21 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Another feather in the cap for UFS Communication and Marketing
Moeketsi Mogotsi, one of the team members who successfully communicated the web redesign project and launch, with the IABC Gold Quill Merit Award at the 2018 IABC World Conference in Montreal, Canada.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has once again recognised the outstanding efforts of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Communication and Marketing. The department was awarded an IABC Gold Quill Merit Award for its Website Re-launch Awareness Campaign.

This achievement marks the fourth year that the UFS Communication and Marketing team has garnered IABC Gold Quill accolades. “It is encouraging to again be recognised for the department’s work by our international peers. I am elated by this honour and by the fact that the UFS was the only South African university to be honoured with an award,” said Lacea Loader, Director of Communication and Marketing at UFS. Since 2014, the department has received six IABC Gold Quill Awards for its sterling service to both the university and the communication profession, as well as bringing home the sought-after Jake Wittmer Research Award in 2014, which recognises an outstanding approach to research while addressing a communication issue or opportunity.

The 2018 IABC Gold Quill Awards were presented at the IABC World Conference, which was held in Montreal, Canada, from 3-6 June 2018. In total, 258 entries were awarded. Other South African organisations who walked away with a Gold Quill Award were Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo American South Africa, Barloworld Transport (Pty) Ltd, DNA Brand Architects, Gautrain Management Agency, Logical Truth, and Sappi Southern Africa Limited. In the 2018 “Best of the Best” category, half of the awards were scooped up by South African companies: DStv (Logical Truth) for Internal Communication, Barloworld Transport (Pty) Ltd for Change Communication, Sappi Southern Africa Limited for Safety Communication, and Anglo American South Africa for Digital Communication. Since 2008, more than 5 000 projects have been entered in the Gold Quill Awards. For more than 40 years, these awards have recognised business communication excellence globally and are acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programmes in the communication industry.

Ducks ahoy!
In a series of videos, each based on a duck-themed saying, Lelanie de Wet, Manager: Digital Communication, and her team took an ordinary web redesign and elevated it to an extraordinary change communication campaign. The daring campaign to communicate a changeover to an updated, modern, responsive web design had judges at the 2018 IABC Gold Quill Awards ‘bowled for a duck.’

“A strong creative vision
was clearly at work here.”
—IABC Gold Quill Evaluator



A duck-suited mascot featured in each video, and consistent messaging to be on the lookout for the new website was emphasised and carried over to an integrated marketing plan which spanned digital platforms, billboards, and internal communication channels. As part of the fun, duck-shaped coasters were handed out on the day of the launch. Social media photo galleries of various ‘ducks’ in different locations, even overseas, followed later that day.

High praise from international evaluators
Each entry is rigorously reviewed by several experienced communicators from around the world who are trained in applying IABC’s Global Standard of the Communication Profession. Feedback from this year’s evaluators indicated that the standard of work was some of the best seen in recent years. The aforementioned change communication juggernaut received high praise from the IABC Gold Quill evaluators.

Said one: “Such a thoughtful and clever approach to communicating with really diverse audiences! LOVE the duck videos!” Another evaluator commented: “You have clearly demonstrated a thoughtful, creative, focused, strategic approach ... and have incorporated light-heartedness and fun into it.” 

Other feedback included remarks such as: “The work is high quality, thoughtful and on target. A strong creative vision was clearly at work here,” and “The depth and thoughtfulness of your approach ... demonstrates the team’s strength as practitioners. ... When we talk about ‘A Communicator at the Heart of Every Organisation’, this is what we mean.”

See all the ‘Ducklings’:

Ducks in a Row
Bowled for a Duck
Sitting Duck
Ugly Duckling
The new website



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