Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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The Need for Special Events

March 18, 2015 1 Comment

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.

Finding the perfect pitch: social media lessons from an a Capella perspective

December 1, 2014

By: Catrina Lang @trinalang13

Becoming a member of The Tempo Tantrums, an all female a Capella group here on campus has been one of the best and most unique experiences I’ve had in college so far. Making pop music come to life with nothing but our voices is a challenging but rewarding task. Throughout my first two years with the group, I’ve learned a lot about different musical elements such as tone, pitch and harmony. What I’ve come to realize is that many of the same tools that we use to create beautiful music can also be applied to craft and implement successful social media strategies.


  1. Tone. In music, a tone can be described as a “steady, periodic sound”. Before creating a successful social media strategy, you must first figure out your brand’s tone on social media. This tone should be steady and consistent so as not to confuse the audience or potential customer. The tone should be a positive representation of your brand. Brands can consistently choose to adopt a humorous, professional, fun, educational, or various other types tone throughout all of their social media outlets. The key is keeping it consistent.
  1. Harmony. Constructing harmonies is one of the most important things to focus on when singing a Capella music. Each voice part is singing different notes, but they all come together to form chords that sound like a cohesive whole. This is important to keep in mind when using multiple different social media platforms as well. Even though each platform presents unique opportunities (such as tweets versus Instagram photos), it’s important to keep in mind the consistency of the brand that you are trying to portray. As long as you keep in mind the goal of the brand when utilizing different platforms, you can successfully use each different platform to get across the same brand message for your client.


  1. Audience. One of the most important elements of performing is keeping in mind your audience, and how to best connect with them in different situations. When my group is presented with a potential gig, we have to decide which songs to sing, what to wear, etc. to best relate with the client, while still keeping our own personal brand in mind. For example, we will choose different songs, attire, and introductions for a gig at a nursing home than we would for a gig at a coffee shop. Keeping in mind your target audience when you launch a new social media outlet or campaign will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level overall. Some questions to ask yourself could include:
    1. What kind of perceptions does my audience already have of the brand?
    2. What are some aspects of the brand that would best appeal to a particular audience?
    3. How does the targeted audience currently use social media?

Gathering the data and information to answer these questions will help you create the best social media strategy that keeps both your targeted audience and your own personal brand in mind.

When creating a social media strategy, keep in mind the tone, audience and harmony of your social media outlets – in the end it will greatly increase the impact of your brand. I have learned by performing with The Tempo Tantrums that giving your audience what they want while maintaining your personal image and brand with help you hit all of the right notes.


Summer Reflection Series: Laine Carey

September 22, 2014

What I Learned From My Experiential Marketing Internship

By: Laine Carey @snakesona_laine

I’ve been asked a lot recently, “What did you do this summer?” I say, “Well, I was a giant cookie.” Ummm it’s hard to explain. Just look:

Smiley, Eat N'Park's Mascot

Smiley, Eat’n Park’s Mascot

But honestly, I did a lot more than just prance around in a cookie suit. I drove the Cookie Cruiser, too!


Needless to say, my internship was incredibly fun. But in all seriousness, I learned so much. Along with 4 other girls, I travelled all over Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio on behalf of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. We were Eat’n Park Team Smiley, and we worked as travelling brand ambassadors. We went to places like parish festivals, baseball games, zoos, various benefit walks, etc. so Smiley could make an appearance – and so we could hand out free Eat’n Park Smiley Cookies!

Without getting too in-detail about the specific company, here’s what I learned about PR and marketing in general:

  • Know the brand like the back of your hand. (Hey, that rhymed!) I’ve worked for Eat’n Park since I was 16. When it came time to travel to Ohio and West Virginia (where there’s significantly less brand familiarity than in PA) clear, concise explanations of Eat’n Park’s brand were a necessity. Knowing everything about the company you’re working for makes a world of difference.
  • Never underestimate good old face-to-face interaction. Granted, we ran the Team Smiley Twitter and Instagram Accounts as well as the blog, which were important too. However, we also encouraged dialogue at our events – we talked to people about Eat’n Park, directed them to our website, promoted our Instagram contest, verbally promoted summer specials, etc. We also gained a lot of valuable feedback about Eat’n Park restaurants just from attending community events and being our regular, fun selves.
  • Have fun. Sorry this one’s so cheesey. I absolutely loved my job this summer, so this was easy. We were the face of the brand, out there interacting with the community. The second we arrived at the event and stepped out of the Cookie Cruiser, we had to be walking, talking, crazy balls of joy and fun – because that’s what Eat’n Park is all about. People, especially kids, are smart and perceptive. They would’ve known if we had been faking it. So, it’s a good thing I loved the heck out of my internship!

Is Pinterest Effective for Your Brand?

June 9, 2014

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

Social media has become one of the most important strategies that a brand can adopt in order to engage with their consumers. Along with Twitter and Facebook, many brands have turned to Pinterest. Some are successful, while others struggle to find any relevance.  It is important to know whether or not Pinterest is effective for your brand, and there are a few ways to tell.

Before you can gauge your brand’s relevance on Pinterest, you have to know and understand the demographics that Pinterest reaches. The following info graphic illustrates some “Pinteresting” findings.


Key takeaways:

  • 68.2 percent of users are women. While men do have a small representation, women basically run Pinterest, so it is important that your brand can appeal to women on some level.
  • The largest age demographic represented on Pinterest is 25-34 year olds with 27.4 percent of users.
  • The average annual household income of Pinterest users is $100,000+. This is one of the highest household incomes on any form of social media.

Now that you have an understanding of Pinterest’s audience, you must determine if your brand’s audience fits with it.  Is your brand attractive and marketable to these demographics? You also must decide if your audience would be interested in engaging and communicating through visual posts, like photos and videos. Are there compelling images that are associated with your brand? Great images are what will get your post pinned and shared.

One example of a brand that has found success on Pinterest is Whole Foods Market. They post recipes, health tips, as well as seasonal food and meal ideas. With images of food and drinks, their posts are compelling and attract a lot of consumers to engage with their brand.

Another successful brand on Pinterest is Target. They have such a wide variety of products, which makes them relevant to many users. Target pins home decor, fashion tips, quotes, and they even have a board that includes how Target is getting involved in the community.  These boards are appealing to their consumers and allow them to converse successfully.

Now that you have an understanding of Pinterest’s demographics, you have to decide if your consumers would fit into them. From there, think about the images that they would be interested in sharing. Could your consumers learn something from or be entertained by your pins? If so, then Pinterest could be perfect for your brand. So, do your research, and happy pinning!

A Lesson from Warby Parker: How to Use Instagram Effectively

April 22, 2014 2 Comments

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.


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.


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.

5 4












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.

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.

Twitter Lessons from the A-List

December 2, 2013 2 Comments

As technology is evolving, so are the ethics of journalism. Part of the changing technology is the emerging presence and influence of social media. In 140 characters you can enhance or inhibit your professional career – so no pressure.

By having a presence on Twitter you are not only conveying your thoughts, ideas and work, but you’re building a brand that may be an employer’s first impression of you. And what better way to learn what to do, and not do, on Twitter than look at the people who arguably have the most influence on the Twitter community?

Here’s some lessons to take away from some of our favorite A-list celebrities.

Do show your personality. Oftentimes I will like, or dislike, a celebrity based on how funny and relatable I find their tweets. And yes, I do realize this may not be the best course of action.

Take Anna Kendrick for example. I saw her in Twilight and loved her in Pitch Perfect, but I never really thought twice about her until I found her Twitter, after which she instantly became one of my favorite celebrities.


Do promote your work. Promoting your work is important and now with the influence of the Internet, we have more power than ever before to set ourselves apart and promote our work.


Do connect with others. By reaching out to a firm or company before meeting with them, you have a great opportunity to set an amazing first impression. By connecting with others you can also promote collaborations. Jimmy Fallon does this before his show each night.


Don’t get into Twitter feuds. This one’s for you Kanye. Getting into a fight with Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter…probably not the smartest idea. So if you’re having an issue with a friend, colleague or stranger, it might be best to not display your emotions on the Internet for everyone to see. A simple phone call or text message might suffice in this situation.


Don’t drunk tweet. We get it, you partied, maybe drank a little too much. That doesn’t mean you have to turn to Twitter every time you have a crazy night. There are some things that are better left off the Internet, and drunken tweets are one of them.

LIamDon’t tweet only promotional things. When people only tweet promotional things to advance their careers, I get bored. It’s always more fun to follow people who spice up their promotions with some personality or fun anecdote.

-Carolyn Nachman is a junior studying strategic communication. Follow her at @CarolynNachman.

Wait…I Have to Vine This

May 28, 2013 3 Comments

VineIn the fast-paced world of social media and PR, it is important to stay up-to-date on emerging trends. In January 2013 Twitter introduced Vine as the newest form of social media. Since the launch, Vine hasn’t left the top 20 list in the iOs app store.

So what is Vine? It is an app that allows users to create a series of short video frames which are then looped together to create a six-second video which can be shared on Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

When the app first appeared it was primarily used as a way for people to share cute videos of their pets (guilty), but brands soon realized that the social media site could be used for much more. A few months later Vine emerged as a way for brands to connect with customers, when done correctly.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts of Vine and ways that you make the social site work for your brand.

DO have compelling content

The first step in having compelling video is having compelling content!  So give the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at your office, show your product being made or announce something new and exciting! Let the viewer feel like they have access to exclusive content, and they will keep coming back for more.

Taco Bell used Vine to announce the release date of their Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Taco. Although the video could use cleaned up a bit, the concept is there and it was a successful post: https://vine.co/v/bvlaYggdIiU

DO focus on something other than yourself

It gets annoying when someone only talks about themselves. This is true in life and in Vines. So change it up once in a while and talk about something else! If it’s homecoming weekend at OHIO, have a Vine of the parade. If it’s April Fool’s day, show a little humor in your post! Put the focus on ‘we’ not ‘me’.

Take General Electric (my favorite brand on Vine) for example. It was pi day so they kept it simple but compelling with this post: https://vine.co/v/bd1xMduMTp9

DON’T try to put a lot of ideas into a little time

Remember that you only have six seconds to get your brands message across. Focus on one idea for each Vine and deliver the message to your audience.

American Apparel tried to fit too many things into one Vine here, and the result was a video that made me dizzy: https://vine.co/v/bdMFaxbpi9Y

DON’T over-pace your video

Pacing is everything in video. If you have too slowly of a pace, then your viewer will get bored and click away. If the pace is too fast, then the viewer will get confused and, again, click away. Keep the pace steady and look to use 3-5 frames in a single Vine.

NASCAR has over-paced this video and tried to cram 18 frames in the 6-second Vine: https://vine.co/v/b6lAOTIFVn1

With Vine still being a newer social media outlet, it is hard to say whether it is here to stay. However, as PR stars it is important that we know the simple Do’s and Don’ts to create compelling posts for our brands

-Angela Martin is a senior studying strategic communication. Follow her on Twitter @_angelamartin.

PR For The Holidays: The Gift of Branding and Internships Event Recap

December 5, 2012

By: Kiley Landusky, Internal Account Associate

On a cold, rainy day on December 2nd the OU ImPRessions holiday party, “PR for the Holidays: The Gift of Internships and Branding” brought together account supervisors, executives and associates from the seventeen accounts for warm holiday cheer, warm wishes from fellow members and of course, warm food. The guests were greeted with a nametag and agenda listing the speakers that would later give valuable advice and praise of the spectacular PRSSA-affiliated group.

The party was kicked off with various potluck foods provided by members of ImPRessions. An introduction by Heather Bartman, Sienna Tomko and Dan Mulvey created excitement for the student guest speakers. Heather, Sienna and Dan stressed the importance of ImPRessions, their joy of its success and their gratitude for everyone being together before the terror of final exams.

We are quite lucky to claim the PR stars Hollie Amato, Nicole Spears and Sam Tischler as our own and even luckier that they agreed to present their successes and experiences in their internships after the friendly introduction from Heather, Dan and Sienna. Sam started by sharing her PACE employment experience and tied it to her experience in ImPRessions as well as her classes at Ohio University. She took pride in being a member of ImPRessions and said “this will teach you how to work in a group setting,” similar to how you would work in an internship. She encouraged the group to value every part of our experience as OU students and said, “Everything you do should be taken as a learning experience”.

Nicole Spears took the spotlight after Sam and let us in on her experience of interning in France. She gave us advice on what to do prior to any foreign internship. A commonly overlooked process before applying to foreign internships was translating your resume to the appropriate language of the country you choose to visit. Although the language barrier was the most difficult thing for her, Nicole was firm on stating that her experience was a great one and encouraged all to travel abroad. She said “you’ll meet a lot more people with global backgrounds,” which will help greatly in the new environment students will have to embrace in internships and careers.

After Nicole, Hollie Amato spoke about her work during an internship with Akhia, a public relations and marketing communications agency. She emphasized her use of ImPRessions on her resume, stating, “definitely brag about ImPRessions because it’s worth bragging about” and ImPRessions “gave me hands-on experience and examples”. She also told her fellow ImPRessions members to archive their work as they go for use in a future portfolio.

The guest speakers gave great advice for the current ImPRessions accounts and how to translate it to a professional setting in the future.

The accounts then gave us a short summary of their accomplishments thus far as well as their goals for spring semester. Just about every account discussed their social media activity and goals to enhance and increase their social media in the upcoming semester.

Some highlights from the account summaries were, the E.W. Scripps School account has 2,842 Twitter followers and the College Bookstore upped their followers from around 120 to 220! The Athens County Humane Society also gained 182 likes on Facebook. For the most part the accounts shared a common goal of reaching out to more people via social media.

Another common activity was the use of surveys to track the progress and outreach of accounts such as the GoBus account, which received 271 survey responses, nearly reaching their goal of 300. ImPRessions accounts seriously appreciate their audience and are always looking to give back to OU students as well as the Athens community.

Listening to all of the successes of ImPRessions members and their drive to be even greater as a firm and as separate accounts secured the pride of being an OU student. Bringing everyone together for this event made for a great welcome back from Thanksgiving break and a warm goodbye and seasons greetings before traveling home for the holiday break.




New school year brings a new slogan, clients, leaders and goals

June 28, 2011

By Nicole Bersani
CEO, ImPRessions

Posting for the first time as the CEO of ImPRessions, I have a “tall” order to fill. Devin Hughes, Janelle Huelsman and Courtney Cooper — the past three CEOs — must be around 5’7″. I’m 5’4″. However, it’s not as much about the height of course as it is about their accomplishments as CEOs. Looking back at the firm’s successes when they were CEO, I have set new heights.

Last year alone, there were a lot of accomplishments in the 2010-2011 school year: an increase in clients and members, a PRSSA National Affiliation student-run firm recognition and of course all the successful accounts! To check out last year’s portfolio, please click here. Now, ImPRessions is looking to continue the success of last year and move into a new year, bringing with it a new slogan, clients, leaders and goals.

New slogan

First, we are incorporating our new slogan, “Build a brand. Shape your future,” into all our materials, especially our blog. If you have visited our blog before, you might have noticed it has a different style. We wanted our logo and new slogan to stand out, or in other words, make an imPRession. Please read a previous post by Devin Hughes, 2010-2011 CEO, unveiling the new slogan and the significance it holds for our firm.

New clients & leaders

For the 2011-2012 school year, we have five new clients. At the annual banquet, four were revealed: Express, ROTC, GoBus and Bird Ice Arena. Most recently, another one has been included: Student Senate. The accounts continuing from last year are Cardinal Health, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Athens County Humane Society, Backdrop Magazine, College Book Store, AVW Productions, Up ’till Dawn, College Green Magazine, OHIO Performing Arts and ImPRessions internal. Overall, we have 15 clients and are excited for our accounts to hit the ground running for the 2011-2012 school year. Please see our full list of clients here.

There are 33 members on the executive board (some in more than one exec position), with a CEO, two VPs, 10 supervisors and 23 account executives. Please check out all of our leaders here and see which account(s) they are involved with for the upcoming school year.

New goals

One of my main goals before starting this school year was to create a more diverse line of clientele. From retail, public affairs, transportation, sports and governmental as new clients, adding to the already strong list of national, regional and local clients in healthcare, restaurant, business/organization, entertainment and nonprofit, we can mark that goal as accomplished.

Next up on the list:

  • to increase membership by 25%
  • to standardize our social media brand and to increase our outreach and efforts
  • to structure our brand and image with templates, how-to’s and the like (especially with the new slogan)
  • to host quarterly events for all members (e.g. “PR 101, leadership series and creative workshops)
  • to secure a PRSSA award for best campaign, best tactic or a Teahan Chapter Award for Chapter Firm

These goals will only be reached with the combined effort of each of our members working to write press releases, create fliers, connect on social media and plan events for our clients. It is the team work of our members working to successfully reach their client’s audiences. And it is the clients providing real-world and hands-on PR opportunities for our members. The new slogan “Build a brand. Shape your future.” is a motto for not only our firm as a whole, but also every single member and client within our firm.


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