Yuba Water Agency has received a Silver Anvil, the highest award given by the Public Relations Society of America for strategic campaigns, for its campaign commemorating 25 years since the New Year’s flood of 1997 in Yuba County.
“The ’97 flood was just devastating for our area,” said DeDe Cordell, Yuba Water’s communications manager. “But the work that our agency and others have done since then has been truly transformative. To have our campaign commemorating that work be recognized nationally is incredible. We are so honored.”
The New Year’s flood of 1997 was a catalyst for Yuba Water, one of the primary agencies tasked with reducing flood risk in Yuba County, to scale up investments in infrastructure improvements, research and interagency coordination to prepare for future events. Today, Yuba County has some of the most modern levees in the state, thanks to coordination and investments by Yuba Water and local, state and federal partners.
To commemorate 25 years since the flood and increase local and regional awareness of the dramatic improvements since then, Yuba Water launched a month-long communications campaign in January 2022. The campaign included a dedicated web-based landing page, a feature story, a visual timeline detailing key events before, during and after the flood, flood survivor video interviews and a series of social media posts.
To bring its messaging beyond the digital sphere, Yuba Water engaged in outreach locally with Yuba County Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, a local radio station, 93Q, and the Wheatland and Marysville city councils. The agency also placed ads in local papers and magazines to highlight the flood anniversary.
Following the campaign, Yuba Water’s landing page, "Marking 25 Years Since the New Year's Flood in Yuba County," received more than 1,400 unique views. An accompanying feature story earned more than 2,200 reads and was also shared by the National Hydropower Association's national newsletter, which has more than 7,000 subscribers. KCRA 3 News also covered the 1997 flood anniversary in a special broadcast, along with the Appeal-Democrat.
Lastly, the agency’s accompanying social media campaign highlighting flood risk reduction partners and projects and first-hand recollections from the 1997 flood earned nearly 60,000 organic impressions across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
For over 75 years, the Anvils have been considered the icon of the profession and the benchmark of high performance in public relations. Silver Anvil Awards celebrate the best strategic public relations campaigns of the year, as well as outstanding organizational excellence. Bronze Anvil Awards recognize outstanding public relations tactics that contribute to the success of overall programs or campaigns.
More than 700 entries were considered for this year’s PRSA Anvil Awards. A total of 38 Silver Anvil Awards, 21 Bronze Anvil Awards, 34 Awards of Excellence and 25 Awards of Commendation were presented.