Emspace + Lovgren takes home eight awards at the PRSA Nebraska Paper Anvil Awards

Emspace + Lovgren had the honor of being recognized during PRSA Nebraska’s 2023 Paper Anvil Awards on Dec. 7. The ceremony awards top work by Nebraska’s public relations, marketing and communication professionals. Emspace + Lovgren was awarded for our work in integrated communications, events & observances, community relations and more — winning an award for each of our eight submissions and securing five awards of excellence.

Thank you to our clients who partner with us to create impactful communications. This is just as much your celebration as it is ours. And congratulations to all the winners this year!


Walk to Unlock Nebraska website — Nebraska Department of Education

Award of Excellence, Websites and Smartphone/Tablet Application

The Nebraska Department of Education partnered with Emspace + Lovgren to launch a website based on the previously paper-based Walk Across Nebraska history program. The team wanted to create a virtual walk across the state where students and teachers could reveal real-life milestones and points of interest on the website as they logged their exercise. Emspace + Lovgren was asked to brand the program and design and develop the website. 

Feedback from teachers has been positive, and the site has already proven to be scalable.  

View the website and learn more at Walk2Unlock.ne.gov

A hand holding a phone with the Walk to Unlock website pulled up. A computer with the same website up is seen in the background.


On Track — Omaha Streetcar Authority

Award of Excellence, Community Relations

In 2022, the Mayor of Omaha officially proposed the development of a modern streetcar. Emspace + Lovgren, in partnership with a local engineering firm and key City of Omaha staff members, worked to develop a community relations campaign that would keep local residents and stakeholders informed of timely streetcar news, facts and relevant updates as the project moved forward into the design phase. 

The results of 60+ earned media stories, 1,600+ community presentation attendees, 13,688 unique website visits and a 93% decrease in submitted online questions support our objective of resolving misinformation about the project. The results of 770 newsletter subscribers and 436 social media followers show that enthusiasm for the project is growing. 

Learn more about the streetcar at OmahaStreetcar.org

Two people stand talking in front of Omaha Streetcar Authority signage.


Open Omaha 2023 — Omaha by Design 

Award of Excellence, Events & Observances

Omaha by Design advocates for people-centered urban design in the Omaha metropolitan area, working to enrich and strengthen neighborhoods and public spaces to ensure the metro is a vibrant, livable city for all.

To that end, the nonprofit sought to showcase the metro’s most fascinating spaces through Open Omaha, a free, weekend-long event. In its second year, Open Omaha offered behind-the-scenes access to more than 60 of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area’s most captivating spaces, including historic cultural institutions, creative workspaces, beautiful religious buildings and breathtaking performance venues. 

Open Omaha resulted in:

More than 12,000 unique site visits during the weekend (a 120% increase in visits from 2022, achieving our primary campaign objective)

More than 25 published stories, including broadcasts and rebroadcasts

More than 937,000 potential impressions from earned media (a 73.5% increase across platforms from 2022)

More than 1,900 views of the 2023 digital map guide

Distribution of 2,500 printed map guide assets

Collage of architectural photos with the Open Omaha 2023 logo in the center.


Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund outreach — Nebraska Investment Finance Authority

Award of Excellence, Integrated Communications

The Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund, facilitated by Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA), was established to provide financial assistance to Nebraska homeowners who were or continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Emspace + Lovgren partnered with NIFA to distribute more than $44 million in funds to Nebraska homeowners in need. 

Our awareness-building efforts also paid off: We worked with 96 confirmed organizations or influential individuals, such as state senators, to share information about NHAF with their audiences; our digital display and paid social impressions totaled 7,088,175 in addition to impressions through print, TV and radio; and we secured more than 135 earned media story placements across 64 news outlets.

In follow-up surveys asking applicants how they heard about the program, 29% noted our communications tactics such as television, social media and radio. In the “other” category mentions, 4%, or 89 applicants, also referenced communications facilitated by E+L.

The program’s application closing announcement in June 2023 created a newsworthy opportunity to move even more homeowners to action through earned and paid media, spurring 416 more applications within the month, accounting for 23% of total 2023 applications.

Four fliers lay atop a wooden table.


Quality Time podcast — Nebraska Department of Education (Step Up to Quality)

Award of Excellence, Podcasts

Step Up to Quality (SUTQ), Nebraska’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, is managed by the Nebraska Department of Education and provides a five-step framework for child care and early childhood education providers to improve the quality of their care. The overall purpose is to ensure all children across the state have access to high-quality early care no matter where they live or what type of program they’re enrolled in. In 2022, SUTQ identified the opportunity to tell its story in an impactful, personal way by leveraging the growing popularity of podcasts and partnering with Emspace + Lovgren to brand and promote the launch of the series.

We established a base of listeners: season one currently has more than 1,000 streams from all 15 episodes. During season one, SUTQ’s audience grew on their social media channels by 3.8%, and impressions increased by 6.8%. Even better, SUTQ’s overall program participation grew by 13% during this same period.

A collage of the Step Up to Quality Quality time podcast on a laptop, a phone, and the associated podcast graphics.


Launch communications — Kiewit Luminarium

Award of Merit, Media/Press Kits

As Kiewit Luminarium prepared for a grand opening in April 2023 on the Omaha riverfront, Emspace + Lovgren built excitement around this transformative science center by connecting stories with local, regional and national media outlets and leveraging pre-opening activities to generate interest and intrigue.

Tactics achieved or surpassed all objectives for local coverage and built the groundwork for regional and national opportunities. We secured more than 50 stories and social media posts during the weeks leading up to and during opening weekend, including print, television, radio and digital media, all without needing to request any edits or corrections. Our efforts built new relationships between Kiewit Luminarium, the media and the mayor’s office and established a point of contact for future stories and media coverage.

Omaha World-Herald newspaper clipping of the Kiewit Luminarium opening.


Turnip the Beet — Nebraska Department of Education (Office of Nutrition Services)

Award of Merit, Internal Communications

The USDA’s Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal programs across the nation that work hard to offer children high-quality, appetizing and nutritious meals during the summer months.

Despite Nebraska having a strong Farm to School program and network, not a single program was recognized with a Turnip the Beet Award in 2021 — and for several years prior. The Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services noted this was likely because no one applied, which can be attributed to a perception that food service directors will have to implement additional aspects to their program. (If they are fully participating in Farm to School, this is untrue.)

Emspace + Lovgren was challenged to encourage these directors to take the time in their already busy schedules to fill out the intimidating and lengthy application.

Nebraska had four nominations for the Turnip the Beet award in 2022, which delighted the NDE team and exceeded our objective. Even better, the four programs all won awards, with two receiving silver awards and two receiving the top level of gold.

Colorful Turnip the Beet graphics utilizing bright colors and various vegetables atop a grey background.


In Control campaign — Nebraska Family Planning

Award of Merit, Public Service

Nebraska Family Planning (NEFP) received a grant to expand and promote virtual sexual health care services in Nebraska, with a particular focus on rural areas. Emspace + Lovgren partnered with NEFP to develop a strategy, tactics and tools for the statewide campaign.

The five-month campaign showed results that supported our primary objective: The campaign landing page received more than 15,000 unique visits. We know that our digital and social ad efforts successfully drove traffic to the website, totaling more than 9,000 click-throughs. Within the site, 431 click-throughs went to individual clinic details and 2,673 click-throughs went to a non-telehealth provider.

For earned media, we secured 21 English and Spanish stories across the state, totaling 539,200 potential impressions.

Check out the website at InControlNebraska.com.

Collage of In Control campaign flier, graphical elements and phone mockups.