"The theme really resonated with entrants," says Landiwe Manana, Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa's (PRISA) general manager and PRISM Awards chairperson.

"We are PR specialists who tell stories in whatever shape or form, from a strategy outline to a fully-fledged campaign. We are good storytellers by nature, and I am convinced there are many more stories for our industry to tell and opportunities to engage with diverse audiences in South Africa," adds Manana.

The awards say that 2023 also saw the highest number of entries ever received for consideration. A total of 454 entries were received, of which 390 met the stringent qualifying criteria. The number of entries also resulted in the decision to award Gold, Silver and Bronze in all categories.

The South African Campaign of the Year was awarded to Levergy for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup. The Best Large PR Consultancy were:
  • DNA Brand Architects (Gold)
  • Flow Communications (Silver), and
  • Eclipse Communications (Bronze).

The Best Mid-Sized PR Consultancy was Alkemi Collective (Silver).

Best Small PR Consultancy were:
  • Paddington Station (Gold)
  • Hook, Line & Sinker (Silver), and
  • The Friday Street Club (Bronze).

The Presidential Awards saw Bridget von Holdt and Palesa Madumo both awarded Gold for Outstanding Legacy of Achievement, while Bradly Howland received Gold in PR and Communications Industry Advancement.

The awards were presented to PR and communication professionals who successfully incorporated strategy, creativity and professionalism in their successful strategies and campaigns over the previous year.

"It is quite astonishing if you consider this is the largest number of entries received in the history of the PRISM Awards," says Manana. "We really did not know what to expect. It is an incredible validation of the credibility and stature of the PRISM Awards in the industry."

Manana adds that the awards committee was tasked with bolstering the integrity of the awards programme.

"We wanted the winners not only to feel empowered by their success but for everyone else to be motivated by their peers and consider entering next year again," Manana says. 

"We had a very stringent judging process in place. All our judges were industry professionals who gave freely of their time and energy and really put a lot into the adjudication process," says Manana. "The judging process was officially audited and all comments collated on behalf of the entrants."

The awards say that a highlight of the judging process was the PRISM Young Voices programme, which afforded young and up-and-coming industry professionals the opportunity to be part of the judging process itself.

"This is an initiative dear to my heart as we need to hear from those just embarking on their careers and let them see what is possible and can be achieved," says Manana.

As for the future, PRISA plans to extend the PRISM Awards both regionally and include the rest of Africa in the near future.

"We are approaching a point of critical mass where it makes imminent sense to open up and expand the PRISM Awards. It has established itself as the benchmark for PR and communications excellence and best practice, and we look forward to growing it even further," concludes Manana.

For more information, visit www.prisa.co.za. You can also follow the PRISM Awards on FacebookTwitter on Instagram