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CRAFT WINS 22 AWARDS IN 2021

CRAFT WINS 22 AWARDS IN 2021

Effort is rewarded. Excellence is recognized. Every award and every winning campaign grows out of the collaboration between our team and our client partners. We love to win together. And we love recognition for our work. Twenty-two industry awards in 2021 endorse a winning formula. A few of our proudest moments:

  • A PRNEWS Top Woman in PR: BECKY BOLES, Managing Director and SVP of Accounts, was recognized by PRNEWS as a Top Woman in PR for the invaluable mentorship she provides to our agency.
  • Campaign Media Awards for Most Effective Media Plan: CRAFT and Child Care Aware of America won Campaign Media Awards for Most Effective Media Plan for our “No Child Care, No Recovery” campaign.
  • A record-shattering 15 Telly Awards: CRAFT and our clients took home 15 Telly Awards, an all-time best for the team.

Our full list of 2021 awards: 

PRNEWS’ TOP WOMEN IN PR – CRAFT’s Becky Boles | Top Woman in PR by PRNEWS in the Mentor category.

CAMPAIGN MEDIA AWARDS – Child Care Aware of America’s “No Child Care, No Recovery” Campaign | Gold Winner for Most Effective Media Plan

PRNEWS’ DIGITAL PR AWARDS – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Equipped to Vote Campaign | Gold 2021 Campaigns & Products Winner for Contest / Game

4 COMMUNICATOR AWARDS

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Equipped to Vote Campaign

  • 2021 COMMUNICATOR AWARDS EXCELLENCE (Gold)
    General-Causes & Awareness Websites
  • 2021 COMMUNICATOR AWARDS DISTINCTION (Silver)
    General-Association Websites

BBMA: Partnering with a Preschool Franchise to Drive Enrollment

  • 2021 COMMUNICATOR AWARDS EXCELLENCE (Gold)
    Campaign-Business-to-Consumer for Integrated Campaign

Washington Examiner Brand Advertising Campaign

  • 2021 COMMUNICATOR AWARDS DISTINCTION (Silver)
    Campaign-Integrated Campaign for Marketing Effectiveness

15 TELLY AWARDS

  • CRAFT | Media/Digital’s We Are CRAFT
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Corporate Image (Gold)
    Telly Winner in Branded Content: Corporate Image (Bronze)
  • The Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Equipped to Vote
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Internal Communications (Gold)
    Telly Winner in Branded Content: Public Interest/Awareness (Silver)
    Telly Winner in Online: Political/Commentary (Silver)
    Telly Winner in Branded Content: Campaign: Promotional (Bronze)
    Telly Winner in Branded Content: Editing (Bronze)
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Employee Communications (Bronze)
  • American Petroleum Institute’s State of American Energy Livestream
    Telly Winner in Branded Content: Virtual Events & Experiences (Silver)
  • Autos Drive America’s Unwavering Resolve
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Automotive / Vehicles (Silver)
  • National Retail Federation’s New Traditions
    Telly Winner in Online Commercials: Social Responsibility (Silver)
    Telly Winner in Online Commercials: Campaign – Business-to-Consumer (Bronze)
  • International Paper’s Join the PAC
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Employee Communications (Bronze)
  • Big Blue Marble Academy’s COVID Safety Protocol
    Telly Winner in Non-Broadcast: Educational Institution (Bronze)
  • The Washington Examiner’s Get Better News
    Telly Winner in Regional TV: Campaign – Business-to-Consumer (Silver)

Organizations that don’t effectively communicate the depth and breadth of their social impact will be left behind.

A recent global marketing study by Deloitte found that 55% of consumers believe organizations today “have a greater responsibility to act on issues related to their purpose.” The study also found that a whopping 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for products made by socially and environmentally responsible brands. 

In Washington, brands that fail to effectively communicate their CSR, ESG, and DE&I efforts miss an important opportunity to demonstrate to key stakeholders and policy makers that they are committed to social and environmental causes and, in turn, struggle to advance their policy agendas. 

Becky Boles, CRAFT’s Managing Director, helps clients communicate about their social impact efforts within the nation’s capital. Through thought leadership, social media, earned media, events, and more, CRAFT helps organizations across the country build brand affinity and consumer trust.

We know from our work in this space that in today’s cultural environment, social impact messaging is challenging to get right. However, companies that effectively frame their social impact stories, and then communicate those efforts year-round, will have an edge on their competitors.

In the coming weeks, CRAFT will facilitate a social impact communications panel featuring Becky and other industry experts to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what communicators must be prepared for in the months ahead. Don’t miss it. More details to come soon! 

CRAFT’s 3 Takeaways for Advertising Now 

Unprecedented. Disruptive. Industry-altering. The common denominator? You guessed it: COVID-19. We all know that the pandemic changed our “normal,” but as we mark the first full year of lockdown, we’ve reflected on how this new environment impacts advertising. 

As the global health crisis spread across the nation, the NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION enlisted CRAFT to launch a national consumer education campaign in the lead up to the holiday shopping season. We developed our “Shop Safe, Shop Early” campaign to support retailers, encourage consumers to shop early, and promote safe shopping practices in the face of the global pandemic. 

Here are some of our learnings for advertising in a post-2020 world:

  • CREATE CONNECTIONS: In a year of quarantine and social distancing, people are eager to embrace “normal” traditions and build connections with loved ones. In the “Shop Safe, Shop Early” campaign, we encouraged consumers to check holiday shopping off their to-do list early to avoid last-minute stresses and to enjoy a healthy holiday season with family. Meet consumers where they are — provide solutions and express shared emotions.

  • GET CREATIVE WITH ONLINE MEDIUMS: The virus continues to keep people at home and audiences’ consumption habits — primarily online — have changed. Our days are consumed with video, so leverage shorter content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and pre-roll. The highest performing creative for the NRF campaign was this 15-second ad. Take advantage of connected TV options like Samsung and Hulu or placements around live events happening via on-demand channels like ESPN. 

  • SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY: Audiences will be unforgiving to brands that fail to demonstrate a commitment to health, safety, and COVID protocols. The NRF campaign featured retailers and shoppers wearing masks, social distancing, online shopping, and connecting with loved ones virtually. These themes underscored the importance of consumer safety and the fact that traditions can live on amid the pandemic. 

Messaging strategies must evolve to meet the changes presented by our current environment—is your advertising keeping up? 

2021 has brought a wave of change to Washington, DC. Organizations and industries are vying for the attention of President Biden, his administration, and policymakers. With a divided nation, brands are facing challenges on how to approach consumer advocacy — especially when consumerism and activism are becoming increasingly intertwined. 

CRAFT’s Brian Donahue recently participated in a PRWeek panel on strategies for communicating in this new political era, alongside the American Petroleum Institute’s Rhonda Bentz, and the Consumer Brands Association’s Katie McBreen. The leading takeaway is the new administration will be anything but traditional. While talking heads and journalists are hailing the administration’s approach as “traditional” or “boring,” it’s important to understand that your messaging should be anything but. 

Here are CRAFT’s recommendations for impacting the new administration’s movers and shakers:

  • MAKE THE NEWS THAT MAKES BIDEN’S CLIPS – According to Politico’s Daniel Lippman, Biden begins each day with a clips package featuring articles from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He also reads local Philadelphia papers such as The News Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. His go-to columnists include Thomas Friedman and David Brooks of The New York Times. The takeaway: the value of print hits is on the rise. 
  • NO SILVER BULLETS – HEDGE NEWS PUBLISHERS – President Biden gets much of his news via the Apple News app, too. Many publications partner with Apple News, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Time, and Forbes. Worth noting — two of the President’s go-to news sources, The New York Times and The Washington Post do not partner with Apple News. Their articles will still appear in the free version of the Apple News app, but you won’t find content from these publications on the subscription-based Apple News+ app.
  • DON’T FORGET ABOUT TVAccording to Politico, Biden starts his day with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and often tunes into Fox News. MSNBC reports that “Morning Joe” delivered its strongest audience performance ever in 2020, finishing the year as the number one cable news show in the 6:00am time slot, surpassing Fox News’ “Fox & Friends”.
  • USE EFFECTIVE MESSAGING TO CONNECT THE DOTS – The Biden administration circulated a memo to journalists conveying their intentions for addressing issues specific to social change. Communicators will not be successful in impacting policy unless they illustrate their contributions to society and their involvement in social issues.
  • BE SMART WITH MESSAGING AND CREATIVE WITH DELIVERY – Communicators must adapt alongside their audiences. The Consumer Brand Association’s Katie McBreen shared an important reminder of the new environment in which we are operating. “People aren’t commuting to work or spending time in cars anymore,” said McBreen. “We need to think creatively about reaching people when they are doing their new habits and what that looks like when we enter the post-vaccine era.”
  • PAY ATTENTION TO BELTWAY INSIDERS’ MEDIA HABITS Organizations must think creatively to reach DC’s influencers. For instance, use non-traditional platforms like Pandora and Spotify. Over 20% of the DC population (1.1 million individuals) is actively listening to Pandora on a monthly basis, many of them political influencers and government officials. Spotify is 45% larger than Pandora, so we can assume that Spotify has ~1.6 million monthly listeners in DC. And don’t underestimate Twitter, which was practically built for DC influencers. 67% of DC opinion leaders consider Twitter a critical source of news and information, and 54% use Twitter multiple times a day. 

    Digital advertising budgets exploded last year, thanks to more people spending time online. Search, social, and connected TV (CTV) all saw double-digit year-over-year growth. 2020 was the worst year on record for old-school linear TV — and TV advertising in 2021 is expected to be 15.2% lower than in 2019.

As with any new administration, the way organizations and brands communicate must evolve. CRAFT works to meet each of these unique challenges presented by the changing policy landscape.

How are you planning on reaching DC influencers in 2021? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn

THE FUTURE OF BEING TOGETHER


Written by: Sinead Casey, VP of Client Solutions

Our time apart and the historic moments that have rocked our country have redefined what coming together really means. As our sense of community evolves, so will our definition of—and expectations for—gatherings, connectedness, experiences, and events. Here are three big trends we see for the future of events: 

★★★ EVENTS THAT TACKLE PROBLEMS
Audiences may be convening less as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less engaged. In fact, individuals are increasingly seeking out forums that bring together a diverse group of leaders and problem solvers in an intimate environment to address systemic problems. Events geared toward attendee contribution and engagement, instead of consumption, will become more sought-after. Think: curated salon dinners with cross-industry influencers, hackathons, and other substantive engagements, rather than the cocktail parties, panel discussions, and conferences of the past.

★★★ EVENTS THAT EMPOWER STAKEHOLDERS
In the pandemic world, companies are expected to show leadership and share common cause with their communities. Activations — online and off — must speak to and demonstrate a company’s purpose and social impact rather than product sales. As businesses of all sizes attempt to connect to the communities around them, they’ll need to use events to convene people for good and elevate the voices that need to be heard. Companies and organizations can use events to go beyond the boardroom and “pass the mic” to the diverse set of internal and external partners who are the doers, creators, and game-changers.

★★★ EVENTS THAT DRIVE HYPER-TARGETED CONNECTION
As events move online, and as technology such as AR/AI becomes more accessible, our definition of “presence” and “connection” at events will change. While nothing can replace the human connection of a handshake or sharing a meal together, the digital experience can introduce people who might never have been in the same room and connect them faster than cocktail-hour conversations. Expect advancements in AI to help companies and organizations leverage data and interactive segmentation to change the face of networking, helping individuals forge new connections better optimized towards interests and goals.

★★★ Stay tuned for more updates from our team and be sure to follow us on social media: InstagramFacebook, and Twitter

CRAFT Named ‘Up and Coming Agency’ in PRWeek’s Annual Agency Business Report

Each year, PRWeek reveals its Annual Agency Business Report, considered the top source covering the PR agency world and, by extension, trends shaping the communications industry.

This year, CRAFT has the honor of being profiled among an elite list of 40 agencies worldwide including APCO, Ogilvy, Burson, Cohn & Wolfe, Edelman, Ketchum and Hill + Knowlton. CRAFT is specifically recognized among only six agencies in the Up and Coming Agency category.

PRWeek’s profile highlighted CRAFT’s growth, holistic approach to communications strategy, and how it brings political rigor and thinking to leading companies and association clients.

Congratulations to our entire team for helping us achieve this recognition.

HELP SUPPORT D.C. SMALL BUSINESSES

We all have special ties to our favorite D.C. local businesses and feel personally connected to the difficulties they are facing today. The staff at these businesses have become a part of our extended family over the years.

We want to highlight a few businesses that are particularly special to CRAFT. Below are some of our favorite local spots and ways we can all help them through the pandemic.

  • PJ Clarke’s; whether it’s a team lunch, happy hour, or work celebration, there’s rarely a time you won’t run into a CRAFTer at PJ’s. Join us in supporting the restaurant staff here.
  • Martin’s Tavern has served the D.C. community for 87 years. With their doors officially closed for the first time ever, it’s paramount that the community comes together to help support their staff. You can donate to the Martin’s Tavern Staff Relief Fund – any amount helps. 
  • Joe’s Stone Crab is located just steps from the White House and is THE place for great seafood and the District’s best slice of key lime pie. Learn more about how you can help them out here.
  • Compass Coffee is a true D.C. staple and CRAFT favorite. Compass Coffee’s doors are still open for carry-out orders. Plus, you can show your support for this local small business by shopping in their online store.
  • Chez Billy Sud; the Georgetown staple is now set up for take-out orders so you can enjoy French food in the comfort of your home. They have also set up a Family Fund to assist team members who are currently displaced.

Let’s instill hope and confidence in our community by showing our love and support for our local businesses, as they have always done for us.

5 PR Trends Now

BRIAN DONAHUE

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) AS THE NEW PROBIOTIC

Today, more than ever, companies are active in social issues. As audiences and consumers have evolved their relationships with brands, the focus on sustainability has only grown as a factor in affinity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that corporate social responsibility has risen with heightened social consciousness. CSR efforts continue to gain serious funding from companies in the areas of philanthropy, volunteerism, the environment, and labor issues. Crafting a CSR effort is an increasingly popular opportunity for organizations and companies to engender positive brand recognition that aligns with the social interests of their customers and other stakeholders. It’s also vitally important for companies to develop the right voice when sharing the CSR agenda and efforts. With a highly scrutinized media environment, a misstep – even with good intentions – could negatively affect businesses. Antibiotics are to Crisis Comms as Probiotics are to CSR Campaigns. Just like probiotics build up your immune system, CSR builds up companies’ reputations and a reservoir of goodwill so that if and when a crisis comes, they recover more quickly and with less distress. Think of a company’s reputation like your body and take steps to keep it healthy. Key Takeaway: CSR efforts are more meaningful than ever to customers, policymakers, and stakeholders. Build a strong, authentic CSR program that shares the work a brand or organization is doing to contribute towards the good of people.

EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS BEYOND THE C-SUITE

Today, more and more corporate and organization executives are finding themselves in the news, both good and bad. Either way, executives are no longer anonymous figureheads. Executive identities are impacting brands more than ever. These are times that warrant conscious leadership. These are times that also warrant careful and strategic communications. When a company has a crisis, audiences and the media look to its leaders for insight. When companies and organizations make impactful decisions, people look to leaders to gain understanding. For a long time, organizations only considered communications as a tool from unknown company sources. It’s imperative for organizations to develop executive communication strategies to help articulate a vision or to properly manage a crisis. Customers and stakeholders are gravitating toward activist and engaged executives, who care more about the people they serve than the bottom line. The main tenant of an executive communications strategy must center around thought leadership initiatives that raise a leader’s profile in a highly valuable way, while aligning closely with the brand or organization they represent. This cross-section of interests creates a backdoor to organization interest and affinity. Key Takeaway: Executive communications should no longer be treated as one-off necessitated communications. In today’s age, it’s important for an executive to execute a holistic communications strategy that raises their profile in a smart and valuable way that is consistent with the brand or organization they represent.

BE PREPARED: CRISIS IS THE NEW NORMAL

The old way of handling crisis and conflict doesn’t work anymore — burying your head in the sand and waiting for the viral social media storm to pass is not crisis management. Perpetual news coverage and social media sleuthing is the modern plague feared by businesses and high profile organizations. In a world of misconduct, scrutiny, and sharing, it’s more and more important to adopt proactive crisis training. If you disagree, just ask Boeing, Facebook, or United Airlines. An effective crisis response begins with strong planning. It is also advantageous and less resource driven to put in place a proactive crisis communications plan in a non-crisis environment. When the going gets tough, organizations have an advantage when they develop a general crisis communications framework that can be customized to incidents ranging in scope and specificity. Regardless of the situation, there are the core messages you will want to get across. Key areas for crisis preparation include media training, message development, collateral development, third party engagement, war room organization planning & approval structure, crisis checklists, media lists, internal and external stakeholder lists, and standby web properties. Key Takeaway: Create positive outcomes amid crisis by establishing message and infrastructure discipline that anticipates potential problems. Determine the best approach to distribute a factual narrative to persuade and inspire.

EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING CULTIVATES CONNECTIONS

It’s been said that there is no substitute for experience. Experiential opportunities help organizations cultivate an emotional connection with target audiences by immersing them in a memorable experience. However, like any connection with a person, cause, company, or event, it can begin and end very quickly without intentional communication. Experiential marketing directly engages target audiences in a live event. Also referred to as “live marketing,” “participation marketing,” or sometimes “brand activation,” experiential marketing gets your customers involved in your brand or products and lets them experience it in real time. Key Takeaway: Let the customers, policymakers and stakeholders be part of the brand. Audience participation is a memorable experience that generates heightened interest and buy-in.

INSTAGRAM: GET ON THE GRAM

We all know an image is worth a thousand words. The proof of this idiom can be found on Instagram and its over one billion users worldwide. With an increasing preference by people to consume information via images and video, Instagram has become a social media powerhouse. The mobile-centric platform isn’t just used by fitness gurus and celebrities. Advertisers have found an emergent opportunity to easily target audiences inexpensively to sell goods, promote services, and communicate efficiently. As an increasing number of eyeballs converge on Instagram, organizations can leverage the power of images to create an emotional connection with audiences. Instagram simply doesn’t foster the same contentious environment that Twitter and Facebook often enable. Look for Instagram to be an even greater force for advertisers in organizations advocating agendas. Key Takeaway: Instagram is a valuable communications tool, but be sure to use it correctly. Utilize interesting and engaging imagery and videos to capture your audience’s attention. Find interesting angles, messages, and creative that will resonate with individuals – don’t simply repurpose creative from other platforms. 

PAC It Up

CRAFT’S CLIENTS WIN THE TWO TOP PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS FROM THE PAC COMMUNITY

CRAFT is proud to partner with two leading Political Action Committees (PACs) recognized with highest honors from the PAC community’s top organizations.

CRAFT client INTERNATIONAL PAPER was recognized this week in Miami as The Public Affairs Council’s Outstanding Corporate PAC of the Year. CRAFT partnered with International Paper on its IP-PAC brand and elevated the way International Paper engages with employees to communicate its political efforts.

CRAFT client THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS (NEMPAC) was also recently awarded the “Trailblazer Award” by the  National Association of Business Political Action Committees (NABPAC).

What is your American Dream?

WHAT IS YOUR AMERICAN DREAM?

This morning, a CRAFT-produced video opened U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue’s State of American Business address.

We’re proud to have partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a piece that celebrates #AmericanDreams and the ideals — aspiration, perseverance, courage and creativity — that link us all.

As a small business and as an agency that fights every day to defend business, this one is special.

Dream Big, America.