PRism Program Category Descriptions

Program Award Categories

All program entries will be judged in four areas: Insights and Analysis, Planning, Execution, and Evaluation. These are consistent with the industry standard for effective professional practices, the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards, and the Universal Accreditation Board criteria.

With the exception of the Integrated Communications category, no individual submission can be entered in more than one program category. Since public relations is often part of a larger campaign, the Integrated Communications category enables you to highlight the creative and effective integration of public relations strategies and tactics with other promotional marketing communications. If the public relations component of the Integrated Communications campaign is strong enough to compete as a separate program (Business-to- Business Communications, Special Event/Observance, etc.), then it may be entered again. This is the ONLY category in which submissions can be entered more than once.

As in the past, individual components from any program may be submitted as separate element entries (be sure to include separate entry form, summary, and fees). Programs often have better chances of winning when they are near completion and evaluation against initial objectives can be better determined.

Includes programs that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity. 

Includes programs undertaken to deal with an unplanned event that required an immediate response. 

Includes programs or events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities. 

Includes any type of program, such as Reputation/Brand Management, Marketing or Events and Observances, that demonstrates effective global communications implemented in more than one country. 

Includes any program that demonstrates leadership of public relations strategies and tactics in a creative and effective integrated campaign, along with other marketing or communications. The program must demonstrate the clear leadership of public relations, along with its integration with other disciplines. 

Includes programs targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization, such as employees, members, affiliated dealers and franchisees. 

Includes programs directed to shareowners, other investors and the investment community. 

Includes programs designed to introduce new products/services, or promote existing products/services to a particular audience.

For any type of program, such as institutional, marketing and community relations, specifically targeted to a cultural group. 

Includes programs specifically designed to influence public policy and/or affect legislation, regulations, political activities or candidacies — at the local, state or federal government levels — so that the entity funding the program benefits. 

Includes programs that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns. 

Includes programs undertaken to deal with issues that could extraordinarily affect ongoing business strategy. Also includes programs designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization with its publics or key elements of its publics, either proactively or in response to an issue, event or market occurrence. 

* This is the only category that can be entered more than once.

How to prepare your program award summary
The summary is the most important component of a program entry. Judges review it carefully to evaluate a program on its merit in the below four key areas. Your program award summary should include these headings and information and can be no longer than two pages. Pages should be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches, and summaries should be typed using no smaller than a 10-point typeface and one-inch margins.

Insights and Analysis
What methods/ strategies/ tools were implemented to arrive at your insights into and analysis of the campaign? What type of research did you use – primary, secondary or both, to arrive at your insights/ analysis? Primary research involves original researching, including focus groups, interviews, data and analytics software and surveys. Secondary research involves searching existing resources for information or data related to a particular need, strategy or goal (e.g., online computer database searches, Web-based research, library searches, industry reports and internal market analyses).

How did the plan correlate to the insights gathered at the end of the campaign? What was the plan in general terms/ What were the specific, measurable objectives of the plan? Who were the target audiences? What was the overall strategy used? What was your budget?

How was the plan executed, and what was the outcome? How did the activities flow in general terms? What were the key tactics? Were there any difficulties encountered? If so, how were they handled? Were other organizations involved? Were nontraditional public relations tactics used, such as advertising? (Unless you are entering this program under “Integrated Communications,” advertising costs should not exceed one-third of the budget).

What methods of evaluation were used? What were your results? How did the results compare to the specific, measureable objectives you identified in the planning section? How well do the results reflect original strategy and planning?