Consumers' Choice Awards
Consumers in a given market are surveyed to rank the best local businesses in 100 different categories. The winners in each category is then offered an opportunity to license the logo/seal to be used in a variety of ways in their marketing and advertising; much like a local version of JD Power or Good Housekeeping. One of the major elements of participating in the Award program was attending a evening Gala with live music, open bar and plated dinner. It was a way to celebrate their success.
Media Instead of Gala. We were opening the Indianapolis market. And though the gala approach had been a standard feature of the award program for since its inception, I thought there could be a much better use for that sizable annual investment.
Internal Survey. First, I surveyed the winners to find if they would like to stick with the gala or instead have a nice recognition luncheon then with the money or so left over, we could run a major media campaign building the brand equity of both the CCA name and the name of the winners. The media campaign version won overwhelmingly.
Massive Media Campaign. We negotiated a major TV by with one broadcast station. The single station gave us leverage in the negotiations. Furthermore, I worked with a media buying firm to get nearly twice the gross rating points of any other local advertiser.
Collaborative Creative. The TV commercials were "donuts" with a CCA intro and ending tag. In the middle were two or three of the winners. This approach to co-branding and spot-sharing generated tremendous brand equity for all. We also were able to include some print, radio and outdoor using barter. We also offered our winners the opportunity to buy additional spots also using the donut approach. Many of the winners were small businesses who normally could not afford TV advertising. This also became an additional source of revenue for the client.
Celebrity Emcee. The first year introducing the award is challenging because there is little awareness of what it is. To establish instant credibility with this predominately older group, I hired Bob Eubanks (The Newlywed Game) to be he emcee. It was an instant hit. Not only did Bob emcee the event, but we used in likeness in the print ads and his voice for the TV and radio commercials. He also was interviewed by a local news cast which got additional exposure. Bob also posed with all the winners for photographs. We printed 8x10s and then mailed as a follow up after the event.
Impact Mailer. Winners were informed with a packet of material mailed in a 9 x 12 envelope. It cost over $4.00. A follow up phone call set up an appointment where a rep explained the licensing program. The problem was that most recipients had no recollection of the big packet. To solve the problem, I sent out a simple letter of congratulations via certified mail. Though it added $2.50 to each mailer, the recipients were required to sign for it. Response rate tripled. The following year I took advantage of a program that the USPS offered where you could upload your letter's content to their sight and upload your mailing list. The piece they received looked like official government correspondence. This saved a ton of time and got an even better response.
A title slide from the Power Point awards luncheon.
Eubanks created instant credibility and awarness
Consumers' Choice Award Winner
Consumers' Choice Award Winner
8x10 glossies provided and displayed at winning businesses throughout the market.