How our client boosted its public perception by 128% – and earned a big-time award


Last week, our Fargo office, Flint Communications, and long-time client Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) received the prestigious Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Tweet from Public Relations Society of America announcing Flint Group and BCBSND as winner of Silver Anvil

It’s kind of a big deal. (And by kind of, we mean a REALLY big deal.)

Silver Anvil award trophy

Pretty cool metal, huh?

Here’s why

The Silver Anvil has served as the industry’s most distinguished honor for more than 60 years, recognizing the very best in public relations planning and implementation. It honors organizations that have successfully addressed a contemporary public relations issue with outstanding professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.

BCBSND and Flint received the Silver Anvil in the reputation/brand management category for the Bolder Shade of Blue campaign, which we highlighted in a blog post a while back. More than 800 entries and 156 finalists were considered in 16 categories and more than 60 sub-categories.

Needless to say, we’re pretty humbled.

The campaign

Bolder Shade of Blue was an integrated, multiyear campaign aimed at restoring trust in BCBSND and repairing the brand’s reputation.

As BCBSND’s strategic marketing partner, we started with research to gain insight into what North Dakotans think about health care. We then developed campaign materials to:

  1. Educate people on issues identified during the listening phase.
  2. Demonstrate through storytelling that BCBSND is working with and for its members to improve health and wellness.

Campaign elements included everything from advertorials, brochures and rich media ads to an interactive online wellness center and an educational blog called Blue Insights.

Blue Insight blog

Blue Insight blog

BCBSND One Look Brochure

Member brochure

BCBSND Online Ad

Online banner ad

BCBSND Ad highlighting colonoscopy doctors

Print ad

BCBSND Direct mail piece

Direct mail


  • In 2011, BCBSND had a 76 percent negative image association. In 2013, it had a 52 percent positive image association – a 128 percent shift in two years.
  • News coverage about BCBSND shifted from 76 percent negative coverage in 2009 to 76 percent positive in 2012. Mentions in 2013 were 90 percent positive, 8 percent neutral and 2 percent negative.
  • Total sales in 2012 increased 66 percent from 2011 and continue to increase.
  • In 2011, BCBSND was seen as the primary reason for rising costs; however, by 2013, health care in general was seen as the primary reason for rising costs.
  • To date, BCBSND has reached 200,000 Facebook and 8,000 Twitter users in a state with a population of 700,000.

It’s an honor to receive this prestigious award. More importantly, it’s an honor to work with a company like BCBSND – an organization that, like Flint Group, is committed to the success of those it works with.

Ericka Olin

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