Public Relations Tactics

Golin Harris Chairman Receives Highest Individual Honor

Publication Date: 11/2005

Source: SO01 Public Relations Tactics
Product Code: 6C-110515
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Al Golin, Fellow PRSA, chairman of Golin Harris, Chicago, was honored by PRSA with the 2005 Gold Anvil Award.

The Gold Anvil, first awarded in 1948, is the Society's highest individual honor and is presented annually to an exceptional PR professional whose accomplishments have advanced the profession.

"PRSA is proud to honor Al Golin with its highest individual award, which recognizes and celebrates his achievements that have benefited so many practitioners and our profession," said Kelly Womer, APR, chair of the PRSA Honors & Awards Committee and partner, Carmichael Lynch Spong. "Throughout his career, Golin has been a high-profile advocate, mentor and counselor who has built and earned the trust of those around him."

For more than 50 years, Golin has instilled and encouraged the importance of trust, both within his organi/ation and with his clients. He is best known for the "trust bank" concept, created for his longtime client, McDonald's.

He describes the philosophy of the trust bank as a continuing accumulation of "deposits" of good will made over time that can be "withdrawn" when companies face problems. He believes that if an organization makes "deposits" regularly, it will be able to build trust in any type of industry or rebuild it after a crisis.

In the Fall 2003 issue of The Strategist, PRSA's award-winning quarterly magazine, Golin discussed how the concept of the trust bank changed since he first presented it to McDonald's founder Ray Kroc some 40 years ago.

"The basic idea hasn't changed and could be adapted for any organization or business.When Ray and I created this concept, McDonald's was virtually unknown, and people were a little suspicious about this fledgling operation.We basically confounded everyone when this little company thought as big as it did - when it couldn't really afford to - by getting its franchisees involved in their communities," he said.

"Over the years, companies' goodwill activities have evolved to include everything from internal employee programs to projects for nonprofits.As the name implies, a trust bank involves making deposits of good deeds into an account over time that can be drawn upon in times of need. By definition, trust banks continue to be as invaluable today as they were 40 years ago," Golin said.

He has lectured on this topic at Princeton University, Dartmouth College,Yale University, Northwestern University and the Annenberg Communications School at the University of Southern California. His support, both at the national and local levels of PRSA, has been steadfast. He has addressed local Chapters in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami.

Golin's book,"Trust or Consequences," explains how destructive a loss of trust in an organization can be, and suggests ways to develop trust or restore it when it's been lost.Those who have worked with him say that "he is beloved in our agency and throughout our profession by both emerging and veteran professionals." Others cite him as an individual "whose voice and calm have quieted many a critic or skittish client who seeks to detract from our profession."

Among the many accolades and awards Golin has garnered throughout his career are the Hall of Fame Award from the Arthur W. Page Society, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PRSA, and two more Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago and Inside PR magazine respectively.