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Good Marketing: It's About Results, Not Awards
Recently, we achieved recognition in the form of a Summit International Creative Award for a video we produced for Friends of the Homeless in Springfield. While it is nice to get the occasional recognition for creative work, too many in the communications industry fall in love with awards for their work instead of the results of that creativity.
At the end of the day, it can’t only look good—creative work and the execution of communications strategies have to have a successful outcome, whether it is a product, idea or cause.
Over the past year we have been involved in several successful outcomes in which communications played an important role.
In July of 2012 Springfield’s Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative was one of 14 cities nationwide, out of over 120 in the running, to win the All-America City Award for Grade-Level Reading by the National Civic League. The work of Sally Fuller, project manager for the Davis Foundation-inspired early literacy effort, has engaged all elements of the community around the importance of reading proficiency.
The development of a brand identity for the Read! initiative, engagement of local media partners and creation of communications materials all played a role in the national recognition. So, too, has the increase from 36% proficiency in 2009 to 40% proficiency in 2012. There is much more to do in achieving the goal of 80% proficiency by 2016, but the needle is moving. Developing media materials in both English and Spanish, along with Spanish language media placements, have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in engaging the community.
This past fall, private sector allies of the Putnam Vocational Technical High School Machine Technology program worked with us to develop a communications strategy designed to increase the number of incoming students choosing the relatively new program.
We developed a video about the program featuring current Machine Tech students at Putnam, which was posted on YouTube and aired on local cable television. We also developed a companion print piece to encourage incoming freshmen to choose the program (and visit the YouTube posting), which trains students for the precision manufacturing field. With a goal of attracting 25 new students to the program, the communications effort paid off— with 35 freshman students selecting Machine Tech as their first choice and another 29 making it their second choice.
Also in the fall of 2012, a client of ours, the Springfield chapter of Rebuilding Together, was named National Affiliate of the Year, beating out Philadelphia for the honor. The tireless work of Executive Director Colleen Loveless and Program Manager Ethel Griffin, and the extensive rebuilding efforts in Springfield in the wake of the 2011 tornado, earned this affiliate much-deserved recognition. The Springfield affiliate’s strong ability to engage local press in extraordinary coverage of their rebuilding initiatives had much to do with them achieving “best in the nation” status.
Finally, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts launched Valley Gives, a first-ever online giving initiative on 12-12-12 designed to support Pioneer Valley nonprofits in a single 24-hour period. As part of the Valley Gives planning team, we witnessed how employing strategic media partnerships, and the tireless work of Project Manager Michael Kusek, were central to raising an astonishing $1.2 million in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties.
So, when choosing a communications agency or consultant, it is fair to ask them about what they’ve done lately. It’s even better to ask them about the bottom line results of their work.