Güd Marketing puts on its shoes … just for today.

Güd Marketing puts on its shoes … just for today.
Debbie Horak
May 01, 2015
Pace awards close up

We’ve all heard the phrase “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” or perhaps “the blacksmith’s home has only wooden spoons.” These age-old proverbs highlight a real issue that continues to exist today, that many people who practice a specific trade are too busy doing for others to use their skills to benefit themselves. Well, the same holds true for many of us in the marketing and PR arenas. We are often so focused on promoting our clients and their causes that we don’t take the same care to promote ourselves.

But I would like to change that, even if just for a moment, and tell you about our success at yesterday’s PACE Awards, an annual event held by the Public Relations Society of America that honors firms whose public relations efforts have produced outstanding outcomes for their clients. Judged by a national panel, these awards highlight campaigns that leverage skill, creativity and resourcefulness to produce results.

And as excited as we get about results, it’s nice to have our efforts recognized by others. It’s certainly not that awards are our end game. But this year is special. This year, the Güd Marketing PR team captured the most first-place PACE Awards of any firm in our chapter, including the coveted Best in Show Award for our strategic research and messaging on behalf of the Ingham Health Plan. The Ingham County Health Services Millage garnered a landslide victory Nov. 4, 2014, with 70 percent voter approval, a 14-percentage-point increase in support from the initial millage effort in 2012, allowing IHP to continue to provide essential medical services to Ingham County residents who have no other access to health care coverage.

Now, that’s a great reason to take a few minutes to share our excitement.

So it is with great pride that I say thank you. Thank you to all our clients who entrust us with their brands, messages and stories, and who allow us to do what we do. Also, a big thank-you to Güd Marketing’s stellar roster of PR veterans: Mike Nowlin, Mike Turner, Roni Rucker-Waters, Andrea Ness and the rest of the Güd Marketing team.

As I reflect on the 37-year history of our company, I’m reminded that, like our clients, we have a great story to tell. We’ve been a part of countless successful campaigns driven by people who dedicate themselves to the causes of our clients. So today, we’ll take a moment to “put on our shoes” and celebrate that tradition of doing great work. But then we’ll kick them off again and get back to doing great work on behalf of our clients, because after all, that’s really the reason why we get up in the morning.

Here are synopses of Güd Marketing’s additional 2015 PACE Awards:

Client: Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA)
Campaign: 2014 Millage Ballot Proposal

Recipient: Pinnacle Award

Summary: For the first time in AAATA’s 45-year history, voters were asked to approve extra funding for public transit services beyond the annual financial support provided through the city charter. Güd Marketing developed the strategic communications plan to promote public transit expansion and provided on-the-ground community outreach and media relations support. On May 6, more than 70 percent of voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township approved a 0.7-mill property tax increase through 2019 to help fund new and expanded AAATA services in those three municipalities.

Client: Capital Area Transportation Authority’s Clean Commute Options (CCO) Program
Campaign: Casual Commute Day

Recipient: Award of Achievement

Summary: CATA’s CCO program decided to take its annual Clean Commute Challenge to the next level, involving more robust marketing promotions and public relations efforts in partnership with Biggby Coffee. In 2014, it unveiled “Casual Commute Day,” during which Greater Lansing commuters were asked to try an alternative commute for a day in an effort to earn Lansing the title of cleanest-commuting community in the state and reduce CO2 emissions. A goal of 500 local participants was surpassed, with 932 registered commuters from Greater Lansing recording more than 46,000 clean-commuted miles and a reduction of more than 40,000 pounds of CO2. In addition, 566 registered commuters from challenger Ann Arbor participated.

Client: Capital Region International Airport (CRIA)
Campaign: Fly Lansing Social Media

Recipient: Pinnacle Award

Summary: Güd Marketing developed a social media plan for CRIA to increase and improve awareness and consideration of flying Lansing, as well as to drive customer conversion, loyalty and advocacy. Our strategic recommendation to build following and increase engagement across existing CRIA social networks consisted of both paid and organic tactics. Just four months into execution of the plan, growth in following exceeded expectations with a 39 percent increase in followers on Facebook and a 660 percent increase in followers on Twitter.

Client: Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)
Campaign: Down Payment Fairy

Recipient: Award of Achievement

Summary: MSHDA offers Michigan residents who qualify a variety of homeownership programs. One is the single-family home loan product and another is the Down Payment Assistance program. The challenge for MSHDA has been low awareness of these programs. The objective of the campaign was to persuade young potential homebuyers that homeownership is within their reach because MSHDA has programs to help them. The star of the campaign was the Down Payment Fairy, a humorous take on the Tooth Fairy. The primarily digital campaign shattered expectations by leading to a 12 percent increase in loan reservations and an overall production increase of 5 percent from the previous record year of 2013.

Client: Michigan State University’s Residential and Hospitality Services
Campaign: “Campus Called” Housing Sign-Up

Recipient: Award of Excellence and 2015 People's Choice

Summary: Research shows that college students who live on campus for two years have higher GPAs and graduate sooner than those who move off campus after their freshman year. Michigan State University asked Güd Marketing to develop a campus housing sign-up campaign targeting students who research shows are most likely to consider remaining on campus. The “Campus Called” campaign lets students know that MSU has residence and dining halls that will meet their needs for the 2015–16 school year whether they are socialites, fanatics, foodies or bookworms.

Client: Capital Region International Airport (CRIA)
Tactic: Monthly Destination E-Newsletters

Recipient: Pinnacle Award

Summary: Güd Marketing saw a unique opportunity to deepen value to CRIA’s growing number of e-news recipients by offering a new, monthly, single-destination-focused e-newsletter to subscribers. The objectives of the monthly destination e-newsletter were twofold – to showcase little-known destinations that CRIA offers direct or one-stop connections to and to highlight the expertise of CRIA’s Fly Lansing Concierge Travel Center, prompting people to take action by booking travel with the experts to new, desirable locations. To date, the e-newsletters that have been sent to nearly 28,000 subscribers are garnering well-above-average open rates.

Client: Early On® Michigan
Tactic: Build Up Program Awareness

Recipient: Pinnacle Award

Summary: Michigan is required to identify children who have not reached important developmental milestones so that they can provide them with needed special education services before they reach kindergarten. When a number of the state’s counties fell short of expected referrals to preschool special education services, Early On Michigan – a program of the Michigan Department of Education – partnered with Güd Marketing to raise awareness among parents and other caregivers about the Build Up program. The result was a multimedia awareness campaign featuring an animated Build Up buddy.

Client: City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department
Tactic: “No Wipes in the Pipes” Social Media

Recipient: Award of Excellence

Summary: Güd Marketing was tasked by Grand Rapids’ Environmental Services Department (ESD) to develop and implement a low-cost, high-impact plan that would address an increasingly serious challenge: the rise of sewage backups caused by residents flushing disposable wipes and other nondisposable items that plug sewer pipes and pumps. Güd Marketing recommended a new “No Wipes in the Pipes” social media campaign that featured Facebook ads and other tactics to the ESD. The initiative increased ESD website traffic by 2,000 percent in a three-week span and allowed for direct discussion between Grand Rapids residents and city departments.

Client: PM Environmental
Tactic: From A to Z Booklet

Recipient: Award of Excellence

Summary: Lansing-based PM Environmental is a rapidly growing national provider of environmental consulting and engineering solutions. As part of the company’s 2020 strategic plan, PM Environmental identified the relationship between marketing and sales as an opportunity for growth. Güd Marketing and PM Environmental first partnered to successfully update the company’s positioning, messaging and tagline. Aligning materials to the updated messaging was the next step in helping PM Environmental strengthen its national brand and meet the company’s ambitious growth goal. The result was a 12-page booklet that positioned PM Environmental as a leader and expert in the field and detailed its essential services.

Client: Güd Marketing
Tactic: New Year’s Card

Recipient: Pinnacle Award

Summary: Each year, Güd Marketing creates its New Year’s greeting. This year, we focused on being “stewards of the greater good” by supplying recipients of the card with a few unofficial “holidays” to help make their New Year a “Güd” one. To take the idea further, Güd Marketing developed a smartphone app. The “Make It A Güd One” app spotlights several unofficial holidays beyond those highlighted in the card to celebrate.