Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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The Need for Special Events

March 18, 2015

By: Abby Miller, @abbby_e

02.07.09 MPI at Aquarium

When people think of public relations, the usual skill and strategies like social media management and crisis management come to mind. One aspect of public relations that can be of key importance, however, is special event planning. Special event planning is when a company puts on a wide variety of events that promote their business. A special event could be anything from a grand opening, to an anniversary celebration, to a community fair. Hosting a successful event can do wonders for your brand’s image, and hopefully position that brand in your consumers’ minds. For just this reason, event planning is an important skill for every aspiring PR professional to have in their arsenal.

  • What can special events do for your brand?

Hosting a number of special events can help to strengthen your relationship with your customers and/or community, by providing them the opportunity to see who your company is. This in turn builds awareness of your brand, encourage brand loyalty and support, and draws attention to all of the cool new actions that you’re company is taking!

  • What to avoid?

One of the main pitfalls of special event planning is hosting an event for no reason. Make sure there is a legitimate reason to be putting on an event. Special events are best done with a specific purpose in mind, whether it’s to promote a new product, celebrate a company accomplishment, or strengthen community relationships. Regardless of the reason, its important to always have a message and clear target audience to deliver your message to.

Another major pitfall of special event planning is lack of planning. Producing a successful event takes time and dedication, and an event won’t live up to its full potential without it. Nothing is worse than inviting a group you want to impress to an event that falls short of their expectations.

Special event planning is a large aspect of public relations, and making sure these events are done appropriately will ensure that they are also effective for your company.

How to get the most out of your study abroad experience

March 17, 2015

By: Elizabeth Harris, @elizharris32

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It’s that time of year again! Many students have made the life-changing decision to study abroad in the destinations of their dreams this summer. By this time last year, I was accepted into Ohio University’s Politics in Paris Program. I had my flight booked, I was researching everything and anything about Paris, and Europe in general. My over-all excitement level was through the roof. Studying abroad was the best decision I ever made in my life, and I would give anything to go back again this summer. Here are some tips for first-time study abroad students to make sure you have the best study abroad experience possible!

1. Embrace every single moment

It may sound cliché, but it really does’t hit you how amazing of an experience you had until you get home and it’s all over. Take several moments “to soak it all in” and realize how lucky you are to be in the country of your dreams.

2. Travel to other cities as much as possibly 

The world has so much to offer; every city is different. Especially if you’re studying in Europe, traveling from city to city can be extremely inexpensive. Utilize student travel opportunities, as well as discount airlines; I found a round-trip flight from Ryanair that went from Paris to Barcelona for only $100. In addition to Barcelona, I also went to Amsterdam and the French countryside. You do not know when you will have the opportunity to be back again; take advantage of as many travel opportunities as possible.

3. Don’t let the metro scare you. 

It may seem intimidating and daunting at first, but the metro really is not that scary. It is an extremely efficient way to travel from place to place. You can easily download several different apps, that don’t require Wi-Fi, that will tell you the exact route to take when going from one destination to another.

4. Become really close with other students in your group 

Your group becomes your family throughout your time abroad. You will spend every day with these people. So, even if they may not be the type of people you would normally hang out with, try to establish friendships, you may be surprised. Your study abroad friends may end up being the best friends you will ever make in your life.

5. Bring a selfie stick. 

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The selfie stick has become an essential travel companion for many travelers. If you use a selfie stick, your pictures will inevitably be amazing snapshots and memories to keep and cherish for a lifetime.

6. Keep an open mind

There are many different serotypes of the various cities throughout the world, which are not necessarily always true. For example, that the French are all rude. I found that most French people are actually extremely kind. Also, keep an open mind when trying new foods, using new modes of transportation, meeting people of different cultures, and much more.

7. Secure your belongings

Pick-pocketers are everywhere, especially in highly populated tourist areas and the metro. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and keep a hand on your purse at all times.

8. Wander 

Sometimes you will find the best hidden treasures when your are least expecting to. Take the time to simply wander the city you call home during your time abroad. Without setting a destination, see what all the city really has to offer you. (As long as you are wandering in safe areas, of course!)

9. It’s OK to look like a tourist! 

Chances are most other people around you will be tourists as well. Embrace your inner-tourist. Take thousands of pictures, do not be afraid to carry around a map, ask for directions, and overall have fun!

The Power of Language

March 16, 2015

By: Grace Driscoll, @GraceDriscoll_

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For as long as I can remember, taking a language course in school has not only been an expectation, but a graduation requirement. I took my first Spanish class in Kindergarten (yes, at the age of 5), and since then have without fail enrolled in whatever level came next (the exception being when I was accidently placed in Mandarin Chinese my senior year of high school, but that’s another story).

Whether it Spanish, Mandarin, or French, it seems like there is a connotation that goes along with seeing this subject show up on one’s schedule. Most people I know dread going to a class where they are forced to speak a foreign dialect.

Middle and high school students, from all over the country, are being required to stand in front of their peers to give a presentation or speech on a topic they know nothing about, in a language they know very little of. Grammar quizzes are given a bit too frequently on parts of speech we don’t know the names of in English, let alone in a foreign language.

Participation and effort grades are given based on how often one can raise their hand in the hour class period. It shouldn’t come to much of a surprise, then, that students aren’t exactly thrilled to be participating in such activities.

It’s quite possible that this misery is, in part, due to how language classes are perceived.  In our society, students hire personal math and science tutors to help them perfect the necessary skills needed to excel in standardized tests, and continue moving forward in school.

If one were to hire a French tutor, however, it would seem a bit out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, quantum physics and thermodynamics certainly have their time and place for being both relevant and useful; but by limiting oneself to knowing only English, you will be able to communicate only with other people who speak English as well.

While students today try to adhere to the bare minimum of the language requirements, many overlook the fact that being bilingual may just be the most coveted skill. Someone can obtain this technique, and continue on to wherever their academic and professional fields take them.

In just four years time, the number of college students enrolled in a language, other than English, has dropped by 100,000 people. This is partly because if a program doesn’t require any language credits, students will most likely not take the class ‘for fun’.  To broaden your horizons you don’t necessarily need to major or minor in a second language, but there’s no harm in using an elective to take a Portuguese 1000 course.

Knowing a second language opens innumerable doors for your future.  It gives you the ability to communicate with entire other populations and cultures.  No one said it would be easy, or else everyone else would pick up another language.

Next time you dread the thought of learning Spanish conjugations, or how to pronounce the different tones in Mandarin, think to yourself- what’s the worst thing that can happen?  You have many people from around the world that you will now have the ability to talk to!

The Balancing Act Between Strategic and Visual Communication

March 12, 2015

By: Kaylee Powers, @kaylee_powers

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The idea that strategic and visual communication are separate can really hurt your strategy. Many people separate the visual components from the copy, the copy from the strategy, and the strategy from the platform. The reality, however, is these are all fundamentally linked. Whether you’re a foreign correspondent, a brand supervisor, head of public relations for a non-profit, or a corporate communications intern, your end goal is to organize information, and give it to the audience in the best form possible.

Your stakeholders don’t care about the extra time and steps it takes to create an easily-digestible graph, rather than just listing them in an email. In fact, they don’t even know they don’t care, because they most likely didn’t read it.

On the other hand, even the page designs using the very best C.R.A.P (the basic design principles of contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity) can’t save your dry copy that’s riddled with style errors. All parts need to be incorporated. One element can’t hold its own.

Content (equals) good information that aligns with your strategy (plus) a presentation that is the best option to get that information across. Now what?

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Understand how the process works so you can collaborate effectively

It’s not that every writer has to be a modern-day Picasso with Adobe Illustrator, or that every web designer needs the linguistic prowess of Shakespeare. It’s pivotal, however, for both sides to have basic knowledge of how it all comes together. Designers cringe when they are told write a seven inch block of 8pt reversed-out text on the front of a poster. On the flip side, the panic in the eyes of the social media manager who is asked to create an infographic showing the increase in Facebook photo engagement versus the drop in Twitter engagement by various demographics is just as mortifying.

Some steps on the way to learning how “the other half” works:

1. Ask questions

If you don’t know how long the cutline you’re writing to accompany a photo should be to fit properly- ask! If you don’t know if you should be editing the picture of the child or the dog, which is based on past success on Instagram- ask! Everyone loves to share their knowledge and feel like you’re genuinely listening to what needs to be done. It will also save a lot of headache in the future.

2. Dabble in it a little bit yourself

As students, we’re lucky to have access to a variety of classes. PR students- take Introduction to Visual Communication. Will you become a master of InDesign immediately? No, but you’ll know the basics of how to perceive color, so you’ll be able to develop a brand more effectively. Design students- take Introduction to Strategic Communication. You won’t be writing media pitches in your sleep, but you’ll be able to apply the representativeness heuristic to make sure that the ad of a new product is similar an old, well-liked one.

3. Follow the industries

Understand a bit of the culture surrounding all “sides” of content creation, and keep up-to-date on the latest news. A few of my favorites to follow for another perspective:

Strategic- Keep track of these to know when the Pantone Color of the Year is decided, the capabilities of the latest Adobe Creative Suite update and the science behind why #TheDress broke the internet

  1. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
  2. http://www.wired.com/
  3. http://www.howdesign.com

Visual- Watch these to learn why that company’s tweet was a flub, how consumers are migrating between platforms and what journalists HATE to see in pitches

  1. http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Home.aspx
  2. http://www.ragan.com/Main/Home.aspx
  3. http://blog.hubspot.com/

Everyone- http://mashable.com/ has a perfect mix of news pertaining to all fields that play a hand in content creation.

Everything you need to know about The Fluff (and maybe even a little more)

March 11, 2015

By: Maddy Plaster, @maddyrose1620

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*Correction/Clarification: The Fluff will no longer be serving dinner until further notice, due to staffing changes, but still stop in to try the breakfast and lunch menus. Be on the lookout for the resumption of the dinner menu.

I’m sure there are some of you who are wondering what I’m talking about when I say The Fluff.  Some might ask if I’m referring to the Fluff Bakery, home to fabulous baked goods that top your grandma’s secret recipes. The rest of you may be completely clueless. Well, I am here to help explain what The Fluff is.

The Fluff Kitchen Bakery and Drinks previously known as Fluff Bakery, combines two fabulously different ranges of food: bakery and Thai cuisine. Yes, I know, the combination seems a bit mystifying, but I assure you it works. Who am I kidding, it goes beyond just working. You just can’t beat Fluff’s impeccable execution in tying together creative Thai dishes with delectable desserts.

The Fluff started as Fluff Bakery and Catering. After several years, the bakery decided to merge with Rickshaw Thai, a popular Thai restaurant in the Athens area. The joint menu now incorporates an assortment of curries, scrumptious burgers, and even a homemade meatloaf.

Fluff has become one of my favorite Athens spots; it’s especially unique because it is great any hour of the day. A cup of their Silverbridge coffee and a cinnamon twisty is the perfect way to jumpstart any morning. The lunch and dinner menus are out of this world, with a multitude of options that cater to both the picky and adventurous eater.

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My personal favorite on the dinner menu is the peanut curry over jasmine rice, with a side of warm and toasty garlic naan bread. For those who may be hesitant about trying Thai food, the peanut curry is the dish for you. It has just enough kick, while still maintaining the sweet and creamy flavor of the peanut sauce. For those who are more adventurous, you can kick up the heat and add more hot chili sauce.

The meatloaf, another one of my favorite dishes, is mouthwatering and packed with flavor. Served with smooth mashed potatoes, and a crisp bahn mi salad, this dish is at the top of my list. The lunch menu for fluff is just as delicious as the dinner menu, with sandwich options, and make-your-own salads, if you are looking for something lighter.

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Besides their widespread food menu, The Fluff also offers an excellent alcoholic beverage menu for those special students who are 21+.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, it did! The Fluff has an array of beers including many from our very own Jackie O’s Brewery and Pub, as well as some more unique choices like the Tiger Lager and the Kombucha Ginger beer.  All in all, you can’t go wrong with anything you get from here. It’s the perfect place to go when dining halls and Easy-mac just aren’t cutting it, and all you want and need is a home-cooked meal filled with love.

For all you students who can never think of a good sit down restaurant for when your family comes to visit, I have found your new spot. The Fluff has earned its ranking in my heart as the best restaurant, AND bakery, in Athens. Next time you’re uptown, make sure to stop in, so it can become yours as well.

Five Most Underused Social Media Tools

March 10, 2015

By: Gentry Bennett, @Gen_andTonic

With so many social media sites these days, it can be hard to learn the ends and outs of all of them. There are some hidden tools and features that can extremely help improve your experience. Without further ado, here are the five most underused social media tools…

1. Mute on Twitter, Unfollow on Facebook

Whether it’s your uncle on Facebook that likes to share his political views, or that one professor on Twitter that tweets at least once an hour, sometimes your feed needs a little “spring cleaning.” The mute and unfollow options on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, help you to stay connected with whomever you please. If the people you want to connect with aren’t improving your social media experience, silence is a simple click away. To activate these features, go to the selected account’s profile page. From here, on Facebook click where it says “Following” or on Twitter click the “Settings” gear, and unfollow or mute away!

2. Reading List on Twitter, Saved Links on Facebook

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This feature will come in handy for those with a tendency to click on the longest articles when they don’t have time to read. If you fall into this category, and want to save that Buzzfeed article for your morning commute or walk to class, your bookmark bar is waiting for you. The days of cluttered bookmark bars and a million open tabs on your browser are over: enter Saved Links and Reading List. iPhone users can send articles found on Twitter to their Safari “Reading List,” while Facebook users can use the “Save Link” feature. Simply open the article of your choice and tap the arrow coming out of the box icon to save or send to your List.

3. Discover on Instagram

It’s easy to scroll through the photos on Instagram and then close out of the app. Just one tab over from your home feed is the search tab where you can also find Instagram’s most popular photos. These photos range from a Kardashian selfie to traveling photographers. This is a great way to find new people and companies you can follow to help diversify your feed.

4. Pinned Posts

Pinned tweets and Facebook posts (most often used in Groups) can be extremely helpful for the social media user with a lot of content on their profiles or Groups. Pinned posts allow you to pin one post that you find important, or has pertinent information, to the top of your profile. All other content following will be organized as it normally would. This is especially helpful for an upcoming event or contact information that a user viewing the profile or Group may need.

5. Relationship Notes on LinkedIn

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Use this hidden feature to privately remember where you met someone or a reminder about a conversation you had once. Below the photo on a LinkedIn profile, click “Relationship.” From here, you can add any notes you want about the person. The best part is, the notes are completely hidden to anyone except you.

March Madness brings booming opportunities

March 9, 2015

By: Gabby Gamad, @GabrielleGamad

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The big NCAA basketball tournament causes literal March madness for those interested in watching people shoot hoops, or make a little money off picking the winning teams. I may not be your go-to girl when it comes to player’s statistics, or whose on top in what division. However, when selection Sunday rolls around March 15, you better believe I’ll be in on the action. There is no denying the grandeur of March Madness, especially when it was reported that the 2014 championship game between Connecticut and Kentucky drew in 21.2 million TV viewers.

By acknowledging all of the hype for college basketball, companies have the ability to create a creative media campaign strategy that could really help their businesses boom in the month of March. Two restaurants have taken the initiative and will be using the tournament to their advantage this year: Buffalo Wild Wings and Smokey Bones.

Buffalo Wild Wings just introduced their new campaign “#WingWisdom,” which encompasses their love for food, sports and fandom. The hashtag and campaign will allow the restaurant to engage in timely, fun conversations about the games with customers and fans. Conversations will be created to allow those who filled out bracket(s) to hear experts’ opinions and analyses for upcoming games.

Aside from the social media campaign, Buffalo Wild Wings will be running advertisements online and on TV throughout March Madness. They will deliver their own #WingWisdom content to viewers to help fill out the bracket. This campaign is meant to draw in more customers to watch games at the restaurant and bar, opposed to other locations in the area.

Brokaw, a Cleveland based advertising agency, is currently helping Smokey Bones (another sports bar and grill) help convince the public to sneak out from work, and watch whatever tournament game is on at the closest Smokey Bones.

They are doing this by creating YouTube videos featuring Smokey Bone’s legend “Skip Hooky.” He is there to help all of the office jockeys fib to their bosses, or fake doctor’s note, to get to the more important things in life, like college basketball. These videos are made to be humorous, but they get the point across that Smokey Bones is the place to be for all NCAA tournament games.

Keep a look out for #WingWisdom, Skip Hooky and other ways marketing and PR strategists can use huge events, like March Madness, to help advertise for their clients.

Advertising Takes Progressive Steps Forward

March 5, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7

The image of ‘dad’ is different for everyone. The media are no exception to this, even they have their own perception of what it looks like to be ‘dad.’ For many years, advertisers believed they couldn’t have a commercial with a dad unless the dad was goofy and ended up being talked down to by his wife for making a mistake.

An accurate representation of ‘dad’ has been absent from the media, and advertisers are prime culprits. The Super Bowl, one of the most viewed TV event each year, places some of the best commercials. The commercials may attract a large majority of the viewers.

This year, however, the Super Bowl commercials took a turn from the usual gut-grabbing laughter and sexy models tactics. This time, the commercials were designed to inspire and jerk on the emotional side of people. Who was the focus? Good ole dad.

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Having the focus on dad was a shift that consumers wanted to see. Many fathers agreed that the representation of dads were inaccurate, and they wanted to see a more accurate telling of the role of a child-rearing dad.

Why was this so impactful? The providers listened to their consumers. This shows a great change in advertising. Instead of trying to guess what people want to see, they are listening to the people and presented them with the images they want. Bravo to these companies. Dove being one of the first to jump on the movement.

What else made this such a memorable set of commercials? They started to move away from long-standing stereotypes, creating a new norm for commercials. This was also seen in the new fem-vertising model, showing women in a more realistic light. The media is starting to catch on that consumers are not attracted to harmful stereotypes.

People want to see accurate representation of what the world looks like. Honey Maid had their wholesome families commercial, which included many alternative styles of families not normally seen in the media. The times are changing, and advertisers are starting to catch on to these new trends.

Finally, these advertisements made a big splash because they connected to the viewers emotions, instead of just trying to sell them a product. The commercials might not have pushed buying a product, but it opened the doors to allow viewers to see what these companies care about, it showed their values. In the long run, this could create a longer and stronger brand loyalty, since the viewers can connect with the company on a more intimate level.

We are starting to see a progressive mindset in advertising, and this could be good for both the companies and consumers. Let’s hope that next year, the Super Bowl keep up the streak of progressive advertisements, as we saw with the dad commercials this year.

How Snapchat’s Updates Have Rocked The Future of Advertising and Journalism

March 4, 2015

By: Rachel Hartwick, @rachel_hartwick

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I still remember the day that I started using Snapchat. A friend introduced me while sitting at the high school cafeteria table. I added 4 of my closest friends. After school, I used the low-quality camera of my iPod touch to send blurry, 3-second pictures of my cat.

The app, which was originally made so people could share embarrassing pictures with each other without repercussion, has made huge steps for the future of media. Over the years, Snapchat evolved from a picture-messaging app to a platform for something much, much bigger.

Snapchat updated the app and made it have the ability to send videos, and soon after, the introduction of “The Story.” A Snapchat story allows users to post pictures and videos to their own story for all their Snapchat friends to see. The story is viewable as often as desired for 24 hours, and then they’re erased for good. The introduction of “The Story” was also a huge step for celebrities, who could now quickly and easily share life moments with fans.

Not long ago at OU, an account called “OhioUSnaps” was created by a student. This account allows for students across the campus to share funny dorm-room videos, or studying selfies, with upwards of 6,000 people who have added the account to their Snapchat friends.

OhioUSnaps is changing the way that we advertise at college. Besides just silly snaps, students post pictures of lost keys or ID’s and upload flyers of club events to gain publicity. Today, any company can create Snapchat accounts for consumers to add to their friend list. The consumers are exposed to creative marketing that often don’t feel like traditional ads.

Snapchat completely changed the game with their “Discover” update on January 27. (Many people may remember this as the update that removed our loved-and-hated “best friend” feature.) With just a swipe right, the “Discover” feature shows eleven media outlets, ranging from CNN to Cosmopolitan to National Geographic. Every 24 hours, these companies release a new set of content to view.

For instance, if I click on CNN, I’m able to scroll through 6 headlines accompanied by a moving picture or video in the background. If I swipe up, I can read the full story or watch the video. If my sound is on, I can hear a synopsis of the story or even music to accompany it.

It’s handheld and targeted to younger audiences that desire instant gratification and, as Wired noted, doesn’t often connect with traditional media.

Snapchat said on its blog, “This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”

Far too often, I see Twitter accounts tweeting out some story or some facts without credible—or any—sourcing. Too many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers believe everything they see online, regardless of the source. Snapchat Discover teaches us what’s important because we’re trusting the experts. Snapchat Discover allows young people to get credible information from an app that they’re using every day anyway.

From both the journalism and the advertising industry, Snapchat, you’re making huge steps for the future of media, and we’re excited to see what else you’ll do. Props!

Keeping Your Personal Brand Safe Over Spring Break

February 27, 2015

By: Sophia Ciancone, @sophiaciancone

SpringBreak

Spring break is finally here. Ping has been packed and the salad bar line long. Students are ready to set off and enjoy a week of carefree relaxation and fun. It’s important, however, that students keep in mind a lecture we’ve heard time and time again: brand yourself. From professors to professionals, everyone in the field promises that if we just create our brand, we are set. Sometimes, adventurous trips like spring break can put our brand at jeopardy. In order to make sure that does’t happen, here are some tips to keep things clean while you’re soaking up the sun and having a blast with your friends.

  1. Put the phone down. Sun, sand and water make a dangerous combination when it comes to smartphones. Despite the fact that you want to capture memories of your trip, it may just be best for your phone and your brand if you keep the phone in a safe, secure location. Don’t bring out your professional self, if there is a chance someone could ruin your professional image. Bring it out only for small periods of time.
  2. Steer clear of social media. This could be a good week just to take a short break from social media all together. Log out of your Twitter and Instagram, or maybe only check it a few times a day. Once something is posted, it can never come down.
  3. Take fun, clean pictures. When you step away from the party for a bit snap some fun, beach pictures with your friends that are social media friendly. These are the pictures you can share with your followers that will keep your brand clean and pristine.

Keep these simple tips in mind while you’re soaking up the sun, and when you return back to reality, your brand will be exactly the way you left it.

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