Pinnacle Awards

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CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle Awards

Pinnacle Awards Update.

We’re excited to bring back the Pinnacle Awards in 2018! The Pinnacle Awards are taking a brief hiatus in 2017 to allow for enhancements that streamline the submission process to better serve the needs and busy schedules of our members Questions? Please email to pinnacleshamilton@gmail.com. Details of the refreshed awards will be shared this spring. Stay tuned!

Check out the winners of the 25th Annual Pinnacle Awards!

ALL ABOUT THE PINNACLES

What are the Pinnacle Awards?

A Pinnacle Award is a prestigious communications award with a long standing history of recognizing and rewarding the best public relations programs and projects from the Hamilton, Halton, Niagara and Southwestern Ontario regions.  The Pinnacle Awards are known for the high standard of excellence each award recognizes. Win one and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Who can enter to win a Pinnacle Award?

Submissions are welcome from communication professionals across various industries. For example, communicators from corporations, non-profit organizations, agencies and the public sector have all been successful in winning a Pinnacle Award. There is also an award that recognizes student work and the communication leaders of tomorrow.

Become a Sponsor

GOLD – Title Sponsorship — $1,000
• Title Sponsorship
• Prominent recognition in Pinnacle program and on CPRS Web site as Pinnacle sponsor
• Signage and verbal recognition at Pinnacle Awards
• 2 complementary dinners at Pinnacle Awards ($180 value)
• Make short presentation speech (Special Award or purchase of full sponsorship category)
• Announce, introduce and make presentation to award winner
• Photograph of presentation for company/organization’s newsletter, Web, etc.
• Recognition in congratulatory email of all Pinnacle winners to CPRS Hamilton
• Recognition in news release announcing Pinnacle winners
• Recognition in event advertising

SILVER – Sponsorship Recognition — $500+
• Recognition in Pinnacle program and on CPRS Web site as Pinnacle sponsor
• Signage and verbal recognition at Pinnacle Awards
• 1 complementary dinner at Pinnacle Awards ($90 value)
• Announce, introduce and make presentation to award winner
• Photograph of presentation for company/organization’s newsletter, Web, etc.
• Recognition in congratulatory email of all Pinnacle winners to CPRS Hamilton
• Recognition in news release announcing Pinnacle winners

BRONZE – Sponsorship Recognition — $250
• Recognition in Pinnacle program and on CPRS Web site as Pinnacle sponsor
• Signage and verbal recognition at Pinnacle Awards
• Photograph of presentation for company/organization’s newsletter, Web, etc.

SUPPORTING – Sponsorship Recognition – $150
• Recognition in Pinnacle program and on CPRS Web site as Pinnacle sponsor
• Recognition on signage at event
• Recognition on CPRS bulletin advertising the event

Award Sponsorship
Be recognized as an award sponsor. As an award sponsor you will be recognized for your contribution in the Gala Program and announced as the award sponsor during the recipient ceremony. List of awards below:

Communication Programs (available at $250 each or 5 awards for $1,000)
• Communication Management
• Marketing Communications
• Community Relations
• Corporate Identity
• Media Relations
• Issues/Crisis Management
• Government Relations
• Internal Communication
• Student Project Award

Top 3 Benefits of Being a Pinnacle Award Winner:

  1. Recognition: These awards are a tremendous source for profile and prestige. A Pinnacle can help raise your profile across industries and is proof of the communications specialist you are. Industry professionals like to call it, the Pinnacle Proof.
  2. Exposure:  Not only are winners showcased at our Pinnacles Awards Gala, but also in the CPRS Hamilton e-newsletter that goes out to hundreds of CPRS members. Exposure spreads online on the CPRS Hamilton website and with mentions across CPRS social media networks including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Be sure to connect with us to be part of the Pinnacles conversation.
  3. Build Your Brand: Share this win with your employees, customers, potential clients, colleagues, related industry associates, media and more. This recognition can help to build trust and confidence in your work, acknowledge your team or build your business. Your company and personal brand can reap the rewards.

Entries

Eligibility and Entry Rules for Communication Programs and Communication Projects

All CPRS Hamilton members in good standing as of December 31, 2014 are eligible to enter the Pinnacle Awards. A member is in good standing if dues have be paid in full and received by the administration of the national office or, for student and supplier members, by the Membership Chair no later than December 31, 2014.

Each program or project entered in the Pinnacle Award must have been completed by the CPRS Hamilton member(s) submitting the entry. Each submission must have been planned, produced and completed within a period of two years prior to the entry deadline. (Note: New members may submit their membership application and dues with their submission).

You may enter more than one category. Each Pinnacle Award submission for either a Communication Program or Communication Project must be accompanied by the non-refundable entry fee.

Fees and Payment

Entry fees are:

$50 per Communications category submission; $25 for the Student Project Award and No entry fee for the Special Awards

All submissions and payments will be done electronically.  No hand-delivered submissions will be accepted. We will not return submissions to entrants

Deadlines

Communications Programs and Communication Project Categories: April 7, 2016  (extended from March 31)

Student Project Award: April 8, 2016 (extended from April 3)

CPRS Hamilton seeks your best communications work for its 25th Annual CPRS Hamilton Pinnacles Awards.

Members interested in more information and entry forms are invited to email Pinnacle Awards co-chairs, Michelle Rickard and Daryl Barnhart at pinnacleshamilton@gmail.com .

Judging

Submissions are evaluated by an independent panel of judges recognized for their public relations experience and expertise. All entries are evaluated according to a point system. In evaluating programs and projects, judges look for specific factors and criteria, and sound communication planning methods.

NEW~ Pinnacle Awards judges reserve the right to recognize only those entries that meet the evaluation criteria. Judges will award a Pinnacle Award per category to every submission that earns a score above the required 85 percent or more.

Winning entries should show originality, meet clearly stated objectives and show measurable results. Judge look for careful planning and documentation of an entry’s success at meeting stated objectives. Judges also consider how well a program or project is conceived and executed, and how appropriate the strategy and objectives are in relation to results achieved.

NOTE: If an individual has won an award in a previous year for a project such as a newsletter or website, the individual must present the major changes that make the project different from when the award was last presented.

See how you will be marked

See how you will be marked for the Creative Award

COMMUNICATION PROGRAMS CATEGORIES

1. External Communications

Programs geared to improve relationships with the community, influence public attitude and behaviour, to generate greater public understanding of the organization, and/or increase corporate or organizational identity with various audiences. The external communications categories include:

a) Communication Management

Communications programs that demonstrate the full range of a public relations practitioner’s management skills and draws on multiple areas of public relations practice (e.g., media relations, employee relations, branding, crisis management, communication audits, corporate communications, etc.) to enhance or determine the effectiveness of an organization’s strategic direction.

b) Product or Initiative Campaign

Programs that integrate public relations, marketing and advertising strategies to help market products, services or places to external audiences.

c) Community Relations

Community programs that enable an organization to build and maintain positive and sustainable relationships with key individuals, groups or organizations within its communities. These programs feature such elements as volunteerism, philanthropy, and community, public and /or private partnerships.

d) Corporate Identity

Programs designed to improve, enhance or maintain an organization’s overall corporate image and identity, to generate greater understanding of the organization, to inform those audiences about the organization’s position on public issues or to influence the attitude and behavior of these audiences.

e) Media Relations

These programs should exhibit improvement of an organization’s media profile measured against desired objectives, or the adept management of issues involving media coverage, or the development of a successful media relations campaign.

f) Issues/Crisis Management

Communication programs that demonstrate both preventive action and proactive planning in dealing with an extraordinary event, or addressing trends, issues and/or stakeholder attitudes that have significant impact on an organization.

g) Government Relations

Programs targeted at government bodies and government agencies or programs that recognize the effective use of public affairs to change/enlist public opinion in order to influence government policy and/or regulations.

2. Internal Communications

Communications programs targeted toward internal employee audiences. Programs should employ a variety of communication tools to meet specific goals and objectives or contribute to the realization of long-term organizational goals (improve employee-management relations, increase employee engagement, enhance organizational communication, motivation and awareness, explain new corporate policies or plans). Internal communications programs can be characterized by their ongoing or permanent nature or can be a specific campaign.

3. Student Project Award

This category is open to any member who, in the calendar year 2015, was a full or part-time student or student team enrolled in a recognized community college or university PR program. Entries (school assignments) must clearly illustrate the correct and full use of the RACE (Research, Analysis, Communication, and Evaluation) formula. Entry fee for this category is $25 per submission.

Communication Program Entry Work Plan

Each entry must include the following:

1. Entry data and entry fee
2. Entry work plan
3. Support material

The work plan must include the following information:

1. Entrant name(s)
2. Organization name
3. Category
4. Title of entry
5. 50-word description/summary of entry
6. Time period of project/program
7. Names of any participants or suppliers you would like to recognize, should your entry win.

Overall, your entry work plan should be similar to a standard case study and list communication goals and objectives, strategies and evaluation methods. Specifically, your entry submission should include the following information:

Research and analysis — 15%

Situation and needs analysis, clearly stated communication goals and objectives, identification of target publics/ audiences, budget and use or RACE (Research, Analysis, Communication, Evaluation) formula.

Planning and implementation — 35%

Judges look for strategy, innovation, creativity, PR/ communication tools selection, management of human and financial resources, judgment, appropriateness of supporting material and overall quality of execution.

Include your budget. Marks are deducted for those who do not provide details of budget and/or resources.

Results and evaluation — 20%

Submissions are judged for the measurement/ evaluation techniques used, how well the goals and objectives were met and the overall impact of the program or project.

Quality of presentation — 30%

Factors such as overall clarity, creativity, and completeness of your total submission (work plan and support materials) are appraised.
Work Plan Support Materials

To illustrate and support your entry submission, you must also include materials such as, but not limited to, media releases, examples of media coverage, PSAs, publications, collateral materials (posters, brochures, etc.) videos, slides, photographs, artwork, audit surveys or communication program schedules. Up to 3 supporting materials can be uploaded with your submission.

Communication Projects Categories

Awards in this category honour excellence in the strategic development of materials and individual PR projects that advance the goals and objectives of an overall public relations program. Entries in this category must emphasize the relevance of the initiative to the achievement of the public relations objectives.

a) Special Events
Any external and/or internal public relations initiative for openings, fundraisers, employee open houses, anniversaries or other ceremonies making a one-time or annual event. You may also submit a series of special events for different stakeholder groups marking the same occasion may also be submitted.

b) Audio-visual projects
Multi-media, video, video-news releases, audio-only or computer-generated, computer-assisted slide presentations for internal or external audiences.

c) Print Projects
Printed material developed for internal or external target audiences, e.g., newsletters, annual reports, newspaper inserts, brochures, handbooks, promotional campaigns, posters, programs or displays.

d) Electronic and Interactive Communications
External websites, intranet sites, webcasts, social media, online publications, blogs, wikis, podcasts or interactive kiosks.

e) Writing
This category encompasses original material written for a particular communication project including personality profiles, recurring features or columns, other features, editorials, advertorials, news articles, speeches, scripts, media releases and magazine articles.

f) Creative

For those tactics, plans, projects and strategies that are truly unique.  You have created something worthy of recognition however it doesn’t quite fit into any category or description. Submit your work to the Creative Category.

To qualify for the Creative Pinnacle you must explain the purpose/need for you work, the specific goals/objectives it sought to achieve, followed by the use/execution of your work and what impact/or results it generated.

In addition, your submission must also include 500 words describing what makes your work truly unique and why it does not fit into conventional communication planning and should be considered for the creative award. Here is your chance to show us your originality!

Communication Projects Entry Work Plan

Each entry must include the following:

1. Entry data and entry fee
2. Entry work plan
3. Support material

Please include the following information:

1. Entrant name(s)
2. Organization name
3. Category
4. Title of entry
5. 50-word description/summary of entry
6. Time period of project/program
7. Names of any participants or suppliers you would like to recognize, should your entry win.

Overall, your entry work plan should be similar to a standard case study and include the following:

Need — 5%

Explain what need the project filled for your organization or client.

Goals and objectives —15%

Clearly state goals and objectives, identification of target publics/audiences and budget. It is important to include a budget in your submission.

Execution — 40%

Judges look for innovation, creativity, management and effective utilization of resources, judgment and overall quality of the tactics.

Results —10%

Submissions are judged for the results of the tactics, and how the goals and objectives were achieved.

Overall work plan — 30%

Special Awards

The CPRS Hamilton Special Awards are coveted public relations honours. Unlike the Pinnacle Awards where you submit your own work, Special Awards are nominated by peers. These awards recognize exceptional involvement in the profession. Both the nominee and the nominator must be CPRS Hamilton members in good standing unless otherwise specified. Due the stringent criteria, some Special Awards may not be awarded annually.

Nominations include a submission summary that details why the candidate fulfills the nomination criteria. All awards will be presented at a gala dinner during the CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle Awards. Honourees will be featured on the CPRS Hamilton website.

Please refer to each of the categories below for detailed nomination criteria.

Special Awards Categories

Special Award Categories

Bill Cockman Memorial Award of Excellence in PR
Named for Bill Cockman, APR, who died in October, 1997, in honour of his role in founding Hamilton’s first public relations association in the 1960s. Mr. Cockman was an honorary life member of CPRS Hamilton at the time of his death. The Award of Excellence is given for distinguished and dedicated service to the Canadian Public Relations Society and/or to the advancement/ betterment of the practice of public relations at large.

Awarded to a CPRS Hamilton member whose personal activities and/or leadership and commitment to the society or affairs of the public relations profession resulted in a striking demonstration of the profession’s principles, the society’s mission and/or code of professional standards or a notable advance in CPRS Hamilton’s prestige or personal activities and/or leadership that went beyond the call of duty or responsibility to employer or client and made a pronounced contribution to the status and acceptance of the public relations function.

Three nominators are required and must all be CPRS members. Nominators must include a detailed written summary no more than two pages (300 to 500 words) outlining the nominee’s demonstration of:

• Professional excellence or advancement of the practice of public relations
• Service to CPRS Hamilton, the profession of public relations, employer or client
• The nominee’s public relations-related accomplishments.

The Student Award of Excellence
Awarded to a CPRS Hamilton student member of a full-time public relations program. The student will have demonstrated the following:

• Clear understanding and application of the principles of public relations theory
• Actions and behaviour that reflect professionalism
• Leadership in personal and scholastic activities
• Commitment to the future of the public relations profession
• Perceived to have the ability to make future contributions to the status and acceptance of the public relations profession.

Nominators must submit a summary no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining how the nominee fulfills the above criteria.

CPRS Hamilton PR Champion of the Year
Awarded to the lead manager of an organization who has demonstrated a commitment to and belief in the value of public relations as an effective business strategy. The award recipient will have established public relations as a high-level priority in creating business plans, will have empowered public relations personnel in the organization to be proactive, considers public relations a management function and a crucial organizational planning tool, uses public relations principles in making decisions and has created an environment where public relations can flourish.

Nominators must be members in good standing of CPRS Hamilton and should submit a summary of no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining how the nominee fulfills the above criteria.

Bob Deans, APR Mentorship Award
The mentorship award will be presented to a senior public relations practitioner who has demonstrated a commitment to and belief in the value of mentoring both those who are new to the profession and those who are committed to the practice of public relations. The award recipient will have demonstrated commitment to speaking to post-secondary students, encouraging internships in the workplace, fostering exemplary relationships in the profession and serving the profession.

Nominators must be members in good standing of CPRS Hamilton and should submit a summary of no more than two pages (300-500 words) outlining who they nominate and how this individual fulfills the above criteria and exemplifies the attributes of this Mentorship Award.

Dr. Louis J. Cahill Distinguished Service Award
This award is given whenever the CPRS Hamilton Board of Directors believes it is warranted. Presented to a member who has demonstrated commitment to CPRS Hamilton in an exemplary way over the course of his or her membership.

WRITING AN AWARD ENTRY

Reveal your recipe for excellence

Winning a CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle award is a great way to show your mastery of public relations or communications strategy or tactics. The awards program is exclusively for CPRS Hamilton members. Award categories are broken into ‘Communications Programs’, ‘Internal Communication’, and ‘Communications Projects’. Some of the ‘Programs’ award categories include communications management, marketing communications, community relations, media relations, corporate identity, issues/crisis management, and government relations. The ‘Project’ awards category includes special events, audio-visual, print, electronic and interactive, and writing assignments. Pinnacles also features several special awards such as a ‘Student Project Award’ and ‘Mentor of the Year’ honours.

Winning insights from a communications leader

Senior PR practitioner and winner of a number of Pinnacle awards, Carleen Carroll, shares her insights on Pinnacles and ‘tips on successful entry-writing’.

Entering and winning validates yourself as a PR practitioner

Being evaluated by your peers and receiving the professional recognition that you excel at what you do is very rewarding. Beyond that, it’s not all about winning – it’s about challenging yourself to select your best piece of work and to have the courage/confidence to have it reviewed and be willing to accept the feedback so that you can become an even better public relations practitioner. Finally, it is about demonstrating the value of the public relations profession. IF you win, you can demonstrate that value to your boss, your board, your clients and others.

Practical tips for success in achieving a Pinnacle award

  1. Make sure you have strong SMART communication objectives that tie back to the corporate objectives and that evaluation supports the objectives.
  2. Try to have evaluation based on outcomes rather than outputs i.e. number of visits to a web site while a good thing is not an outcome – demonstrating that public relations helped to change behaviour is a fantastic outcome.
  3. A lot of people say they had no budget and a budget is required – public relations campaign can be run on a shoe string but there is always some cost – human resources are a cost so while there may not be any dollars, the practitioners time is valuable and should be considered part of the budget.
  4. One last thing–although it’s hard to get the submission into four or two pages, reducing the font to the size of an ant isn’t going to get anyone anywhere with the graders – I believe there is a rule that it has to be no less than 10 but the applicant should check that out – and using bullet points, having white space, making sure headings are clear – will go a long way. And huge appendices and attachments aren’t worth submitting – the judges mainly stick to the main body of the submission.

Enter online.

For online entry submission, please click here

Sponsorship opportunities are now available. Please contact us at pinnacleshamilton@gmail.com for more information.