other blue-chip and prestige brands the agency has worked with include Vintage Wine Estates, Patina Restaurant Group, MealPal, James Beard award-winning chef Francois Payard and celebrity chef Matthew Kenney.
Congratulations to Senior Vice President David Abrams and team. –MC
Women-owned Sway Group courts influencers to achieve clients’ ends
The marketing agency launched a website to recruit student athletes to its influencer community, among other notable achievements in 2021. It’s a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Founded in 2021, Sway Group is an independent, women-owned and -operated marketing agency. It executed 157 campaigns and hired 210,000 influencers over the past year, delivering 15,000 pieces of content across all platforms, 49.6 million impressions and 3.6 million engagements, serving such industries as food and beverage, financial services, insurance, fashion and more.
Among its accomplishments during a challenging year, Sway Group launched a student-athlete recruitment website when the NCAA allowed college athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. The agency welcomed all student athletes to join its influencer community, regardless of their league/division status or social media follower count. Sway Group signed four six-figure deals in the third quarter of 2021 alone, three representing large household brand names.
Sway Group implemented several yearlong programs filled with content on a variety of platforms, and also launched its first Twitch program. It expanded its TikTok capabilities and began offering programmatic digital advertising along with social display ads using technology from Spaceback.
Prioritizing charitable giving, Sway Group donates $5 for every influencer used on its campaigns to a selection of organizations that includes Black Lives Matter, Good360, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and others.
Congratulations to Sway Group’s Danielle Wiley, Francesca Banducci and Tiffany Romero. –JC
The Hoffman Agency
The Hoffman Agency embraced employees and clients alike in 2021
It repaid employees for ‘going the extra kilometer’ and saved semiconductor maker TSMC from missing an important recruiting deadline, making The Hoffman Agency a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
As the pandemic continued to wreak havoc in 2021, The Hoffman Agency tried to go beyond the usual Zoom happy hours to keep staff morale high.
Realizing that working from home 100% of time was blurring boundaries for employees, the agency launched “Going the Extra Kilometer,” which allowed any employee who worked extra time to enter those hours into Hoffman’s timekeeping system and get the time back as PTO — completely on the honor system.
Hoffman also created HA JAMZ, a global program that allowed every employee to share a song on Spotify and tell the backstory of why the song is meaningful. The activity was a huge hit, bringing colleagues closer together, as well as creating the most eclectic playlist on Spotify.
On the client side, for Nokia’s B2B business, Hoffman shared research through blog posts on how the pandemic had affected internet bandwidth around the world. The team humanized the research by connecting it to popular applications like Netflix and Playstation, generating coverage in the trade books and Bloomberg, Wired and Reuters. By the end of the campaign, The Wall Street Journal was reaching out to Hoffman and Nokia for commentary.
On top of that, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) approached December in a bit of a panic. After finalizing an agreement with the White House to build a chip manufacturing plant in the U.S., the company needed to hire 250 engineering grads from U.S. universities by June 2021 to quality for a subsidy. Conventional recruiting had generated zero traction.
In response, Hoffman created a microsite supported by digital marketing, earned media and high-touch activities such as job fairs and classroom talks. The microsite generated more than 13,000 applications and enabled TSMC to meet its deadline.
Kudos go to Kymra Knuth, Steve Jursa and Kelly Stone. –JC
The Reis Group
Healthy business for healthy people: The Reis Group
The last few years have been the time for health care companies to step up. The Reis Group helped. From vaccination to social work, the agency specializes in life itself, earning recognition as a Boutique Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
This boutique agency took the COVID-19 pandemic as both a challenge and an opportunity. Focusing on health care, it was poised to create messaging around health and safety at this critical time. For example, The Reis Group was part of the Fors Marsh Group LLC’s massive $450 million two-year HHS COVID-19 Public Education Campaign. In addition, it helped spread the word through dedicated outreach with local trusted messengers speaking in key markets where vaccination rates are dangerously low. Revenues have grown by 46 percent in the past 12 months. Clients vary widely within the health care umbrella, including nonprofits, foundations, federal agencies, medical associations, patient advocates, research institutes, health systems, corporations, and universities.
The Reis Group took the prize against five competing firms to secure a six-year contract with the Association of Social Work Boards. This project puts social good forward, with market research, reputation management, and promotion of the exam development process, thereby updating the association’s social work licensing exam to ensure that it is fair and equitable.
The group has a proven record of authoritative experience in professional health care. Principal Sharon Reis led two virtual trainings with the American Gastroenterological Association’s FORWARD program, focusing on leading during COVID-19. She also has appeared at other industry conferences and academic programs.
Kudos to Principal Sharon Reis and team! –MC
V2 Communications ramped up during 2021
For a boutique agency, it accomplished a lot: a major IPO for one client, resource reports for the entire industry and a brand-building program that ended in a client’s acquisition by Best Buy. V2 is a Small Agency of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
While many PR agencies slowed down in response to the pandemic, boutique PR and digital communications agency V2 Communications ramped up.
V2 helmed the U.S. media strategy for the third largest software IPO in history, UiPath, generating coverage on NBC Tech Check, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Technology. In addition, when V2 client ASG Technologies was acquired by Rocket, Rocket enlisted V2’s services, so V2 operated as an extension of ASG’s marketing and communications department. V2 also produced the 60th episode of ASG’s podcast, Digital: Disrupted, a project that spawned other client podcasts.
But V2 also wanted to act as a resource to the communications industry. That mission fueled “Health Tech Media in a Post-COVID-19 World,” a report that gathered insights from more than 20 top health tech reporters from both business and trade publications to shed light on newsrooms’ coverage priorities during the pandemic.
Similarly, V2 capped off 2021 with the release of “Roadmap for Navigating the Media Landscape During COVID-19,” Fall 2020 edition. The report, a second edition of one published in March 2020, assessed PR in times of crisis and included insights from partners and media personnel (including journalists from Forbes and Business Insider) to help communications pros navigate the rapidly changing media climate, regardless of their industry.
Also in health care, V2 orchestrated a brand building campaign for Current Health’s health care vision, which generated coverage in Forbes and MedCity News. Another goal was to highlight Current Health’s remote care management platform as a strategy for better patient care. This generated coverage from Cheddar and recognition in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards program. Ultimately, the buzz generated by these campaigns culminated in Current Health’s acquisition by Best Buy in fall 2021. –JC
Thinking Outside the Box for CES
AxiCom U.S. pivots a popular launch device into a call to action
The agency made its client’s sustainability mission the focus rather than product, which receives recognition in the Technology Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
When it was announced that the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 would be virtual, the AxiCom team went to work on behalf of Dell Technologies to create a standout media moment. As virtual events became the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, the “launch box” – often packed with products and goodies to create firsthand touch-and-feel experiences for media — became a go-to tactic for many to coincide with product launches or events.
The AxiCom team, with WPP agency Fitch, devised a counter-concept that would make a bold statement and spark a call to action: The team mailed empty boxes to global media, analyst and influencer contacts. These empty boxes then could be used by the recipient to donate old technology for e-cycling, representing and drawing attention to Dell’s 2030 sustainability goals and circularity initiatives.
In total, 198 empty boxes were shipped and more than 75 shipments were received in return, culminating in over 220 lbs. of old technology to be recycled by Dell Technologies. The box was praised for its boldness and creativity, stirring positive conversations online and offline and drawing attention to Dell’s sustainability mission.
Cheers to the team behind Thinking Outside the Box for CES: Aaron Virola, Margaux Vega and Kelly Huang. –KL
It starts here
Ayni Brigade finds the balance between being authoritative and engaging
The campaign targeting underserved communities sought to educate rather than lecture. It also earned recognition in the Nonprofit Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Recognizing that the data revealed large gaps in various ethnic groups’ intent to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Trinity Health Regional Ministries tasked Ayni Brigade with producing a campaign that would engage people, urge them to get real facts and then make an informed decision. Targeting underserved communities in 14 regional health ministries across North America, the vaccination grassroots effort needed to break through the mistrust and anger held toward the medical community, government and media.
Therefore, the “It Starts Here” campaign, running March through July 2021, emphasized what was missed during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the promise to restart those things “starts here” with becoming vaccinated — or, at least, visiting the campaign website for science-based facts and information. The campaign messaging and assets struck a balance between sounding authoritative while remaining simple and easy to digest. Ethnically diverse models and colloquialisms were utilized to further resonate with the targeted audience.
All this was visually represented by a purple band-aid on the upper arm with “It Starts Here” printed on it. To support the campaign, a range of assets were produced: masks and t-shirts, community outreach event boards with QR codes, clinic selfie poster board and landing pages.
As Trinity Health Regional Ministries commenced the “It Starts Here” grassroots events, Ayni Brigade began a national digital and social media campaign, supported by broadcast radio, and an influencer campaign. The broadcast radio efforts specifically targeted zip codes of underserved communities, garnering an estimated 20 million impressions. In the final weeks of the campaign, four celebrity influencers addressed the audience in 30-second videos posted on Facebook and Instagram, which reached over 3.5 million followers and achieved over 95,000 views and 36,000 engagements.
Other results included:
Paid social media ads on Facebook reached over 6 million impressions and drove more than 47,000 clicks.
Landing pages for each participating ministry, which provided information and locations, received a total of 15,148 visitors.
A digital conversation starter fact sheet was downloaded 229 times. —KL
SIDE by SIDE
Health Care & Wellness
Ayokay develops human-first digital strategy for CDC’s SIDE by SIDE campaign
Indianapolis marketing agency Ayokay uses people-first language and imagery in its branding for SIDE by SIDE, earning recognition in the Health Care & Wellness Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
As part of the federal initiative to address the HIV epidemic in Marion County, Indiana, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with Ayokay to develop the messaging strategy for its SIDE by SIDE campaign.
A crucial part of addressing a health care crisis is making sure your audiences feel safe and understood. Ayokay designed SIDE by SIDE’s branding to emphasize the importance of inclusion and support, with a brandmark that depicts people holding hands. Color-coded digital branding designates which audience a specific piece of content is created for: Purple for someone living with HIV, gold for people who support those living with HIV and red for someone who is learning about HIV. SIDE by SIDE’s website is organized using these colors to better help visitors navigate the resources they need.
Other features of the SIDE by SIDE website include a list of community organizations that provide lifesaving resources such as health care, shelter, legal services and employment assistance. The site’s FAQ section provides answers to commonly asked questions about HIV.
“Because of stigma around HIV, many individuals do not bring up important questions about HIV to their doctors,” according to Ayokay. “SIDE by SIDE anticipated this stigma and wanted to curate an all-in-one place for people to get answers for their HIV questions.”
SIDE by SIDE’s social media strategy takes six different forms: brand awareness, shared content from potential partners, content about current partners, HIV education, culture and community-building and HIV-related news. The team behind the social accounts isn’t afraid to take on traditionally taboo topics like trans-inclusive healthcare initiatives or the emotional toll that caring for someone with HIV can take.
Since the launch of the SIDE by SIDE websites and social accounts in October 2021, the site has received hundreds of visits. The social channels have accumulated 58 followers. SIDE by SIDE has partnered with more than 150 regional resource organizations to supply their information on the SIDE by SIDE website.
Congratulations to the Ayokay team, including Jack Shepler, Chris Sullivan, Crystal Paschal and Philemon Ghebrehiwet. –EA
How Bospar Took Unistellar To New Heights & Making a Splash During Prime Day Lets BioBidet Flush Out the Competition
Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle & Media Relations
Bospar BioBidet campaign amid pandemic results in major acquisition of bidet company
Bospar’s campaign with BioBidet earned recognition in the Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
When the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a brief toilet paper shortage, the Bospar team knew exactly which bidet company they wanted to represent: Chicago-based BioBidet, one of the few bidet providers to use brass fittings rather than plastic.
When BioBidet hired Bospar, the bidet maker was having trouble keeping up with market competitors like Tushy and Toto. They wanted to be seen as one of the top bidet providers in the U.S.
So Bospar took on the challenge, starting with a consumer study and media audit. The team identified demographics for those most and least likely to use a bidet and found that “after their first time with a bidet, 85% of Americans said they would keep using it.”
The Bospar team set out to reduce squeamishness in talking about toilet-related accessories by positioning bidets as cutting-edge technology and a money-saving tool for families using more toilet paper than ever during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The team educated reporters about American attitudes toward the bidet, which resulted in feature reviews in top-tier outlets like Business Insider, Wirecutter and Buzzfeed.
Additionally, the Bospar team sought social media testimonials from people who were willing to share the story of their first time using a bidet, awarding more than 100 bidet attachments to people who posted about the experience on social media.
Bospar’s efforts more than tripled BioBidet’s share of voice and increased the brand’s sentiment from 57% to 91.9%. The team’s aggressive earned media campaign paid dividends as well, with BioBidet nabbing two product spots in Parade Magazine’s April 2021 roundup of the “8 Best bidets and bidet attachments.”
Finally, as reported by Clare Goldsberry for Plastics Today, “More Americans are adding bidets to their bathrooms when they renovate. Global toilet seat maker Bemis Manufacturing Co. took notice and acquired BioBidet, which has had success in bringing bidets and smart toilet seats to the U.S. market.”
Congratulations to Brent Shelton and the Bospar team. –EA
Bospar drums up interest, sales for Unistellar’s high-tech telescope with asteroid-related campaign
Bospar’s attention to details — both small and astronomically large — earned recognition in the Media Relations Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
With this campaign, Unistellar wanted to make the case that more people should learn about astronomy. The company wanted to build a community of citizen astronomers. But first, Bospar needed to figure out some very specific target customer demographics: People who are in the market for a $3,000 telescope do exist — but who are they?
Bospar identified five “types” of Unistellar customers: STEM Dad Steve, Owen Outdoorsy, Ted Tech, Richard Retiree and Adam Astronomer. The Bospar team then identified which popular outlets these five customers would read to better understand their interests and preferences. For example, Ted Tech would read Wired and Mashable, while STEM Dad Steve would gravitate toward Discover or Scientific American.
Bospar’s PR team tailored outreach to audiences based on these five profiles, as well as with awareness of people’s attitudes in being stuck at home due to the pandemic.
“PR positioned astronomy as an antidote to many of the problems caused by the lockdown: claustrophobia, lapses in education, and frankly, perspective,” according to Bospar.
To emphasize the advanced abilities of Unistellar’s eVscope, Bospar’s PR team also tied messaging about the product to the tracking of an enormous asteroid that could wage major destruction on Earth if it were to collide with our planet. Bospar issued a call to action for amateur and pro astronomers alike to help track the orbit of the asteroid, Apophis.
And when Tim Russ of Star Trek fame helped five other citizen astronomers detect an asteroid orbiting Jupiter, he credited Unistellar’s telescope with the finding. Bospar pitched the story to USA Today as an exclusive.
Unistellar’s website users increased by 71.79% globally with the announcement of the eVscope, while direct web traffic in the U.S. increased by more than 232%. Unistellar’s website referral traffic spiked by a whopping 2,588.89% as well.
Congratulations to the Bospar team. –EA
1 year, 31 pages, 19 Page-1 keywords for eSpatial
Brafton’s content optimization campaign drives increased traffic to eSpatial website
Content marketing company Brafton boosted eSpatial’s presence on search engine result pages, resulting in increased traffic and conversion rates. These efforts earned recognition in the Digital Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
In just one year, the team at Brafton helped mapping software company eSpatial rank on the first page of search engine results for 19 of the company’s top keywords.
eSpatial’s customer communications team came to Brafton with a desire to use SEO and content optimization to get the eSpatial website listed in relevant search results. Using tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, MozBar, manual search engine results page (SERP) analysis and a proprietary Search Performance Brief, the Brafton team got to work.
Brafton’s team began by conducting advanced keyword research, targeting relevant keywords and flagging existing eSpatial webpages that could be re-optimized for better search rankings. They selected keywords based on a set of specific criteria, like whether there was enough traffic potential to warrant targeting a particular keyword or determining whether the keyword was relevant to a client’s industry based on SERPs.
“We weren’t just looking for new keywords,” according to Brafton. “We were also on the hunt for pages that were ranking for valuable keywords (based on the above criteria) but could have been ranking better. The goal was to identify these underperforming pages and optimize them for industry-relevant keywords.”
For each keyword, the Brafton team created a set of data-guided instructions, called Search Performance Briefs, for how to rank. The team used SPBs to write or re-optimize 31 pages or blog posts on the eSpatial website.
Of those 31 pages, 19 now appear on the first page of search engine results. Three of those pages are the first item. Additionally, the number of organic sessions for eSpatial blog posts is up by 50%, while the website as a whole saw a 20% increase in organic traffic in the first nine months of the Brafton campaign.
“Brafton has made things easier for us than when we wrote everything internally,” the eSpatial team wrote in a company review. “They make our lives easier. We don’t have to chase them or come up with the ideas ourselves.”
Kudos to the Brafton team. –EA
Climate Tech Takes Center Stage with Jupiter Intelligence
Broadsheet Communications takes Jupiter Intelligence brand awareness, thought leadership to new heights
Broadsheet Communications’ aggressive media outreach and earned hits earned recognition in the Environmental Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
As the U.S. grappled with the onset of the pandemic, followed by a summer of civil unrest and a contentious presidential election, Silicon Valley startup Jupiter Intelligence sought to establish itself as an industry leader in predicting the impacts of climate change on infrastructure.
The climate risk industry is fairly new, so the Broadsheet Communications team’s strategy to elevate Jupiter’s brand awareness included educating audiences — and reporters — about the field. The team began by reaching out to reporters on various beats who hadn’t yet considered the impact of climate risk for infrastructure on the industries they covered.
As newly elected President Joe Biden began laying out his climate agenda, the Broadsheet team positioned Jupiter against the political news cycle.
“Jupiter was poised to benefit from increased awareness, relevance, and government funding in light of the new administration,” according to Broadsheet.
Broadsheet provided media training to Jupiter’s scientific experts and regularly pitched their expertise to news outlets. This foundational work paid off when journalists sought out Jupiter CEO Rich Sorkin in the wake of the fatal winter storm in Texas in early 2021. Following the storm, Broadsheet garnered media placements for Jupiter in Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Insider and dozens of other publications.
A highlight of this coverage was the Washington Post’s profile on Jupiter’s work with Hawaiian Electric, BP, ConEdison and LibertyMutual.
“The new administration put climate change back on the national agenda and Broadsheet was able to insert Jupiter into the middle of the conversation,” says Jupiter’s marketing director. “The press coverage in targeted publications such as the Washington Post had a meaningful impact on our business.”
Just before Sorkin traveled to Scotland to attend global climate summit COP26, Jupiter secured Series C funding, bringing its total funding amount to more than $100 million. Sorkin’s appearance at COP26 led to a surge of interest from news outlets and investors alike.
Kudos to the winning team from Broadsheet Communications. –EA
Not Another Second
Dittoe PR opens doors for a LGBTQ+ cultural awareness campaign
The PR agency’s role was to educate and generate interest. Its success extends to being recognized in the Media Relations Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
The Not Another Second cultural awareness campaign spotlights the stories of 12 LGBTQ+ senior citizens in an exhibition, documentary and a website featuring the gallery show. Through a collaboration between advocacy organization SAGE and Watermark Retirement Communities, the seniors speak to the hardships they faced living at a time when being an out LBGTQ+ individual was considered a crime and fears around being mistreated when seeking senior housing or care facilities.
The exhibition featured interactive, AR-infused portraits of the participating seniors along with quotes from each, plus statistics about LGBTQ+ elders. The exhibition made its debut at the Watermark in Brooklyn, New York, in January 2021. Watermark Retirement Communities worked with Dittoe PR to educate target audiences about the Not Another Second campaign, generate ticket sales and drive traffic to the exhibit’s website (where most of the experience also is available).
To meet those goals, Dittoe PR began its PR efforts in early December by focusing on national media reporters who cover LGBTQ+ issues, as well as local, art, senior and LGBTQ+ trade publications. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team worked closely with Watermark to create a safety plan that included COVID-19 screenings, social distancing requirements and more.
A “media week” was hosted rather than one grand-opening event, which allowed for three “preview events” a day with groups of 10 or less to adhere to the city’s 10-person COVID mandate. Dittoe PR also arranged on-site interviews with campaign participants. For those unable or not comfortable attending in person, a detailed press kit with all campaign assets could be shared.
Between December 2020 and March 2021, Dittoe PR achieved:
More than 160 media placements, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, AARP, NBC News and more.
9 billion media impressions plus significant recognition on social media.
$26.9 million in advertising value.
These efforts also resulted in the three-month exhibit being completely sold out within two weeks and the ultimate extension at Watermark through October 2021.
Congratulations to Kasie Pieri at Dittoe PR. –KL
g2o Buyer Portal
g2o Buyer Portal
The buyer portal developed by g2o enhances the home building journey
By identifying what is wanted and expected in the customer experience, the experience and technology agency delivered a guide for the whole process. It earns recognition in the Technology Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
A leading homebuilder worked with g2o to develop a portal that could educate and guide home buyers through the construction process and into home ownership. The Home Builders Portal is the result of intelligence gathering on the customer experience, which identified what they want and expect throughout the building process.
Prior to the platform’s implementation, the customer experience involved various forms of communication and multiple applications with minimal consistency, resulting in a chance for overlooked or delayed tasks and deliverables. The user-friendly portal, developed as a Progressive Web Application, offers a unified experience where the home buyer can:
View each event and task throughout the building process.
Schedule appointments and find contact information to communicate with any staff members.
Review executed and pending documents.
Access and review mortgage information.
View photos of the home’s build progress and access links to an online design studio.
See relevant content about their home and community.
Submit warranty claims with photos or videos.
View upcoming and completed deposits.
Within the portal, the home buyer also can control how they receive notifications and their frequency. The ability to track each stage of the home building journey allows all stakeholders to see what is happening, but also has decreased missed deadlines. On-time payments have increased due to the visibility and notifications built into the Home Builders Portal, and on-time completion of tasks also has helped shorten build times. Since its launch, there has been a decrease in building cancellation rates because customers feel more supported and engaged in the process. –KL
Because You Matter
A COVID-19 vaccination campaign by Lagrant Communications sensitively empowers those experiencing homelessness
The outreach efforts incorporated insights from community-based organizations and are being recognized in the Multicultural Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
The United Way of Greater Los Angeles tasked Lagrant Communications with designing a COVID-19 vaccination campaign that would inform and empower people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County to get vaccinated. Messaging needed to be culturally sensitive to resonate with those in the Black, African American and Latinx communities experiencing homelessness.
Lagrant Communications conducted focus groups with nine community-based organizations (CBOs) to gain insights around serving people experiencing homelessness. This feedback from working directly with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and its partnering CBOs formed the basis for a messaging platform, “Because You Matter. Get Vaccinated.”
Because CBOs and outreach workers formed the frontlines of these efforts, Lagrant Communications executed informational sessions about campaign elements, designed and produced incentive items that could be utilized during interactions with people experiencing homelessness, and created an outreach toolkit with key resources and information about COVID-19 vaccines available in English and Spanish.
Additional tactics included:
Developed 30 pieces of social media content for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Designed and executed a paid out of home campaign using 19 transit shelters and 124 bench ads.
Planned and executed a COVID-19 vaccination event at San Julian Park in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles with participation by Los Angeles Counter Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.
The incentive items CBOs could use in interactions — including tote bags, crew socks, hygiene kits, face masks and postcards in English and Spanish — garnered nearly $80,000 in campaign added value. The out of home campaign earned 9 million weekly impressions. The COVID-19 vaccination event received coverage in the Los Angeles Times and on local CBS and Univision networks with an approximate reach of 1.4 million, plus 23 people experiencing homelessness became vaccinated.
Congrats to Lagrant Communications. –KL
Bojangles Chicken Sandwich Launch
Consumer & Product/Service Launch
Luquire wins ‘Chicken Sandwich Wars’ for Bojangles with NYC event, campaign
Charlotte-based Luquire’s campaign for Bojangles’ new chicken sandwich drew millions of impressions, earning recognition in both the Consumer Campaign category and the Product/Service Launch category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
When Bojangles set out to debut its chicken sandwich in 2021, it was not only several years late to the game; Luquire’s PR team also faced the challenge of making the regional restaurant chain relevant on a national level. Despite these hurdles, Luquire aimed to make the release of Bo’s Chicken Sandwich a media grand slam.
The team set goals for the campaign, including at least 100 earned media mentions, at least 10 national media placements, reaching an audience of at least 100 million people and soliciting influencer posts with a social media audience of more than 2 million people.
Luquire’s New York City-based campaign achieved every one of these goals.
Banking on the fact that NYC is home to hundreds of influential foodies and even more former Southerners, Luquire settled on a three-day promotional event to launch Bojangles’ new sandwich. And because the closest Bojangles location to the Big Apple is thousands of miles away, the team brought in a custom food truck, manned by Marshall Scarborough, Bojangles’ vice president of menu and culinary innovation.
The team contacted NYC-based food bloggers and tapped big-name influencers (like The Bachelor’s Matt James) to attend the event. The mobility of the food truck allowed the team to host reporters and Bojangles fans at a multitude of locations across the city, including Times Square, where the crew put on a massive chicken sandwich giveaway. The Bojangles food truck team handed out more than 2,000 chicken sandwiches over the course of the three-day event.
The campaign generated 140 earned media placements and reached an overall audience of more than 140 million people. Influencer and blogger partnerships helped the campaign garner a social media audience of 4 million people, and coverage of the event appeared in national media outlets like Southern Living, Thrillist, Business Insider and The TODAY Show.
Kudos to the Luquire team, including Hallie Dean, Clare Rizer and Barry Finkelstein. –EA
Earning recognition in the Technology Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Zaiser Motors appointed Comprise to assist with positioning the startup as the “Tesla of motorcycles.” The public relations efforts aimed to direct traffic to the “Electrocycle” prototype crowdfunding campaign, which once funded would enter the growing $6 billion electric motorcycle market.
The efforts focused on four areas:
Generating product excitement by targeting the audience most interested in the new technology, including traditional motorcycle enthusiasts to those interested in green transportation alternatives.
Gaining support with business stories around Zaiser’s funding initiatives and the product advancements to extend the reach with business outlets.
Launching and supporting a social media plan to drive engagement and generate excitement.
Developing a thought leadership program with a combination of interview opportunities and media coverage with editorial placements to better tell the Zaiser Motors story.
This robust communications plan gained leverage for Zaiser in three key areas: potential customers, potential investors and the green energy market. Comprise crafted messaging — including a company boilerplate and series of elevator pitches (25-, 50- and 100-word versions) — and distributed targeted pitches to the media. A funding announcement also was distributed to relevant local, industry and national press.
The public relations and social media strategies assisted Zaiser with reaching its initial goal of raising $50,000 during the early stages of its angel funding campaign. Nearly 100 separate pieces of media coverage were secured from May through June 2021, reaching over 5.32 billion online readers and receiving over 6.94 million views. The social media plan earned over 2,740 shares. These efforts assisted Zaiser on its path to complete its overall funding goal of $500,000 and lead in the “electrocycle” space. –KL
SFC Group Website
SFC Group taps internal teams for stylized website redesign
Woman-owned creative agency SFC Group’s website overhaul led to a 50% increase in new business, earning recognition in the Digital Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
To find SFC Group online, users navigate to www.SFCgroup1.com. Why the one? Whatever the reason for the lone numeral at the end of the agency’s web address, the SFC Group team decided to highlight it, making “one” the cornerstone of its website overhaul.
“We struck upon ONE brilliant idea: make that pesky ‘1’ our tent-pole,” according to SFC Group. “After all, we really are one agency working as one team with one dream.”
“One” was the basis of the agency’s website rebrand, with every part of the company pitching in to make the transformation happen in record time, including members of the copy, art and digital teams.
“Previously the website was hard to navigate, now each section flows into the next making it easy for current and prospective clients to find what they are looking for and discovering new ideas they didn’t know they needed,” according to the agency.
The website is brightly colored, with different shades of green, pink and gray serving as the backdrop for highly stylized bubble letters that read “ONE.” Users are greeted by team-centric statements like “one more thought,” “all for one” and “one dream” when they navigate to the SFC Group homepage.
The result? One stunning site.
Following the launch of the new website, SFC Group saw a 50% increase in new business inquiries, which are “leading to new hires and expanding [the agency’s] reach within the healthcare and pharma industries.”
Congratulations to Brian Zandman, Jennifer Fry Devault and the SFC Group team. –EA
Fishbowl Summit Campaign
Stage Marketing delivers for client’s debut online summit
In addition to garnering recognition in the Media Relations Campaign category in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards, the content marketing agency successfully met or exceeded every event objective.
Inventory management system software company Fishbowl debuted a growth management Summit to further help small- and medium-size businesses “learn, grow and scale.” Fishbowl outlined a series of objectives for the online Summit:
Offer the event free of charge.
Secure more than 5,000 registrations with at least a third being a new lead.
Extend the length from one day to two days.
Create a library of video presentations and thought leadership content from the events’ speakers and panelists.
Lay the groundwork to turn the summit into an annual event.
Fishbowl hired Stage Marketing to amplify the event’s media attention both regionally and nationally, find industry association partnerships and secure article placement in at least six publications. The content marketing agency wrote and edited press releases, media advisories, customized email pitch content, listicles, thought leadership articles and more. The team also tapped into its networks to secure interviews for summit speakers, offered interview prep and coaching, and helped facilitate the interviews and follow-up communications.
Ultimately, these efforts resulted in over 290 release pickups and 12 earned media placements announcing and highlighting the summit in publications like Forbes, Silicon Slopes Magazine, Daily Herald and BuzzFeed.
As for Fishbowl’s other objectives, over 9,000 people registered for the summit, with over half being new leads for the company. The National Association of Manufacturers’ newsletter featured a complimentary ad that reached 22,000 manufacturing business leaders. One week before the scheduled event, a second-day extension was announced. The content in both the Summit Replay viewing library and thought leadership Blog Series are being used for future media mentions.
Congratulations to Amy Cook and Doug Fox for their work on the Fishbowl Summit Campaign. –KL
TEAM LEWIS Foundation
A Team Lewis program supports employees in making a ‘meaningful difference’
The Causes program provides employees the opportunity to translate the skills they use for clients to local causes they care about. It also garners recognition for Cause-related Campaign in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Team Lewis, a global marketing agency, created a plan that went beyond donations and volunteer days to support small nonprofit organizations. Based on feedback from an employee engagement survey, interviews and diversity & inclusion committee meetings, it was clear employees wanted to do hands-on work to help those in need. Thus, the Team Lewis Causes program began in January 2021 to champion and support team members’ personal charitable efforts through donations — both monetary and pro-bono agency services.
Each Team Lewis employee is offered $1,000 to donate to a charitable cause of their choice. The team’s global employees nominate nonprofits for them to offer pro-bono marketing support and resources to help amplify the nonprofits’ missions, allowing the team to translate what it does for clients to causes. Team members met with a creative task force — comprised of senior team members across practice areas and services — to discuss ways to support their causes.
Employees have collectively spent more than 800 hours supporting the Causes program, delivering media training sessions, website and SEO audits, video filming and production, social media toolkits and more. Employees are offered another $1,000 to keep as a bonus or to donate for their efforts beyond day-to-day responsibilities. So far, these efforts have supported more than 340 causes worldwide and have exceeded Team Lewis’ $1 million monetary donation goal.
The employee network also is activated to achieve extra promotional support for the nonprofits on social media. Since the launch of the Causes program, internal response has been encouraging with 171 mentions from employees leading to more than 12,000 engagements across social platforms that garners additional awareness and exposure for participating nonprofits.
Through the Causes program, Team Lewis has partnered with two organizations that encompass the team’s spirit:
With the Flint Public Art Project, an agency-wide workshop and discussion centered on the impact of community-based art and the expansion of roles as global citizens.
Two global research reports with HeForShe reached 6.7 million people in five days with 24 coverage items across 12 markets.
Because Team Lewis Causes has become an integral part of company culture and to ensure its longevity, additional investments have been made to form the Team Lewis Foundation, which has a chief executive and dedicated department, to lead future activations and continue its success.
Congrats to Team Lewis. –KL
The Brand Guild
The Brand Guild
The Brand Guild builds awareness for Imperfect Foods through robust trend report, regional events
The Brand Guild’s campaign to raise brand awareness for online grocer Imperfect Foods earned recognition in the CSR/Purpose Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Imperfect Foods had exciting news to share: The company was committing to being net-carbon neutral by 2030. But amidst a global pandemic, the sustainable online grocer was struggling to make headlines about its environmental progress.
Enter The Brand Guild. The Brand Guild’s team crafted a multi-pronged strategy to not only increase Imperfect Foods’ brand awareness, but also promote the company’s sustainable mission.
To start, The Brand Guild team developed a niche trend report, “The State of Online Grocery,” to drive interest and generate buzz around Imperfect Foods’ sustainability announcement. The 68-page report was a combination of Imperfect Foods-owned data, third-party research, and original producer interviews analyzing the future of online grocery.
The combined press release for the trend report and the sustainability announcement generated 175 million impressions, 131 pick-ups and 2,000 views, and the team secured media placements in publications covering topics like business, sustainability, retail, food, energy and transportation.
In addition to the trend report, The Brand Guild created a regional campaign event for the Washington, D.C. area: Food Waste Week, led by Imperfect Foods. By blending influencer marketing, partnerships and events capabilities, the team tapped local restaurants and community organizations to bring the week’s worth of events to fruition.
A cornerstone of the week was an influencer happy hour at a local vegan taco shop, which drew a 100% attendance rate and a combined potential reach of 392,000 people. Photos and videos posted on social media show sleekly branded menus and a diverse array of attendees.
To drive media coverage of the event, The Brand Guild team organized a press dinner and roundtable event, where reporters from outlets like Vox, Eater and Business Insider gathered to try sustainably sourced “imperfect” foods and discuss food system-related issues. The press dinner resulted in hits and brand mentions from large publications including NBC4 Washington, Thrillist and the Washingtonian.
Congratulations to The Brand Guild team. –EA
Tier One Partners
Leading By Example: Ally Bank Steps Up to Eliminate Fees Disproportionately Affecting Financially Vulnerable Americans
Tier One Partners helps Ally Bank announce overdraft fee elimination policy, garnering 3 billion+ impressions
Tier One Partners leveraged an exclusive feature in the Wall Street Journal to help generate buzz around Ally Bank’s new overdraft fee policy, earning recognition in the Financial Campaign category of PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Ally Bank is the largest digital-only bank in the U.S. So, when Ally made the decision to permanently eliminate overdraft fees following the COVID-19 pandemic, it was big news.
Tier One Partners developed a strategic plan to announce the move, with two main goals: to establish Ally as a disruptor in the financial services industry and reinforce Ally’s commitment to its customers.
Tier One first identified the people that would be helped most by eliminating overdraft fees. The team’s research showed that “95% of the consumers who paid $12.4 billion in overdraft fees in 2020 were ‘financially vulnerable and financially coping,’ and disproportionately Black and Latinx.” Using this statistic and other data, Tier One reached out to Wall Street Journal Reporter Orla McCaffrey to offer an exclusive run of Ally’s announcement. McCaffrey accepted, and Tier One coordinated an interview between her and Ally executives Jeffrey Brown and Diane Morais.
Following the Wall Street Journal story, Tier One received a flurry of media requests for interviews with Ally spokespeople. The team secured feature coverage in outlets like the Associated Press, The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR’s Marketplace and many more. “Quotes from our executive spokespeople featured prominently in the coverage, and a keyword analysis of the coverage demonstrated strong industry positioning and Ally’s customer-first mentality,” according to Tier One.
Along with the media coverage, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey linked to news stories about the Ally announcement on Facebook and Twitter. The media coverage resulted in more than 3.8 billion impressions.
Additionally, Ally’s social channels saw social inbound volumes increase by 70%, while the company’s competitive share of voice increased by 3,745% following the announcement.
Congratulations to Justin Nicolette with Ally and Sue Parente and Allison Logano with the Tier One Partners team. –EA
Megan Driscoll soars with EvolveMKD
For Megan Driscoll, supporting women has always been the fabric of her agency work. With EvolveMKD, she goes above and beyond. As a result, the agency expanded both revenue and accounts, and she has been recognized as an Agency Leader of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
Megan Driscoll founded EvolveMKD, a NYC-based public relations and digital marketing agency, in 2014, with a distinct focus on the healthcare, beauty and lifestyle industries.
Despite the difficulties of 2020, EvolveMKD nearly doubled 2019’s revenue that year. Under Driscoll’s leadership, the agency brought in seven new accounts and expanded its brand portfolio under current accounts. Driscoll also took the lead in 2020 on a multi-million dollar direct-to-consumer brand campaign for CooperVision, which broke all of its benchmark goals in a short preparation period of less than two months. Other successes from that campaign included surpassing its awareness goal by over 189% and garnering 241M impressions from all digital activities. Of all viewers, the campaign pushed 33.2M parents into taking direct action on all digital channels (+257% of goal), with nearly 9 in 10 moms who became aware of the product taking action. Driscoll used her business savvy and skill at building relationships to take the lead on the campaign’s celebrity partnership, acting as the main liaison between the brand and celebrity team.
One of the keys to a good agency is to always be improving, to grow and change with the seasons of life. With that in mind, Driscoll helped EvolveMKD add several major new hires, including a VP of digital, director of public relations, director of HR and a new in-house creative team. They also added new capabilities, including digital media planning and buying, e-commerce and web consulting and loyalty and referral programs.
Along with her charitable work, Driscoll led the agency’s new diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiative, including a partnership with coaching/consulting company Delivering Happiness.
In 2020, EvolveMKD donated over $680,000 to charitable organizations, with a focus on supporting people of color and gender equality. During COVID-19, EvolveMKD continued its existing charity donations and employee donation matching, plus evolving it by sponsoring quarterly service events and pledging to donate to a new charity each week. Driscoll spearheaded a study through EvolveMKD’s first owned research initiative, The Evolution of Communications, resulting in “5 Communications Languages of Women,” which looks at gender, communication styles and mental health.
2020 also marked the publication of Driscoll’s first book, #Resolve To Evolve, for anyone looking to start a business or improve their public relations game. –MC
Kudos to Megan and EvolveMKD!
French West Vaughan
Adding art to business with Rick French of French West Vaughan
CEO Rick French combines creativity and patronage of the arts with business rigor in his leadership at French West Vaughan (FWV), earning him recognition as an Agency Leader of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
In any industry, work is partially about the science of results and partially about the art of moving people. We operate on a mix of logic and emotion, after all. Rick French’s background as a national trustee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame + Museum and his work as managing director of FWV’s film and television subsidiary Prix Productions show his commitment to art, as well as to business.
In terms of his role at FWV, French has overseen several successes over the last year. The agency saw a 22.8% increase in fee income growth over 2021 — yes, during the pandemic. Client retention year-over-year was 93%, aided in part by French’s willingness to be flexible with clients that needed to make monetary or schedule changes due to the global health crisis. That also contributed to record 2020 year-end results, with FWV representing 117 distinct companies and/or brands over the past 18 months.
RDF Capital, a new business imprint of FWV launched in 2021, quickly found success with its inaugural product, the Parfum de Azalea fragrance from Iggy Azalea. FWV also saw a successful social media campaign the same year with the Oregon Community Foundation’s Let’er Buck Cares Fund in concert with the Pendleton Round-Up rodeo and Pendleton Whisky. The campaign generated 1.3M+ combined impressions and 17 placements in Western media outlets.
As many people’s jobs changed in 2021, the same holds true for French. He redefined his role as a leader in 2021, leaning on his strong executive leadership team to oversee the day-to-day work of clients. FWV created a solid plan for how to both create positive change in the Raleigh area and expand the FWV brand nationally.
PR Daily’s award program was far from the only recognition he gained this year, with Business North Carolina magazine naming French one of the state’s most influential voices.
Congratulations to Rick French and FWV! –MC
Rolling with the punches with NRPR founder Nicole Rodrigues
Responding to COVID-19 took sound business decisions and an eye for today’s health needs as Rodrigues added new clients and handled crisis, and earned honors as an Agency Leader of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards. Medtech and health companies turned to her agency. Plus, a new production studio was born.
Thriving as a business leader in 2020 took all the usual skills, plus unprecedented creativity and flexibility. For Nicole Rodrigues, founder of NRPR Group, that also meant pivoting to a specific space that is as ‘of the moment’ as you could get in 2020. Of NRPR’s 10 net-new clients during the pandemic alone, most of them came from the MedTech and HealthTech spaces. They were attracted by NRPR’s growth and proven ability to work successfully with several clients shifting to providing COVID-19 related services and testing solutions. Of course, not only did this help those businesses find their audience, but also positively impacted national efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus and reopen public spaces safely.
From real-life superheroes to silver screen superheroes, COVID-19 affected the industry in a lot of different ways. NRPR was in the PR pilot’s seat during the LA Comic Con, as event organizers were making the decision to have or have not an in-person convention. NRPR proactively handled crisis comms and strategic planning for the organizers, repositioning potentially negative press about the change to online programming into positive, balanced coverage that helped build anticipation for future in-person events.
This shift from disappointment to anticipation is a particular strategy of NRPR’s, which also lead Rodrigues to create a new offering for existing clients: NRPR Biz Pro, a business development, pre-launch service. This among the industry’s first plan to offer an end-to-end, pre-to-post-launch business development and brand positioning service portfolio.
Whether it was adapting to a hard situation or starting brand-new initiatives despite it, Rodrigues kept NRPR’s doors open in the midst of a lockdown. She also launched NRPR Productions, an in-house, professional quality content production studio to support the agency’s multimedia projects.
Kudos to Nicole Rodrigues and NRPR! –MC
Curtis Sparrer leads on many fronts
The Bospar principal and co-founder has big ambitions for the agency and for the industry at large. Cheers to this Agency Leader of the Year in PR Daily’s Top Agencies Awards.
When Bospar first launched five years ago as an entirely virtual agency, there were skeptics about how successful such a model could be. Under Curtis Sparrer’s leadership, Bospar won 72 accounts and took two companies public. In June 2021, the agency broke over $1 million in client fees and continues to clear that goalpost.
As the agency’s principal and co-founder, Sparrer has ambitions to make Bospar a world-class organization. With a growing team — currently there are 66 employees — he has bolstered the behind-the-scenes infrastructure by hiring the agency’s first chief financial officer and its first dedicated human resources lead. He also hired the PR agency’s first national on-air broadcast reporter, Eric Chemi, whose webcast, “Politely Pushy with Eric Chemi,” Sparrer produces.
Sparrer also believes in taking a stand, even when such leadership comes with risks. Because of Texas enacting a highly restrictive abortion law, he offered to cover any staff’s relocation expenses of up to $10,000 if they wanted to move to another state with more reproductive health autonomy. As an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues, Sparrer has appeared as a Pride panelist for tech company JumpCloud and enlisted PRSA Silicon Valley — he is a board member — to successfully pitch a feature on the top 30 LGBTQIA people. He was then included in the coverage and appeared on a live webcast panel.
Giving back also is part of Sparrer’s ethos. One example is spearheading a charity project for Dr. Priscilla Martinez of the Alcohol Research Group. Her work publicizes the unreported risk of breast cancer increasing as alcohol consumption increases, especially among Latinas. By securing 20 placements and a celebrity share, Martinez’s project secured funding for another year.
He frequently lecturers on PR trends and leads the way in creating research projects that uncover how PR works. Sparrer has delivered for clients spanning B2B, B2C and every permutation in between. Congratulations to Curtis Sparrer for this recognition! –KL