Sorry for the confusion this year folks! However, we appreciate the calls for Best of Fayetteville clarification on how our readership survey works and how to properly submit a valid ballot. So, I will clarify what the Best of Fayetteville is, what it stands for and what it means to this community. This, in turn, will explain why it is such a coveted, distinguished and soughtafter recognition. For 19 successful years, we’ve presented and launched the Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey during the month of July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer’s Reader’s Choice Awards, which is its advertising sales promotion. This annual sales program has been in existence for 23 years, and until this year, The Observer ran it during September and announced their winners in October.
Even though our two programs are completely different in nature and purpose, to avoid reader confusion we voluntarily agreed in 1997 to launch our Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey during the month of July and announce the winners in September. For 19 years, this arrangement worked perfectly without conflict or confusion. This year, we were surprised to find that Gatehouse Media, the new owner of The Fayetteville Observer, arbitrarily and intentionally changed the format and launched their Readers Choice Advertising Sales Program in July, after the Best of Fayetteville program was launched.
We cannot explain these actions considering our cooperative 19-year working relationship. It was our newspaper that made the recommendation and went out of the way to not conflict or interfere with their program. Weird. Who knows? Has it affected our Best of Fayetteville Survey results? Absolutely not. It has only served to confuse and inconvenience those we are so ardently trying to please. According to Don Garner, the Best of Fayetteville project manager, ballot counts are up, and participation is ahead of last year.
However, the final numbers won’t be in for another couple of weeks. At this writing, the numbers reflect that 2017 will be the best year ever. And, rightfully so. This is our 20th anniversary! So, here’s the bottom line, we cannot control how Gatehouse Media runs its newspaper or its business. Honestly, this is just another routine, shortsighted and bazaar action initiated on the corporate level confirming and reinforcing its disconnect with the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community.
Please don’t be confused or distraught. We are here for you. Matter of fact, here are a few fun facts that will help you understand and distinguished between Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey and the Readers’ Choice Award Advertising Sales program. Please share this with your friends, and let us know if anyone needs more clarification.
Up & Coming Weekly’s Best of Fayetteville is a readership survey. It is not an advertising sales program. Here is the distinction:
Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising to promote or showcase specific businesses and organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we do encourage them to promote themselves and encourage their friends, family and customers to vote Best of Fayetteville.
Up & Coming Weekly does not sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases in pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot. The Reader’s Choice ads that are pre-sold before the ballot is printed are called sponsorships. These Reader’s Choice Award sponsors get their names preprinted on the ballot, making a legitimate survey invalid. However, it does identify first-, second- and third-place finishers, entitling everyone to a Readers’ Choice Award. Since the award itself does not designate what place the business finished, a third-place rating has the same credibility as a first-place standing.
In comparison, Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. After the survey is complete and the ballots are tallied, there is only one winner in each category. At this juncture, winners only are given the opportunity to purchase advertising/marketing programs to thank their customers and supporters and to market and brand their companies, capitalizing on and taking advantage of their Best of Fayetteville achievement. These Best of Fayetteville advertising programs are unique and significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs. In addition to the beautiful ($25) wall plaque awarded each Best of Fayetteville winner, they can use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all print advertising, radio, billboard, TV or social media advertising.
The Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive and extremely valuable designation. The way we manage it is what makes this program credible. Is it perfect? No. However, it has developed into one of this community’s most respectable and prestigious awards. Now, if this is not enough clarification for you and it is still unclear whether you’re participating in Best of Fayetteville Readership Survey or someone else’s advertising program, take a good long look at the ballot; if the ballot has names already printed on it, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.
OK, here’s the fun part. Every year, we have a Best of Fayetteville Award Party - and you’re invited. Mark your calendar for Sept. 19, and join us at the 20th Anniversary Celebration recognizing the 2017 winners. This is their party and what a party it will be. Join us at the Ramada Plaza, when Up & Coming Weekly, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the Beasley Media Group and Five Star Entertainment all assist CPA Lee Utley and Jimmy Keefe of the Trophy House in recognizing this community’s Best of the Best. Don’t miss it.
Meet, celebrate and congratulate the people, businesses and organizations that make Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County a great place to work, live and raise a family. Curious? So, is everyone else. It is always fun, exciting and a virtual Who’s Who. So, join me, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, Senator Wesley Meredith, State Representatives Billy Richardson and John Szoka, Cumberland County Chairman Glenn Adams and several hundred of Up & Coming Weekly’s very best friends.
Be there. And oh yeah, Vote Best of Fayetteville. Click the yellow “Vote Best of Fayetteville” button on our website www. upandcomingweekly.com, or complete and send in the ballot on pages 21 and 22 of this issue of Up & Coming Weekly.
Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.