PR News 2016 CSR Awards: Diversity Communications

Winner: Food Lion - Igniting Customer and Associate Engagement Around Diversity through Strategic Partnership with CIAA

Most successful communications plans can be traced back to strong research, and this effort was no different. Customer data revealed that nearly 30 percent of Food Lion’s customers are African-American and 80 percent are women.

So, it made sense that Food Lion would support the Women's Basketball Tournament and that it actively engage with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament attendees, who are predominately African-American.

In addition to press releases, campaign execution included various media alerts, creative pitches and a colorful media kit (press release, pamphlet, list of nearby stores, sales on in-store products and a Food Lion calendar) that could be used throughout the year. The calendar featured local associates who attended CIAA schools.

Food Lion also performed all public relations activity around opening two food pantries at CIAAA Schools (Johnson C. Smith University and Livingstone College). This was a new, successful strategy to expand brand recognition among students attending the historically black colleges as well as the local community.

In addition, Food Lion’s four-member team attended all events, where media was projected to attend, to manage interviews and in some cases proactively convinced media to get a Food Lion spokesperson on camera to deliver key messages. Team members took photos at events, tweeted and wrote blogs on certain events that ignited engagement with customers. Food Lion found that one of its most effective tactics was finding creative ways to pitch its case to media about why this event is so important to the company, associates and community.

In keeping with stellar public relations planning, the effort received 79 mentions in broadcast or print and also received 7,749,610 total impressions from people who viewed Food Lion’s efforts via media.

Honorable Mentions:
• Con Edison - #IamPOWERful
• Imprenta Communications Group - Wage Theft
• Lenovo - The Lenovo Way
• Witt/Kieffer - Diversity Dialogues