Ohio University ImPRessions

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A Lesson from Warby Parker: How to Use Instagram Effectively

April 22, 2014 1 Comment

Warby Parker is an amazing eye-glass company that sells unique and stylish frames for $95 (yes that also includes the lens)! In addition to the amazing price point for every pair that is sold, a pair is given to someone in need. Aside to being known for its trendy glasses, outstanding customer service and exceptional prices, Warby Parker is also known for its social media – namely its Instagram account.

Warby Parker has mastered the use of Instagram and is a perfect example of a company who uses the platform effectively.

Culture

Looking at Warby Parker’s Instagram account gives a customer not only a look at their product, but an insight into what the company and its employees are like. It showcases their interests in books, favorite places to dine and amazing scenery from the company travels.

Instagram provides an all-access pass into WP’s company headquarters by documenting days at the office. Snapshots focus on behind the scenes work at photo shoots, company uniforms for WP’s “Spirit Day” and office pot lucks!

Promoting Events

Any event that WP is attending or hosting is usually featured on Instagram, accompanied with an awesome photo and unique hashtag.  There have been many events, such as The Warby Parker Class Trip (#wpclasstrip). Employees were sent on a road trip across the country in a renovated school bus to bring WP glasses to areas where there aren’t any showroom locations. Photos of their road trip were featured on Instagram – allowing users to follow along with them as they made their journey across the U.S.A. Other events and promotions have included #whereswarby and #warbyegg.

Earlier this year, WP celebrated another milestone: its 4th birthday. To commemorate the company’s birthday, its Instagram was filled with pictures capturing employees and the four founders when they were 4 years-old.

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2Promoting the Product

The ultimate goal of brands being active on social media platforms is to push their products. WP is no exception. However, its advertising is not as obvious or in-your-face as most brands. Photos of the glasses often appear on its Instagram surrounded by numerous other items such a books, newspapers, food, candles, coffee, etc. For these Instagram photo shoots, WP tries placing the glasses in an environment that they would typically appear in if a consumer had them.

People may feel uneasy about buying glasses online and that is why WP lets you pick out 5 pairs of frames, ships them to you for free and gives you five days to try them on and decide which frame you like best. This can be a tough decision! WP uses social media as a way to connect with its consumers who are struggling to select a trendy frame. Customers can upload pictures of themselves in the different frames, and by using the hashtag #pickapair, WP specialists will step into help! WP also features employees who are stuck deciding between frames and allows the customers to give their input.

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WP has even been praised by Business Insider and IMPACT Inbound Marketing Agency for its content on Instagram and other social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. The company has set the standards for brands on social media, and given them a model to aspire toward.

Follow WP on Instagram: @warbyparker 

Kathleen Marincic is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @KathMarincic.

How to Reintroduce your Personal Brand

April 21, 2014

In an age where employers expect to learn everything there is to know about a job candidate from a simple Google search, maintaining your personal brand online is a must.

But what if you don’t feel like you’re being perceived quite right?

No need to worry! Here are a few tips adapted from Scripps PRSSA’s professional adviser Dan Farkas and professional marketing consultant Dorie Clark to help guide you in the right direction.

jayz

credit: adage

1) Figure out what makes you different

Unfortunately, there are a lot of resumes out there that look just like yours. This makes it important to find details about yourself that set you apart from your competitors. Do you know how to use a certain computer program? Did you study abroad in a foreign country?

Leveraging your special skills and experiences can help you make your personal brand more unique.

2) Develop your story and share it with others

Look at where you are in life and how you got there. Writing your own narrative allows you to examine how your experiences have shaped you. This exercise also helps you learn where your values lie.

Once you figure out your story, you’ll need to put it out there. A personal blog or website is a great place to start. Find three social media channels that you consistently post content to that you want to make public. Then, use these social networks to communicate your fresh, new brand to the rest of the world.

3) Prove your worth

Like the saying goes, if you talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. For example, if your brand communicates that you’re well organized, people should see this in real life.

Remember, your brand shouldn’t paint a fictional picture of who you wish you were.  Communicating your goals and hopes for the future is ok, but make sure you remain honest. Saying you’re a neurosurgeon and saying you’re an aspiring neurosurgeon is not the same thing.

world traveller

credit: allwomenstalk.com

Hopefully, using these tips will help you define your brand more clearly on the web.

How do you communicate your personal brand online? Leave us a comment below!

Corporate Social Responsibility – The Future of PR?

April 18, 2014 1 Comment

csrMany Americans view corporations as the real controllers of the free world, but they do not consider them to be benevolent businesses. Greed and extreme wealth are often associated with corporations and trust of them is at an all-time low. These reasons combined with the increasing awareness of environmental and social issues, such as sustainability, are why many companies and organizations are increasing their focus on corporate social responsibility efforts.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as “the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.”

Essentially, CSR is a management concept where businesses embrace responsibility for their social and environmental actions, and strive to have a positive impact on the community through their daily activities and policies. When done correctly, CSR can be cost effective (i.e. energy savings) and present a company in a more positive light to the public.

Now, more than ever before, consumers place a larger importance on buying from and supporting socially responsible companies who treat the environment and its employees with care. In a 2013 study by Good.Must.Grow., a socially responsible marketing agency, 60 percent of people said that buying goods from socially responsible companies was important to them.

This means that companies who commit to doing good and have public relations efforts in place to promote this goodwill, will ultimately benefit.

Here are some brands and businesses that are benefitting from their CSR initiatives while helping those around them:

Sevenly
Each week, this organization partners with a nonprofit to design a t-shirt specifically for their cause. $7 from each item sold during that week gets donated to the designated charity.

Burt’s Bees
This company played a role in developing the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, which creates guidelines for what can be labeled as natural. As a member of the Sustainable Packing Coalition, it also follows the highest standards for packaging sustainability.

GE
“Ecomagination” increases awareness of how the company is using renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. The “Ecomagination” line includes products that improve both operating performance and environmental performance.

Starbucks Coffee
Starbucks focuses on acting responsibly and ethically, as well as on the sustainable production of green coffee. The company supports products like Ethos water that brings clean water to over 1 billion people worldwide.

Kenneth Cole
The fashion company is a public supporter of Aids awareness and research. A full 100% of proceeds from sales of its “Awearness” products go to the fund.

Whole Foods
An obvious supporter of sustainable agriculture and the reduction of waste, Whole Foods encourages environmentally sound cleaning and maintenance practices. The company also created a program that provides up to $10 million in low interest loans to small local producers to grow their business. It additionally fights poverty through microlending programs in rural communities around the world.

Patagonia

This Californian apparel company recently launched an initiative encouraging its customers to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle their clothing and equipment, rather than buying more.

Global Prairie

Since 2008, this integrated marketing communications firm has donated more than $5 million in addition to volunteer work to sustainable causes that its employees and clients are passionate about.  10% of the company’s annual profits are divided between the employees so they can donate the money to charitable causes.

The business world is full of opportunities to make a positive impact and benefit the global community. CSR helps businesses operate in ways that benefit society and help improve the public perception of the company. The combination of sustainable business practices and welcomed promotional efforts by consumers means CSR may just be the future of public relations.

Kerry Tuttle is a senior studying Strategic Communication. You can follow her on Twitter at @kerrtut.

Are Bloggers really Journalists?

April 17, 2014

bloggingAddressing the issues of journalism and blogging can be quite tricky. The negative connotations lent to citizen journalism make it hard for bloggers to be taken seriously. However, many blogs are run by renowned journalists and apply the tools of the trade learned in journalism schools across the country. So to answer the question if bloggers are journalists: yes… and no. It all depends on your answer of what a journalist really is.

Why all bloggers are journalists

If a journalist is simply someone that writes, every blogger is a journalist. Blogs are written; therefore the bloggers that write them can carry the title of a journalist. If a journalist is someone that spreads news, every blogger is a journalist. News can mean many things to many different people, but what you write about will always matter to one person, making it news. Similar to newspaper and magazine articles, blogs vary widely in topics. Niche markets can also be very popular with both bloggers and print journalists, making even the smallest population of consumers happy.

Why all bloggers are not journalists

As I have previously stated, blogs are easy for anyone and a good starter tool. This includes people that are not well versed in the forms of AP Style, how to format a blog and grammar rules. This leads to blogs and citizen journalism having an unprofessional connotation. This assumption of unprofessional writing does not bode well with the professional journalists of the world. However, what is a journalist? If a journalist is someone that has taken classes and graduated from a journalism school, while having professional training, all bloggers are not journalists. The negative connotation that comes with citizen journalism has a lot to do with journalists in the sense that they went to a journalism school and worked hard for their degree – unlike some citizen journalists. The notion that citizen journalists can do the same work as a trained journalist is ridiculous to someone that has endured 4+ years of training for a career in Journalism.

Overall, it can be hard to distinguish whether a blogger is a journalist. When it comes down to it, just look at the writing and content presented. If you find it professional, it doesn’t really matter whether that person attended a journalism school. Above all, listen to your gut and don’t back down when discussing what you truly believe in. After all, your most important client is yourself.

Gentry Bennet is a freshman studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @Gen_andTonic.

YAPI Account Launches Prescribe Change Media Campaign

April 16, 2014

YAPILogo

The Young Adult Prevention Initiative (YAPI) is a new account that was signed this semester by ImPRessions. I was honored to be chosen as the Account Executive of the account, along with my Assistant Account Executive, Sarah Rachul. Our account is made up of seven hard-working associates who have dedicated an extensive amount of time to our client’s cause.

YAPI is a community-based coalition of residents, businesses, organizations, professionals and advocates collaborating to prevent and reduce prescription drug abuse Fairfield County, Ohio. Funding for YAPI is through the Fairfield County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board through a grant from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

The job of our account is to create a media campaign from the ground up. We had to take a lot of things into consideration and most of this semester was spent planning out the three-year campaign.

Here is what we have accomplished so far

  • PR Plan. Every good PR campaign begins with a plan and detailed description of the direction it should take. We created a two-tier media campaign that began its roll-out in March with our social media channels.
  • Campaign Name. Although our client is named YAPI, we decided that to reach our demographic of 18-25 year olds, we needed a more direct and understandable label. We brainstormed and decided on “Prescribe Change.” Our slogan for the campaign is “We prescribe the facts. You change the stats.”
  • Campaign Logo. Having a talented Creative Director in ImPRessions is very helpful when you need graphic designs produced. Taylor Carney designed a campaign logo that we are using across all of our social media channels, campaign materials and eventual website.
  • Social Media Plan. We created a plan for how we plan to use our social media channels and the type of content that will be posted. The plan included draft posts, content buckets, measurement planning and a description of each social media channel.
  • Social Media Launch. Both our Twitter and Facebook have launched, so give us a follow @PrescribeChange. We share content that is interesting to 18-25 year olds, as well as concerned Fairfield County community members. We are using Hootsuite to manage and measure our Twitter platform.

The YAPI account is currently in the process of researching web designers to launch our campaign website this summer, as well as creating content to feature on TV screens at the Ohio University Lancaster and Pickerington campuses. We are very happy with our progress this semester and are excited to make a different in preventing prescription drug misuse in Fairfield County.

Kerry Tuttle is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @kerrtut.

Networking with Professors

April 15, 2014

professorAn average student has roughly five different professors in a semester. In a year, they probably have nine or ten. By the time a student graduates there is a good chance that they will have had 35+ professors. Each one has taught you something that you may or may not use in your profession, but are they here for more than being an instructor? The answer is yes.

They are here for you to network with, to help you potentially find an internship for the summer or a job after graduation. For some students it is intimidating to approach a professor. Students may not know how to network with a professor, or which professor to approach. To make the process a little easier, here are some guidelines to think about when starting to network with professors.

  • Find the right professor: This may seem difficult at times, but there are ways to tell which professor is right for you. Choose a professor that you like as an instructor and who has values you admire. Don’t pick one just because s/he is in your discipline, you have to be able to converse with him/her too.
  • Use your email: Sometimes the best first step is just sending a professor an email and asking them to meet you for coffee. You could also set up a meeting for their office ours. Just make an effort to get to know them.
  • Ask the questions: Be one of the students that actively participate in class, but be careful not to overdo it. Just be sure the professor is seeing your interest and knows your name.
  • Take small classes: This is easier said than done, but when possible take the smaller classes. The professor will get to know you better and vice versa. This allows for engagement in a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • Research the professor: Knowing more about your professor than just what they tell you in class is more beneficial than you think. This shows that you wanted to know a little more about them, and took an initiative to do so. Be cautious about coming off as a stalker.
  • Accept Advice: Be willing to accept the advice they give openly, many times they are just trying to help. Some information may really change your perspective.
  • Don’t Dine and Dash: Don’t be one of the students that takes advantage of your professors connections. Truly get to know them because you never know when they will be able to help in the long run.

These are just a few tips to consider when beginning to network. Don’t try to network with all your professors; it will get overwhelming and counterproductive. Remember to just take a leap of faith, because many professors want to help you. If you strikeout with one, move on to the next until you find the one you are proud to call a mentor.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

Preparing for a Summer Internship (or Job) in a New City

April 14, 2014

Manhattan Office Vacancy Rate Drops In Second QuarterAs the school year is beginning to wind down and we’re preparing for the summer, you are probably thinking about the next steps with your upcoming internship in a new city. It’s exciting to explore a new city and discover more about yourself and how well you mesh with the city you are living in for the next three months. But with this move, you probably have a lot questions burning in your brain. Here are five tips that will ease your mind about the big move:

1. Where am I going to live?

There are a few ways you could seek out this answer: Start by asking co-workers, especially the hiring manager. They certainly know a thing or two about the best and safest places to look and with whom you can be put in contact. Also, check out nearby universities. For instance, if you have an internship in New York City, NYU has housing over the summer for interns coming in from out of state. If the city you’re moving to doesn’t have a university that rents out dorm rooms, check out the college student areas. Many students look to sublet over the summer! Don’t forget your smartphone. One app that I’ve recently discovered is called apartment list. It lets you search by zip code, bedrooms and price in order to narrow down what exactly you’ll need for the summer.

2.How am I going to pay for everything?

Budget, budget, budget. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Seriously though, when you’re moving to a new city that’s as expensive as Los Angeles or New York, expenses need to be at the forefront of your brain. Plan your budget ahead of time and think about what you’ll need to make it through the summer and stick to it!

3. I feel so alone! What should I do?

Don’t be afraid! Not knowing anyone, in my mind, is the most exciting part because you get a fresh start. You get to put the best version of yourself out there! Just because you aren’t in a dorm anymore with fresh, curious faces about this new world of college they’re about to face, doesn’t mean that you won’t make friends. It’s hard to be vulnerable, especially in a place where you don’t know anyone. Embrace your alone time, because pretty soon your phone won’t stop blowing up with people asking you to hang out.

4. How do I get around?

Take a couple days before you start your internship to navigate your way around the city. You DO NOT want to be late on your first day – mapping your way around your new surroundings will put you at ease and make you feel more comfortable about wherever are for the next three months.

5. I need to get out of the house, what can I do?

There many things you can do in this situation like ask your co-workers. They’ve lived in the city long enough to know some of the best hotspots in town and probably have some great insight into cool events that happen every summer! Your smartphone can once again come into play here, too. One app I love using is Fodor’s City Guides. The app lists off all of the important sights, restaurants, shopping, performing arts and nightlife that you should check out while you’re in town for the summer.

Ali Cupelli is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @ali_cupelli.

College Bookstore throws Successful Mom’s Weekend T-shirt Sale

April 11, 2014

banner_moms_2014

Another Mom’s Weekend has come and gone here at OU and it’s ok to let out a little sob, we are all sad. On a happier note, the College Book Store account worked with the store in their sixth annual philanthropic event to raise money for My Sister’s Place – a local shelter for abuse victims.

The College Book Store designed a special shirt to represent this year’s Mom’s weekend. Each shirt purchased added $2.00 to the check that the store owner will send to the organization. Last year there was a whopping 528 shirts sold, 57 of those being from the Mom’s Market and the account hopes they beat that number this year!

Preliminary numbers show that shirt sales were up, but the account is still waiting for the final numbers to come in. To ensure a larger turnout, the account hung posters around campus and uptown, as well as ran a table at the Mom’s Market in Ping. The number of shirts sold at the market this year trumped last year’s.

To encourage moms to wear their new gear, College Book Store tried a side event: Get Carded! Mom’s who wore the shirt on Saturday had a chance to win a $9.99 gift card. Account members were roaming the campus and carding mothers sporting the new attire.

Thanks to all of the mom’s and their OU students who participated to help College Book Store with raising money for My Sister’s Place. We will release the final sales numbers when we receive them. 

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

Campus jobs that help your future career

April 10, 2014 1 Comment

diningLet’s face it, college is expensive. Many of us need to find jobs to help with tuition or even to have spending money. You can either take a dining hall job or you can find a job that will benefit your career. The choice is yours, but I would much rather be doing work that is related to public relations than cleaning dishes.

Become a Campus Rep

So many companies look for students to represent them on campus so that they can gain recognition among students. This job requires many of the same communication skills that we will need in the real world as public relations professionals.

PACE Jobs 

Apply for PACE Jobs! These can count as internships and provide students with very valuable experience in their direct field. There are tons of PACE positions out there, and they’re all really cool jobs too.  (Note: You must be financially eligible for a PACE position.)

Find a virtual internship

Although I personally have not done this yet, I know many people who have. Virtual internships are great because the location doesn’t stop you from interning at a firm that you’ve always wanted to work for. There are plenty of search engines that allow you to search specifically for virtual internships. If you have a certain firm and mind, it doesn’t hurt to email them and ask if they offer any virtual internships.

Working for the University

This can include jobs like becoming a learning community leader, tour guide, student ambassador or any other campus job that works to assist the university. These jobs will help you improve your leadership and communication skills, which will definitely help when applying for jobs and internships.

At the end of the day, any job that requires communicating with others is going be beneficial to a career in public relations.When choosing a job, make sure it is something that is truly interesting to you and that you enjoy doing. No amount of money is worth a semester or year of misery, so keep these jobs in mind for next semester. You’ll be happy that you’re making money while gaining valuable experience at the same time.

Jess Carnprobst is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @jess_carnprobst.

Five steps to the perfect pitch

April 9, 2014

pitchWhether it is an internal request or cold calling, pitching can be a nerve-wracking and difficult task. Basically, you have to convince someone to add something to their to-do list, or take out his or her wallets and donate to a cause. However, it has been done, and done successfully. Here are five steps to nail the perfect pitch:

Do your research. Find ways to integrate your pitch into the person or company’s culture or lifestyle. Bringing up past connections is always helpful, along with a positive reminder of that experience. The ties that bring them closer to your pitch will help you get a meeting with them or get them initially interested.

Be friendly. Once you get a chance to talk or meet, be sure you have a friendly and positive attitude about the interaction. When asking someone to take time out of his or her day for you, it is polite and makes the conversation enjoyable and easygoing.

Prepare. Anticipating possible questions, having details ready to go and knowing your pitch inside and out can make the meeting successful and smooth. Think of yourself as an ambassador for your company or organization, in that you need to know important details and how to answer questions. If you are leaving your meeting with a bunch of unanswered questions or unclear details, your contact will be unsatisfied and probably not follow through.

Be clear. Have your key message points ready to go. Tell the person why this is important, the relevance to them and their company, the benefits it can provide and how they can participate. These are all points your contact will want to know, and will make them feel secure with the partnership. Leave something tangible behind so the contact can look over your materials, and think about your pitch thoroughly.

Follow-up. No matter the outcome of the pitch meeting, be sure to follow-up with your contact. A thank you if they accepted, along with an inquiry insuring success. A follow-up is obviously required if your contact is still pondering the decision to offer any more insight or answer any questions. If the contact rejects the pitch right away, follow-up to keep the conversation going in order to help with future pitches.

Though no pitch can be completely predicted or broken down to an exact science, the research, personality, planning, clarity and follow-up can make all the difference when making your perfect pitch.

Allison Evans is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter @Allison_Evans.

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