- Did it take courage? Was the agency brave to suggest the strategy it did? Was the client brave to agree to it? Courage comes in many forms—admitting a mistake, fighting for an unpopular principle, taking a creative risk, breaking a taboo.
- Was it authentic? Did the core creative idea seem to arrive organically from the DNA of the company? Was it a true reflection of the organization’s mission, its vision, its values? Did the explicit or implicit story it told about the company fit with the way customers, employees and community actually experience the company and its brands?
- Was it engaging? In the past, it might have been enough for a public relations campaign to deliver a message. But the best campaigns today go beyond that, prompting engagement, encouraging the audience to respond both emotionally and in some tangible way: joining the conversation, participating in the debate, offering feedback, getting involved in a cause or issue.
- Was it shareable? Public relations campaigns have always been about persuading people to share information. In the past, it was typically a journalist sharing with his or her readers. But today it can involve almost any audience—bloggers, influencers, opinion leaders, ordinary people—sharing with their friends, via social media or good old-fashioned conversation, amplifying the message and giving it credibility and immediacy.
- Was it sticky? Did the campaign lead to a single transaction or did it contribute toward a lasting relationship? Some campaigns are fleetingly amusing, a momentary distraction; others leave a lasting impression about the company or the brand, usually by making an emotional connection, convincing stakeholders that the company genuinely cares about something close to their hearts.
- Was it ethical? Honesty has always been important. It is even more important today, because in an age of radical transparency any dishonesty—and manipulation or deceit—will be discovered so much more quickly and punished so much more severely than in the past.
- Did it change behavior? There are two ways in which good public relations campaigns can change behavior. The first is by affecting the behavior of the audience (employees, consumers, voters, communities) so that they are more supportive of an organization’s objectives. Less common—but often more meaningful in terms of long-term relationship building—a good PR campaign can change the behavior of the organization and its management, bringing it into alignment with stakeholder expectations. Great campaigns may do both.
The SABRE Awards is the world's largest PR awards program, running across six continents. 2016 details now available.