Tag Archives: PR

#PRinGR: Doing the right thing

By: Nicole Raymond

Conferences are a great way to build a network in your related field, but they also provide information to help you succeed and better yourself as a professional in your career. The Generation Grand Regional Public Relations Student Society of America Conference was full of networking and learning opportunities for students from across the region. The weekend-long event consisted of tours, networking opportunities, sessions, and panels on several different facets of public relations.

While there were several sessions with amazing learning opportunities throughout the weekend, I decided to focus on the Saturday morning sessions, which were titled “PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” and “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility.”

panel

Photo Credit: GVSU Twitter

“PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” was moderated by Adam Russo from COM 161 and was filled with professionals from organizations that were serious about sustainability. This session focused on how organizations can make an impact in their community and in their world by rooting the idea of sustainability in their business culture and the effects of sustainable practices on an organization’s bottom line. Sharon Darby from Cascade Engineering stated that if you do what is good for the environment and the people, it will be good for business. However, another panelist Josh Leffingwell from Well Design Studio says that it is no longer newsworthy when organizations do good, rather it is a baseline that an organization must go above and beyond to be recognized by the media. People want sustainable products made by sustainable companies and many consumers will search for these sustainable practices and buy from organizations that have a sustainable commitment. When it comes to sustainability, there is always more that can be done and there is always room for improvement. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in a society that votes with their money on the most sustainable organizations and products. When an organization commits to a culture of sustainable practices it will bring in customers and build a business.

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Courtesy Photo

The second session was “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility” moderated by Dino Baskovic from Vincena and was paneled by Stacie Behler from Meijer, Michelle Meulendyk from Amway, Audra Hartges from Steelcase, and Kelley Freridge from Wolverine World Wide. This session outlined why corporate responsibility is important for organizations and how those organizations can choose the corporate responsibility initiative that is right for them and the communities in which they reside. Community development is the footprint that is left behind. One of the first questions was “Why should corporate social responsibility be a priority of organizations?” Meulendyk answered by stating if we don’t, then who will?

Another ‘why’ factor of corporate responsibility is it’s the right thing and organizations should always be willing to do what is right. Consumers are creating a culture where corporate responsibility matters and not just talking, but doing and seeing the impact through the bottom line, social and feedback. Each community is different and Behler explained the importance of doing good in the community by matching community needs to the acts of service or donations provided to the community by businesses. Panelists were also asked how to help employees think of corporate social responsibility and the desire to make the community a better place by their employees. They explained that it was important to instill a culture of service within the work community and hire those who already have that culture instilled in them.

The earth and the community are important to our society and can play an important role in the money making ability of an organization. As more consumers care about how their products were made, it has become more important for businesses to practice green thinking and corporate responsibility.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

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5 things I wish I had known before choosing public relations

By: Hope Salyer

Every day I’m in the Public Relations Program at Eastern Michigan University makes me love my decision to major in PR even more. However, there are a few things I wish I had known beforehand. Here are five things I wish I had known before choosing to major in PR.

  1. PR is not a 9 to 5 job.

If you want a 9 to 5 job, PR isn’t the best choice for you. Part of your responsibilities as a PR practitioner is to do what your client asks. This can mean attending events late into the evening, getting up early for a meeting, or waking up to a crisis at 2 a.m. Things happen every day, and as social media continues to expand, a crisis is bound to happen. It might not be as big as Donald Trump’s tweet at Boeing, but even a small crisis needs to be handled immediately. This means you need to be prepared to have unconventional, unexpected work hours.

  1. Networking is VITAL in this field!
live-books

Source: Live Books

Don’t get me wrong. Networking is important in every profession, however, it is one of the most important things to remember when joining the PR industry. Public relations is a growing industry for college graduates, but it is also a very competitive industry to break into. Having contacts to help you get into the field is so important. On the other hand, in order to get the best coverage and meet the goals of your client, you must have connections. PR is all about building mutually beneficial relationships. This means you need to build and maintain your relationship with journalists, and your client needs to build and maintain his or her relationship with the public. Having a network of professionals you can turn to when you need help is paramount in this industry.

  1. If you don’t love writing, PR probably isn’t for you.
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Source: Giphy

If you ask any PR  practitioner what the most important skill is for someone in the industry to have, I guarantee they will say strong writing skills. Writing is key in PR. If you can’t write a compelling pitch email free of grammatical and punctuation errors, you’re never going to get any media coverage for your client. Journalists are extremely busy, and they don’t have the time to decipher the message from a terrible pitch email. Additionally, every time you send out a press release, get quoted in the media, or click post on your client’s social media page, you represent that client and the company you work for. If you don’t have good writing skills, it’s going to be an embarrassment to everyone. Writing skills can be honed in on and perfected if you practice, but if you don’t enjoy writing, PR isn’t going to be enjoyable for you.

  1. Take advantage of the services and organizations offered to you.
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Source: PRSSA

As PR students, you have services and organizations to help you out. Taking part in organizations like PRSSA will help you build connections with professionals that you can use down the road for job interviews, references or contacts in the field. It’s better to start using these opportunities now than to not know where to go when you need them after you graduate.

  1. Know that you will almost always get asked what PR is.
blonde-girl

Source: Giphy

If I had a dollar for every time someone asks me what PR is and what PR practitioners do, I would be a millionaire. When you tell someone you’re going to school for PR, it will become second nature to you to explain to them what PR actually is, and what PR practitioners do on a day-to-day basis. On the off chance that someone does know what PR is, they are probably going to say something about spending your time covering up mistakes or planning parties. While yes, planning events is oftentimes part of a PR campaign, and sometimes a crisis will happen that you need to handle (by being truthful and honest about the situation rather than covering it up or lying about it) most people don’t understand the actual purpose of PR. PR is all about building mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders. This could be between a client and his or her publics, a PR practitioner and a journalist, or a client and his or her employees. A PR practitioner’s job is to communicate information on behalf of the client. Sometimes, that is through hosting a fun event, and other times it’s by sending out a press release.

These are just a few things I wish I had known before choosing PR. Not a day goes by that I regret my decision, and I know that PR is the absolute right choice for me. What are some things you wish you had known before choosing PR or choosing your major in general? Let us know in the comments below!

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

 

The Grammys: A golden opportunity for publicity

By: Jordan Ross

j-lo-adele-ceelo

Source: ABC7 San Francisco

The 2017 Grammy Awards will go down as one to be remembered. The Grammys, otherwise labeled by many as the biggest night in music, has grown since its inception in May 1959 to become the spectacle of an award ceremony that draws a television audience second only to the Academy Awards. Many memorable moments occurred during the show that people will be talking about for years to come, from Beyoncé’s pregnant musical number, to Bruno Mars’ Prince tribute and Adele’s George Michael tribute redo.

What goes on during the Grammys ceremony is not the only thing that takes over the news feeds. Much of the conversation surrounding the Grammys is the fashion. The Grammys brings out some of the most prominent celebrities and well-known musicians in the world, and one of the most popular topics people like to talk about is what they are wearing. The pre-show that televised before the Grammys dedicated two hours of showing all the celebrities as they were entering the venue, anchors having a quick chat with them, and letting the public see what those celebrities were wearing.

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Source: CelebMix

In terms of publicity, the Grammys is a huge platform that celebrities can use to capture the attention of the audience. This year, according to Nielsen, which is a company that measures TV ratings throughout the U.S., about 26 million viewers tuned in to watch this year’s ceremony. In comparison, the 2016 Grammys had 25 million viewers, meaning a million more pairs of eyeballs in 2017 were watching all the festivities compared to last year (and not to mention all the impressions on social media that the Grammys received for this year’s ceremony).

Needless to say, the Grammys is a great opportunity for the celebrities who walk the red carpet before the show to get their name into the media. Even celebrities who people have not had at the forefront of their mind can come to public attention based on what they are wearing and if they stand out.

The Grammys is a golden opportunity to get an audience’s attention. This may typically be a figurative statement, but one man took that statement literally, and he may have stolen the show by doing just that.

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Source: Twitter

During the Grammy pre-show, a man dressed in a unique golden costume walked onto the red carpet for the world to see, and see they did. At that moment, all eyes turned to this mysterious golden figure. Sometimes, celebrities dress differently to stand out, but this particular moment was quite different from others.

After a short amount of time, people figured out that the man dressed in gold was indeed singer-songwriter CeeLo Green in costume, but no one understood for what reason or what cause he was doing it for. Regardless of why he was dressed that way, people could not help but talk about it. Reporters at the Grammys were tweeting and writing articles about what was happening, and with so many questions revolving around what was taking place and why, people could not help but follow this story.

All over social media, people were getting involved and trying to figure out what was going on. They were also using their creative spirits to compare CeeLo Green’s costume to other prominent images in pop culture. Here are some examples:

C3PO:

Ferrero Rocher® Chocolate:

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Source: CapitalFM

Drake’s Gold Necklace:

It turns out that the reasoning behind CeeLo Green’s costume was to promote his musical “alter-ego” Gnarly Davidson. Gnarly Davidson is one half of the soul duo Gnarls Barkly, along with the music producer Danger Mouse.

Gnarly Davidson’s appearance on the Grammys red carpet may have been most of the population’s first introduction to Gnarly, but he has existed before this even took place.

The Twitter page for Gnarly Davidson has been active since October 2016, but in just one day, CeeLo Green found a way to propel himself, and his “alter-ego” into the national spotlight.

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Source: Variety

Probably the best part about all of this publicity for CeeLo Green (other than getting to dress in a pretty sweet gold costume), is that he didn’t have to pay a dime for any of it. Before the Grammys started, realistically the majority of the public did not have CeeLo Green at the forefront of their minds. By standing out in the crowd and doing something that the average celebrity would not do, CeeLo Green was able to grab the attention of millions of people around the world. Without having to create and disseminate any form of traditional advertising, CeeLo Green created a way to induce a conversation about him. Not only that, but he helped promote his own brand as he simultaneously put Gnarly Davidson on the map with all the publicity that came in the aftermath of his debut.

ceelo-5

Source: E! News

Today, if you mention Gnarly Davidson, you may get a different reaction than you would have on February 11, 2017. This just goes to show that in public relations, it’s OK to be different. The world is a big place, and publicity can be hard to come by with so much going on. Sometimes, it takes some creativity and thinking outside of the box to stand out. You never know, even the strangest of ideas can turn into a golden opportunity.

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the vice president of professional development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the president of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.

PR New Year’s Resolutions!

By: Josie Bobeck

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Source: imnepal.com

The new year is among us and so are the resolutions. Most people want to lose weight, get in shape, and eat healthier. Those are all valid goals, and if these are your goals, I hope you kick butt! I’m usually not one for resolutions, but I have a few regarding public relations, and that is becoming a better student and spreading the word about EMU PRSSA.

  1. Become a better writer. I learned a lot in PURL 314: Writing for Public Relations, but one semester of AP style wasn’t enough for me. I hope to learn more and have the opportunity to write so that when I intern over the summer and get a “big girl” job in 2018, I will be ready.
  2. Enlarge our Chapter. As vice president of member relations, it’s my job to schedule classroom visits and get new people to join PRSSA. I hope to help get the word out about who we are because we are such a small program, yet mighty. We have an awesome set of instructors and student leaders within our program, and I want people to know we exist!
  3. Kick butt at Bateman! We have so many great ideas and I can’t wait to pursue them. Be on the lookout in February and March to see what we have up our sleeves!
  4. Attend conferences. I fell in love with National Conference when I went in October and I can’t wait to go to Grand Rapids, and hopefully Chicago for regional conferences. National Conference 2017 is special to me because it’s in my favorite place in the whole world, Boston, and I can’t wait to go spend time in my city. The possibility of seeing my family has me pumped, too!

PR is an interesting job and I’m beyond excited to pursue a career in it, so hopefully I will  reach my future goals. Now tell me, what are your resolutions? Feel free to tweet me at @Josephine3laine.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. This is her first semester serving as vice president of member relations. She hopes to one day work in nonprofit PR. Josie enjoys spending time with her two dogs, her cat, and her family. Josie can be reached on Twitter @josephine3laine or via email.

 

5 creative advertising trends from 2016 that PR professionals can use

By: Abby Cousineau

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Source: Adweek

No one ever said we couldn’t use this year’s advertising trends to get noticed!

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it comes a massive number of “best of the year” lists. All around us people are reflecting on the successes and pitfalls of the last year, and aside from these lists being entertaining, you can also learn something valuable from them as well.

I have been seeing a lot of reminiscent lists popping up all over the internet and one in particular caught my eye. Adweek published an article titled, “The Year in Creativity: 20 Trends That Drove Some of 2016’s Best Marketing.” The title speaks for itself, and you should give it a read, as it is interesting (at least I think so) and filled with tons of links to video examples. We all know that keeping up with trends is essential to the success of public relations work, so I pulled the ones from this list that I feel are applicable to the PR industry.

It is interesting to think about how these creative advertising trends could potentially be involved in a PR campaign. When I read this list, I thought about how these themes could be interpreted on social media, through events, in press releases, and even for branding strategies.

  1. Post its.

Post-it notes were in the limelight this year. On a tour of Campbell Ewald this semester, I noticed a giant, wall-to-ceiling gnome made entirely out of post-it notes, created to impress one of their clients, Expedia. Additionally, a noteworthy post-it note appearance was “Subway Therapy,” a post-election art project in a New York Subway.

  1. Clever packaging.

Great packaging is something everyone can appreciate and we saw a lot of it this year—especially in the realm of soda and beer cans. Bud Light expanded its line of NFL cans, Orangina made an upside-down can that mixes up pulp when flipped to open, and Saltwater Brewery created a six-pack ring that is totally edible to sea life.

  1. Fine art.

Art was embraced in 2016 like never before. Multiple ads and marketing strategies revolved around incorporating, and in some cases promoting fine art. One example was J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam’s “The Next Rembrandt,” “which had a computer study the master’s works and make a completely new painting in his style.”

  1. Live ads.

With products like Facebook Live and Periscope becoming ever more popular, brands have embraced live streaming, producing some highly designed live commercials. The British supermarket Waitrose set up cameras on its partner farms and broadcasted live for an entire week. Although the material they shot may have consisted of “delightfully boring farm videos,” they ended up making TV spots and print ads from the footage.

  1. Square and vertical video.

Thanks to mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat, square and vertical video broke through for good. Instagram in particular has inspired a bunch of “square creative,” one of the best Instagram campaigns of the year involved the fast food giant Sonic creating square shakes— “inspired by Instagram and available for purchase through the app.”

These are just a few of the 20 creative trends listed in the Adweek article. What other themes have you noticed this year?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

5 PR lessons learned from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

By: Nicole Raymond

Public relations lessons can be found in the strangest of places, if one only remembers to look for them. The Harry Potter universe is expanding once again as J.K. Rowling has created another segment to entice her audience who keeps coming back for more. While “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a movie filled with action and adventure, it is also filled with advice for PR practitioner. Here are five quotes from the movie that can help you in the PR field:

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Source: cineworld.ie

“I ask all of you, who does this protect? Us or them?” — Graves

Sometimes it’s important to ask this question. Although Graves was referring to the secrecy and laws protecting the no-majs (non-magical people) from the knowledge of wizards and magic, PR professionals need to protect both “us” the organization and “them” the public. It is a practitioner’s job to act in the best interest of the public while also helping the organization. If you’re concerned about the organization’s actions, it’s best to reference this question and decide who the actions are protecting. If the public isn’t one of the answers, you should reevaluate the actions.

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Source: inverse.com

“We’ve lived in the shadows for too long.” — Graves

The lesson to be learned from this quote is to not live in the shadows for too long. People will forget you or your brand if you stay silent. This doesn’t mean you should send out a press release for everything your organization does, but you should keep in contact with your public, reporters and other connections to ensure you remain at the forefront of their minds. Engage the public on social media, send reporters things they may be interested in and write notes to connections about the work you’ve been doing. This will ensure you live in the light rather than the shadows.

“Contain this, or it’ll mean war.” — Seraphina

This quote made by Seraphina, president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, referenced the crisis situation unfolding in New York, stating if they didn’t get the situation under control, a war would break out between the wizards and the no-majs. Like any PR professional in a crisis, Seraphina wanted to take care of the issue as efficiently and effectively as possible to avoid further conflict. Most PR crisis won’t mean literal war, however, it can mean more problems for an organization, so containing the crisis is imperative.

“No, I’m the only one like me.” — Jacob

Jacob is everyone’s favorite no-maj and for good reasons. He’s hilariously enthralled with the magical world. Wizards and no-majs aren’t supposed to interact in America, but a budding romance soon arises between Queenie, a witch, and Jacob, a no-maj. She asks him, “Are all no-majs like you?” Just like Jacob, you are unique and have qualities others don’t. PR practitioners should use their uniqueness as an advantage and shouldn’t be afraid to use their own style. Be true to yourself and the organization you represent. After all, you’re the only one like you.

“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” — Newt

Take a note from Newt: Worrying is the worst and it does no good. Like the quote says, “worrying means you suffer twice” because you add unnecessary stress to a situation and it does nothing to improve the situation. PR practitioners are often faced with stressful situations, but instead of worrying, they should think, plan or act to resolve the situation. If nothing can be done, don’t create stress by dwelling on the situation, move on and learn from the mistake.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

Knowing your stuff: Why it’s so important

By: Anissa Gabbara

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Source: pixabay.com

Being well read is crucial in public relations and your professors have probably preached this to you countless times, but it’s true. In an ever-changing industry, you must stay informed. If you’re an aspiring PR practitioner, but you don’t really care about the latest trends in the field or what’s going on in the world, pick a different major or get with the program. Here’s why:

  1. It’s good for your clients.

A well-read PR practitioner is a credible one. If you know your stuff, it will reflect in your work and your client will notice. If you’re staying up to date on current events and the latest innovations in PR, social media and marketing, it will serve as a benefit to your client. Using your knowledge as a tool only provides reassurance to your client that he or she is getting the best of the best.

  1. It makes you a valuable employee.

Not only is knowing your stuff great for your client, but it’s also beneficial to your company. More so than ever, companies are seeking employees who are knowledgeable, reliable, and guaranteed to deliver the best results. The more up to date you are on what’s going on in the PR industry and the world around it, the more you can effectively contribute to the success of the company.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

As I mentioned earlier, if the latest news in the PR industry or the world in general sparks none of your interests, learn to love it, because once you leave college and enter the real world, people are going to want to talk about it. Current events will probably make up the majority of your morning conversations with your co-workers, so don’t be left out! Better yet, don’t make yourself look foolish by being completely clueless about what’s going on in the world. It’s that important!

It’s understandable if your schedule doesn’t allow you to be as well read as you’d like, but try to set aside at least five minutes of your day to scroll through your news feed or visit your favorite news site to get a general rundown of what’s happening that day. You won’t regret it!

Anissa Gabbara is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She currently serves as the vice president of public relations in EMU’s PRSSA Chapter. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.