A Stellar Week

This semester I had an awesome opportunity to support my client. I drove four hours south to St. Louis through pouring rain. I was with my friend Emily, who works at the planetarium with me. Along the way, between Beatle’s songs and my very limited selection of Broadway tunes (basically just Hamilton), we were coming up with a list of topics for our panel discussion the next morning.

We were on our way to a planetarium conference, and we were so excited (if that’s not the nerdiest thing you’ve ever heard, then I don’t know what is).

The 2017 Pleiades National Planetarium Conference is the first national conference in about 30 years. Last year, the conference we went to was only regional, and we were blown away. We couldn’t wait to see what a national conference would bring to the table.

The first morning, we were a part of the first workshop. Titled “Challenges and Opportunities for College and University Planetariums,” our own director was supposed to be a panelist (he was the one who came up with the idea). But, ironically, due to scheduling conflicts, Dr. Case couldn’t even attend the conference. There’s just one example of a challenge for a university planetarium when the director is also a professor.

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Emily and I were on the panel in his stead, and it worked out perfectly. We were the only students on the panel (let alone some of the only students at the entire conference), so we were able to speak directly to how Strickler Planetarium can work with other departments, and opportunities for students. I offered some insight to our PR program and my role as account executive, ergo, social media manager, and the various events we have been able to do by working with this new team. The moderator came up to us right after the panel and gushed about how great it was to have student perspectives on the panel. And, throughout the conference, various people would stop us in the hall and say that we did a great job on the panel, or we would be casually chatting with someone and they would suddenly say, “Oh! You were on the panel Wednesday morning!” I felt like a celebrity.

The second day, Emily gave a ten-minute paper talk about her summer research project. As her summer roommate, I had witnessed some of this research firsthand, and I was so proud of her for presenting at a national conference (I had intended on submitting a presentation about the PR stuff I did last semester and over the summer, but, alas, I missed the submission deadline. Classic Katy). Emily’s project was designing and 3D printing a filar micrometer, which is a device used with telescopes to measure the orbits of double stars. Basically, it’s a tool that measures very small (from our perspectives) distances for objects that are very, very far away. And this girl figured out how to make one on her own. Her presentation went off without a hitch (even though she had to practice it in front of me multiple times before she was anywhere satisfied with it), and many people in the crowd were interested in her design and I was so freaking happy for her.

Now that we got the business out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff.

Planetarium conferences are great places to be. I’m obviously biased. I love being around a ton of like-minded people who are open-minded to new ideas and new technologies and who get excited over everything from laser lights to what the night sky will look like in 18 months to one science center who created a whole science day based around Harry Potter.

I also walked into the largest planetarium I have ever seen, with the best Zeiss LED projector that projected the best starfield my own two eyes have ever seen. Between the sponsor demos and various paper talks, I feel bad for Dr. Case for coming back with so many ideas of what to buy to improve our planetarium and all the different events we should do. But hey, he let us run free at a national conference, so he should have seen this coming.

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Emily and I were able to connect with a Strickler alum, Buddy Stark, who hosted the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) conference and whose house we gratefully stayed at last year. We recognized a few more planetarians, which just proves that we’re making tangible connections with people we could very feasibly be working with in a few years’ time. We sat in at the state and regional meetings and were able to vote for some of the elections and by-law changes. I learned more about how GLPA works, and am considering joining (or trying to join) either the publications team or technology team.

But my favorite part? I met the event coordinator of the entire conference. And THAT is probably the nerdiest thing I’ve ever said (also, that I’m a PR nerd). We swapped business cards, and we tried for three days to come up with a good time for us to meet, but (understandably) Darla was extremely busy. We promised to one day have a conference call, because I think part of her was just as excited to have someone express an interest in event planning.

I sat in at two paper talks that talked about event planning, mostly for the eclipse. One presentation was basically event planning and PR 101, and I spent the whole ten minutes giggling because this is my life. My career dream is to work for a planetarium or science center as an event planner. I’d honestly be happy starting off as just an operator or whatever, but I have resigned myself to always having more ideas of community outreach and events for the planetarium than the planetarium can handle.

Written By: Katy Maurer, Account Executive

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#METOO

Picture3.pngSexual assault has always been a problem, but, until recently, it has been a lot easier to sweep under the rug. This is an unpleasant subject that causes discomfort in many circles, but people are finally speaking out.

Many big name actresses have recently come forward with their stories on sexual harassment from film producer Harvey Weinstein. He had made advances that were kept quiet until now, but he has finally been exposed.

Picture2.pngWith these accusations coming to light, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to bravely share their sexual assault stories. Since then social media has exploded with women sharing their own personal sexual assault stories, tagging them with #metoo.

Picture1These two small words are making such an impact, people are finally talking about an issue that has been portrayed as taboo. Women all over the world have responded to this movement. Even female senators have begun speaking out about their own sexual assault experiences.

This campaign is giving women freedom from these weights that they have been carrying around with them, some for years. The question that needs to be asked is, will this movement make a change?

If you think about it, how does any change begin but through recognition of the problem? The language and the approach we use to promote awareness is highly important when addressing serious issues. If people can finally see what is going on in the world around them maybe they will make the time to stick up for those who need it.

This campaign has made progress by raising awareness for a real problem in society. It has made an effort to focus more on the victims and their struggles rather than the offenders who try to bounce the blame off of themselves.

Rape culture is prevalent in our society, sometimes just with words. People should be able to feel safe doing everyday things like walking down the street, or going to work. Hopefully, the #metoo campaign can finally make enough people realize that something needs to change.

Written By: Hannah Young, Junior Account Executive

Is Public relations really that important in today’s generation?

JP.pngBefore coming to Olivet Nazarene University, I felt like I already had my career choice planned out for myself, or at least the outline. I grew up in a Christian family and had the privilege of being a pastor’s son. My family is from Haiti, which means they learned English as a second language, which also means they will always have a Haitian accent. Communications were always involved in my life growing up. I found myself loving it more each time when trying to translate to people what my parents say because of their heavy accent. I knew growing up I wanted to be involved with communications in my career choice, but I just didn’t know what exactly to do with it. But then after having a college visit and meet Professor Elizabeth Kerns, I truly believe my mind was set on which field of communications I wanted to continue my studies in.
After taking a year of Public relations classes, Professor Kerns always stated that “Public relations is a way to present the company’s or organization public image around the world.” According to Public Relations News, “Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”  As of right now, I’m currently enrolled in three Public Relations courses and even though I’m still confused on some things, I’m taking every day as a process.

There are a few things I’ve picked up with continuing my studies with Public Relations. The first thing I’ve picked us is you need to be ready for development of business contacts by means of individual systems, administration, or participation and supporting on occasions. Basically, you should be ready to sponsor and speak at an event with a Public Relations attitude and be ready to represent the company’s image. The second thing is composing and blogging for the web. A good writer will always write a weekly or daily blog to improve his or her writing skills and keeps their followers updated.  Thirdly, be ready for emergency advertising procedures. As a writer or spokesperson, you should be able to react throughout any situation and be able to keep the critics from ruining your image. Finally, be ready for web-based social networking advancements and reactions to negative conclusions on the web. Professor Kerns gave me an example of a news reporter at a news press conference and the media asking negative questions to get negative and biased answers.
I couldn’t express how much learning about Public Relations has changed my outlook in life in a positive way. The more I watch the sports, the news or just a TV show, I see Public Relations being used in everything. The one thing that has amazed me the most is how similar but slightly different public relations is to advertising. The primary objective is to get the word out about you, your organization, your items, and administrations to the individuals who could possibly purchase from you. Advertising is only one player in showcasing, whereas promoting is comprised of numerous things. The uplifting news about PR is the cost and the adequacy when it’s before your objective market. Public relations is always used every day in real life situations. If we thought press conferences and the news were up to date with every day, I truly believe social media public relations is on the rise.

Written By: Jonathan Pierre, Junior Account Executive 

Four Tips For Creating The Best Social Media For Your Brand

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  1. What is the goal?

What are you trying to achieve from your social media accounts? Before you start, that goal needs to be determined. If you are trying to sell a specific product, then you need to create content supporting that product to inform customers why this product is best for them and why they need to purchase it. If you are trying to get your brand name out there you need post content that goes along with the essence of your brand. For example, if your brand has strong Christian values post bible verses, post encouraging thoughts or any content that lets your audience know what is important to your brand.

  1. Who is my audience?

One very important aspect of social media is knowing your audience. If you do not know your audience, you will not know what type of information will appeal to them. If your audience is middle aged men, then Twitter and Instagram may not be the ideal platforms to use, but Google+ and Facebook may be better. As for information, colorful infographics will not be the best way to communicate with this audience either. Not looking into your audience’s interests will cause you to fail on social media.

 

  1. What type of content should be posted?

This depends on both your goal of the platform and your audience. You want to post content that will help you achieve your goal and also something your audience will be interested in. Look into what the platform(s) you are using are mostly used for and see what companies like yours are doing on social media. When looking at your competitors, determine what they are doing right and wrong, and be sure to identify if their audience is the same as yours before trying something you saw that had a good reaction.

  1. How do can I tell what is working?

Facebook is a great platform to look at analytics. You can see how many people have seen your post and the demographics behind those people; hopefully the majority is within your target audience. The real determination to tell if your content is working well is not the amount of followers you have but the amount of interaction you have on your page. You can have 100,000 followers but if no one is paying attention to your content or taking the time to comment, like or share what is the point? If your page is creating a lot of likes and positive interactions then you are doing it right, try something different to determine what is not working for your brand.

Written By: Nicole Pilbeam, Account Executive

Celebrating Differences In PR

As a public relations student I have often found it to be extremely difficult to stay focused on one thing because there are a million different directions that you can run.

While I am doing many things, I am also often the type of person that sometimes falls into the mindset that there is only one way to do something. I generally believe that my way is the right way. Through collaborating with others I have seen that this is not the case at all.

There are many different clients in our agency and with each client there is an account executive. While we all technically hold the same position, we are all doing vastly different things from one another. We each come at problems and run our teams in different ways. At first I felt inferior to other leaders and threatened that they would do a better job than me. While it is sometimes healthy in small doses to benchmark yourself and compare to where others are it, it is not everything.

I have been learning that each situation is unique and calls for a unique way to handle it. I see things differently from how another person would. Each client is different so there has to be many personalities to fit their needs. Then after you find the right fit, the beauty of having differences from others is that at weekly meetings if you are struggling, someone else can share their ideas and help you get unstuck. It’s a balancing act. We must all be different and think differently in order to help one another succeed.

This blog may not teach you an important PR skill by the books, but I sincerely hope that it helps someone to feel comfortable with leading something for themselves.

Let us celebrate our differences and learn from one another.

Written By: Helen Berdebes, Account Executive

 

PR From Home

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Since I graduate in less than two years, the “what am I gonna do with my life?” panic has begun. What field of PR am I going to go into? Corporate? Agency? Or Non-profit? When I envision myself 5 years from now, I see myself walking into my office with Starbucks in hand and a cute Target blazer. According to the PRWeek article “Do PR agencies really need an office? Virtual working takes off in comms,” I, and many other soon-to-be-graduating PR pros, could be working in pajamas in 5 years.

More and more PR agencies are starting to convert to virtual work spaces. When I think of a job that’s completely online, I think of a better work-life balance. As PR pros, we are always on the clock, so it can be hard to find a nice work-life balance. With a virtual work space, there is more flexibility to raise a family or pursue other passions as well. With this flexibility comes more work satisfaction, I think.

Some of the benefits agencies have seen from becoming virtual are the ability to offer lower prices to clients, a more responsive team, and better employee retention because of more flexible and unrestrictive work policies. With benefits also come some downfalls, such as the ability to train new staff or the feeling of isolation.

As a PR student, it’s interesting to read about where the world of PR is headed. Now, everything is online, and bricks and mortar offices aren’t really necessary to perform a job well anymore.

Pat Pearson, an MD at Firstlight agency, said “Technology makes virtual working easier – but PR is still very much a people business where people get together to create programmes and work creatively.”

Even if our job becomes strictly online, PR is still a people-oriented career that requires collaboration.

Written By: Emma Vandermark, Associate Account Executive

Find Your Niché

This Semester at Olivet Nazarene University, we had great guest speakers come into Chapel and speak to the student body. One of my favorites was a couple named Kristin and Danny.

According to Kristinanddanny.com, “Kristin and Danny Adams are entertainers, content creators, public speakers and viral sensations who, according to Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, are “taking your co-worker’s YouTube break by storm.” Passionate about God and family, K & D post new videos every Friday that are fun and entertaining for people of all ages.  They launched their social channels in June of 2015, and already their #LaughterIsTheBestMedicine online community has grown to over 900,000 people”.

After they spoke in chapel, they came to two of my communications classes to talk about their rise to “fame” and how they handle communications and how they found their audience.

Their story was truly inspiring and it showed a lot about what amazing things God can do in your life. While listening to them, I was thinking about the best way for me to find my audience, and influence them. I have been trying to brand my social media and make my name known in the online community, but I had been struggling. The biggest thing I remember them saying is that you need to focus on WHAT you’re bringing to the metaphorical table that isn’t already out there. What makes you different from the millions of other people you see on Instagram. This comes back to the idea of branding yourself and your “product”.

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Business 2 Community: “Find Your Brand Voice on Social Media”

So if you’re trying to introduce a product or idea to the world online or in person, it is crucial to be aware of what type of brand you’re putting off, and what audience you are attempting to grab.

Written By: Margaret Sutton, Junior Account Executive

The Boston Babes

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Exhilaration and sleep: the two thoughts constantly streaming through my brain and everyone else’s during PRSSA 2017 National Conference. You look to the left and see people bustling, Lyfts and Ubers coming and going, people headed to Starbucks, and then you look to your right – a luscious green park, pigeons, rain spitting every so often, but peace and quiet, or as much as you will receive in the city.

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Doesn’t life seem similar? As if there is a peaceful revolution to the direction you are headed in? That it is possible to do what you love and love what you do?

 

Patrice Tanaka, founder of Joyful Planet LLC, gave me a run for my money when she said,

 

“Discovering and articulating your life purpose is the single most efficient and powerful thing you can do to reach your leadership potential and greatest success.”

 

The most awarding part of this conference was the moment we heard our university won first place and honorable mention for the NODAC competition. All the blood, sweat, and tears for the past two years that went into establishing our PR program, PRSSA chapter and PR firm (Inspired Strategies Agency, ISA), came to fruition.

 

“The Revolution Continues” was the theme of the conference, but I believe this conference started a revolution. Personally, and through the other four peers who attended, I could see them grow into who they are, what they believe in and see that passion thrive in only four days.

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The students on those teams, who earned their awards for their work within this class and all the dedication put forth, are the same students involved and invested in our PRSSA and ISA.

Of course, we had some fun along the way . . . 

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Oh, did I mention how we have our very own Target model?

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Late night shenanigans 

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My take away from National Conference? Do what you love and never look back.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will ever forget how you made them feel”Maya Angelou

As Always,

Jess

Written By: Jessie Kilbride, Olivet PRSSA President

Do you believe in ethics?

NPDo you believe that all public relations professionals should be held accountable for the same rules of ethics? Or should their ethics depend on which professional organization they are a part of?

 

On Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017, Richard Edelman, Edelman CEO, contacted the four major public relations organizations around the world—the PR Council, the Arthur W. Page Society, PRSA, and IABC—and asked them to form a united standard for ethics for all public relations professionals, according to PR Week. This united standard is proposed to be named the “PR Compact” and the goal of this is to hold all public relations professionals accountable for their actions no matter what professional organization they stand with or if they are a part of one.

 

This request from Edelman came about because of the recent scandal regarding well-known PR professional Lord Bell and his agency Bell Pottinger. As of now, the agency is under a multitude of lawsuits and these top PR organizations had different opinions on the matter. Edelman is proposing this document so that there is no confusion regarding ethics within the public relations profession.

 

“We must do better,” Edelman said, according to PR Week. “We need a set of principles that are universal, consistent, and well understood across the industry. The time has come to adhere to a single set of strong standards and to hold all of our people accountable to them.”

 

As of Friday Oct. 20, the PR Council and the Arthur W. Page Society are both in on this collaboration and are excited to set a standard for all public relations professionals.

 

“What Richard [Edelman] said was bold and exciting,” said PR Council president Renee Wilson, according to PR Week. “I’d be happy to partner with the industry in any way to reinforce what we stand for.”

 

PRSA and IABC are not jumping towards this partnership. PRSA has released a statement saying that they stand by their own code of ethics and it is the cornerstone of their entire organization, while IABC has yet to comment on the matter.

 

Ethics have always been important within the public relations industry because in earlier years, and events sometimes today, public relations professionals are perceived to be liars and “spin” the truth. By having ethics for the industry these organizations are putting up rules on what they support and what actions they are against. Normally when there is an issue with someone within the business that is clearly in violation of one of these organization’s pillars of ethics, the company will release a statement stating what actions they do not support. Having this collaboration would hold all professionals to the same standard.
Do you believe there should be one doctrine that all public relations professionals should uphold?

Written By: Nicole Pilbeam, Account Executive

View the original post here: https://nicolepilbeamblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/do-you-believe-in-ethics/

My Journey to PR

public-relations“You should really consider taking the Intro to Public Relations class I’m teaching next semester,” Professor Kerns (PK) said to me one day after a journalism class. I responded with, “Yeah, maybe!” hoping that she would be satisfied with my answer. Besides, I was only taking her journalism class because I needed an extra class to fill my schedule. Why would she think I would be interested in PR? Little did I know, PK saw something in me that I hadn’t yet found in myself – a determined woman with a strong voice.

Coming to Olivet as a freshman, I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Then, I thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Next, I decided I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do so I chose a basic major and minor that would give me options when I graduate college. Though I was surviving my classes and getting along well in the major I had chosen, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to do with my future, I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing, and I didn’t feel connected to the department I was a part of. For some people, using their freshman year as a “trial and error” may be completely fine, but I hated having no idea what I wanted to do with my future.

During the time I spent trying to convince myself that I had made the right choice in majors, I ran into PK around campus many times. Each time, she was persistent in her goal of helping me explore the world of PR. Finally, during a conversation at our local Starbucks, PK got through to me.

I had casually mentioned that I was working a job on campus, to which she responded by asking where I worked. After explaining what I do at my job and responsibilities of the department I work for she said, “So basically, you’re telling me that you work in Public Relations.” I had never really realized that what I was doing would be considered PR. This sparked my interest in the major, learning more about what I can do with it, and ultimately changing my major.

Fast forward to present day, and it’s about all I can do to not explode with excitement each time someone asks me about my major. Not only have I found a sense of direction in my life, but I’ve been experiencing a passion inside myself that honestly surprises me. Through opportunities in the PR major like Inspired Strategies Agency, I’m able to gain real experience working in the PR field. This experience has not only solidified the conviction that I made the right decision when I changed my major (for the third time), but it’s given me a confidence and a voice that I didn’t know existed in myself.

Having the opportunity to work with a team to meet our client’s needs. whether it be through promotion, social media, event planning, etc., has given me a true taste of what is to come in my future. In working with my team, I’ve been able to come up with ideas, bounce them off of my teammates, and even help expand upon ideas of the others I’m working with. This has forced me to put myself out there and not be scared of potential rejection but instead, refocus and adjust my thinking for the betterment of our client.

For a girl who knew nothing about what Public Relations was when I came to college, I’d say I’ve learned more about it and myself than I could’ve ever dreamed when I signed the slip declaring a change in my major. Even if this semester is a tiny taste of what my future holds, I know I’ve landed the jackpot when it comes to finding the right career path. I’m extremely excited about the opportunities I’ve been given through the PR program and I am ecstatic to see where it takes me.

Written By: Haley Foster, Junior Account Executive