IABC/SC Palmetto Awards Categories

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DIVISION 1 – COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT

This division covers project, programs and campaigns that are guided by a communication strategy. Entries to this division can be submitted by any type of organization, from governments to retail companies to services such as utilities and health care. Entrants must demonstrate how their project applied a full range of planning and management skills, including research, analysis, strategy, tactical implementation and evaluation. Entries may include a wide range of communication materials. (A single tactical execution element that formed part of a communication program may also be entered in the communication skills division.)

CATEGORY 1 - INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
  • Programs or strategies targeted at employee or member audiences
  • Includes programs that create awareness and influence opinion or behavior change, including those focused on ethics, morale, internal culture or change management
  • May involve improving employee understanding and alignment with business direction, improving face-to-face communication, preparing employees for change, integration of organizational cultures caused by an acquisition or downsizing, an internal brand ambassador program, or a program to inspire pride in the organization
CATEGORY 2 - EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
  • Local, regional, national or international programs or strategies that profile the role of strategic communication as a driver in improving employee engagement
  • Entries must focus on the communication elements of these programs, which could include contribution to program development and promotion through various communication vehicles and channels
  • May include employee recognition and employee volunteer programs, including programs that benefit charitable or philanthropic causes, or that recognize employees’ organizational contributions or achievements in the organization
CATEGORY 3 - HUMAN RESOURCES AND BENEFITS COMMUNICATION
  • Programs or strategies targeted at internal audiences that relate to communication of health and welfare, savings and pension, stocks and compensation, or recruitment and retention
CATEGORY 4 - CHANGE COMMUNICATION
  • Communication strategies that support organizational change
  • May be directed at internal or external audiences or both
CATEGORY 5 - SAFETY COMMUNICATION
  • Programs or strategies that focus on improving awareness, understanding and behaviors related to safety issues within an organization
CATEGORY 6 - LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION
  • Programs or strategies that help leaders become more effective communicators, improve the quality of leadership communication within an organization, or improve leader knowledge and ability to use communication as a business driver
  • Tactics may include toolkits with speaking notes, games or other tools that help leaders communicate a specific topic, and special publications with information and support for leadership communication
CATEGORY 7 - ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
  • Strategic advertising campaigns designed to build brand awareness, influence opinion, motivate audience behaviors, or sell products and services
  • Generally short-term in nature and may use a variety of communication vehicles and channels such as radio and television commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers, brochures, the Internet, email, social media, outdoor, transit or mall advertising, posters, street teams, and guerilla marketing tactics
CATEGORY 8 - BRAND COMMUNICATION
  • Strategies for new brands and the repositioning of existing brands in relationship to internal and external audiences
  • Must demonstrate how research findings were used to inform the brand strategy, and discuss the strategic approach and results
  • May include brand characteristics and attributes, changes to corporate identities and design solutions that address the challenges of brand communication (must be more than a logo redesign)
CATEGORY 9 - MARKETING COMMUNICATION
  • Marketing is defined as the systematic planning, implementation and control of a variety of business activities intended to bring buyers and sellers together
  • May include various activities designed to sell products, services, destinations or ideas to external audiences, and is generally delivered through a variety of communication vehicles and channels
  • Broader than advertising campaigns, although advertising is often an element of a marketing program
CATEGORY 10 - CUSTOMER RELATIONS
  • Strategies or ongoing programs targeted at customer audiences that educate, inform, engage or otherwise connect the organization and its employees to the customer
  • Programs may influence reputation, brand awareness and loyalty, and market position
  • May include relationship management, experience standards or appreciation programs; however, the program must be focused on communication elements
CATEGORY 11 - MEDIA RELATIONS
  • Strategies or ongoing programs that use the news media as the primary channel to reach target audiences and seek to influence awareness, understanding and opinion or motivate action
  • Should demonstrate quality of media coverage and its impact on the organization – quantity of media stories alone is not considered a valid measurement in this category
CATEGORY 12 - COMMUNITY RELATIONS
  • A one-time or ongoing program that enhances stakeholder understanding of issues affecting business operations within the community served
  • Seeks to build trust and credibility with stakeholder groups generally through consultation and other communication-based activities
  • Tactics and supporting strategies may include formal and informal meetings, town hall discussions, workshops, presentations, open houses, and electronic and printed material
CATEGORY 13 - GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
  • Short or long-term programs that influence the opinion or actions of government bodies or agencies
  • May seek to create awareness, or influence attitudes and behaviors of decision-makers toward the organization or industry
CATEGORY 14 - FINANCIAL COMMUNICATION
  • Entails strategies, tactics and tools used to share financial data and recommendations with investors and other interested parties
  • Includes investor relations functions, which integrate finance, communication, marketing and securities laws compliance to enable effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community and stakeholders
CATEGORY 15 - ISSUES MANAGEMENT AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION
  • Programs targeted at external and/or internal audiences that address trends, issues and/or attitudes that have a significant impact on an organization, such as labor relations, crises, mergers, acquisitions, public policy or environmental concerns
  • Programs may demonstrate proactive planning and preventative action during an extraordinary event, or show the actions taken to address trends, issues and interest group attitudes that have a major impact on an organization
CATEGORY 16 - CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • Programs or strategies that communicate social responsibility and encourage positive actions while building awareness and reputation and positioning the organization as a good corporate citizen
  • May be targeted to multiple audiences and influence share price and customer loyalty, retention and recruitment, operational efficiency and sales
  • Generally long-term and focused on enhancing the well-being of communities and populations through causes such as the environment, energy sustainability, food safety, economic stability, employment, poverty reduction, literacy, education and health, cultural preservation, and indigenous and heritage protection
CATEGORY 17 - SOCIAL MEDIA PROGRAMS
  • Engages internal and external audiences in conversation through social media
  • Encompasses tools and practices that allow individuals and groups to collaborate and share knowledge and experiences online
  • May use conversation-enabled publishing platforms such as blogs and podcasts, social networks such Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, democratized content networks such as wikis and message boards, content-sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr, and virtual networking platforms
CATEGORY 18 - GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATION PROGRAMS
  • Programs and strategies specific to government organizations at the municipal, state, provincial, regional, federal, national or international level
  • May be targeted to one or more audiences, and include internal, external or integrated communication strategies or programs
CATEGORY 19 - NONPROFIT CAMPAIGNS
  • Programs recognizing the particular challenges of the nonprofit sector
  • May include multiple internal or external audiences
  • Promote nonprofit organizations or causes
  • May be paid-for projects or pro-bono projects donated to the client by an organization, agency or consultant; entries will generally have a small budget or none at all
CATEGORY 20 - COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT (STUDENT ENTRY)
  • Entries to any category in this division submitted by a student

DIVISION 2 – COMMUNICATION RESEARCH

Entries in this division recognize the importance of research and measurement as a foundation for strategic communication work and a competency that’s integral to success throughout the career of a communication professional. A clear understanding of why the research was needed demonstrates its strategic value to an organization.

CATEGORY 21 - COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
  • Formative research conducted during the initial stages of the strategic communication planning process that benchmarks internal audience opinions or behaviors, profiles the marketplace or internal communication environment in which the organization operates, aligns best practices against organizational needs or informs strategic direction for internal communication programs
  • May include audience analysis, competitive benchmarking, secondary research related to best practices, program or product test markets, and reputation or brand studies
CATEGORY 22 - COMMUNICATION RESEARCH (STUDENT ENTRY)
  • Entries to any category in this division submitted by a student

DIVISION 3 – COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND EDUCATION

This division recognizes the mentorship and education role of consultants and communicators in developing and delivering workshops, classes, seminars or training that educates an audience about any aspect of the communication profession. This division includes all communication disciplines and professional competencies. Entries in this division must demonstrate:

  • Alignment of learning outcomes to goals and objectives
  • Alignment of assessments to specific learning outcomes
  • Theories and practices of educational excellence
  • Impact outside the classroom
CATEGORY 23 - COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND EDUCATION
  • Training or educational programs delivered to an internal or external audience that help to improve their communication competencies
  • For internal audiences, this may include supervisor/manager/leader training in communication skills, presentation skills and employee ambassador development, in addition to media training, speaker’s bureau training, and other communication disciplines
CATEGORY 24 - COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND EDUCATION (STUDENT ENTRY)
  • Entries to any category in this division submitted by a student

DIVISION 4 – COMMUNICATION SKILLS

The communication skills division includes marketing and communication elements that showcase technical skills such as editing, writing, design and multi-media production. Entries in this division are generally tactical in nature. Entrants must demonstrate strategic alignment, the creative process and measurable results.

CATEGORY 25 - SPECIAL EVENTS
  • Planning and execution of a special event for an internal or external audience
  • For internal audiences, this may include employee appreciation events, or events that mark a significant occasion such as an anniversary, internal conference or meeting, or a celebration or special retirement
  • For external audiences, this may include conferences, workshops, anniversaries, official openings, product launches, road shows and customer events
CATEGORY 26 - DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
  • Computer-based communication vehicles defined as the end product that are produced for internal or external audiences, and rely on a digital communication channel for delivery
  • Electronic and interactive communication channels such as websites, intranets, online stores, blogs, podcasts, social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, democratized content networks such as wikis and message boards, content-sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr, and virtual networking platforms
  • May include electronic newsletters, electronic annual reports, special publications, CDs or DVDs, e-cards, banner ads, buttons, pop-ups and similar material
  • Generally one-way communication that offers published content online
CATEGORY 27 - AUDIO/VISUAL
  • Communication vehicles produced using sound, images, video, film, slides, CDs or a combination of these elements
  • May include video, audio, PowerPoint or other presentations, and films
  • Does not include advertising commercials
CATEGORY 28 - PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Original photographs created or commissioned for a communication project that demonstrates strategic use of images to tell a story or connect with the audience in a meaningful way; this includes single or multiple use of photos
  • Online and interactive promotions and activities including banner ads, website ads, advertising on social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube, and other uses of the Internet to reach audiences
  • Sales tools such as product information sheets, direct mail, promotional kits and specialty items
CATEGORY 29 - PUBLICATIONS
  • Publications produced for internal or external audiences in all formats, including hard copy and electronic
  • May include magazines, newspapers, newsletters or tabloids, annual reports, books, special publications, brochures and other advertising material, e-newsletters and similar material
CATEGORY 30 - PUBLICATION DESIGN
  • Design of internal or external publications in all formats, including electronic
  • May include magazines, newspapers, newsletters or tabloids, annual reports, books, special publications, brochures and other advertising material, e-newsletters and similar material
CATEGORY 31 - WRITING

This category includes writing in both print and electronic formats.

JOURNALISM

  • Material written in which the news media is the primary communication channel
  • May include, but not limited to, editorials, interpretive/expository articles, news releases and feature stories

CORPORATE WRITING

  • Material written primarily for use by an organization to inform or educate employees or external stakeholders
  • May include recurring features or columns, magazines, newsletters, internal or special publications, stand-alone features, speeches and presentations, executive correspondence, scripts for corporate use, writing for the intranet, internal publications, technical writing, and annual and special reports

PROMOTIONAL WRITING

  • Material written to persuade customers, consumers, employees or stakeholders to adopt a point of view, or to purchase goods or services
  • May include commercials, advertising, marketing or sales promotion material, advertorials and writing for the Web

NON-PROFIT WRITING

  • Material written to promote nonprofit organizations, including IABC regional and chapter events

SPECIAL PROJECTS WRITING

  • Books (fiction and nonfiction), educational material, scripts for theatrical use, and other writing projects not covered above
CATEGORY 32 - COMMUNICATION SKILLS (STUDENT ENTRY)
  • Entries to any category in this division submitted by a student