The autumn gathering of Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) took place in sunny Lisbon last week, with a busy three-day programme culminating in the presentation of this year’s Best Practice awards.
We had a single entry in the mix: ‘Row A-Round Ireland’ in the Social/CSR category, which saw the agency partnering with a team of 20 amateur rowers who circumnavigated the island of Ireland to raise awareness and funds for Cystic Fibrosis.
We took on the project in 2015, as part of the agency’s 30th anniversary celebrations, and worked continuously for almost five months to raise local and national media coverage that in turn would help maximise donations to the cause.
By the time the boat had returned to its home port (Bray) all objectives had been met: the team had exceeded its fund-raising target of €100,000 by more than €10,000; we had exceeded even our own expectations by generating more than €600,000 worth of coverage.
It was a great outcome for a great cause – a point acknowledged by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland – and we had high hopes for our award entry in Lisbon.
Those hopes were realised with a brilliant Silver award in recognition of our PR work on ‘Row’. All entries were voted for by our fellow PRGN members, so we have the satisfaction of knowing that our strategy and execution was endorsed by some of the world’s leading independent PR agencies.
What made Silver even more gratifying was the sheer quality in the CSR category. We were up against projects submitted by agencies in the UK, Switzerland, USA, Poland, Argentina as well as the eventual winner, Moscow-based agency Cros, for a major women’s health initiative in Russia.
No shame in finishing runner-up to a project that reached an estimated 20 million people! That, plus our happy memories of working with the ‘Row’ team means our Silver sits proudly alongside two Gold awards from last year on the Cullen Communications mantelpiece.
We’ll have another crack at it next year. These awards – any awards scheme indeed – are not only a good way of promoting our expertise to the outside world, they’re an important indicator that we are living up to our claim of being an award-winning agency. Doing good work is the main reason we show up every day, and those awards stacked on the mantelpiece show that quality is part of our culture.
In any case, the latest PRGN meeting was as insightful, thought-provoking, productive and enjoyable as ever. As independent PR agencies, we are all striving for best practice and we all – all 50 of us – have something to offer; notes to swap; ideas to share. Long live PRGN!
To find out more about 'Row A-Round Ireland' and our other CSR work please contact us.