‘We Ring True’ branding initiative wins Best of Show award from PRAM

Mississippi State University’s Office of Public Affairs continued its award-winning momentum for the “We Ring True” branding initiative by garnering seven awards, including Best of Show, during the recent Public Relations Association of Mississippi’s PRism Awards competition.

The “We Ring True” branding initiative promotes Mississippi State’s standing as a premier research university by employing a variety of broad-based, multimedia communications platforms and strategies. Since its launch in 2015, MSU has seen enrollment steadily increase along with academic accolades, research and development partnerships, university fundraising, student diversity, workplace satisfaction, brand recognition, social media engagement and peer recognition.

“The fact that we can tie the ‘We Ring True’ initiative to tangible results like increased enrollment and fundraising speaks to the power of storytelling,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “The best way to communicate our identity is to tell our success stories to broader audiences and to invite students to be a part of the effort by providing social media platforms and other tools that connect to our messaging. As more prospective students learn about MSU, they’ll want to be part of the great things happening here.”

MSU’s Office of Public Affairs received PRAM’s Best of Show award for external communications by having the highest-scored entry in the 2017 competition. In addition, OPA won two PRism Awards for reputation and brand management and for community/corporate relations; an Award of Excellence for integrated social media programs; and two Certificates of Merit for an MSU Alumnus magazine feature by Sasha Steinberg and for one-time celebration #StateProud Week.

“Receiving PRAM’s top award is not only a tremendous honor but also a humbling surprise,” said Sid Salter, chief communications officer for MSU. “The abundance of talented people working in Mississippi makes the PRism Awards one of the most challenging competitions out there for PR professionals.

“Our brand initiative, spearheaded by Checky Herrington, is bringing so much positive recognition to MSU,” he added. “The success of ‘We Ring True’ is a testament to vision, creativity and relentless drive to be the best.”

OPA staff members making contributions to these award-winning projects include Salter; Harriet Laird, associate director; Herrington; Jim Laird, research and executive support editor; Heather M. Rowe, digital design editor; Susan Lassetter, publications editor; Erin Brown, marketing and communications coordinator; Camille Carskadon, social media coordinator; writers Allison Matthews, James Carskadon, Sammy McDavid and Steinberg; photographers Megan Bean, Russ Houston and Beth Wynn; graphic designers Eric Abbott, Hayley Gilmore and Tim Myers; Nick Wilson, information technology coordinator; and office manager Courtney Honnoll.

Other contributors included Anthony Craven, manager of MSU’s noncommercial, community radio station WMSV 91.1 FM, and David Garraway, University Television Center director.

In recent months, MSU has received national recognition and multiple awards for its PR and communications efforts. In February, OPA won two “Grand” awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District III for branding/identity and external communications. In January, MSU achieved high rankings for its social-media presence among U.S. higher education institutions in a report issued by Engagement Labs.

In November 2016, OPA’s work on “We Ring True” and other initiatives won 23 awards at the Southern Public Relations Federation’s annual conference, including four Lantern Awards, the organization’s top honor.

Also in 2016, OPA won top awards from the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi for the “We Ring True” initiative and for outstanding achievements in electronic media, radio spot and public relations campaigns, print advertising, social media strategy, photography and other categories.

PRAM launched PRism Awards in 2003 to honor and recognize outstanding work in the field of public relations by professionals within the state of Mississippi. Awards are judged by professionals outside the geographical boundaries of the Southern Public Relations Federation -- Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

Learn more about the Office of Public Affairs at www.opa.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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