PR Campaigns – The blog

September 30, 2008

Presentations that Engage: Caleb Chung, Pleo the Dinosaur

Filed under: Iris Public Relations,Uncategorized — kristarogers @ 2:50 pm

As I was searching through I came across a recent “talk” by Caleb Chung, a well-known inventor of interactive children’s toys such as the Furby. Recently, he launched a robot named Pleo that is an functioning, walking, responding, trainable dinosaur. As if this man’s career is not interesting enough, his means of presenting his toys, career and the release of Pleo are even more engaging. Chung does a great job of keeping the audience interested while presenting his information in a professional manner with a casual tone.

I think the key factor that separates Chung’s presentation from other less-interesting ones are the use of a variety of visual aids. He incorporates numerous video clips which greatly enhance his presentation. He uses drawings and sketches to help paint a picture for the audience as well as using still pictures. He uses very simple text such as “art and science.” This single slide says a lot about his work but does not even come close to telling the story. As we have been learning in class, it is imperative that the speaker tell the story, not the text in the slides. The two simple words, “art” and “science” emphasize what he is talking about but leave the details and elaboration to the rhetoric. The last visual aid that Chung uses is the actual robot, Pleo. Naturally, it makes sense that he would incorporate his newest invention into the talk, however from an audience member persepctive the use of yet another type of visual stimulant keeps me interested.
A lot of times presentations will be made in the typical cookie-cutter PowerPoint format and are dull and predictable. Chung does a great job of incorporating a variety of media and visual aids that are anything but dull. I think that it is the presenter’s job to keep the audience engaged and prepare a presentation that is interesting and stimulating visually, even if the information is not neccessarily interesting to everyone.

Lastly, although Chung presents professional material in a professional manner, he is very calm and casual in his speech. Being relaxed, speaking slowly and being comfortable in front of a large audience truly distinguishes a veteran from an amateur presenter.


September 29, 2008

Weekly roundup

JMC417 students are, understandably, very concerned with the public perceptions of the profession they are entering. Following on posts from the previous week, such as ABC PR’s discussion of the “PR lady” in the Mac vs. PC commercials, this week Sparkle Media points out that in some cases breaches of PR ethics lead practitioners to create crises, rather than manage them. These instances, though relatively uncommon, serve to reinforce popular negative views of public relations. ABC PR countered by highlighting the Radical PR trend in public relations scholarship and practice, which aims to critically analyze mainstream theory and practice and suggest alternative paths. Students pose the question of whether this movement can help alter the profession’s image. Time will tell.

Metis PR addressed instead the question of what makes a good (or bad) PR practitioner. They quite rightly pointed out that clients are not always aware of what their agency can do for them, and so may misconstrue certain actions. This, too, is a question of professional perception, but on a smaller scale.

The Agency strode fearlessly into the treacherous waters of political communication, questioning the media strategy of the GOP handlers in charge of VP nominee Sarah Palin’s public appearances in recent weeks. Electoral campaigns represent a particular niche of communication, which requires practitioners to balance their strategic concerns with the responsibility to provide the citizenry with enough information to make considered voting decisions.

CAST Communication tackled a topic near and dear to my own professional heart, internal communication.
They touch on the difficult balance between encouraging employee engagement (freedom) and managerial monitoring (control), which is always an issue in internal communication, and a frequent source of friction.

Iris Public Relations reflected on whether new media technologies represent a sea change in PR practice, or simply a new set of tools for conducting business as usual. And if the former, do they dampen creativity and innovation? Coming at new media from a different angle, TALLfore noted that the speed with which information and rumors spread, thanks to densely networked rapid communication tools such as Twitter, makes organizations especially vulnerable to crises.

Another bell tolls for the press release

Filed under: Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 11:22 am
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Sheila Scarborough, at Every Dot Connects, says she can’t imagine ever sending out another traditional press release. Announcements that the press release is dead are hardly new or blogworthy. However, she does explain how she plans to go about publicizing some of her own upcoming events, so students should find this post worth reading.

Her approach won’t work for every situation, but it’s something to think about.

Bloggers and public relations

Filed under: Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 9:50 am
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I want to point everyone toward a post today over at Jennifer Van Grove’s blog, about building relationships with influential bloggers for public relations purposes. The post raises some interesting questions: Is it worth the effort? Why or why not? How to convince clients and/or employers that the return on investment (ROI) justifies the time spent cultivating bloggers? In what situations is the ROI high enough to be worthwhile, and when is it not?

Jennifer is reporting on a panel she was part of at the recent BlogWorld & New Media Expo, which is also worth reading about.

September 27, 2008

Perception of PR Practitioners

Filed under: Sparkle Media — ksorensen19 @ 3:24 pm
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I know that ABC PR recently published a post regarding how PR professionals are viewed and I wanted to delve into that a little further. I recently found a somewhat shocking article that discusses the negative side of PR. The article, The Truth About PR Disasters, discusses the role that PR specialists play in crisis management. However, the article theorizes that whereas once our role involved managing any client crisis, in today’s world PR practitioners are, “increasingly being ‘outed’ as the perpetrators of the catastrophic errors of judgment and ethics that create or catalyze PR disasters.”

In my mind it is astonishing how often PR practitioners are viewed as “spin doctors”. This idea really hit home with me when I was at a car dealership the other day. My mom was talking with a car salesman about financing and during their discussion he asked what I was studying in school and my mom said public relations. His reaction was one of astonishment and judgment. Why would I want to go into THAT particular field? My mom agreed with him right away. It was amazing to me how quickly a car salesman passed judgment on me and my future profession.

The question now is, how do we change the negative image that those in the PR field have? Is it enough to adhere to an organization’s code of ethics, or hope to follow our own ethics? Personally, I believe that the bad choices of a few have lasting effects on the rest of us and it is going to take a lot more than simply making good choices to clean up our image.

September 26, 2008

Ease of PR on the Net Hurting Independent Thought and Creativity

Filed under: Iris Public Relations — kristarogers @ 12:09 pm

     It is no secret that advances in technology have made our world a smaller place. The internet obviously allows for quick dissemination of information, easy access to various forms of media and the ability to interact with people across the world from the comfort of your own home. It has quite literally changed the face of media. There are an overwhelming number of websites dedicated to social networking, business networking and other tools to help people save time, cut corners and ease their work load. Necessity begets innovation, right? But where do you draw the line? At which point is laziness the driving force behind the innovation?  

     Kevin boldly abandons his “digital age” generation and ascertains in his blog, “Are PR Tools Bad Form?” that maybe it has gone too far and the numerous public relations tools now offered on the internet are impeding upon the creativity, originality and independent thought process once required by the media.  These tools are all blessings,” Kevin says, “But don’t let their ease of use, powerful capabilities and impressive efficiencies tempt you into taking short cuts with things like critical thinking.” At this point public relations is fighting for its life. The ability for anyone to access millions of people has given the general public the notion that anyone can “do” public relations and these tools are just proponents of that idea.  

     Kevin mentions Linked-In and Facebook as examples of networking but also points out the mindless-traps people involved in sites like this could fall in to. Instead of sending “cookie cutter” emails, or “friend” requests, try something that takes a little more brain power. Kevin makes a good point by sort of echoing the “old school” business mentality. “Take 10 more seconds to write someone a personal note. Those 10 seconds will make a big impact. So many people take the short cut it’s not really helping them.”  He finishes by saying “Work smart(er), think hard(er). Eschew shortcuts that are really creativity cuts.” A philosophy I am sure no one would disagree with. 




Social Networks and Word of Mouth

Filed under: Uncategorized — lindsaylynch @ 11:35 am
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It is crazy how fast news can travel.  Trenton (the “T” of TALLfore) sent me an article about the power of Twitter.  This article was linked to WordPress but originated from the CEO’s journal entry on Thomas Nelson Publishers direct site.

The core idea that is provided in the posts is a story of UHaul not treating a customer appropriately.  The customer who was treated badly, later posted on Twitter how terrible their experience with UHaul was. In the Twitter post they also went on to say how great Penske was when they went there instead.  UHaul’s sales made a dramatic drop that day all because of this one post.  

The guy who posted on Twitter about UHaul had over 1,500 followers.  Those followers more than likely told someone and the trend continued all the way until right now.  Now I am writing about it on wordpress and anyone with internet access can get to this post to find out that UHaul treated a customer terrible and that customer would never refer their services again.  I am shocked that a networking site (Twitter) can absolutely help a business or even destroy one!  

A few semesters ago I was in a small business marketing class and we were talking about word of mouth and how vital it is to a company, no matter if its large or small.  For some reason people like to focus on the bad things that happen to them, so if someone runs into a problem with a specific business it is likely that they will tell 30 people about their experience.  If someone has a good experience they will tell two people, if any.  

So this goes to show that social networks are now increasing all of the possibilities of word of mouth.  In the end probably because of the growth of the internet UHaul, I’m sure, had a lot of crisis management to deal with!

Is it time to get “radical” about PR?

Filed under: ABC PR — brittz87 @ 11:08 am

There is a new movement spreading through the PR profession, calling for a reinvention of traditional PR as we know it. Radical PR is trying to get away from advocating the two-way symmetric “normative” approach to public relations because they believe it has too many limitations.  It is known that there are many “old-school” PR agencies/departments that refuse to acknowledge, and then make necessary changes, that will update the way they do business. 

Personally, I think it’s great that there are people out there challenging our perspectives on communication relationships. So tell me, being apart of this new generation, do you agree that our core PR values have become too focused on ways to promote the interests of the people writing our paychecks? Radical PR affiliates believe that it is evident that PR practitioners form obvious agendas so regularly now, that whenever something new or challenging happens in our profession, its gloves off to protect outdated methods. Do you think this group of committed individuals can really make a difference in our profession? In order for this PR to have a valuable future in the eyes of society, changes will need to be made—maybe “radical” PR is the way to do this.






September 25, 2008

Journalists’ Right vs. PRs’ Might

Filed under: The Agency — agilliam @ 11:22 pm
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In the past few days there has been quite an uproar from the media due to the McCain campaign’s continued sheltering of Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. On Tuesday and Wednesday she met with world leaders from the United Nations for the first time, and her campaign attempted to only allow photographers into the meetings. The journalists involved refused to take pictures if there was not an editorial presence there. They compromised at allowing the editorial presence, but only for mere moments.

Is it OK for Governor Palin’s public relations representative to say no to the press? The campaign has allowed for almost no questions from the media. Is that their right? As public relation’s people, how do we balance the need to be in control of certain things while still being ethical? And couldn’t this type of “hiding” cause a backlash from the media, who we need to have good relations with? It may have already caused ripples with some news outlets, but perhaps the campaign decided it was worth it.

Thursday, Governor Palin opened up questions to four reporters, so I thought maybe they decided to let her show a bit of herself. Then I realized that she only answered questions of her choosing. Is this all an ingenious strategy or do you think that the public will eventually get tired of it? I don’t mean to be picking at Governor Palin, I think many in the field of public relations use this strategy, but does that make it right?

Effectively Engaging Employees

I think an important area often overlooked in PR is internal communications. This is crucial because if the employees are not happy, then business is not going to run smoothly. Employees need to be informed, they need to have an open two-way communication with their employers and most importantly they need to be on board with the company mission.

I found this article about an international company, GolinHarris, that developed an intranet site similar to YouTube, where employees can upload their own videos to share their stories on inspiration, ideas, employees and office experiences. I found this idea to be incredibly creative and useful. With close monitoring of course, employees can speak their minds, express their individualism and connect to others all around the world. It engages employees and encourages idea sharing. Making someone feel part of something bigger is important for a lot of people and can create a better work environment, therefore creating more productivity. At the same time, management is able to reflect on these videos to learn more about their employees. It is a win-win situation on both sides!

-Cast Communications

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