When I was in college, I remember my public relations (PR) professor telling our class: “PR is the most underrated field in the communication industry. Far too many people discredit the art in it, but without PR there would be no development, everything would be chaos.”
With its primary purpose to build up the communication function of an organization, it is a critical tool that helps an entity to send a message across, disseminate information, and involve the public. Kenya-based media analyst and communication strategist ZaCkayo Ochieng posited a good question to ponder on when he wrote: “Now think of society as a bigger organization. What role would public relations play in its development?”
In the Philippines, organizations like the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) monitor the continuous progress and maturity of the country’s PR industry and ensure that it shapes the society for the better. Presented annually by the PRSP, the Anvil Awards marks the yearly development of the field’s practice. It is the symbol of excellence awarded to outstanding public relations programs, tools, and practitioners.
Just recently, Carlos Agatep, the chairman and CEO of Grupo Agatep and considered one of the pioneers of the Philippine PR industry, published his first book Winning the Anvils. A book for both PR practitioners and students, Winning the Anvils explains the true worth of the Anvil Awards and shares Carlos’ ways of winning them, because if anyone knows how to truly bag an Anvil, it’s him. Grupo Agatep currently holds 137 Anvil Awards—59 gold Anvils, 71 silvers Anvils, three grand Anvils, three platinum Anvils, and one special Anvil for excellence in brand building and reputation management, to be exact.
Representing case studies that should be of interest to public relations and communication practitioners and anyone else interested in reputation management, the book features the summaries of over 60 of the 137 Anvil awards won by Grupo Agatep for 41 companies and individuals. The book tells the story of each Anvil Award—the specific objectives of every project, the intended target publics to reach, the strategies and methods undertaken to achieve the objectives, and the overall results.
“This book is directed to the men and women in many organizations who are involved in their company’s reputation management and persons who are given management responsibility for reputation issues but who lack expertise in the area. If you belong to any of these entities, this book will help you understand the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and the planning, strategies and skills required to implement them,” Carlos wrote in the introduction of the book.
In the book’s foreword, the director of Philippine PEN Dr. Ricardo Suarez Soler wrote: “Charlie Agatep defiantly takes a different view: He asserts that public relations is an honest, truthful, professional, calculated, and intentional exchange among PR organizations, their clients, and their audiences to create reciprocally valuable benefits with the emphasis on honest and truthful.” With this work, Carlos has fortified himself as a living pillar of the industry. He’s considered to be one of the best practitioners in the country, and, currently working on his second book My Journey to Saturn, Carlos Agatep shows no signs of slowing down. As Dr. Soler puts it: “He is one hell of a practitioner who has put his hammer full force on the anvil of fame and recognition.”
This book, however, isn’t about flexing muscles. More than a guide for professionals and students, it ultimately serves as a tribute to the flourishing public relations practice in the Philippines. It raises the bar and advocates the real essence of public relations.
“In a way, Winning the Anvils is a book about socially responsible companies and what they have been doing to give back to the community. By winning the Anvils, these companies are bringing humanity to their organizations,” Carlos wrote. “They believe they have a responsibility to ‘give back’ to society, to provide environmentally friendly products and services, to innovate company procedures for the good of all their clients, and to improve the lives of marginalized individuals, especially in the countryside. They undertake projects which are ‘infrastructures of goodwill to help others,’ yet in the end they enhance their good name and protect themselves during bad times.”
This article on how to win an Anvil award was originally published by The Manila Bulletin on January 19, 2018.