Salt Lake City – The southern Utah public relations agency, Emceesquare Media Inc, has been recognized for its research-based approach to developing and adapting a first Friday nightlife event at Historic Downtown St. George. Winners of Utah’s 2017 Golden Spike Awards were announced Nov. 16 at a Salt Lake City ceremony sponsored by the Greater Salt Lake and Utah Valley chapters of the Public Relations Society of America.
Representing southern Utah among the night’s winners was Emceesquare Media. Winning in the Government, Nonprofit Organizations and Associations Research category, Emceesquare’s Golden Spike Award was presented for its Georgefest Research Compendium. The document was created by Emceesquare Media to document research about the experience of event attendees, present social media strategy and recommendations for marketing similar events, and to provide an assessment of Georgefest’s impact on pop culture in the region.
Three-way tie: Included in the evening’s only tie, additional winners in the same category are UDOT’s TravelWise Program Research by Penna Powers and Utah Department of Transportation, and Utah AIDS Foundation Research by Wilkinson Ferrari & Co. and Utah Aids Foundation.
In the category of creative tactics, Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center of St. George was recognized as a finalist for its 2016 Women and Newborn Cause Area.
The Golden Spike Awards competition, which recognizes excellence and best practices in public relations and business communication in Utah, received more than 90 submissions this year from leading public relations firms and practitioners working for nonprofit and government agencies through the state. Entries, reviewed by out-of-state PRSA chapters, were judged by PRSA chapters in Texas and Oregon on research, planning, execution and evaluation. Golden Spike finalists earned 80 out of 100 possible points. Winners received the highest scores in the category.
“What an exciting opportunity it is to be recognized among such outstanding Utah organizations,” Thorpe said. “Georgefest was always intended to be an event designed for the community by the community, so research has been a key function of its creation and evolution.”
According to St. George Mayor Jon Pike, “From the first time the city council and I heard the idea for George Streetfest, we loved it.” Mayor Pike continues, “We saw it [Georgefest] as another opportunity to bring people downtown for fun, food, and entertainment. It was also important to us because downtown businesses were behind it.”
Emceesquare was founded by Thorpe in 2014 and has served clients including Dixie State University, Tuacahn, and National Parks Conservation Association. Bringing a new venue like Georgefest to St. George was not easy, in fact, the development required nine months of full-time dedication from a team of Emceesquare creatives and event planners.
Working closely with the City of St. George, event creators shared both vision and assurance of compliance with permitting and insurance regulations. Key to the Georgefest plan was a revolutionary concept: the addition of a jazz venue where beer and wine would be served outdoors to the 21+ set – a new legality for a community bound by conservative alcohol laws previously prohibiting such a venue. The Jazz Garden would serve as the economic driver for the event – making it possible to offer a free Main Street concert and DJ dance party to the community.
“Emceesquare is extremely honored by represent southern Utah among winners in this year’s Golden Spike competition,” said Noah Burt, vice president of accounts at Emceesquare. “So much work has gone into the creation and continuation of Georgefest. This award is a tribute to the entire community and to the many professionals and entities who have joined together to establish and sustain a nightlife venue that appeals to the entire community.”
This year’s ceremony was held at The District in South Jordan Thursday evening, Nov. 17. KUTV anchor and reporter Brian Mullahy served as master of ceremonies. A full list of the winners and finalists of the 2017 Golden Spike Awards is posted online at goldenspikeawards.com.
Jason M. Carlton, president, Greater Salt Lake PRSA