On Monday night the Publicity Club of New England held its annual "Bell Ringer" awards honoring the very best in public relations over the last year. The event was crowded and the attendees boisterous. Aside from the expected industry chit chat, most of the other chatter I heard was about the provocative ending of "The Sopranos" that aired the evening before. What did the sudden cut to black mean? Did Tony get hit? Did he get arrested? Or was is it just the foreshadowing of what seemed like dark future days for Tony and "this thing of ours", as he called his business when speaking with Uncle Junior?
It is definitely not dark days for the New England PR scene, which experienced its own hit when the dot com bubble burst in 2000/2001. According to the Club, awards were handed out to 50 different agencies, companies and other organizations. (I’ll proudly note that LP&P took home top awards in the three categories we submitted entries, including high-tech business-to-business product launch and high-tech business-to-consumer product launch). The diversity of entrants speaks to the health of the market for agencies. But in a time where we sometimes hear about the threat that communications vehicles such as blogs mean to traditional PR, it is good to see that there were 373 entries — up almost 10% from last year. Each of the entries represents communications programs and materials that have delivered excellent, impactful results to the client. And this to me is the most important measure of the health of an industry — customer satisfaction.