The University of Rochester Meliora Campaign was the big winner at the Rochester Business Journal’s 2013 Best of Web Awards held Thursday morning at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside.
The Meliora Campaign is a fundraising challenge for UR that raises money for students, faculty, programs and facilities dedicated to promoting discovery, healing and care in the world. The organization’s website, campaign.rochester.edu, took home the gold prize for best overall website at the event.
Judges praised the website for its perfect balance of photos and text, professional video work and a strong focus on the organization’s core mission.
The Finger Lakes Visitors Connection was awarded the silver prize for overall website for its website, visitfingerlakes.com. Real estate open-house search-website RochesterIsOpen.com came in third winning the bronze prize.
In addition, 13 websites took home prizes in industry specific categories. Roughly 300 people attended the award event.
The biggest applause of the day came toward the end of the event, as the RBJ Buzz Award was presented to the company with the best local social media presence.
For one week, people were asked to vote on the RBJ’s Facebook page for the local business or organization with the best social media in town. Abbott’s Frozen Custard Inc., which offered free custard to people who voted, edged out Lollypop Farm and Socially Good Business to take home the award.
“It’s an honor,” said Crystal Gerken, district manager marketing director for Abbott’s. “It’s a testament to how passionate and loyal our customers are. Without out them, Abbott’s wouldn’t be what it is.”
After the awards ceremony, RBJ publisher Susan Holliday moderated a panel discussion on a variety of social media topics. The panel featured Mike Johansson, a lecturer in the department of communication at Rochester Institute of Technology, Michael McDougall, CEO of McDougall Communications LLC and Rory Burrill, director of business development at Logical Images Inc.
The three judges talked about the importance of social media measurement, setting clear objectives for your company and hiring knowledgeable people to help with social campaigns.
“Seriously, you don’t hire someone with a pair of tongs to pull out your tooth,” quipped Johansson, drawing a laugh from the crowd.
After the discussion, special guest Mark Fidelman held a workshop on social business for more than 60 people who chose to attend. Fidelman is CEO of social business consulting firm Evolve! Capital Inc. He is also a contributing writer for Forbes.com and the author of “Socialized! How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.”
Fidelman kicked off his two-hour presentation by comparing old-school Rochester companies that have faltered over the past decade—such as Gannett Co., Xerox Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co.—to new age companies such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc.
“Digital has taken over some of the bigger analog players,” he said. “Why didn’t those analog companies adapt? Why didn’t a company like Kodak take on digital or invent something like Instagram?”
Fidelman went on to discuss items such as data analytics and the effect social media had on President Barack Obama’s victory in last year’s election. Fidelman also praised company’s such as Red Bull GmbH, Target Corp. and IBM Corp. that get social media right.
Fidelman spent some time after the workshop having one-on-one discussions with some of the attendees.
Click here to see the judges' comments about the finalists.
2013 Best of the Web Awards Winners List:
Overall Gold – University of Rochester Meliora Campaign (campaign.rochester.edu)
Overall Silver – Finger Lakes Visitors Connection (visitfingerlakes.com)
Overall Bronze – RochesterIsOpen.com
Banking and Financial Services – First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (firstniagara.com)
Business and Professional Services - Fibertech Networks (fibertech.com)
Education – University of Rochester Meliora Campaign
Government/Community – Monroe County Water Authority (mcwa.com)
Health Care - FitGroove Fitness (fitgroovefitness.com)
Hospitality/Tourism – Finger Lakes Visitors Connection
Legal Services – Harris Beach PLLC (harrisbeach.com)
Manufacturing – Torvec Inc. (torvec.com)
Non-profit (Cultural) – Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (rpo.org)
Non-profit (Human Services) – Holy Childhood (holychildhood.org)
Real Estate and Construction – RochesterIsOpen.com
Retail – Beau Monde Salon & Spa (beaumondesalonandspa.com)
Digital Rochester Business Transformation Award – EnviroTech Environmental Services (naturallythebest.com)
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