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A Day as a Silver Anvil Judge

March 31, 2014

Bobby Eagle

Have you ever wanted to contribute to a piece of PR history? Have you ever wanted to rub elbows with some of PR’s brightest and help select the winners for one of PR’s most distinguished awards?

For Bobby Eagle, senior public relations manager for Syniverse, this dream became a reality. PRSA National recently approached Eagle asking him to fill in for a last-minute cancellation to join 150 judges and colleagues at the New York Downtown Marriott to help determine one of PR’s highest accolades – the Silver Anvil.

“I consider myself a PR nerd,” Eagle said. “That being said, this was one of the most exciting professional opportunities I’ve ever had, and one of the most grueling.”

When the judges arrived at the hotel ballroom, they found a thorough judging packet, which included 10 pages explaining what the process entails, what to expect and how to evaluate.

The group was broken into teams, and collectively they would be responsible for reviewing more than 800 submissions.

“The ballroom was filled with tables made into large desks with chairs surrounding them,” Eagle said. “Each team received a category with entries that included a broad range of challenges, campaigns and industries. The judges also varied greatly, representing corporations, agencies and academic institutions, among many other areas.”

The judging took an entire day behind closed doors and involved a marathon reading session. Each submission included a two-page summary and extensive documentation covering a situational analysis, research, planning, execution and evaluation.

“It was amazing seeing how so many companies take so many creative approaches to so many diverse challenges,” Eagle said. “The submissions ranged in quality greatly – as well as the size and industry of the companies involved.”

“The greatest detriment I saw for many submissions was a lack of research,” Eagle pointed out. “My advice to professionals submitting a Silver Anvil would be to make sure you thoroughly demonstrate your research – including your communication plan with measurable results. Ultimately, make sure the evaluation of your campaign ends up measuring success against the objectives originally set in the planning process.”

Eagle also mentioned National’s many submission preparation resources available, including the Silver Anvil Case Study search and the entry section on the PRSA website.

“It was such a good experience to do this, and I’m really hoping to be a part of it in the future,” Eagle said. “Honestly, my first thought was: These judges were handpicked from among the best to do this, so can I hack it with this level of professionals? Fortunately, it ended up being such a welcoming environment.”

The Silver Anvil Award ceremony will be held on June 12 in New York at the AXA Equitable Building at 787 Seventh Ave. To learn more, visit the Silver Anvil website.

Eagle will also be involved in this year’s upcoming Bronze Anvil awards. The final deadline for all entries is due Friday, April 4. For more information, visit the Bronze Anvil website.

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