MarionMade! initiative earns PRSA PRism Award

The MarionMade! community pride initiative was recently awarded a 2017 PRism Award from the Central Ohio Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  The nomination was submitted jointly by communications firm FraizerHeiby and Marion Community Foundation, the sponsor of MarionMade!

“We have been overwhelmingly pleased by the community’s response to MarionMade!,” said Lori S. Stevenson, Communications Manager for Marion Community Foundation, who accepted the award at the ceremony held at the Columbus Athenaeum. “So many businesses, organizations, and individuals have joined the MarionMade! effort. It appears the community is very hungry to be proud of itself, and rightly so.”

Stevenson (pictured with the award) said that MarionMade! is, and continues to be, a community-wide effort to promote positive news about Marion’s people, places, products, and programs. More than 60 individuals and local organizations are now using MarionMade! in their marketing communications. MarionMade! also has a leadership advisory team which includes a variety of representatives from various sectors of Marion County.

Key individuals assisting the MarionMade! initiative include, in addition to Stevenson, Gary Branson, Phyllis Butterworth, Dave Claborn, Gus Comstock, Jeremy Dunn, Kate Fisher, Diane Glassmeyer, Scot Gray, B.J. Gruber, Pam Hall, Mark Holbrook, Jenni Hypes, Dean Jacob, Jacque Laipply, Ellen Messenger, Clarissa Myers, Julie Prettyman, John Shank, Gary Sims, Nissa Stump, Tom Toney, Amber Wertman, Valerie Wigton, Amy Wood, and Nikki Workman.

At this point in time, MarionMade! is largely a social media and online communications effort, which is what the PRism Award recognizes.  Six communications hubs, each with volunteer writers covering different facets of the community, provide the bulk of the MarionMade! feature stories. The hubs and their volunteer coordinators include: faith-based organizations, Jenni Hypes of Love INC; business and industry, Matt Carbary of the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce; tourism and history, Kelly Taylor of the Convention and Visitors Bureau; downtown, retail, and social/fraternal clubs, Clarissa Myers of Downtown Marion, Inc.; nonprofits and schools, Natalie Longmeier of United Way of Marion County; and, government, Diane Watson of the Marion Public Library.  Story ideas are encouraged and can also be submitted by interested individuals via the email WeAre@MarionMade.org.

MarionMade!’s social media communications are coordinated by Kate Fisher and Nick Dysart of Redbrick Social Media and include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.   The website—marionmade.org—was designed and built free of charge by Sean and Candice DeWitt of Neighborhood Image and is managed by Stevenson at Marion Community Foundation, along with coordinating MarionMade’s other communications activities. Stevenson is a 28-year veteran nonprofit public relations professional; she holds a degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University.

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America was chartered in 1950 to recognize public relations professionals from corporations, agencies, non-profit associations, universities, and firms. The PRism Awards honor exceptional public relations activities from a diverse mix of businesses, industries and backgrounds throughout central Ohio. MarionMade! was nominated for and recognized in the category of nonprofit “stakeholder relations,” which PRSA defines as “a comprehensive program that influences stakeholder attitudes, decisions and actions. Programs must be targeted to individual and institutional stakeholders, as well as other corporate stakeholders and the community.”

MarionMade! was the brainchild of Marion native Bryan Haviland, President and CEO of the communications firm FraizerHeiby, who entered MarionMade! in the PRism Awards.  The firm has an impressive track record with PRSA awards, earning nine first place and one honorable mention out of 11 entries in 2016. In 2017, they did that and more, winning the Best of Show for their Columbus Trust Study and Haviland was recognized with the Tom Poling Practitioner of the Year Award.

The PRism Award provides professional accolades for MarionMade!, which launched on February 15, recognizing that, in its first two months, the Facebook page generated more than 2,000 likes and 5,700 pages views on the website.

The winning nomination identified a number of activities which contributed to the success of MarionMade!’s launch.  Some of these include:

  • volunteer writers created a six-month content calendar to showcase new stories daily on social media;
  • feature articles appeared in the Marion Star, Heart of Ohio magazine and local radio and television;
  • advertising space was donated to the effort by iHeart Media, the Marion Star, Lind, Lamar, and BrightLite outdoor advertising, WDIF-LP, WMNO-TV22 and WWGH;
  • the Chamber of Commerce provided MarionMade! storefront decals to 135 businesses;
  • Marion Young Professionals canvassed the county providing decals to area restaurants;
  • OhioHealth Marion General Hospital is providing MarionMade! baby blankets to all newborns this year;
  • Marion Community Foundation distributed 200+ MarionMade! t-shirts throughout the community;
  • local businesses such as Wyandot, Inc. hosted their own MarionMade! events and purchased t-shirts for their employees;
  • Proclamations were issued by the Mayor, County Commissioners, and Ohio Rep. Dorothy Pelanda and State Sen. Dave Burke;
  • the Marion Police Department installed MarionMade! front license plates on their vehicles;
  • volunteers distributed over 1,000 MarionMade! logo buttons to local residents; and,
  • ProMo Costumes created and donated a MarionMade! mascot.

Funding for MarionMade! is provided by a grant from Marion Community Foundation.  The upcoming gala at the Marion Palace Theatre on June 3, Celebrate Marion, is a fundraiser for future support of the initiative.

About Marion Online News

Marion Online is owned and operated by the (somewhat) fine people at Neighborhood Image, a local website design and hosting company. We know, a locally owned media company, it's crazy. To send us information, click on Contact Us in the menu.