Beaufort PR firm lands state award for F-35 campaign

Williams Group PR earns statewide award
for Joint Strike Fighter campaign

An integrated public relations campaign to boost local and statewide support to bring five squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Beaufort earned Williams Group PR, LLC, a major award Thursday night from the S.C. Public Relations Society of America.

Williams Group PR, a full-service public relations and marketing firm based in Beaufort, is led by John C. Williams, APR.

His firm received the Mercury Award of Merit for best community relations campaign in South Carolina during the SCPRSA’s annual awards dinner in Columbia, SC.

The SCPRSA awards recognize the best public relations campaigns and products (brochures, annual reports, websites) created each year in South Carolina. Williams Group PR competed against the state’s largest agencies as well as sizable in-house PR departments at hospitals and businesses.

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce hired Williams to lead its public relations campaign in early June 2010. That was about three weeks before the Defense Department was scheduled to hold a public meeting for local input on the controversial next-generation supersonic stealth fighter.

"We had a lot of ideas and a lot of things happening last summer. John's team helped pull it all together into a coordinated campaign that helped us land five squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Congratulations to Williams Group PR for this award," said Carlotta Ungaro, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Williams’ public relations campaign, executed by Williams Group PR, the Chamber and the Lowcountry Economic Network, included news releases, letters to the editor, a video podcast, advertising, billboards, radio commercials, small group meetings and social media such as Facebook and an Operation F-35Beaufort website.

In early December the Pentagon announced Beaufort would receive the first batch of Marine Corps F-35Bs – three operational squadrons and two training squadrons, just what the Chamber and local governments preferred. The local economic impact of the squadrons exceeds $350 million in new Air Station construction alone.

"John and his team helped pull together a cohesive campaign to share accurate information about the F-35B and its impact on Beaufort County. It was a high-intensity effort from the very start, and Williams Group PR delivered in every way. They deserve this honor and I share my congratulations," said Gen. Garry Parks, chairman of the Military Enhancement Committee.

Among Williams Group PR’s clients are the City of Beaufort, the Beaufort Tricentennial Committee, Beaufort Academy, FWDG, the Town of Meggett SC and the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5.

Williams is accredited in public relation by the Public Relations Society of America. For more information, visit or call 843-263-6200.

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