What I Learned on the First Week of My Public Relations Internship

I just finished the first week of my public relations internship with the Museum of Science and Industry. Let me just say, it was nothing like I expected it to be. I went in thinking that I would only be watching and taking notes.

To my surprise, I was given a hands-on assignment on the first day. By the second day, I was running errands with people from WCIU-TV. Upon the end of the week, I had already been to a few meetings and worked on my first “media alert.”

I’ve learned so much in just the four days that I’ve worked. Although I’m already comfortable with communicating, I had to adjust to meeting the people my department as well as other departments. I have been learning more about my colleagues and getting more of an understanding of their roles/titles.

I suppose one of the biggest things I’ve learned after this week is that public relations is unexpected. There’s never just one thing you have to focus on, there’s always more. No single day is similar to the other. This is primarily why I think I enjoyed my first week so much. Each day, there was a different task. Not only this, but I was actually “doing.”

I have already made so many mistakes and my colleagues have helped and corrected me. I sent a draft of a media alert and when I received it back, there were red marks all over it. This was very intimidating but it’s what I needed in order to do a better job. My colleagues made me feel comfortable and went over my mistakes with me. What I’m trying to say is, I realized that it’s okay to make mistakes and by doing so, it will only benefit you.

I’m so excited for the rest of my journey as a public relations intern and towards the end of my internship I will reflect on everything I’ve learned. I’m prepared to make many more mistakes but I am also prepared for my success!

Goldene Brown

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Thank you ISA

I can honestly say that this semester has been nothing short of stressful! There were so many big projects and so many tests that I don’t know how I got through all of it in one piece.

Throughout all of the stress I learned a lot, especially in Inspired Strategies Agency (ISA). This was my first semester in agency and I didn’t know what to expect. Each team was so different in what they were trying to accomplish for their client and I was worried because I didn’t know what to expect when I got put on a team.

I got to be a part of the Strickler Planetarium team. I was freaking out a little bit when I heard that this is the team that I would be working with for the semester because I knew little to nothing about space! Luckily, we had the help of our incredible AE, Katy Maurer and our AAE Baylee Harrison. Katy loves space so much and the love that she has for it helped me learn more about it and end up loving it too.

Going into this team I didn’t know what we would be working on, but I did know that I was excited and nervous to see what was to come. I am walking away from this semester with so much more knowledge in Public Relations, and I gained a lot of that from being on this team.

Not only did I end up learning a lot about space, especially at our educators workshop about the eclipse, (August 21st. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!), I also learned how to make a social media calendar and how to keep up with it, I learned how to plan an event, make flyers for it, promote it, and get everything ready for it. Promotion is so important and I cannot stress that enough!

While I did learn a lot in the other classes that I took this semester, this is the one that I got the most out of. I got to implement the things that I was learning for a real client. When I first came into agency I didn’t think that I would get to plan out not only one event, but 2 events, that both went extremely well.

There was so much planning and hard work that went into these events. We were so happy about the way that our first event went because we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know how many people were going to show up, if we had enough materials, or if we had done enough promotion.

The craft night ended up being a huge success! I had so much fun working with my team to come up with the crafts that we would be doing, making flyers, promoting it wherever and whenever we could, and partnering with the Exploration Station. It is something that we hope to implement for years to come.

There is so much that I learned that I know I will carry it all with me wherever I go and to whatever job I have in the future.

I want to say a huge thank you to Katy, Baylee, and Goldene for being such an amazing team of women to work with. I also want to thank Dr. Case for believing in us so much and appreciating all of the hard work that we put in this semester.

I feel so blessed to have been put on the Strickler Planetarium team, not only did I learn so much, but I made great friends. Thank you ISA!

By Rebecca Plomero, Junior Account Executive, Strickler Planetarium

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3 Ways PR helps nonprofits

nonprofit-pr

One of the things I love about public relations is that every organization needs a public relations specialist.

In high school, I wanted to major in social work and corporate communications. I dreamed of helping pregnancy resource centers spread the message of the value of life. After taking a communication class, I became curious about the public relations major and took Intro to PR. I started to realize that a public relations major would help me accomplish this dream.

Here are three ways public relations can help nonprofits.

  1. Volunteers

Nonprofit organizations need public relations specialists. When a nonprofit organization has a positive public image there is a higher chance of the public donating their time to help the organization succeed. Most nonprofits rely on volunteers in a variety of ways such as marketing, graphic design, accounting, website development, event planning, and much more.

  1. Awareness

PR helps nonprofits spread their message. This may happen through a social media campaign, a charity that raises funds for cancer research, and much more. Most nonprofits need PR help because the volunteers or workers usually have not been trained correctly.

  1. Donations

Most nonprofits survive off of donations.  By creating a positive public image, the nonprofit will increase its fundraising and the number of volunteers. Also, promoting the success of the nonprofit can help increase donations. People are more likely to donate to a nonprofit if they feel like their donation is being used for a specific positive purpose.

These are just three of the many reasons public relations can help nonprofits. I am excited to learn more about how the two go together.

By Ailis Bull, Junior Account Executive, Communication Department

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The Importance of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

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The comfort zone is defined as “a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.”  The key words for me here are “safe” and “without stress.”  Stress is seen as a dirty word, but healthy stress can actually be a catalyst for growth.  When was the last time you did something you were really proud of inside of your comfort zone?  Putting yourself out there does not feel safe and comfortable, you are vulnerable to stress, but it is how you reap the biggest rewards.

Risks are growing experiences

Failure can be daunting.  Even if we make mistakes, we can still gain experiences that we can learn from.  I read in another blog that “fail” can be re-framed as “first attempt in learning.” We often settle for less than because we are scared of the possibility of failure.  We actually perform at our peak when we are taking a risk.  Experiences where we have taken a risk build onto our skills and self-knowledge.  It is important to embrace change and unfamiliarity.  Was it really a failure if there was something to be learned from it?

There is a science behind the “comfort zone”

Back in 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson described that a state of comfort created a steady level of performance.  Once we reach a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal, “optimal anxiety,” we reach maximum performance.  Although healthy stress can push us to be more productive, too much stress will cause a sharp performance drop.  All in all, when you challenge yourself, there can be amazing results.

I love certainty and consistency, but my love for these two things were starting to hold me back from growing and trying new things – both in my personal and professional life.  One of my biggest accomplishments this semester was being elected Vice President of my PRSSA Chapter.  It was scary and out of my comfort zone, but I can’t wait for all the things I’ll learn, and experiences I’ll gain, from embracing this challenge.

Works Cited

http://lifehacker.com/the-science-of-breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-w-656426705

By Emma Vandermark, Junior Account Executive, KCCC

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Writing Right

write-right

I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. I believe that this is due to the fact that I read voraciously as a child, because this initial interest was cultivated and stretched by my education, and because I am an external processor. Because of this, I am constantly caught in the dichotomy of writing streams of consciousness brought on by bursts of inspiration, and of writing something well; writing something that makes sense to someone other than myself. (And then again, there are times when even I don’t understand what I once wrote!)

The ability to write well is not necessarily a skill that one is born with. Of course, there are those who have a natural affinity for words and for presenting ideas in a cohesive manner, but there are multiple components to effective writing that have to be learned. The secret to writing well does not lie in correct grammar and proper spelling, although both of these things are of great importance. The key to excellent writing is often found in the overarching principles that govern your writing style. Although there is a myriad of rules and tips that one could follow, I will focus on three guidelines that will greatly increase your effectiveness as a writer.

  1. Keep it concise

Hans Hoffman once said that “the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” There are those who write with so much ostentation that their writing is almost like another language; it must be translated before it can be understood. On the other hand, there are those who write simply to fill up space on a page; their writing is repetitive and confusing. The key to writing in the fine line between that which is esoteric and that which is ultimately meaningless is to keep it concise. Simplicity and straightforwardness are critical, especially in the world of public relations.

  1. Keep it sincere

Yet another way to maintain clarity in writing is to be sincere. When you say what you mean and mean what you say, your credibility increases along with your relatability. In the world of PR, both of these qualities are vital. The degree of rapport you establish with your audience directly affects the influence you have over their perceptions. George Orwell maintained that “the greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.” To effectively challenge opinions and influence others with our writing, we must write with sincerity.

  1. Keep it audience-focused

In textbooks and lectures we are often told to be audience-oriented, but it can be difficult to construe what that means for our writing. According to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, “style resembles good manners. It comes of endeavoring to understand others, of thinking for them rather than yourself—or thinking, that is, with the heart as well as the head.” Writing with my audience in mind is something that is difficult for me because the ideas that often make sense to me don’t necessarily translate to my audience. Joseph Williams, in his book Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, highlights an important point: striving for a measured objectivity when we write is imperative because “our own writing always seems clearer to us than to our readers, because we read into it what we want them to get out of it…instead of revising our writing to meet their needs, we send it off the moment it meets ours”.

The beauty of writing is that there is always room for improvement. By following these three strategies, your writing will become increasingly clear and effective. And with that, you’re well on your way to writing the right way.

By Cassie Appleton, Junior Account Executive,Exploration Station

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American Airlines PR Crisis

As many of you all know, on April 10, 2017, United Airlines had a huge altercation with one of the passengers on the plane.  United overbooked the plane and did not have room left for staff members. They asked a few people to leave, however when no one else volunteered they decided to hand-pick at random someone to leave the plane. Dr. David Dao, was chosen. Dao refused and as a result was left with injuries from being physically handled by United’s Staff.  The Public Relations for this incident with United was absolutely terrible. First, they made a statement that blamed the passenger rather than the staff member. Secondly, they didn’t see fit to make an apology to the victim until later on when they saw that stocks had dropped.

About a week and a half later, American Airlines had an incident also between a staff member and a passenger. A staff member allegedly hit a woman with a stroller, nearly hitting the baby she was holding. Not only that but another passenger tried to stick up for the woman, and the staff member got into altercation with him which involved yelling and harmful words shared. This was also a tragic story, but the PR for this incident was much better handled than that of United Airlines.

American Airlines immediately handled the situation. They not only apologized to the woman first-hand they also upgraded her to first class soon after the incident happened. Not only this, but they immediately put the United Airlines employee on suspension. American Airlines says, “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers,” the airline said in a statement. “The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions.” (AA, Statement)

On one hand, United Airlines blamed the passenger. However, American Airlines put the blame on themselves, and immediately did everything possible to try and reconcile the situation with the victim. This people, is great Public Relations!

By Goldene Brown, Junior Account Executive, Strickler Planetarium

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The McFace Saga – The Dangers of Crowdsourcing Names

It is not difficult to realize that you take a substantial risk when you give your audience input on valuable aspects of your business. Just because your audience members are the ones who you’re trying to find the perfect product name for doesn’t mean that they are going to be willing, or even able, to give you that perfect name you’re looking for. Moreover, asking your audience an open-ended question can lead to a variety of different responses, not all of them responses that you feel would represent your business. To cap it all off, you are setting yourself up when you ask your audience for  input. Your audience wants to see the ideas they’ve given you put to use, and not using them can lead to offense on their part.

This is the dilemma currently faced by a group in San Diego as they attempt to find a name for their new Major League Soccer Name. Leading in the polls for the crowdsourced naming competition is the name “Footy McFootyface,” which has more than double the votes of the previous option. While it is unlikely that San Diego will want to name their team “Footy McFootyface” or that the league will allow the team to have such a name, this has left the group holding the poll in a bit of a bind. The placed themselves at the mercies of the internet’s collective “wisdom,” and rejecting it will not net them positive face to those people who were willing and dedicated enough to take the poll. What course of action should they pursue? As it would turn out, there is a case to draw from which this one harkens back to, the thrilling tale of Boaty McBoatface.

Boaty McBoatface

The UK’s National Environment Research Council faced a similar dilemma when they asked audience members to name their new ship. Overwhelmingly, the results claimed that the people wanted to see the RRS Boaty McBoatface set sail. The council faced the decision of either caving into the audiences demands (possibly compromising their professional image), or rejecting the audience’s idea. The council found an effective compromise however. The ship was christened the RRS Sir David Attenborough, much to the disappointment of those watching, but the research council did not want their audience to feel as if they hadn’t been listened to. The name Boaty McBoatface ended up being given to three unmanned submersible units that would assist with the ship’s research. While people were still disappointed that Boaty McBoatface was not a boat but a submarine, the audience was placated. The Research Council has even capitalized on the publicity of Boaty, referring to the expiditions by the currently functional submarines as “the adventures of Boaty,” and going as far to create a cartoon character based on the Boaty McBoatface sub to help children learn about their research.

You can’t take every bit of advice that your public offers you. To paraphrase a quote from Men in Black, a person is smart – people on the other hand, are not. The advice given to us intentionally by large publics will hardly ever be something which can be considered “good.” We must remember however, that even if we don’t decide to formulate our strategy based on the ideas our publics give us, we need to let our publics know that we’re listening to them. We can’t be afraid to incorporate what our audience tells us into our existing strategy (so long as we do so with self-control). I hope this is something that the Sand Diego soccer team remembers as they consider the name “Footy McFootyface.”

By Steven Case, Junior Account Executive, Communication Department

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3 lessons from the Starbucks new Frappuccino

starbucks

The new popular drink that everyone has been talking about lately is the ‘Unicorn Frappuccino’ from Starbucks. This drink promises to make unicorn (and sugar) lovers’ dreams come true. Starbucks used the slogan “As rare as…a unicorn. The color-changing, flavor-changing #UnicornFrappuccino–here for a limited time at participating stores.” Starbucks did good PR work here with using a play on words with the drinks rare appearance, just like a unicorn. Starbucks was only making this drink available from April 19-23.

Starbucks was trying to reach the target audience of the younger crowd since kids usually go to smaller coffee shops in their own towns that appeal more to them. Jokes were written in the paper and on the news saying that it tasted like a naughty child’s birthday party. This fun colored drink was more noticeable with the purple, blue, and pink color combination. The PR for this was great getting the word out since several Starbucks’ sold out quickly.

Here are 3 lessons to takeaway from this Starbucks drink experience:

1.) Make it Urgent

If your company wants a new product to be sought-after or the main topic of conversation, then make sure to make it be sold for a limited time only. Putting a time restrain on a product will make the customers curious as to why it is only being sold for so long and they will feel like they need to buy it before it is gone for forever. Even if they do not want to purchase it, curiosity make spike and people will make it go viral, researching the product, creating talk, impressions, and likes on social media. Creating urgency and generating that buzz will make you a great profit from this marketing strategy.

2.) Remember Your Employees

Unfortunately, this drink did not taste good according to the majority of the Starbucks employees. The co-workers complained that the ingredients stained their hands/clothes when making it, as well as making the store a gross, sticky environment. Starbucks employees were also complaining about making them since the process for putting all of the ingredients together took so long and was considered disgusting. Remembering your employees is a huge deal because they are the ones who are the storytellers for your PR and if they are not sharing positive feedback, then your campaign or product will look like a failure. Employees greatly effect your reputation and brand, so make sure they are somewhat happy as well or else conflict behind the scenes may occur.

3.) Encourage Over-The-Top Reactions

Love your fans! People who are liking, favoriting, commenting, sharing, posting pictures, facebooking, tweeting, retweeting, snap chatting, or using Instagram for mentioning your product is a huge success and compliment. Every post makes a difference so make sure to encourage people to keep up their excitement and love for your company and product. A quote from a Twitter post stated, “Unicorn Frappuccino? It’s like Starbucks went into my heart and wrote me a liquid love song.” There were numerous comments that enhanced positivity and good vibes for promoting the brand. The bigger the reaction, the better. Make sure to celebrate with the fans and make it known that you care about their happiness!

https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/22556.aspx

By Lindsy Hentschel, Junior Account Executive, KCCC

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Communication Careers

3 things a Communication major has heard:

  1. People major in Communication because they don’t actually know what they want to do in life.
  2. You can’t be truly successful with a degree in communication.
  3. What jobs can you even do with a degree in communication?

As a communication major, I have been told all three of these things. I have been asked if I’m positive I want to be a communication major, and if this degree will be able to provide me with a successful job and sufficient  income. I have been asked if I’ll be writing and saying speeches, because that’s what communication majors do, write and give speeches. Which is not true.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.2 million individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 have graduated from a communication degree program and are employed in full-time work.

Now more than ever companies, organizations, and brands need people who are expert communicators. It is important to understand how a single message can be distributed and translated through out different forms of media. Students who major in Communication, Public Relations and Journalism (which are all majors offered at Olivet) have the potential to earn a job in media, the arts, marketing, public relations, journalism and much more.

The way that our world communicates with each other has changed. The world of digital media has grown exponentially.One of the most common, and well paid jobs for communication majors, are Vice President of Public Relations (PR) and Corporate Communications. In any company or organizations these are very important roles. A VP of Corporate Communications, dictates every message that a company sends to the customer. In these roles, the VP will be working to ensure your company is communicating effectively in all its marketing materials, while maintaining a healthy relationship with the public. The customer is always right and needs to always be put first.

Some other jobs to consider with a communication degree: Broadcast News Analyst, Radio Broadcaster, Fundraising Manager, Promotions Manager, Public Relations Specialist, Event Planner, and Writer

  1. People major in Communication because they don’t actually know what they want to do in life – FALSE, there are so many options to choose from
  2. You can’t be truly successful with a degree in communications – FALSE, some of the highest paying, and most important roles in a company can be earned with a degree in communication
  3. What jobs can you even do with a degree in communication? A lot, and all in a wide range. Having a degree in communication, opens the door to many different pathways, and possibilities.
By Samantha Lopez, Junior Account Executive, KC-CASA

 

 

6 Ways Monopoly can teach you lessons for your career

84 years ago, Hasbro introduced a board game that would change the game industry forever. That game was Monopoly, if my title didn’t give that away.

Monopoly_pack_logo.png

As a kid, I remember trying to play Monopoly and just ending up being confused, frustrated, and bored. But now, I play almost every week and always finish feeling exhilarated, competitive, and ready to play again…and again…and again…

What I’ve come to realize is that there is much to learn from the game of Monopoly in your career, and life in general.

  1. Try Everything
    • The best strategy in the game is to buy everything property you land on. This gives you a wide range of properties all over the board, and a better chance at getting ahead because more people will land on you. In life, this translates to taking chances, and not closing doors on job opportunities just because they might seem scary. Make yourself valuable and get some experience under your belt.
    • Boardwalk_&_Park_Place
  2. Don’t Go to Jail
    • This might seem obvious, but the more time you spend in jail, the worse your odds are at winning. In life, be ethical and do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Don’t let one wrong decision or mistake haunt you forever. So..yeah, stay out of jail…
    • monopoly-jail.jpg
  3. Build
    • If you just hang on to your money the whole game, and never put up houses or hotels, you’ll never find yourself on top. In life, it might seem like the only way to win is to have the most money, but if you never invest your money will evaporate faster than you could say, “Boardwalk.”
  4. No Free Stays
    • When cutting a deal with an opponent, sometimes they’ll ask if they can get free stays on your properties if they land on them in the future, but your answer should always be “no.” While you should be kind, and make fair trades with your friends, colleagues, and family, don’t let people walk all over you. Ultimately you aren’t helping anyone by being a doormat, and you’ll never be successful if you don’t know how to stand up for yourself.
  5. Be Patient
    • “Good things take time.” A phrase we’ve heard our whole lives, but rarely acknowledge its truth. I love Monopoly because it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s known for taking a long time, but all good things do. Don’t give up the fight after just passing go once or twice, keep the endurance and picture that end goal.
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  6. Leave a Legacy
    • When we play with my game board, it’s a tradition that whoever wins, gets to sign their name in a silver Sharpie on the back of the board (along with tally marks if you can win more than once).  In life, we all want to be remembered when we finish the game, so make sure to try your personal best in everything you do.

Hope you enjoyed some fun, lighthearted encouragement! Thanks for reading!

By Mackenzie Mehaffey, Junior Account Executive, KC-CASA

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