Golden Reflections

10 years, 9 months ago

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Professional homogeneity and cultural diversity have made it a rich year for the IPRA Golden World Awards, writes chairman of the judging panel Jean-Pierre Beaudoin.



With 24 award winners from 17 countries on 6 continents, the 2010 GWAs provide a reflection of the world’s economy and opinion, as well as of state-of-the-art professional practice.

Three features emerged as common points across the categories open for competition and the countries of origin: the winning entries all relate to issues, causes or communication technologies. Whether representing cases in consumer PR, public sector, travel and tourism, or any other of the 24 categories, all include a dimension of general or societal interest as well as an internet component.

Clearly, doing PR today, whether across the globe or in a specific territory, means more than ever starting with the state of opinion and the proper use of all channels. The classic cases of straightforward product publicity in print-press or radio and TV certainly have their merits, but today they reflect the standard ‘commodity’ campaign rather that the state-of-the-art, multi-public, multi-channel strategies which a world of stakeholders calls for.

Worthy winner

It will therefore come as no surprise that the Grand Prize for the 2010 GWA was awarded to Tourism Queensland’s campaign entitled The Best Job In The World. Internet-based with massive traditional media impacts and truly global visibility, the campaign to promote Queensland as a tourist destination indeed plays on a societal issue common to a large number of countries (offering jobs to young people) with an environmental objective (protecting the coral reef) and a powerful attractiveness (being paid to "swim with the turtles"). This message-composite proved its effectiveness, far greater than would have been a classic white-sand-blue-sea-coconut-lined-beach-in-the-sun campaign.

The campaign had, of course, already reaped all that was possible in terms of awards all over the world. In judging the entry, the IPRA GWA jury was able, one and a half years after the campaign had been launched, to include in its evaluation the durability of the campaign’s effects. Which, in PR, is a core added value.

The decision nonetheless did not remain undebated among jury members. Nor were the winners in every category where a prize was awarded, or indeed those in which no prize was awarded this year. Fifteen nationalities around the jury table in Istanbul spent the day comparing notes on the 100-odd entries which had made it to that stage of the competition, out of the 350-plus cases originally submitted for written review, coming from 42 countries.

Diversity of contexts

Pooling the wealth of their cultural differences, the jury members recognized the fact that, far from uniformising the world into one single standard, the homogenisation of professional practices fits with the diversity of contexts which each territory represents. The commonality of professionalism even seems to encourage each culture to bring their values into play as a source of additional depth and substance in the strategic visions.

Some entries suffered from weaknesses which the jury regretted to have to note. For some, the lack of any evidence of any form of evaluation of the cases submitted left the jury unsatisfied. However seemingly bright or carefully planned and executed, no programme or campaign should remain unevaluated. If we want, as a profession, to continue to promote public relations as a management discipline, we cannot be satisfied without evaluation.

For some others, the apparent inability of the candidates to provide a concise account of the various aspects of their entry, resulting in the jury receiving hundreds of pages plus loads of DVDs has, again, been counterproductive. The jury, year after year, is not impressed by volume, but by relevance. It should be made very clear, perhaps clearer still in the guidance supplied to candidates, that they are doing their cases a disservice in producing avalanches which the jury will resent.

High standards

Fortunately, such accidents have been in small numbers, and the 2010 edition of the IPRA Global World Awards has been a good one by all standards. It has underlined that the standards of the profession continue to move up, have become more demanding, more professional, and therefore more relevant to an always broader number of needs, challenges and opportunities which organizations face in society and in their markets.

As for the contrasted world economic context, with some parts of the world in situations close to recession and others experiencing a continued growth, it resulted in a more even spread of entries between countries. No one country had more than three cases in the final run, and of the three other countries which had two entries each, all were from younger economies.

As the balance of the world changes, so does, indeed, our profession show the dynamism which it has in store, either to weather rougher times, or to support favourable winds of change.

Rendez-vous in 2011!

 


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The Author

Jean-Pierre Beaudoin

Jean-Pierre Beaudoin, 2010 IPRA Global World Awards chair.

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