Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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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!

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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!

B2B: A Different Type of PR Atmosphere

July 11, 2013 3 Comments

As Scripps kids, it’s a lifelong dream to see your campaign, writing or creative idea in the spotlight. But, not every job creates legendary campaigns for nationally renowned consumer brands. At Yerecic Label, I work with two aspects of business not typically focused on in the PR world, business-to-business (B2B) and small business.

As a B2B company, instead of communicating to the masses, we work to sell a product to businesses that provide to the final consumer. It’s no surprise that you rarely hear about B2B companies because their target audiences are the national brands, not the consumers. Also, small business marketing and PR positions are on the rise because strategic communication is no longer limited to large corporations. Anyone can conduct a publicity campaign with a creative mind and the help of the internet.

In my experiences at Yerecic Label, there are a few things that I have learned about both the B2B and small business atmosphere. Check out my tips and tricks to see if this type of job is right for your future.

1. Don’t just specialize in one thing; be great at everythingYerecic pic
On any given day I could be placed into about five different roles. Currently, I am a web site designer, tradeshow preparer, press release writer, customer service representative, catalog creator and marketing graphic artist… and that was just today.

Even though Yerecic Label is not what I would consider small, with almost 100 employees, I am one of the only people responsible for strategic communication from the company. If you decide to go into a small business marketing position, be prepared to wear as many hats as you can possibly fit on your head.

2. Non-corporate companies move at a slower pace

I know it’s hard to believe, but there are still many businesses that do not use social media as a part of their PR toolkit. There is a lot to be said for the effectiveness of social campaigns, but many small businesses haven’t reached that point in their communication growth yet.

Yerecic Label does not have a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social profile because currently there is no strong sales benefit from it. While creating a social persona is viable for the company in the future, it is not one of the top communication initiatives. Instead of jumping headfirst into creating various ineffective social media profiles, we chose to focus on creating a strong, customer focused website. This new information hub for our clients is a crucial first step to creating a digital presence and building a strong base for a future social emergence.

However, don’t let the slow pace cramp your style. Use thorough preparation, clear strategies and a killer plan to present your ideas and your efforts will be rewarded…in due time.

3. Know the most effective mediums

In certain business settings, many of the mediums that we have been taught to use are invalid for the purpose of the company. For example, an expensive television commercial for Yerecic Label is ineffective. The cost is extensive and it does not reach the specific business purchasing/packaging managers that we want to target. However, email newsletters and a good old-fashioned handwritten follow-up letter leads to increased visibility of Yerecic Label to prospects.  Just like any other campaign, know your audience!

4. Take extra time to have a exceptional understanding of your customers’ industry and market

If you are working to supply products to another industry, as typically B2B companies do, it is necessary to be up-to-date with the current news happening in their market. For example, at Yerecic Label we work with the fresh meat and produce industry to create labels for supermarket consumers.

Throughout the day, I receive multiple industry newsletters to make sure that I have the latest happenings. These email blasts provide me with vital information such as new product launches, growing companies in the industry and current events. There are multiple occasions when I have used information gathered from industry news to target companies for Yerecic Label’s marketing efforts.

Also, Yerecic participates in industry trade shows such as the Annual Meat Conference and Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit. Participation in trade associations allows us to know exactly what is going on in the perishables industry. This knowledge enables us to build effective programs and bring solutions that help clients reach their goals. Like Farkas always says, spend at least 40 percent of your time on a project doing research on the topic.

5. Sales and Strategic Communication must work together, not against each other

In a B2B communication setting, there is the never ending battle between sales and marketing. The sales team believes that they should not have to provide leads for marketing campaigns while communication believes their efforts are undervalued. The time for petty fights between the two departments is over. Instead, work together to generate the most effective leads and potential customers for the company. Remember that the sales teams’ opinions are invaluable because they are interacting with customers every day.

The best way to fix the tension between the two positions is to work together in planning and approval of all communication materials. Any piece of writing or creative that I create is sent out via email to the entire sales team for edits and feedback. While this is not a mandated part of my job and I could have my direct boss approve the material, the sales team appreciates how much I value their opinion.

There are so many ways to utilize PR skills other than an agency or corporate setting. If you love a learning experience, challenges every day and close work relationships then a small business position is right for you. Also, the payoff in a B2B position is incredible because you get to experience a closer relationship with customers and industry members. Lastly, in a smaller setting you can see a direct correlation between your hard work and sales dollars generated for the company. It’s a different type of road, but it’s one worth traveling.

-Kristin Yerecic is a senior studying strategic communications, business and economics. Follow her at @yerecick.

Super Bowl XLVII: The Best and Worst of 2013

February 8, 2013

Briagenn Adams

Not only is the Super Bowl the biggest night for American football fanatics, but it’s also one of the biggest events for PR superstars and advertising addicts alike. During the 2013 Super Bowl this past Sunday, one 30-second advertisement went for as much as a record $4 million. Or – in other terms – about $133,333 per second of TV time. That’s almost enough money to pay for an Ohio University education seven years over. Whoa.

So, which companies spent their money wisely, and who would have done better investing elsewhere? PR daily named three of the best and three of the words advertisements this year.  

Let’s start with the worst. Honestly, who didn’t cringe during the GoDaddy.com kiss commercial? For many, that camera angle was a bit too close for comfort. The now-notorious lip lock that lasted a whopping 10 seconds took up 1/3 of the entire commercial, and cost the company almost $1.4 million. Talk about an expensive date!

Also in the running for worst commercial of 2013 was Beck’s Beer Sapphire advertisement, singing beta fish and all. There might have been an inside joke hidden in the ad somewhere, but we’re not getting it. Beta luck next time, Beck’s!

Last but not necessarily least was the Wonderful Pistachios “Gangnam Style” ad. Although this song has had its share of international acclaim over the past year, people were not pleased by its reappearance during the Super Bowl XLVII.

On a more uplifting note, other companies spent their money very, very well.  PR Daily has praised Audi, Best Buy and Taco Bell for having the best Super Bowl commercials of 2013.

Audi immortalized the secret dream of every teenage boy – to steal the Prom Queen’s heart and impress his entire school – during their 60-second time slot. The hashtag, #BraveryWins was tweeted over 3,000 times following the memorable commercial. Viewers couldn’t help but cheer with the boy as he drove his father’s Audi off into his own sunset of eternal high school glory.

Next on the list of best Super Bowl commercials was Best Buy’s hilarious escapade with comedian Amy Poehler.  Although anything Amy does is bound to be brilliant, Best Buy’s ad provided some much-needed and appreciated comedic relief during the nail-biting Super Bowl game.

And finally, Taco Bell’s, “Viva Young” commercial was a top rated ad. We all knew this was coming! The endearing performance of senior citizens going wild and living up the night could have made even the biggest fast-food hater crave nachos.

Some other memorable ads included Budweiser’s classic reunion story of a Clydesdale horse and his loving owner, Volkswagen’s controversial “Get In, Get Happy” Jamaican ad and Doritos’ makeup-clad, “Fashionista Dad” getup.

No matter the actual outcome of Super Bowl XLVII, the advertisements were, for the most part, all winners that night. 

5 Tips for Staying Connected and Updated this Summer

July 5, 2012

By: Ashleigh Mavros

Just because you didn’t land your dream internship or you wanted to work to save money this summer doesn’t mean you can’t return in the fall with a better insight into the PR world. This is your golden opportunity to get ahead with some simple tasks that you haven’t had the time for or quite frankly haven’t crossed your mind. Stay on top of your game and make the following your list of to-do’s before your summer vacation is over.

Connect. Now is the time to pull out the stack of business cards and a list of contact information to get in touch with the connections you’ve made over the year. Something as simple as sending an email to let them know what you’ve been up to or asking a burning question you may have is sufficient. Even better, if you’re in town try to meet for coffee. “To me, it’s not so much about the initial outreach; rather, I’m more likely to remember a student who ‘checks in’ every once in a while,” said Experience Columbus Marketing Coordinator Sandi Combs. Dig back through all your contact information from PRSSA speakers, past internship advisors, and connections made at networking events and start building that connection base.

Blogs. Since you’re out of class you may feel disconnected to any news and information relating to the industry; it’s time to head to an online blog to get your daily dose of PR. A favorite among professionals and students alike is PRDaily.com which features useful articles on topics ranging from social media, crisis planning and marketing.  Other blogs to keep an eye on include Technorati.com and Mashable.com. By checking in weekly with a favorite PR-related blog, you won’t feel like you’ve been hiding under a rock come fall.

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Informational Interviews.  “The biggest thing is making a connection in the professional world. And if an opportunity comes up for an internship or entry-level job in my office, it’s nice to have a few students who I know might be good candidates for that role,” said Andy Dearth of Live Nation on opportunities that one day may come from informational interviews.  Set up an interview with a firm or business you might be interested in, especially one in which you already have a connection. Do some research before the interview, have a list of questions prepared and look at the interview as a learning experience and a networking opportunity that will give you incredible insight.

 

Books. Yes, it’s summer and you don’t want to even think about picking up anything remotely similar to a text book. However, if you have any interest in the ever-changing roles that social media and technology play in PR, you won’t be able to put these two books down. Likeable Social Media by David Kerpen explores every vital social platform in today’s society including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and more. The emphasis on the two way connection and discussion with an audience through social media makes you double think the way of the past of throwing information at an audience. David Meerman Scott returns with an updated version of his original book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Scott details how traditional media has changed, especially in the case of no longer needing the middle man of media to deliver your message.

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Update. You’ve got another year under your belt so it’s time to update that resume, portfolio, and online sites such as LinkedIn with all your accomplishments from this past year. Make sure your social networking sites, professional sites and resume all correlate with the same updated information. You can even add your upcoming positions or roles to get a head start. No doubt you have clips or design pieces to add to your portfolio; keep adding to material you already have or get everything together to finally start a portfolio.

No internship? No problem. Stay on top of your game this summer and you’ll be back in the fall with the experience as if you had never skipped a beat.

ImPRess clients and customers through design

December 2, 2011

By:  Ali Fortney
Associate, ImPRessions Internal Account

 

The term “public relations” encompasses a wide array of topics and techniques.  Many factors influence whether or not a company is properly using PR to its advantage.  Design can make or break a business’ public relations agenda.  While many companies are increasingly using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to connect with customers, they must remember basic PR techniques that will never get old.

For example, the magazine advertisement.  Many companies promote their brand through advertisements in large magazines such as People, Vogue, Time or Rolling Stone.  Businesses must keep in mind that the designs of advertisements are crucial in creating a successful PR campaign. When designing, the company must make sure the target audience is reached.  Public relations teams must first do research as to what the audience is looking for when it comes to branding.

Once research is gathered, the company is ready to design an advertisement public relations campaign.  The advertising and PR world are very much intertwined in the marketing aspect of the business world. When designing any form of advertisement, companies must remember a few simple steps:

  1. Keep it simple – No one wants to look at a print ad full of clutter.
  2. Be aesthetically pleasing – Make the advertisement appealing to the eye.
  3. Focus on the audience – Use research to determine what the audience wants.
  4. Make a statement with color – When advertising a brand, incorporate the brand colors into the advertisement.
  5. Less is more – Too many words or pictures in an advertisement can be a turn off for consumers.

Design is an invaluable part of the public relations process.  In many cases, it can determine the success of a company’s marketing campaign.  It is important to remember that the audience must enjoy the business’ marketing strategy, in order for the company to be successful.  Print advertising and design plays a huge role in PR and must not be forgotten amidst the social media whirlwind.

 

How Steve Jobs changed the PR and Marketing World

October 20, 2011 1 Comment

By:  Annie Beard

Associate, ImPRessions Account

Apple is one of the most successful businesses to ever exist, and Steve Jobs was one of the most successful businessmen to ever live. What is one of the largest reasons for this success? Jobs’ insight on PR and marketing.

Steve Jobs did things his own way for the majority of his career, and it obviously worked out fairly well. He knew how to persuade people by telling his customers why they need his product and how much easier their lives would be with it. People loved Apple and couldn’t get enough of what he would say, because he knew what people wanted.   “Steve Jobs’ ultimate significance was as a marketer,” David Barton, who teaches information sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Pittsburgh Gazette. “Without that marketing genius our world would be different.”

One of Jobs’ genius ideas was launching Apple events that included announcing and unveiling new products. While many technology companies attended events such as the Consumer Electronics Show to announce big news, Apple would avoid them. Instead, they would have their own events dedicated to only their products. This turned out to be one of the best ideas for promoting the company as a whole.

During the days after these Apple events, the new product would be the biggest talking topic. Everyone wanted the next big thing, and Apple always had the next big thing.   Some companies, such as Amazon, try to mimic these events by launching their own new products, but fail to be as successful as Apple.

Not only was Steve Jobs one of the most successful innovators, but also one of the smartest when it came to PR and marketing. There are so many things to learn from him, and how he changed the marketing world forever.

What did you learn from Steve Jobs?

IT Needs Me?

July 11, 2011

By: Kate Willse
Account Executive, Student Senate

Who knew the information technology  (IT) world was a hotspot for marketing and public relations work? I definitely did not, until I received an offer to work as a public relations intern at an IT consulting firm in Cleveland, Ohio this summer. I figured I could give it a shot. It was near my hometown, and offered some great benefits. Little did I know I would become fully immersed in the IT world and proficient in a tech language that I never knew existed…and I was the girl who took my computer to the IT Depot every other day freshman year!

The internship presented an interesting challenge, but I was willing to take it on. After a few weeks I realized how very little technology professionals know about the basics of marketing and PR. My list of tasks began to grow exponentially and my PR plan became increasingly extensive. I thought that their website would be amazing and easy to navigate; however, it was unorganized and took much sifting to get to the information you wanted to find. All of this time I was worried I would have no work and would be making coffee runs all day. I was delighted to find that I was given so much power and freedom to brand a company and truly improve their image.

Four weeks later I am working with a part-time marketing professional to build a solid PR/ Marketing foundation for them to work from. I am responsible for creating a brand guide, and outlining their marketing standards. A guide I was not familiar with before I started the internship. It is interesting to see the collateral that a firm such as theirs uses and how they wish to market their software products in the same way P&G wants to market the Tide brand. The differences are astounding, but the similarities just as much.

For those of us fearing that the economy won’t pick up and we journalism students will be out of a job when we graduate; fear no more. It may not be your dream job in New York City working at a famous PR firm, but it could turn out to be as good, or even better. Think outside of the box, and look into fields that you would not normally consider for PR. Chances are, as I have found, they are the companies that need the most help, and guidance.

My advice: take a chance. Take that wacky job offer, and you just might be surprised.

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