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WAI honored with “Gold” and “Best in Show” at PRSA Mercury Awards

WAI's Adrienne Simpson (l) and Janice Swindells (r) accept the PRSA "Best in Show" Mercury Award from emcee Michael Buckley.WAI's Adrienne Simpson (l) and Janice Swindells (r) accept the PRSA "Best in Show" Mercury Award from emcee Michael Buckley.GUILFORD, Connecticut, USA – September 21, 2012 – Following up on its 2011 Silver Mercury Award for creative tactics, the Wire Association International earned multiple honors at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Connecticut Chapter’s 2012 Mercury Awards competition. The annual presentations recognize outstanding work in the public relations, communications, and marketing professions.

Both Mercury Awards—a “Gold” in the Strategic Campaign category for “Marketing Products and Services” and a “Best in Show” distinction—were
in acknowledgment of the WAI Operations Summit & Wire Expo 2012 campaign.

Nationally-known emcee Michael Buckley—a recent guest co-host on WABC-TV’s Live! With Kelly—presented the honors to Janice E. Swindells, WAI’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, and Adrienne E. Simpson, Graphic Artist and Marketing Assistant.

“We certainly share these achievements with WAI’s volunteers and staff all of whom deserve recognition for their dedication to the planning process. They help provide the resources that ultimately interest our audience, and give our marketing efforts direction and traction.

“That said, it’s great fun when creative ideas and strategy come together and develop into an effective marketing campaign,” said Swindells.

The first, most challenging goal of the campaign was to attract interest in a program for which substantive content was yet undetermined, but developing simultaneously. Timing and message creation became critical factors in the marketing campaign.

Part of WAI’s strategy was to use print media to build general awareness of known event elements such as dates, location, and participating exhibitors and sponsors; to reach and attract specific individuals through direct mail and sales promotion pieces; to use the flexibility and immediacy of electronic media to describe the program that was developing in real time; to regulate the flow of newsworthy event details to industry press as available; and to ensure that the campaign was visually consistent across all media.

Tactical pieces from the WAI Operations Summit & Wire Expo 2012 campaign.Tactical pieces from the WAI Operations Summit & Wire Expo 2012 campaign.“That’s when the cactus theme evolved. We needed a visual hook; something green, in Texas, that would provide a creative link to other wire manufacturing concerns like material handling and water conservation,” said Swindells.

Similar to an advertising agency but on a smaller scale, WAI’s in-house marketing team handles both the strategic and tactical elements of each campaign. Communications functions in both traditional and digital formats include brand identity, creative conceptualization, copywriting, design and production, direct marketing, public relations, sales promotion, advertising, media planning and purchase, and web content and design.

While such a broad range of activities typically requires the attention of numerous agency specialists, this year’s ceremonies spotlighted the benefits of an effectively streamlined marketing operation, and the advantages of close teamwork.

“We spoke with agencies in the competition that employ 20 people or more,” Simpson noted. “In our department, it’s just the two of us.”

Among associations and communications agencies in the competition, some of the more notable represented Connecticut Food Bank (Best in Show-Tactical), Yale-New Haven Hospital, Stamford Hospital, and United Illuminating Co. (UI).

The 2012 Mercury Awards competition, now in its 17th year, is hosted annually by the Connecticut Valley, Southern Connecticut, and Westchester/Fairfield chapters of the Public Relations Society of America. PRSA’s three Connecticut chapters reach throughout the state, into Western Massachusetts, and into the Westchester County and Lower Hudson Valley regions of New York. This year’s awards were judged by a PRSA sister chapter in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.

The world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals, PRSA is an individual membership professional society of more than 21,000 public relations and communications practitioners.


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