It’s Friday . . .

Posted: April 15, 2011 in PR Connections

And since there’s no escaping Rebecca Black until her viral trend ends, I think a PR parody of “Friday” is in order.

I didn’t realize just how many social media sites existed; I was unaware of at least three they mentioned in this song. It’s amazing how much of our connectivity is done online, and how it’s done. Social media is so helpful for the PR profession because it allows companies to enter into the social realm of their consumers. Not only can marketing happen on TV or out in stores, but on people’s cells and laptops, during their ‘fun, fun, fun time. PR can even go viral!  

People can now interact with PR professionals in ways they never have before. Tweets can be instantaneously responded to and blogs make it possible for consumers to get the inside scoop on their favorite products and companies. Social media isn’t just a step for PR, it is the giant leap in continuous relation building. There are dark sides of course. Many mishaps can happen such as PR’s mixing up personal and company accounts, but in the long run I don’t think PR can move forward without engaging the media networks. And with this new generation growing up with screens always around them, why wouldn’t PR want in to social media?

Advertisements

On my desk . . .

Posted: April 15, 2011 in PR Connections

My respose to What’s on your desk?

I have a small picture of my little brother posing with his clarinet, a toy cat that sings when you press the button on its head, my mp3 player’s recharging cord, a glass nativity scene and a robot made out of recycled material (It doesn’t actually move).

What does this have to do with PR, Plenty! This space is where much of the PR magic happens. These random items also say a lot about the person who placed them there.  I think too often the person behind all the PR work can be forgotten. They spend most of their day trying to build relations for others and not necessarily building their own. The personal items they keep on their desk speaks volumes about the things they treasure or enjoy. Some of the items might help inspire some of the great promotional ideas they had, or help alleviate the stress when there’s a big assignment being worked on.

The fact that these PR practitioners got together online to share the items on their desk just shows how much they too like making connections with like-minded people. It’s fun to see what kinds of things these professionals like to have, and guess what it says about them.  The items I have must say I enjoy a laid back atmosphere with personal mementoes nearby.

Call in the PRs!

Posted: April 15, 2011 in PR Connections

Reading the article  Two restaurants serve alcohol to minors by Kevin Allen,  I was first shocked and then skeptic. How could two babies be given alcohol and no one catch it? The employees giving those sippy-cups out must have been out of their minds. Regardless, I’m not to sure what Applebees could do to fix their image. Maybe if this had been an isolated case, but the fact it happened twice! and to babies? The incident was reported in the news:

I don’t think they can quickly fast talk their way out of this one. Firing the employees that served the drinks is a start, along with a public apology. Since I myself am not a big Applebees fan, I know this bit of news is going to deter me from going there any time soon.  I think I’d feel better in the restaurants responsible for the mishap explain how they’re going to change their labeling system. Obviously employees were getting confused before; there needs to be some strict rule about what goes where. Letting consumers know that Applebees is working to prevent the issue from happening again would be the strongest PR move they could make right now.

What I’ve Learned

Posted: April 14, 2011 in Topics of the Week

I think that prior to my PR applications class I knew very little about public relations (well besides the obvious; it’s build relations with the public).

1. I know very little!

I guess I had never thought about the work and training that went into this profession. The media balancing, the technological adapting, the connections made, the promotions directed. I was pretty much unaware of all the PR happening around my favorite businesses and products and mistakenly labeled it all marketing.

2. It takes work.

And a lot of it. I knew that lots of efforts went into connecting public and company, but the research behind it all is staggering. PR practitioners have to balance clients’ reactions, company messages and honest representation while at the same time making sure both parties understand how the other feels. Not an easy task, especially when the companies imagine has been damaged.

3. PR has to learn how to deal with the media.

From press releases to promotions, PR practitioners have to be on their toes when communicating with the media. It almost seems at times the two are pitted in an epic battle with each other. Good news for PR isn’t always the interesting story reporters are looking for, but they are quick to jump on company errors.

4. Technology moves fast in PR.

I have to admit, even though I’m only 22, some technological advancements lose me. Social media included, PRs are constantly looking up the next best way to build relations. If you’re not fast on the up keep, PR probably isn’t the best place for you. A good PR is able to see the benefits to technology and use them to strength the company.

5. PRs make connections.

Looking at all the blogs, Twitter pages, podcasts- PR practitioners are talking with each other and building open lines for discussing strategies. They are sharing their experiences! It’s great for new upstarts and it strengthens the PR profession as a whole.

6.Marketing isn’t PR.

They may work together, and they may share a few traits, but they aren’t the same. I often saw advertising as PR. It’s personal and often around me, but it isn’t what completely builds the relations between me and the company.

7. PRs can be done through a firm.

I would have guessed that a PR practitioner was hired by a company and work only with them, but actually many companies hire PR from a firm. Makes a lot of sense when it comes to saving cents. Sometimes a PR is only need to do a promotional or seasonal job. Hiring a person to be on staff year round would be a waste.

8. PR is a 24/7 job.

A PR practitioner becomes can become synonymous with their company. Whatever that PR says about their company, even on their private time, can reflect on the companies over all image.

9. Sometimes the only thing saving a company is PR.

When the company starts moving toward earnings over consumer concerns (such as deciding not to plant trees after cutting down hundreds to make a paper product to save money) PR is there to remind the company that consumers don’t like the fact that the product isn’t environmentally friendly. PR keeps the company informed on what the buyers are feeling about the business as a whole.

10. PR’s not for everyone.

Though I’m glad to have learned so much about this profession, I don’t think I’m cut out for it. There’s no better way to know than to try, so I’m glad I have.

To sum up what I’ve learn, I’ve found this video that pretty much touches on the key points I’ve mentioned:

International Relations

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Topics of the Week

For PR class I’m getting a chance to present chapter 19 from our textbook. Usually not the jump for joy project most college students look forward too, but I happen to really like my topic and find it appropriate considering what I’ve been going through lately. The topic: Global PR.

It’s a no brain-er that American tactics for PR aren’t going to work overseas, nor would I want to bore myself explaining that point, but I think even the most culturally educated person can be confused by the messages and communication skills needed to conduct PR overseas. (Or communicate anything for that matter).

I’ve been working to set up an internship to Japan since last year which means of course I’ve been trying to study all the differences in communication between my culture and the Japanese. After the recent earthquake, however, I’m learning that all the things I’ve read on paper play out much differently in real life.

As An American I’m very direct, punctual, and eager to have information. I think people should take the blame fore their mistakes and I don’t like being introduced by someone else all the time; I want to be the one to make my first impression. The Japanese are indirect, early and expected only to have the information required of them at hand. They like to deflect blame and expect proper introductions at all times, often carrying business cards with them.

Perhaps this video will help explain my point better.

While taking with the woman who was helping place my internship together, she was very understanding of my American mindset, but as matters have become more pressing, I’m finding I’m getting more Japanese messages that I’m having trouble decoding. I thought I understood indirect communication just from reading about it, but I’m seeing that isn’t so.

Reading chapter 19 in the book reminded me of that. How many PR transactions have fallen flat due to someone’s inability to decode a message. Obviously just reading about another culture doesn’t mean you’ve understood it. So maybe the best research a PR practitioner can do is to visit a country, interact with its people and learn some of its subtle communications before trying to relate with a client or firm.

It may sound time consuming for a firm to send someone basically on a ‘vacation,’ but that person’s performance in that culture will be doubled with the experience.

 

I read 3 PR takeaways from Southwest’s air scare by Alan Pearcy

I agree that PR could learn some lessons from Southwest’s airplane problems.

Photo Art by Dennis Sibeijn

I think too offended people do ignore small problems. If the airline had noticed that small crack in the plane, they wouldn’t be dealing with customers’ fears or price repairs. (In fact, people would be applauding them for taking steps to prevent disaster.)  PR is no different. If you notice a problem with the firm or with a client (or whatever) instead of waiting for the issue to rip wide open, take the steps now to correct the fault.

Fixing a small problem now will always pay more than waiting around to see if something bigger happens. Southwest’s response of inspecting other planes provides a good lesson too. Just because one bad thing happens doesn’t mean the company is now clear. No, a PR practitioner needs to look in other areas to ensure the same issue won’t crop up again. Then they need to inform the company of solutions and work with the firm to achieve them.

Watching an Interview

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Topics of the Week

Barbra Nixon’s interview with Kneale Mann was a nice refresher of things I have been hearing in my PR class. It was good to hear him mention how tips I’ve heard in the classroom have helped him be more successful in social media and PR.

_________

Being I just read a blog the other night about how social media sites geared to personal expression needed to be separate from work, what Mann had to say made me think twice about it. Mann explained that social media can be a tool for building helpful relationships and strengthening company and public bonds. He did mention the one thing that worried the other blogger: whatever a PR practitioner posts on their personal pages still reflects on the company they represent.

_________

Mann’s point about marketing, social media, communications and PR overlapping was good information. The idea that they can be separate and function at the upmost proficiency is foolishness. Times have changed and the need for the departments blending is necessary.

Mann said that when starting to blog it is best to start with something you like. It’s strange to think of a PR professional blogging about their cat of favorite TV show, but Mann had a point about just getting started. With time will come the better skills to effectively share information about the company or PR in general.

Also, Mann said that it was a good idea to mix social medias. If you’re starting a blog, telling friends about it on Facebook is a good start to spreading the word about it. Though you shouldn’t be too worried about how many people read it at first, building connections even on the personal level is a good idea.

__________

I’d like to know more about the effectiveness of building strong ties online. I understand that meeting online builds a relationship, but I wonder just how strong the relations can be when the two people actually meet.