PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

What’s wrong with heels?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lmdavis2 @ 11:24 pm
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In a recent blog post on the Valley PR Blog Linda Vendevrede questions whether or not wearing “the highest of high” heels is beneficial in the PR field. She discusses how over the past 10 years heels have become higher and have the same power of appearance as ties do for men. However, she concluded by asking is wearing high heels a sign of selling out or just staying competitive?

As far as I’m concerned, it is simply keeping up with the times and showing ones ability to relate to current culture. Being fashion forward in any industry is beneficial as long as it is kept classy. Heels that are a little too high or provocative is taking it to far and not appropriate for the workforce. However, heels that are classy and sleek show a woman’s fashion sense and give her style.  

Wearing high heels is a form of confidence that carries over into one’s work as well. Most clients will take you more seriously and have more respect for your ideas and opinions. I think it is especially important in the public relations industry becuase appearance has an important role in the field. It is important because you are constantly dealing with people and trying to gain their trust. People that come accross more put together will find it easier to build realtionships with clients, media and/or stakeholders.

Heels getting higher in the workforce is just a mirror image of what’s going on in the fashion industry. Wearing heels does not meant that you are selling yourself out, it is simply a fashion statement that comes with a little boost of confidence.

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Give me a “P,” give me a “R.” GO PR!

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 9:17 pm
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Two weeks ago, Diane Schwartz, wrote a blog on the PR News Blog about a new advocacy campaign launched by PR News called “It’s the PR.” The campaign is basically designed to show that the public relations field influences everyone and to give a forum for PR professionals to discuss campaigns that have worked for them.

When I first saw this, I laughed to myself because I pictured it as a cheerleading site for the PR field. Then I began my job search. As most of us are seniors, we all know the pressures of trying to find a job after graduation. My plan is to move to New York and I was told by a professional in the industry that finding a job in New York would be easy because there are always job PR job posting for New York. In my search thus far, that could not be any farther than the truth.

With graduation a month away, I am starting to freak out that there will be no job openings for me. Am I going to be one of the many graduates who end up in a field that has nothing to do with their degree?  Is the state of the economy really going to affect PR and similar fields?

With all these questions and fears beginning to build up, I began to think about the “It’s the PR” campaign in a new light. Personally, I could use a cheerleader keeping me in high spirits during my job search. Sometimes all it takes is a little change in perspective to show the worth of something. I’m happy to say that I will be checking in on the campaign regularly and hope to get a job so I can also add to it!

April 12, 2009

More “good” presentations

Filed under: Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 7:34 pm
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Here’s another potential source of inspiration for your final project pitches: the latest post at Presentation Zen shows some examples of visuals from Good Magazine. As Gar Reynolds points out, these are probably not great for full presentations, but they do combine high-impact images and text (such as a short phrase in white text on a black background, or a quick movie montage) that could greatly enhance a slide show and oral narration.

My favorite is the last one, but they all have some good ideas in them.

April 6, 2009

Blending social media and CSR

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 10:55 pm
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I have to be honest, I normally skip over any blog that even mentions Twitter, as I feel it has become an over-talked about topic recently. However, when the blog titled Social Media Provides the Tools to Make Positive Change popped up on my Google Reader last week, I had to take note.

The blog posted on the Communications Overtones blog page discusses how Michelle Greer, a web marketing strategist and blogger from Austin, recently won a social media award for a Twestival she organized to coordinate blood drives for Burmese refugees.

Although the blog never directly mentions anything public relations-related, I was immediately drawn to this topic as a potential tactic for a corporate social responsibly campaign (CSR), a campaign through which companies participate in activities related to public interests, while improving the company image. Corporations are constantly looking for ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with their communities, and what better way than through everyone’s new favorite medium – the Internet.

Using social media to power a CSR campaign is a strategically sound decision for a number of reasons. For one, social media is a quick and effective way for organizations to reach their publics. Currently, many companies discuss their CSR efforts on the company blog, but why not take that a step further and use the social media Web site as a platform for the campaign, rather than just a medium to discuss it? Also, social media Web sites are effective because they allow public relations professionals to disseminate controlled information that will reach target publics, those that are already loyal readers of the company’s blogs.

In my opinion, companies have a lot to gain by conducting CSR campaigns on social media Web sites. However, some may believe that social media Web sites would not be appropriate for some CSR efforts. What is your opinion? Do you think social media and CSR are mutually exclusive topics or that we can find a way to blend the two, so as to create communications results? If you disagree with using social media for CSR, what do you think is the best way for companies to conduct and report on CSR efforts?

A picture is worth a thousand clients

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — tmpace @ 7:24 pm
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I was reading through a few PR blogs when I ran across Seth Godin’s ( a marketing expert and author) blog entitled The Power of a Tiny Picture. In this blog he discusses how you picture can either make or break  your first impression you leave on people.  He says after browsing through many photos he developed suggestions for how to make you photograph into a great first impression. He has a few suggestions for what your picture should look like.

Here are a few:

  • Use a professional looking photo
  • Have normal background
  • Don’t wear a hat (and if you do make it a good hat)
  • Avoid having significant others in the photo. People are looking for you and not for them.
  • Look Happy
  • Don’t have a weird picture that is not of you (like a cartoon or object)
  • Cropping makes a photo look professional

Since this class I have been really focusing on my social media knowledge because the importance of the knowledge is growing. I was interviewing for internships last week, and all the potential employers wanted to hear about my social media skills.

This whole facebook picture idea shocked me. My first reaction was, “who cares.” But then I thought about how some of the pretty weird facebook profile pictures I  have seen.  I laugh at some of them because they are clever, but others I am confused or shocked. Imagine you are a potential client. You are thinking about hiring a new PR agent and you google their name and their facebook picture shows up. What if their picture is weird, unprofessional or risque? Would you second guess your decision of hiring them? I think I might.

I must be honest my profile picture on both facebook and twitter do not fit some Seth’s points. (I don’t think I will change it any time soon.)

I posted this blog to see what you guys think. How important do you think a facebook picture is? Would your opinion change if you owned your own PR firm, or knew your potential employers and clients were checking out your page?

April 3, 2009

When text is a good thing in a presentation

Filed under: Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 7:46 am
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(Since some have asked: yes, commenting on this post counts for your weekly quota.)

I’m always advocating for minimal text on slides, which really comes down to wanting everything on the slide to have maximum impact. Usually there is a tendency for people to simply fill screens with ugly bullet points and meaningless clip art, neither of which enhance a presentation. My view is that it’s usually best to use the screen for strong images and the occasional key phrase, like a title or important data point, leaving the bulk of the argument for the oral portion of the presentation.

Sometimes, though, the text is the art. Although I wouldn’t recommend using these typographical techniques for an entire campaign presentation, they can be effective for certain portions, or for any video messages that you might want to make for your client proposals.

A couple of my favorites from the above link:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Ana Ng Typographic video on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “78RPM – MP3 | 70 Years of Revolutiona…“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “DJ shadow – The Outsider (Typographic…“, posted with vodpod

In any case, it’s worth checking out. And as we near the end of the semester (and your team presentations), I strongly encourage you to visit Presentation Zen (where a recent post shows another fantastic text-based presentation) for tips and examples, and Ted for more inspiration.

March 30, 2009

Word of mouth marketing is a hit

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — bryantedleson @ 10:45 pm
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Recently at my internship , I was asked to create a twitter account for the company and begin following as many people that fit our “target audience,” hoping in return they would follow us back.  In case you were interested, in just roughly 2 hours of following, we had over 200 followers in return.  This helps to better understand how many people are  tweeting all day.

We all can see how quickly social media marketing is increasing and how these wonderful tools are bringing us closer together.  Whether it be, twitter, youtube, facebook, blogs, digg or any other tool- there’s some social element out there for everyone that helps us connect with both familiar and unfamiliar faces.

However, it took awhile….

Although millions of users were rapidly flocking to social media sites, most marketers stayed away.  Marketers either didn’t know how to communicate effectively without overwhelming them with their product, or they were nervous about associating their brands with questionable content.  

In a recent blog post by Steve Rubel from Micro Persuasion, he stated, “things are changing.” Steve believes companies are beginning to learn how to leverage social media and successfully tap into the rising tide of social media consumers.  Word of mouth marketing is allowing small companies to succeed because they can actually accommodate us and our special needs we demand for every penny we spend.  

So what does this mean? It means marketers are moving to social media.

In a recent study conducted by the Aberdeen Group sponsored by Visible Technologies, the following was recorded……

Aberdeen found that 63% of the companies in their survey (defined as best-in-class) planned to increase their social media marketing budgets this year.

I’m sure the trend will continue to increase as more and more people become introduced and familiar with these social media sites. People will continue to trust the people they know rather than the ad’s they see on TV’s, websites or hear on the radio.  Since today’s consumers are getting smarter and more demanding, companies both small and big must also adapt to this change.

March 24, 2009

A Branding Challenge to Write Home About

Filed under: Precision PR — laurenmac87 @ 8:23 am
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While reviewing PR blogs I came across a post by Dan Wool in the Valley PR Blog that surprised me and directly relates to my current PR internship. I work at a local alternative rock radio station as a PR/Promotions Intern and member of the street team.  While I have only been working there since January I have been an avid listener of the station for all four years I’ve been attending college here.  

In April of last year the station underwent a huge shift as they replaced their local morning show host with a much less expensive syndicated host. This caused an uproar from station fans and habitual listeners of the host that I still feel the backlash of as a member of the street team today.  

Fast forward to today, where the media has taken an even bigger dive and in reorganization of their company, CBS fired the syndicated host. For our company this meant an entire re-branding process of the station, and with it thousands of dollars and hours, completely wasted, and no morning show host to boot.  

So when I read this post, indicating that our old station favorite has resurfaced on the airwaves of a competing station, I was baffled.  How, with no morning show host, are we supposed to keep morning listeners once they find out that their old favorite is back on the radio on ANOTHER station?  How do we position our station and brand our morning show with enough vigor to keep our morning listeners? I hate to sound bleak but this is the first time this economic crisis has really hit home for me. It looks to me as though the road ahead is going to be an bumpy one.

March 22, 2009

A PR nightmare for the firm used to resolving everyone else’s

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 10:30 pm
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In case you’ve been living in cave for the last two weeks and have missed the myriad of Tweets, blog posts and media articles, let me get you caught up to speed. On March 8, MSNBC commentator, Rachel Maddow, blasted public relations giant, Burson-Marsteller, referring to it as an “evil” company. Ouch.

                     Click here to watch the segment.

The segment discussed a decision by AIG, an insurance and financial services company, to add additional public relations services to mend its bruised reputation. The company is 80% owned by the public after 4 bailouts, and the point of Maddow’s segment was to convey the message that the public shouldn’t be paying for AIG to “shine up” its image to the public. However, it seems she focused more on taking aim on Burson-Marsteller than discussing AIG. She rattled off client after client to represent Burson-Marsteller as an unethical company, referencing among others, the firm’s work with the Bhopal chemical disaster, Philip Morris and even the Saudi Arabian government after the September 11th tragedies. ““When evil needs public relations, evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed dial,” Maddow said.

Yep, it was a pretty rough night for Burson-Marsteller, to say the least. An obvious PR nightmare. It’s a good thing they are already experts on public relations and already know exactly what to do. Or do they?

One of the first lessons we are taught is crisis communications – an area with which Burson-Marsteller is clearly familiar – is that when crisis erupts, organizations need to face the problem head on with transparency and responsiveness. The worst thing a company can do is say nothing at all. Or that’s at least what we advise our clients.

Blogger’s have been discussing the issue since the airing, including Valley PR’s advice about how PR firms should try to balance companies that are regarded highly in terms of ethics, with companies in need of crisis communications. Public Relations College Students also addressed the issue, attacking the event from the viewpoint of the constant clash between journalists and public relations professionals.

You will find the episode debated and alluded to on countless blogs. Just not on Burson-Marsteller’s. All three blogs that Burson-Marsteller maintains on its Web site fail to address Rachel Maddow’s blow. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find formal, written responses coming from Burson-Marsteller, with the exception of a leaked internal memo.

In my opinion, Burson-Marsteller should have addressed the issue immediately to minimize the damage. Sometimes, public relations firms have to remember to take their own advice.

But maybe I’m overreacting. What do you think? Is this really a PR nightmare, or simply one commentator’s opinion that is soon to be forgotten? What do you think Burson-Marsteller should have done/ should do?

March 16, 2009

Changing of the Guard: Print Goes Online or No Where

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Mickey Siegel @ 11:44 pm
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A lot has been made of the near 150 year old Seattle Post-Intelligence closing down its print division tomorrow to go strictly to web-content only. Newspapers have been struggling for many years now and it seems that the current recession has pushed a few over the cliff. The Post-Intelligence’s closure of its print department comes a couple weeks after Denver’s Rocky Mountain News closed its doors permanently. It now seems that the Tucson Citizen will also be publishing its final issue on Saturday. With the struggles that are being seen at newspapers across the country, how does this effect public relations professionals?

As with any change in an industry, there are some rough patches that will be seen as well as some great opportunities. Being an optimistic person, I’ll tackle the positives to be seen and then lightly touch on the negatives.

Innovative ideas that at one time would be dismissed are now being valued and accepted.

Voice of San Diego is a non-profit, independent web-content newspaper that does not charge a single penny for its service. Unlike many other newspapers that have ventured into primarily web-content based news, Voice of San Diego has very little advertising on its site. Its principle source of income comes from donations and unlike newspaper conglomerates, they do not have any stockholders that need to constantly see a profit. I hope that this kind of journalism catches on in other cities because it is also very beneficial for PR professionals. Voice of San Diego only has a few dozen staff members, so the information supplied by PR professionals creates a symbiotic relationship that allows both PR firms and businesses to work harmoniously with the news organization.

As previously mentioned, the Rocky Mountain News has left Denver for good, but the former newspaper’s journalists don’t think so. They plan on opening an online subsciption news site. In a similar manner, the Rocky Mountain News‘ new online site, INDenverTimes.com, will need plenty of content to attract the “50,000 by April 23” that the journalists are hoping to get. Where would these journalists look for the plethora of content needed to grow their new venture? To the trusty (maybe not the right word to some people) PR professionals who have plenty of information about businesses, organizations and events.

A decrease in newspapers could lead to an even greater distrust in journalism institutions.

I was once lucky enough to have a conversation with Len Downie, the former executive editor of the Washington Post and now a part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. I asked him his thoughts on the growing distrust that the American public has with news organizations. His response to me was that journalists should not worry if the public chooses to believe what they are printing. If journalists begin catering to what the public wants to hear, bias easily sets in. With the closing of newspapers across the country and newspapers caring more than ever before about what appeals to the public, bias is more prevalent than ever. Len Gutman in the Valley PR Blog makes a point that it goes beyond just the conglomerates and the economy in regards to newspapers crumbling left and right:

We can blame the corporate behemoths that have placed shareholder value over news value. And we can blame TV and the Internet. But ultimately we have to look at ourselves as a society and ask why we seem to no longer value real, hard-hitting, unbiased, journalism.

To bring this full circle as PR professionals, we need unbiased and quality journalism. The more newspapers and media conglomerates cater specifically to the public and ignore the journalistic principles that dominated newspapers in the 60s and 70s, the more people will become disenfranchised with news. People need to read the news because without the news, our industry is in just as much jeopardy as the newspapers.

Got a little more pessimistic than I thought I would, but I am still surprised to the lack of news coverage on the soon to be lack of news coverage. I addressed the positives and the negatives that I see in the recent fall outs of many newspapers, but what did I miss and what did I dazzle you all with?

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