Commonwealth Awards

The Commonwealth Awards recognize exceptional public relations programs or campaigns. These entries capture how companies and organizations have changed attitudes or behaviors or incited a desired action. Programs follow the four-step process and have measurable goals and objectives.

View the judging criteria for the Commonwealth Awards (PDF)

Community Relations
Includes programs that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity. “Community” in this category refers to a specific geographic location or locations. Note: Campaigns designed to promote products should be entered in Category on Marketing Consumer Products or Marketing Consumer Services.

Shoe String Budget (campaign $5,000 or less)
This award honors the most creative and effective campaigns planned, implemented, and executed for less than $5,000 (not including employee salary). Total budget must be included.

Brief Events and Observances

Includes programs or events scheduled for one to seven consecutive days (not including planning and preparation). Events may include commemorations, observances, openings, press conferences, celebrations or other special activities, and must occur within a time span of one week.

Extended Events and Observances
Includes programs or events that take place for longer than a one-week period, such as a yearlong anniversary, or activities (commemorations, observances, celebrations, etc.).

Public Service
Includes programs that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns. Note: Similar programs conducted principally to enhance an organization’s standing, or to otherwise serve its interests directly, will fall under Category on Reputation/Brand Management.

Marketing Consumer Products/Services
Includes programs designed to introduce new products or promote existing products to a consumer audience.

Marketing Business to Business
Includes programs designed to introduce new products, or promote existing products or services to a business audience.

Global Communications
Includes any type of program, such as Reputation/Brand Management, Marketing or Events and Observances, that demonstrates effective global communications implemented in more than one country.

Government Communications – sponsored by the Virginia Government Communicators
Government agencies only: Includes programs, campaigns and events specifically designed to influence public policy, legislation, regulations, political activities, candidacies, or citizens at the local, state or federal government level to benefit taxpayers or a government agency.

Crisis Communications/Issues Management
Includes programs undertaken to deal with an unplanned event that required an immediate response. For programs undertaken to deal with issues that could extraordinarily affect ongoing business strategy.

Reputation/Brand Management
Programs designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization with its publics or key elements of its publics, either proactively or in response to an issue, event or market occurrence. Note: Campaigns designed to launch or promote a specific product or service’s launch or sales/marketing effort should not be entered in this category. Instead, refer to Category on Marketing Consumer Products/Services, or Marketing Business to Business.

Internal Communications
Includes programs targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization, such as employees, members, affiliated dealers and franchisees.

Multicultural Public Relations
For any type of program, campaign or event, such as institutional, marketing and community relations, specifically targeted to a cultural group.

Integrated Communications
Includes any program that demonstrates leadership of public relations strategies and tactics in a creative and effective integrated campaign, along with other marketing or communications. The program must demonstrate the clear leadership of public relations, along with its integration with other disciplines.