How 3 Silver Anvil Award Winners Strategized Their Entries

August 1, 2019

[san diego humane society]
[san diego humane society]

Winning a Silver Anvil isn’t just about executing a strong campaign; it’s about telling a compelling story, too. 

For a better understanding of the Anvil process, we reached out to three 2018 recipients — San Diego Humane Society, Airfoil Group (for their work with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority) and Duke Energy — for advice on capturing the attention of PRSA judges, and what earning an award meant for the organization.

What advice do you have for prospective Silver Anvil entrants looking to submit their campaigns?

Elizabeth A. Pecsi, APR, Fellow PRSA, director of communications, San Diego Humane Society:

  • Be absolutely certain your campaign embodies the foundations of public relations — goals/objectives, research, strategy, planning and measurement.
  • Collect your ‘proof’ of work as you go along. It will save you a lot of time when organizing your entry.
  • Reach out to other Silver Anvil award winners and ask them to read your entry and give you feedback.

Danielle Homic and Connor Grant, social media specialists, Airfoil Group:

  • Provide tangible results. It’s important to showcase how a campaign positively impacted your client’s business goals.
  • Tell a story. Display the passion you have for your campaign and the results it generated. This is the best way to leave a lasting impact on the judges.
  • Save everything. The supporting materials at the end of your submission help illustrate what your campaign looked like to your audiences. It’s important to give the judges insight into the creative elements of your campaign. After all, it’s hard to fall in love with a diamond if you can’t see it.

Chris Rimel, communications manager, Duke Energy:

  • Watch the “how-to” videos on the PRSA website from prior winners, and read the case studies.
  • Find your niche and tell your story.

What did winning a Silver Anvil mean for your organization?

Pecsi: It was an honor for everyone and validated how powerful we are when we pull together, which is common in our workplace. Employees are here for animals and the people who love them. Rescue is what we do every day, but winning the award made us take stock in how we can rescue in a way that leaves a lasting, positive impression on our community. That helps us advance our mission: creating a more humane world by inspiring compassion, providing hope, and advancing the welfare of animals and people.

Homic and Grant: Our team was thrilled to win a Silver Anvil. We hosted an agency celebration, as well as a celebration with our clients at a Detroit Tigers baseball game — a favorite Michigander pastime! It was a great way to get together and celebrate the Silver Anvil win and our fantastic partnership.

Rimel: It was impressive for us, given our in-house communications team competed against big PR agencies. After explaining its worth to [Duke Energy's] more technically-minded electric utility colleagues, I think there was a good understanding that this was a big win for the company. There was evident pride among the communications team members.

Dean Essner

Dean Essner is the editorial assistant for PRSA’s publications. A former resident of Washington, D.C., he holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Maryland. Email: dean.essner@prsa.org.


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