EPIC Awards


EPIC Awards

CAPIO’s EPIC awards program recognizes the most creative and effective efforts in the areas of communication and marketing campaigns, newsletter production, photography, special events, writing, Web site development and video production.

The EPIC Awards honor work that transcends innovation and craft - work that made a lasting impact, providing an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of company or agency size and project budget. If your work moved people, we want to give it a chance to take home an EPIC.

The Program

The Excellence in Public Information and Communications (EPIC) Awards are presented annually by the California Association of Public Information Officials to honor outstanding public agency information and communications programs.

The EPIC Awards honors work that rises above innovation and craft – work that made a lasting impact. Our goal is to offer an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of agency size and project budget. If your work moved people, we want to give it a chance to take home an EPIC.

The Hardware

CAPIO provides winners and their organizations the recognition they deserve while offering validation that their work is not only highly regarded by their peers within the industry but also making a tremendous impact in the communities served.

The EPIC Award, our highest honor, is given to those entrants whose ability to communicate positions them as the best in the field. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement. EPIC winners will also be showcased in CAPIO’s Winners Gallery.

Determining the Finalists

The EPIC Awards are judged by your peers, a volunteer group consisting of experienced communicators. In order to ensure a fair and effective process, the CAPIO Awards committee work to secure judges not only from within CAPIO but from partner professional public relations associations.

Winning entries for the EPIC Awards are reviewed and selected by at least two judges per category selected, who have committed to uphold CAPIO’s commitment to fairness and merit-based achievement. This ensures each entry is afforded equal chance of winning an award, as all entries are judged to evaluate distinction in creative work. All entries are evaluated against a standard scoring criteria and judging is based purely on quality of craft, so sometimes a category may have multiple winners, or none at all.

Entries are scored on a 100 point scale by the judges. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium and large) prior to being judged.

Finalist Notifications

Finalists will be notified by email in mid March 2019 and will also be posted on the CAPIO website.

EPIC Award and Award of Distinction recipients will receive their awards at the 2019 EPIC Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Newport Beach at the Hyatt Regency on Wednesday, April 10.

Award finalists are encouraged to bring a display if possible to show at the Annual conference. Displays can include marketing promotional items, a binder or folder with program collateral, an image poster (on foam core backing if possible), or other creative display form. If finalists cannot attend the conference, the display can be sent to the CAPIO office or the conference hotel for display at the conference.

Interested in ordering a duplicate of your award? You may do so by contacting our awards engraving company ACP Publications and Marketing. Contact Yadira at service@acppub.com.

EPIC Award Details

Are you ready to learn more about the EPIC Awards and submit your work that has made an impact? Read through the tabs below for deadlines, entry information and tips, scoring criteria and fees.


Requirements & Judging

CAPIO established our annual awards program to recognize and honor outstanding professional workt. This work represents standards of excellence and creativity and stand as inspiration for those in our profession. In 2019, we were excited to have the support from PIOs from across the US from partner organizations such as PRSA and 3CMA. Thank you judges!

2019 Awards Entry Webinar

Want to learn how you can best showcase your work next year? Listen to the 2019 “Tips for Making Your Award Entry EPIC” webinar with hints and insights on how to put your best foot forward.


Entry Categories

How we communicate continues to evolve in the connected world in which we live. In 2019, we introduced Digital Communications and Best of Show categories with enhanced subcategories to recognize cutting-edge techniques being used throughout the industry.

Work can be entered into more than one category and will be reviewed separately for each category entered. All entries entered into multiple categories will be eligible for recognition in each and will be judged accordingly. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium, and large) prior to being judged.

Below is a complete list of the categories used for the 2019 awards program.

Communication and Marketing Tools (Publications, graphic design, writing, photography, etc.)

Communications marketing tools are the tactical tools you use to implement the idea – getting information out to get the job done. They include publications, graphic design, photography, events, writing and internal communications.

Entry Categories 

  • Annual Report
  • Graphic Design – Online (infographic, web graphic, logo, etc.)
  • Graphic Design – Print (brochure, poster, marketing materials, etc.)
  • Internal Communications
  • Marketing and Promotional (items, branding/logo, marketing event, delivery tools)
  • Media Event (Press Conferences, PR Campaign Kickoffs, etc.)
  • Newsletter or Magazine (online or printed)
  • Photography
  • Special or Community Event – One-Time
  • Special or Community Event – Recurring
  • Writing (news article, news series, blog, marketing content, etc.)

Digital Communications

Communications programs or tools used to implement the idea, make an impact and maximize reach through digital communications. This category includes podcasts, live streaming, social media, video, websites and apps.

Entry Categories 

  • Audio/Podcasts
  • Live Streaming/Live Stories
  • Social Media Best Use Overall
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Video Production – Event Coverage
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement/Promotional/Marketing Video – Short Form (2 min. or less)
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement/Promotional/Marketing Video – Long Form (anything over 2 min.)
  • Video Production – Series
  • Website/App

Communications and Marketing Process

Processes are broad categories of strategic communications programs and activities, such as Community Visioning or Branding, Resident Participation, Communications Plans, Campaign Plans, Go Green Programs, Crisis Communications and Service Delivery.

Entry Categories
  • Branding
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns - Consultant-Supported
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns – In-House
  • Community Relations/Participation
  • Crisis Communications Response
  • Multicultural Outreach/Campaign
  • Preparedness/Public Safety Education Campaign

Creative Marketing

This category includes two unique awards—Most Innovate Communications and Dollar Stretcher. CAPIO encourages agencies to submit their most innovative programs. Entries submitted to the Most Innovative field can include consultant-supported projects and programs.

For the Dollar Stretcher field, projects and/or tools that had a major impact using only in-house resources on a limited budget should be submitted.

Entry Categories

  • Dollar Stretcher – program/tool developed and implemented in-house
  • Most Innovative Communications


For the first time in CAPIO history, judges will be selecting from the entire entry pool, one “Best-in- Show” winner from each of the small, medium and large service areas. A separate entry is not required to be considered for a “Best-in-Show” honor.  Winners will be pulled from all subcategories.



Any public information professional representing a California city, county, school, special district or other public agency may participate. Private firms may submit awards on behalf of a public agency; however, the entry must be in the name of the public agency and the agency must be notified in advance that a firm intended to submit an entry on the agency’s behalf.

CAPIO membership is not a criteria for entry.