Pinnacle Awards Categories

CPRS Hamilton recognizes that communicators have worked exceptionally hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to reading the award submissions about the work you did to help keep your organization, the community, and each other safe, healthy, engaged and informed. Please submit your pandemic-related communications projects under the existing awards category that is most closely aligned with its intended purpose.

Communications Programs

Awards under the Communications Program category are presented to honour excellence in overall public relations programs within the profession. All submissions must adhere to the R-A-C-E formula. A communication program can be entered in a maximum of two of the following categories:

Media Relations Campaign (Budget under to $50K)

This category celebrates excellence in media relations on a budget under $50K. For consideration, media relations programs should exhibit improvement of an organization’s media profile measured against desired objectives, the adept management of issues involving media coverage, or the development of a successful media relations campaign.

Media Relations Campaign (Budget over $50K)

This category celebrates excellence in media relations on a large budget. For consideration, media relations programs should exhibit an improvement of an organization’s media profile measured against desired objectives, the adept management of issues involving media coverage, or the development of a successful media relations campaign.

Digital Communications Campaign

A digital communications program that successfully engages with target audiences to create engaged communities, launch/raise awareness of products or manage issues and/or crisis communications.

Issues/Crisis Management Campaign

Communication programs that demonstrate proactive planning and preventative action during an extraordinary event. Also, communication programs that show actions taken to address trends, issues and interest group attitudes with major impact on an organization. COVID-19/Pandemic related campaigns are welcome in all categories but may fit particularly well in this category.

Government Relations Campaign

Programs targeted at government bodies and government agencies or programs that recognize the effective use of public affairs to change/enlist public opinion in order to influence government policy and/or regulations.

Employee Engagement/Internal Communications Campaign

Programs focusing on internal audiences, such as employees, members, volunteers or franchisees. Such programs should aim at improving relationships between employees and management; a better understanding of the organization’s strategic plan and the importance of their role therein, or both. Such programs can also aim at rallying personnel around the strategic planning or improving employee/management morale, motivation and interest towards the organization. Finally, these programs should focus on explaining new policies or new projects.

Marketing Communications Campaign

Programs that integrate public relations, marketing and advertising strategies to help market products, services or places to external audiences.

Community Relations/Corporate Social Responsibility/Charitable Campaign

Community programs (such as philanthropy, volunteerism, partnerships) that enable an organization to build and maintain positive and sustainable relationships with key individuals, groups or organizations within its communities.

Advocacy and Social Marketing Campaign

Advocacy-based communication programs targeted to multiple audiences that focus on sustainable development and economic, social and environmental issues. May include programs where the primary objective is to address and enhance the long-term well-being of specific communities/and or the environment. Entries may include economic revitalization projects and cause-related issues in cultural preservation, education, literacy, health, poverty reduction, employment and the environment.

*NEW* Best Agency/Consultant

Entries must relate to initiatives that have been carried out by a communications agency/consultant in the two years prior to the regular Award submission deadline for the current year. Your submission should consist of no more than 1,000 words and provide an overview of the following criteria:

  • A short overview of business / team strategy.
  • A description of your commitment to ethical communications and professionalism.
  • A highlight of your recent achievements.
  • A summary of a campaign you’re particularly proud that followed the R-A-C-E formula to achieve measurable results.

Communications Projects

Awards within this category honour excellence in the strategic development of materials and individual public relations products that advance the goals and objectives of an overall public relations program. Special emphasis should be placed on the relevance of the initiative to the public relations objectives. A communication project can be entered in a maximum of two of the following categories:

*NEW*Special Events Project (In-person or virtual)

A public relations program for openings, anniversaries and other ceremonies commemorating a one-time event or series of special events or occasions. Events can either be in-person (i.e. pre-COVID) or can be a virtual event as the result of COVID restrictions.

Digital/Multi-Media/Social Media Project

A communications project using digital, multi-media or social media to help achieve an organization’s objectives including but not limited to the use of websites, intranet sites, blogs, webcasts, on-line productions, videos, podcasts, discussion boards, and social media channels. The summary should include a rationale for the use of digital and social media, targeted audiences and statistics or other means of quantifiable measurement that meet stated objectives. Screen downloads of the medium being entered as well as the URL must be submitted as part of the entry.

Writing Project

This category encompasses original material written for a communications project including personality profiles, speeches, recurring features or columns, other features such as magazine articles, editorials, advertorials, news articles or news releases. Each award will be judged based on the quality of writing as well as creativity and strategic alignment with their organization’s business goals.


This category celebrates excellence in the art of publication. Both internal and external pieces may be submitted for consideration, so long as they are relatively low cost and primarily text. Regardless of its intended audience, judges will look for clear, concise and imaginative writing, paired with effective use of graphics and that the piece demonstrates high editorial standards and overall creativity.

*NEW* Research

This award recognizes significant, formal, original research that advances the public relations and communications management profession in Canada. Students are encouraged to submit capstone papers and theses. Academic researchers / professors are encouraged to submit research they have submitted for publication or plan to submit. Regardless, to be eligible, applicants must be affiliated with a Canadian academic institution and submissions must have been completed between within the last two years.

Judging will be based on the significance of the research to the profession, quality of method, and quality of submission. Entries must be no more than three pages in length and must include an abstract, background, detailed method, results and a discussion of how it advances the profession.

Student Submissions

The Student Award is open to any full- or part-time student enrolled in a public relations/corporate communications program at a college or university.

Student Award Program/Project
  • Student submissions can be entered for any of the above program or project categories completed within a period of two years prior to the entry deadline.
  • All submissions must adhere to the R-A-C-E formula, regardless of whether the project/program’s communication plan has been implemented.
  • A cover page including the name of the Student/Student Team (and client if applicable), campaign title and award type is required in addition to the three-page summary.

Entry Information and Tips


CPRS Hamilton members and non-members are eligible to enter the CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle Awards. Each submission must have been completed within a period of two years prior to the entry deadline. A project may have been started prior to the previous two years, however, the evaluation/completion of the project must have been within the last two years.

See the Pinnacles Resources Page for PDFs of Categories, Fees, Deadlines and more.

Judging Criteria

The entries received will be assessed by two impartial judges from outside of the Hamilton area. All submissions will be kept confidential. A replacement judge is sourced if any conflicts of interest arise.

*NEW* Submissions will be assessed according to a scoring rubric. Gold and Silver awards will be determined by overall total scores out of 5. Gold (4.11 – 5.0) and Silver (3.75 – 4.10). See the Judging Scoresheets on the Pinnacles Resources Page for more information.

*NEW* There is no limit to the number of awards that can be presented in each category. Entries do not compete against one other; rather, the individual entry is judged against an established score card.

Entry Fees

Each award submission must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee.

  • CPRS Hamilton Member $100
  • Non Member $150
  • Student Member – $25
  • Student Non-Member – $50
  • Member in Transition – $50

Entries for the 2023 Pinnacle Awards Gala are now closed