Friday, March 19, 2010

Nominations Sought for Sustainability Efforts

I have long argued that public relations professionals should lead the charge on sustainability issues. Sustainability is often summarized as the "three Es" of measuring an organization's success--in terms of equity, environment, and economic indicators. That means that sustainability is consistent with Corporate Social Responsibility, mutually beneficial relationships, two-way symmetrical communication and other aspects of what is considered ethical public relations.

Well, now West Michigan PR pros have a chance to step up and show how sustainable your organization, or your clients' organizations, are.

The West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) is accepting nominations from now til April 1 for their Second Annual Triple Top Line Awards. The awards, a play on the phrase "triple bottom line" that normally refers to the three sustainability measures, will be given in three categories: Sustainable Business Leadership, Community-Based Achievements toward Sustainability and Governments Implementing Sustainable Change.

Nomination forms are available at WMEAC's Web site.

Finalists will be announced April 8 and the winner will be determined by an online public voting process hosted by Rapid Growth. Voting will close April 15.

The winner will be announced as part of WMEAC’s 2010 Earth Week EcoAction Expo, a showcase for local non-profits and businesses with an environmental focus, at Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids on April 16th at 8 p.m. Businesses and organizations interested in exhibiting at the expo can download a booth and/or sponsorship form at

Let's see if PR can be prominently equated with sustainability this year.

Friday, March 12, 2010

LEA Wins 'Small Agency of Year' in PR Week Awards

Grand Rapids based public relations firm Lambert, Edwards and Associates was named "Small Agency of the Year 2010" at the PR Week Awards held yesterday in New York City. Read more about LEA's award and other PR Week awards here.

You can also read more about LEA's submission for the award in my previous post.

Kudos to LEA for this prestigious award. It looks great not only for them but for the West Michigan PR community.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

GVSU Bateman Team Featured in Rapid Growth

My GVSU PRSSA students who are participating in this year's Bateman PR Campaign Competition were featured as part of a larger story on Census 2010 in this week's Rapid Growth.

(If any competing teams are reading this, don't worry--the story is running in March but it was pitched in February in keeping with contest rules.)

The story gives you an idea of the caliber of work of PR students these days. These five students who are mere months away from being professionals put in hours of work this year. And, it is quality work. In developing a PR campaign plan book they do what all students would do in our campaigns class. But they go further by implementing and evaluating the campaign.

They have to get everything in to the judges by the end of this month. Then we'll here if they placed among the 100-plus other teams across the country in mid-April. If they are in the top three, we all go to DC for them to present to judges. If they win that, there is a cash prize and a nice presentation at the next PRSA Conference this fall in DC.

As I tell them, there really are no losers among Bateman competitors. It is a very good learning opportunity. It's also something to show and discuss in job interviews regardless of how they place. It's all about the experience.

If they do win, this amounts to a national championship. I'll be bidding for as much salary as our football coach.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

West Michigan Companies Fare Well on 'Most Admired' List

Of the five Michigan companies that made the Fortune Magazine list of "World's Most Admired Companies," three are from West Michigan. In order to make the list of most admired, companies had to be ranked in the top half of their industries. 1,400 companies were considered, and 346 companies made the cut. None of the Michigan companies are in the top 50.

Herman Miller of Zeeland held its number 1 ranking in the Home Equipment, Furnishings industry. In the same industry, Steelcase of Grand Rapids was ranked 6th, slipping from number 2 a year ago. Kellogg, of Battle Creek, moved up from 6th last year to 5th in the Consumer Food Products industry.

Pulte Homes of Bloomfield Hills and Dow Chemical of Midland were the other two Michigan companies to make the most admired list.

Let's hope the positive reputation of these West Michigan companies enhances the reputation of the West Michigan region as well.

The list is determined by a survey of executives and analysts who rate companies in their industry on nine criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. However, the consumer and other publics are not consulted. So it becomes difficult to conclude that this list is of full public relations value in terms of reputation--it's an 'insiders' view. However, once the list is published in the March 22 issue of Fortune, those external publics of investors, consumers and others will no doubt take notice.

One interesting observation. Apple topped the list again for one primary reason: products. That's a good reminder to PR pros who get too carried away with messaging. Reputation is not based on image, but experience.