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I hope that my success will encourage young aspiring PR practitioners

by Kathryn Moore, winner of the 2016 Douglas Smith Student Award

A flight to London, delicious Spanish and Vietnamese food, a day spent in one of the UK’s finest independent communications consultancies, and a crystal trophy presented by the 2016 CIPR President, was the result of two month’s dedication required to create the winning entry for the 2016 Douglas Smith Student Award.

2016 CIPR President Rob Brown and Kathryn Moore
2016 CIPR President Rob Brown and Kathryn Moore

The brief for the competition was to create an international campaign for a fictitious company – ‘Ride Together’ – to promote car sharing in major cities across the globe. My first priority when commencing my submission was to fully understand the brief, in order to respond as accurately as possible. I deconstructed every area that could be considered and followed this up with intensive research. This section of my entry was in fact 10 pages long at one stage! (Fortunately for the judges, I managed to reduce it to 1½ pages for the final submission.)

From this, there were key three objectives I sought to achieve as a result of the execution of the campaign:

• Improve the target audience’s mental health. • Improve global environmental health. • Offer a solution to improve financial stress for the target audience.

I proposed the creation of a mobile app and website that allowed users to record their routine car journeys and thereby connect with other users travelling the same route. This was supported with a strong focus on social sharing features to raise the digital profile of the campaign. Furthermore, the use of scenario-based visuals on adshels to target people arriving at airports and within city hotspots, as a communication channel, was a defining element of my entry.

I was made aware that I won the competition in June earlier this year, and had to keep my success a secret until the presentation took place. And so, for three agonising months I managed to contain my excitement. I am very grateful to CIPR for acknowledging my talent, and am now highly encouraged to continue to strive to climb the PR ladder.

I intend to use the prize money to enhance my education during my final year of study at Ulster University and to enable me to attend CIPR events, workshops and seminars in the future.

Rob Brown, 2016 CIPR President, made the presentation of the trophy and £1000 cheque at the CIPR offices in Russell Square, London. Rob commended the creativity and design talent displayed in my entry. The presentation was followed by Spanish tapas for dinner in the company of Eva Maclaine FCIPR (Immediate past chair of CIPR International and Maclaine Communications); Shirley Collyer (vice chair CIPR International and Lansons), Beatrice Giribaldi (CIPR International Committee and Lansons) and James Le Grice ( CIPR International Committee and ICG).

The next day, I was hosted by Lansons, internationally recognised communications consultancy and seven times named ‘agency of the year’, to experience a workday in the world of PR. One-to-one introductions with professionals in each of Lansons’ specialist sectors brought my knowledge of PR theory from my studies at Ulster University to life, with insight into industry-specific application. Furthermore, I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet Clare Parsons, CEO and co-founder of Lansons. Her character traits as an entrepreneur, businesswoman and PR practitioner are second-to-none, and I am inspired to strive to develop such qualities as hers in the hope that my career may also grow to such great heights.

I hope that my success will encourage young aspiring PR practitioners, especially those in Northern Ireland, to become involved in competitions and events such as the Douglas Smith Student Award. Regardless of my winning, the commitment I made to completing the submission was more than worthwhile; as the award brief challenged me to think at a global scale and develop my PR skillset to a much higher level.

I am now looking forward to commencing my final year of study at Ulster University in a couple of weeks, where I will be seeking to further mature my abilities within PR. I hope to continue to attend the CIPR events in Northern Ireland throughout the course of the next academic year, as the events and seminars I have attended previously were highly beneficial to my learning.

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