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PRSA Western District Honors Denis Wolcott, APR of Long Beach, CA with Platinum Award and Allison+Partners of Phoenix with Best in the West Campaign

Honorees recognized in front of 175 attendees at the 2014 PRSA Western District Conference.


Contact: Katie Coates, APR, Western District Chair, (714) 747-0997

Denis Wolcott, APR, 2014 Platinum Award Recipient

Denis Wolcott, APR, 2014 Platinum Award Recipient

SAN DIEGO – May 16, 2014 – It may be hard to imagine that decades could glide by so easily when you’re in the thick of things, but for Denis Wolcott, that’s exactly what happened with his years of volunteer service to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Wolcott earned distinction on March 19, when he was selected as the PRSA Western District’s Platinum Award Honoree, which is the highest individual honor bestowed upon a PRSA volunteer in the Western District.

Wolcott was nominated for his decades of personal service including mentoring, creating new programs for outreach and affinity, his volunteer service to the District, the Chapter and National PRSA, leading the Western District and PRSA International Conference, and for outstanding career achievements in furthering the practice of public relations.

In addition to Wolcott’s award, the Western District presented the Platinum Award for a Best of the West campaign to Alison+Partners of Phoenix, AZ, for the firm’s social media campaign for client “FindMyPast.Com.” This was the first year the District’s Platinum Awards honored a public relations campaign and the second year a volunteer received a service award. Accepting the award was Allison+Partners co-founder Scott Pansky.

The campaign award showcases the best in creating and executing strategy and complements PRSA’s commitment to professionalism and service. PRSA’s member training includes strategic planning where practitioners use research, planning, execution and evaluation when creating professional campaigns.

Platinum Award: Denis Wolcott
“We are very excited to honor a valued member of our District with such an award. Denis has been very committed to the support of the Western District, mentoring students and PRSA in general,” said Katie Coates, APR, Western District Chair. “Because of Denis’s contributions to PRSA at his Los Angeles chapter, at the Western District level, and within the national arena of PRSA, he rose to the top to earn this distinction.”

“I am truly honored by this award. Public relations professionals have a responsibility and duty to give back to their association, to provide mentoring and to ensure our ethical standards are maintained,” Wolcott said. “My hope is that this award inspires many more of my colleagues to contribute their time for the benefit of our profession.”

Best in the West: Allison+Partners
“It’s an honor for our agency to be the first to receive the “Best in the West” award from the PRSA Western District,” said Cathy Planchard, Allison+Partners General Manager of Phoenix. “This campaign embodied the power of social media and analytics with compelling, fresh content to drive deep engagement and positive perception of the FindMyPast brand.”

The agency benchmarked against other popular web brands, such as ancestry.com and crafted a campaign that used creativity to excite fans and increase engagement across all social media channels. Concepts included “Kiss Me” Badges, Family History Month, a Pinterest Promotion, and enhancing customer service.

Since starting work in August 2012, Allison+Partners met all planned objectives including:

  • Referrals from Facebook increased from 1,844 monthly visitors to 3,000 monthly visitors in six months by posting content that drove traffic back to the site
    • 12,631 website visits were driven from Facebook over the six-month duration
    • 75.1% of website visits driven from Facebook were new visits
  • Facebook likes increased from 996 to 40,000 within six months
    • The FindMyPast.com Facebook page achieved 40,000 likes in mid-Feb. 2013

Platinum Award Criteria:

  • Service to PRSA, particularly to the member chapter and the PRSA Western District, but may also include contributions to other chapters and PRSA National. Voting is weighted with 40% of the emphasis going to service to the Western District and 20% going to each of the remaining categories: service to the Chapter and National PRSA and contributions to the practice of public relations.
  • Finalists must exhibit the highest standards and ethics of the profession in the practice of public relations.

Best in the West Criteria:
The PRSA Western District aims to recognize outstanding work being performed throughout five western states and 10 chapters representing more than 2,000 PRSA members. The Best in the West Award for Best Campaign or Program provides the chapter, organization, company or agency that won the “Best in Show” award at their local level to now have the opportunity to be recognized and distinguished as “The Best in the West” throughout the entire Western District.

About the Western District:
The Public Relations Society of America has organized its membership into ten regions, called districts. These regional groupings of chapters provide helpful support, share resources and cultivate leaders for the next generation of professionals to head the association and be voices for the PR industry. The Western District comprises ten chapters from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Hawaii including:

The Board
The Western District is managed by an Executive Board which elects its officers each year at a meeting during the International Conference. The 2014 Western District Officers are:

About PRSA:
Chartered in 1947, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the world’s largest and foremost organization for public relations professionals. PRSA is responsible for representing, educating, setting standards of excellence, and upholding principles of ethics for its members and, in principle, the $4 billion U.S. public relations profession.

Download the news release.

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