CIPR Excellence Awards 2012: High standards all round

RCN's comms team is among the winners at the annual CIPR Excellence Awards.

OUTSTANDING IN-HOUSE PUBLIC RELATIONS TEAM

The Royal College of Nursing

During 2010, the Royal College of Nursing's comms activity went through a radical change. Traditionally operating in defined units, the RCN started campaigning more, with the comms team helping it lead opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill and secure changes to the legislation. The Frontline First campaign sought to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to the NHS, while the comms team provided specialist information to parliamentarians. Meanwhile, 88 videos were made during 2011 and the number of Facebook fans increased by 81 per cent. In 2011, there were 3,130 mentions of the RCN in the national press, an increase of more than 60 per cent compared with the previous year.

FINANCIAL & INVESTOR RELATIONS

Launching the John Lewis Partnership Bond, by MRM

In March 2011, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) began issuing bonds to raise £50m and build customer relationships. MRM set up a website and blog offering information, while for the launch, MRM offered the story to national newspaper business sections and an 'invitation to apply' was emailed to 120,000 staff and Partnership card holders.

JLP's move achieved 240 pieces of coverage in the month of the launch, while the £50m target was reached on 18 March, well ahead of the closing date.

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

One Nottingham: Communicating Through The Disturbances 2011

As the London riots spread north, a group including Nottingham City Council and the police led comms on the issue. A crisis comms team supported the city's emergency control centre around the clock and used real-time information to provide updates for both the public and staff within the group. Everyone from community protection officers through to youth workers and local councillors were sent out into the community to reassure people. As well as issuing frequent press releases to the media, a briefing was prepared for an impromptu visit from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, with key messages echoed in his speech. Afterwards, an event called Big Weekend Out was held to reassure local businesses and residents after the disturbances.

GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS

Zippo's Move to a Lifestyle Brand, by Slam

Lighter brand Zippo wanted to position itself as a 'lifestyle' brand. To connect with a younger audience, Slam decided to focus on music. Zippo teamed up with Live Nation across Europe and the US to establish a presence in outdoor rock festivals and formed partnerships with Kerrang and Q.

In Asia, where the outdoor festival scene is less relevant, the Hot List Tour was created to showcase fresh musical talent.

Seasonal events were also used to position Zippo as a lifestyle brand. For example, to capitalise on Valentine's Day in China, Slam created a candle-making event, where bloggers and influencers learned how to make candles (lighting them with Zippo products), positioning the product as a gift option.

More than 3,000 pieces of branded coverage appeared in titles including MTV, GQ and national newspapers - a 41 per cent increase on the previous year. There was a 19 per cent rise in global sales compared with the previous year.

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