Tag Archives: International Association of Business Communicators

My Firm Wins Two IABC Golden Flame Awards for Writing Excellence



Below is a reprint of my company news release from last night’s IABC Atlanta Golden Flames Awards.



Strategic messaging and editorial services firm Anne Wainscott, Inc. received two 2012 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Golden Flame Awards in the writing category last night during the Atlanta chapter’s annual awards gala at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Wainscott earned a Silver Flame Award for “CDC 24/7: What’s Really in a Cigarette?” that appeared in the employee intranet portal, CDC Connects, on May 23, 2012. The article took employees inside CDC’s Tobacco Lab at a time whennew tobacco legislation has increased the partnership between CDC and FDA. A condensed version of the story also appeared on CDC.gov’s 24/7 page
The relationship between CDC and FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products is of critical importance for advancing the efforts to reduce disease and death from tobacco product use. This article clearly highlighted this relationship and how the collaboration between these two agencies will make them both more effective in carrying out their missions,” said David Ashley, PhD, Director, Office of Science in FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.  
This was Wainscott’s third IABC award for writing work supporting CDC in the last two years.  She previously received a 2011 IABC Golden Flame Award and a 2010 IABC Southern Regional Silver Quill Award for feature articles on CDC Guinea worm eradication efforts and on employees living with childhood cancer. 
 Anne (second from left) with the Cbeyond team and their three Golden Flame Awards.
Wainscott’s client, Cbeyond, a technology ally to more than 60,000 small and mid-sized businesses, also received three awards, including a Bronze Flame Award for recurring feature articles and a Bronze Flame for the company’s “Era of Transformation” Change Management Communications efforts.
Wainscott was recognized for writing  weekly department spotlights for CWorld, the  employee e-newsletter — efforts that helped engage employees during a period of major change.  
Golden Flame award winner Amy MacKinnon, internal communications leader at Cbeyond, said, “We’ve received great response. The spotlights not only helped employees understand what their colleagues  do every day, but also they helped explain how they’re a part of the transformation. The stories did an excellent job of showcasing how we’re all touching the transformation in some shape or form.”
About IABC Atlanta’s Golden Flames Awards
IABC’s Atlanta Golden Flames are awarded annually to recognize excellence in writing, graphic design, video, live events, media relations and social media, among other categories. The awards acknowledge merit for form, function, process and creativity, and, most importantly, measured results.  Entries are judged by members of other IABC chapters across North America, and scored on their own merit.
About Anne Wainscott Inc.    
Anne Wainscott Inc. is a strategic messaging and editorial services firm founded in Atlanta in 1999. The company’s founder, Anne Wainscott Sargent, brings nearly two decades of experience as a journalist, author and award-winning writer. The firm offers a unique, senior-level storytelling experience to every client engagement — balanced with an understanding of clients’ big-picture positioning goals. For more information, visit: http://annewainscott.com.
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Outgoing IABC Executive Chair Talks Future of Communications Profession



Adrian Cropley, ABC. Photo: Leland Holder

Adrian Cropley, ABC, fresh from serving the past year as chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) executive board, talked trends and the future of the communication profession during a special appearance with IABC’s Atlanta chapter on Tuesday.

“The landscape is changing quite rapidly for us,” says the former food-chef-turned-communicator.
Cropley began his career in internal communications at Ericsson 20 years ago, when the CEO challenged him to improve communication with employees.

“I became hooked ever since,” says Cropley, whose career has included working with Unilever, Ernst & Young, Shell, NAB, ANZ, National Foods and Kraft, as well as various government organizations. Today, Cropley runs Cropley Communications, a global internal communications training firm based in Melbourne.

Cropley with members of IABC Atlanta’s board. Photo: Leland Holder

He observes that communications professionals are starting to take on more roles that encompass
engagement and culture – functions historically belonging to the HR organization – as well as embracing digital platforms for their communication messages. 

“In this day of communications, it’s not just about internal communications that drive engagement; it’s internal and external because the boundaries have completely blurred. We’re crossing over boundaries and we’re seeing this happen globally,” he says.

While communications is going to get bigger on the agenda, we as professionals “could face an identity crisis if we don’t clearly outline our value to the organization and continue to make ourselves relevant,” he cautions.

One area we can’t take control of is the message with citizen journalism and social media today.  He referenced Kevin Thomson’s book, Emotional Capital, which contends that organizations have two types of capital – intellectual capital that firms harness, and emotional capital, or the will of people in an organization to put their knowledge and abilities to the betterment of the organization.   
An interesting insight is that the value of both of these to the organization is “identical.”

“Today we are looking today that this blurring of the boundaries between on internal and external means we really need to focus on things like engagement no matter who the organization is – it’s all about that emotional message- how do I engage people in a very honest, open way?”

In the future, we are all about multi-disciplinary communication globally because that’s where the landscape is eventually going.”  That’s the beauty of IABC, he adds, given IABC’s multi-disciplinary focus.

Why should companies care about engagement? Communicating and connecting with employees can have a major impact on organization productivity, he says, citing the Towers-Watson Change and Communication  ROI Study Report, which found that companies that are highly effective at communicating are 1.7 times likely to outperform their peers. He also quoted a study that found engaged employees in the UK take significantly less sick leave than those who are disengaged. 

Three findings from the Towers-Watson report are that sustainable business performance depends upon:

  • Clarity – having a clear direction for everyone
  • Competence – competence in leadership and in organizations
  • Community – it’s all about giving everyone a shared experience

He cited the 2011 European Communications Monitor study that tracks the evolving role of the communications profession in Europe and where the field is headed. The report pointed to the changing perception of PR globally and whether “PR” as a title creates a negative connotation in the market. To illustrate his point, Cropley shared a press article in New Zealand that complained that the government employed too many “spin doctors.”

“We have to reposition communications to make it very clear that it is a business value to organizations: What is our scope? What is it that we deliver?” Cropley says. “We have to start to clearly brand ourselves and what we do for the organization, then we’ve got to measure the tangible of what we do.”

Cropley contends that communicators are at a key moment in their profession where they can play influential roles. What do we need to do today as communicators to thrive in the future?

  • Understand the cultural context in the global business world.
  • Understand that our audience is different and it is we who must adapt our approach based on the audience – with honesty and a desire to build a relationship with our audience.
  •  Broaden our skills as we converge – understanding the path for communications is knowing a lot of different disciplines.
  • Meet our audience where they are.
  • Don’t drop the tactics, including core skills like writing– “find the sweet spot between tactics and strategy,” he advises.

Curation for Communicators

The Writing Well’s guest blogger today is Donna Papacosta of Toronto-based Trafalgar Communications. A social media expert specializing in content marketing, social media, and corporate communications, Donna is active in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and frequently speaks about content curation. 
Here, she shares highlights of her time at last month’s IABC World Conference in Chicago and some tips on why content curation is an important tool for communications.
 Donna Papacosta
At the recent IABC world conference in Chicago, I was gratified to meet so many communicators interested in curation. What’s this hot topic about? Simply stated, curation means finding, selecting, organizing and sharing the best of relevant content.
I believe that most communicators can benefit from curating content. First of all, the act of curation increases your own knowledge as you discover interesting information. Then, sharing this content can help to position you as someone “in the know,” perhaps even a thought leader. If you deal with external audiences, curation can add value to your existing content marketing efforts.
To do it right, try balancing original content with curated content. If you publish only material developed by others, your audience doesn’t get to know your voice. Here are some other best practices:
  •  Understand your own purpose for curating, and be sure it’s integrated into your overall communications strategy.
  •  Focus on a niche topic; “communications,” for example, is too broad. Better: “crisis communications in the energy sector.”
  • Be sure to follow leaders in your industry via various social media platforms.
  • Automate some of your content discovery through Google alerts, Twitter and Google Plus searches and others.
  • Pick your curation tools. As a starting point, I recommend http://delicious.com for keeping track of content. You may choose to publish your curated content in a blog, microsite or newsletter, or via Paper.li, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or GooglePlus or a combination of these.
  • Always attribute content to the original author; don’t steal!
  • Share your content freely and make it easy for others to share, using widgets and buttons.
One of your goals as a curator should be to discover and share content that others haven’t yet seen. One of my favorite ways to do this is through Twitter lists. I subscribe to a variety of them that lead me to smart people on Twitter who may not be widely read. To find Twitter lists, check out http://listorious.com.
Another handy tool is http://www.news.me/, which delivers by email the top stories from your Facebook and Twitter contacts. As a communicator, I’m also a fan of http://paper.li, which allows me to publish nice-looking newspaper-like recaps of Twitter and/or Facebook posts based on lists of people or hashtags. For an example, check out the IABC/Toronto Twitter News at http://t.co/BFx2IAbg.
If you’re interested in this topic, you might want to see a video recap of my presentation at the IABC world conference at http://vzaar.tv/1026165
Happy curating!  
A quick list of selected curation tools:
          Google+ Sparks
          Curation Station
Reach Donna Papacosta via her website or blog or follow her on Twitter.