Office of Communications earns first place award

The UALR Office of Communications recently earned a first place award from the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

UALR Executive Director of Communications Judy Williams receives the first-place award from PRSA Award Committee Member Kristen Vandaveer

The award in the Marketing Communications for a Nonprofit Organization category, recognized the success of the UALR Grads@Work campaign.

The campaign grew from national research that indicated one of the top reasons today’s students choose a particular university is based on their ability to get a job once they graduate.

“The strategy was to tell as many real-life alumni career stories as possible so that the audiences could relate to a real person who got their degree at UALR and is now successfully employed,” said Judy Williams, UALR executive director of communications.

“What makes this award so gratifying is the fact that our staff – not an advertising agency – created this campaign that went from research to concept to execution. We all pulled together as a team to create our best work. I am so proud of our staff,” she said.

Another huge benefit to the campaign was having the association with so many of our alumni who had great stories to tell, Williams said. “We worked very closely with the UALR Alumni Association and our faculty to connect us with graduates from all majors in a variety of jobs.”

The marketing campaign drove audiences to a website – the hub of information for the campaign – There, viewers could connect with UALR by learning more about featured graduates, applying to the university, or sharing their own graduate stories.

Within the first two weeks of the  site’s launch, there were nearly 26,000 page views from almost 2,000 unique visitors.

The integrated campaign, which included television, print, radio, online, outdoor boards, and bus bench advertising, was launched early last year with a Grads@Work kickoff party held in downtown Little Rock for graduates working in central Arkansas. On-campus promotions and media relations were also part of the campaign.

The 2013 Prism Awards event was held Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Arkansas Arts Center.

The Prism Awards are awarded by PRSA, which recognizes exceptional public relations programs and the skills of the state’s practitioners, companies, and organizations. For a list of all of this year’s winners, go to Arkansas PRSA.

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