The winners and honorable mentions in this year's PR news Platinum PR awards issue exemplify the most innovative approaches to redefining traditional PR with anything-but- traditional strategies. From a marketing communications effort that united a country over the search for the stars of a 1950s TV commercial to an event that landed a flock of pink flamingos around the windy city, the following winner confirms that the PR profession has indeed stepped out from the shadows to take a front-and-center role in delivering business results to their own organizations, and to their clients. Below is the winner of the 2008 PR News Platinum PR award for annual report.
2005-2006 Cable Positive Annual Report
More than 25 years may have passed since HIV/AIDS emerged as a critical risk to communities worldwide, but statistics show that the epidemic is far from being eradicated. As the cable industry's AIDS action organization, Cable Positive executives wanted to give stakeholders and the general public an understanding of the brand's accomplishments in terms of education, as well as to raise awareness about the amount of help that is still needed to combat the disease. They decided to use Cable Positive's 2005-2006 annual report as the vehicle for communicating these messages
"Our annual report covered two year's worth of work, so we had the challenge of making what Cable Positive did in the fight against HIV/AIDS fresh and relevant to our support base," says Max Johnson, communications coordinator for Cable Positive. "After careful planning with our marketing firm, The Watsons', we came up with a graphical approach that let Cable Positive's achievements stand out, and a structure that highlighted our stakeholders communities, yet conveyed the need for further support."
Thus, the end product is a document that speaks to the "we have work to do" theme in a raw, visual way, with black and white images throughout that were overlaid with red hand- written comments and pull quotes to embody a "work-in-progress" feeling. The team distributed the report to key stakeholders via direct mail and online, as well as by distributing Cable Positive-branded flash drives with the report and public service announcements that auto-loaded once connected to a computer.
Making the Connection
"Having a document that was hands-on and approachable was key," Johnson says. In our case, we had to work with two years of information, so we structured the report in bite- sized pieces; when an individual was looking through the report (print version or pdf version), it was laid out in away that information stays easily accessible."
Thanks to the team's approach of staying focused on the audience and communicating an authentic message, the report was recognized at the service industry advertising awards, and it successfully raised awareness of cable positive regional chapters to a national level.