Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Caitlyn Jenner: A PeRfect transition

June 3, 2015

By: Erica Stonehill, @estonehill13

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** I will be referring to her as ‘Bruce’ and using the pronoun ‘he’ when speaking of events prior to June 1st and the public reveal of Caitlyn. 

If you’re at all up-to-date on current events or pop culture, this name should be familiar to you. A brief summary for those of you living under a rock: Bruce Jenner, 1976 U.S. Olympic decathlon gold medalist, and Kardashian reality star, revealed that he identifies as a woman during an interview with Diane Sawyer in April of 2015.

On Monday, Vanity Fair released the cover of their June issue: a physically transformed Jenner, with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.” The actual issue, complete with an entire photo spread and interview with Caitlyn, isn’t released until June 9, but this publication seems to be the perfect addition to a flawless transition.

Bruce had made it clear that he wanted to use his public platform to educate others and create awareness of the transgender community. That being said, following the Diane Sawyer interview, relevancy was an important factor in this release of information. There has been a series of TV specials, both focused on Bruce’s personal journey, as well as his family’s. This has allowed for a consistent, fluid conversation of not only what it means to be transgendered, but also what it means when a loved one identifies as transgendered.

Being in the public eye is often a double-edged sword. Bruce mostly had the opportunity to control the way his story was told, and he chose to keep it honest. During the special episodes we see his children work through different parts of his public transition, and while 90 percent of the time they are oozing with love and support, the remaining 10 percent is confusion and hardship. These tidbits of darkness are important because they keep this journey transparent to the public.

Along with Vanity Fair’s cover release on Monday, Caitlyn created her own official Twitter account and surpassed President Barack Obama as the fastest growing account, with over 1 million in four hours. While her story has just begun, Caitlyn is paving the way for not only transgender awareness, but acceptance across the entire LGBTQI community. Her emergence into the public is a delicate matter, but from a public relations perspective, it has been handled impeccably.

Going Green: How and Why Companies are Leading in Social Change

May 29, 2015

By Morgan Brenner, @morganbren

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“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” was the first environmental health lesson that most of us were taught in grade school. The environmental cause has expanded into far more since those days, with climate change and environmental social justice becoming a growing issue. Although many people look at this as a trend, sustainability in business is the way of the future. Many businesses make headlines for either innovative sustainability strategies, or for failing to do their environmental part.

Chipotle’s Non-GMO Effort vs. McDonald’s Food Makeover

In the news, recently, we have seen Chipotle take a stand against GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and come out with a business plan that will make them able to rid of the trigger word in their restaurants. There has been a lot of debate over whether this is possible or not, since the history of food has been GMO friendly for many years. Whatever the reason, Chipotle has started a conversation on better food practices, putting them above their competition.

McDonald’s has been making an effort to be more transparent about their food and to implement healthy choices. They recently started their “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign, where people could ask question about how they were obtaining some of their ingredients. Since McDonalds is such a large company and there are so many regulations to abide by, it really isn’t possible to show the customer every factory and farm they use. And that’s also what’s upsetting people; that the videos have so many “farm-factories” in them. This brings up the question if it is possible for fast food brands that have been around for decades to redirect the conversation from unhealthy-fast-food-chain.

Dell & General Electric’s Money Saving Upswing

Most families had Dell Computers our generation was just a tiny tot. Now that Apple has almost taken over the electronics game, Dell is looking for a way to re-market themselves. In 2012 they released their Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan that has been putting their name back in the minds of American homes. Their plan enacts social and environmental change, which will publicly define them as good-doers, and privately save them a lot of money. Going green is not something people put together with saving money, but with copious amounts of waste reduction and all the tax benefits you can receive from state governments, it’s an obvious dollar saver.

General Electric is another company that you’ve probably heard your parents talk about, but don’t know much about. They actually have been doing well since their crisis during the recession. They have been redeeming themselves from dumping waste into the Hudson River by leading a huge clean up of that area. GE is also very committed to providing their customers with products that will reduce waste when being used. They develop wind turbines, solar panels and many other eco-friendly products. And speaking of savings, GE has reduced their GHG emissions 32 percent, and have reduced fresh water use 45 percent, saving them 300 million dollars.

Cleaner World – Better Business

The number of companies creating environmental change, and benefiting from it, does not stop there. Adobe has started Adobe Youth Voices, a program that donates software and teaches kids how to create multimedia projects around environmental and social change. Budweiser is saving 21 million pounds of metal every year by trimming an eighth of an inch off of the diameter of their beer cans. Coca-Cola is getting itself more involved in community recycling programs and is focusing on clean water, sustainable packaging and climate and energy protection. When money savings meets improved company to consumer relationships, you cannot go wrong with going green. Businesses everywhere have proven in the last ten years that without a sustainability plan, there is no future for them. I think we can all improve our own personal brands, and save ourselves money, by following the lead of these market moguls. Who would have known that our teachers were actual giving us a lesson in PR with “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

My Favorite Things ImPRessions Has Taught Me

April 23, 2015

By: Elise Mills, @itsELISElove

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Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.

Teamwork really is dream work

PR is not a one-man show. No one person can successfully create and implement a campaign, though some will try. Each associate brings a different set of strengths that will further the account, and everyone trying their best creates unbelievable results.

Content is King

And research is Queen. Just because you have a great headliner, or idea does not guarantee its success. You must have content to back up that great idea. I loved learning that I had to do more than just come up with great ideas, I needed to put the work in and create the entire picture, not just one piece.

A campaign without a goal is not a campaign

Campaigns can run anywhere from hours to months, so having tangible goals is the best way to keep your account motivated. How can you achieve a goal you don’t know you have? You have to determine the amount of imPRessions, interactions, or anything else you are hoping to measure your level of success. Then, help the associates learn how to measure this success; it is a great award to achieve your goals.

Anyone can be a PR Star

The great thing about ImPRessions is that you are not alone. You have other associates, Assistant Executives, Executives, Supervisors, and others who are all rooting for you and are willing to help. Any plant provided with food, water and sunlight will continue to grow, and I have learned this past year that ImPRessions gives you all the tools to succeed. All you have to do is want it.

PaRtner’s Conference 2015

April 21, 2015

By: Jess Carnprobst, @jess_carnprobst

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This past Saturday, Melaina Lewis, Allison Evans, Kelsey Miller and I traveled to Columbus for this year’s PaRtner’s Conference at Capital University. After attending last year’s conference at Ohio State, I was excited to see what was in store.

Capital welcomed us with some breakfast foods, juice and coffee, before starting the keynote speaker. Then at 9, we heard from Amanda DeCastro, who is currently working at Resource Ammirati and talked to us about the things we won’t learn in school. She told us to have an elevator speech, learn to speak in public, take big risks, build our online presence wisely, understand that we will fail, become an expert in one thing, listen, find a work/life balance that works for you, master the art of writing and storytelling, bring a pair of flats (this one was for the ladies), you will get hung up on when calling people, don’t burn bridges and lastly my favorite advice, make your passion your paycheck.

In our first breakout session, we chose to attend the “art of the resume” workshop, gaining a professional’s understanding of the resumes we turn in. Here we learned that it’s important to be careful when choosing to create a design heavy resume, because every professional looking at it will have a different opinion. To reiterate on something we’ve learned at OU, they stressed the importance of tailoring resumes to a specific job and finding a way to link the skills gained in a previous position with the job description of the position you’re applying for. Others attended the personal branding workshop, which helped those students gain further understanding to the importance of establishing and maintaining a brand both on and offline.

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For session number two, we moved downstairs to learn more about advanced internships, while some stayed upstairs to learn about internships 101. Here, we were prepared for the difference between college life and a job. They stressed the importance of remembering to ask questions as a new full-time employee, and to own the projects you will be given. This is your job now and it’s expected that you do well.

Next, the moment we had been waiting for, a picnic with professionals! Capital University packed us boxed lunches and gave us an informal opportunity to talk with speakers and local professionals, while enjoying our food.

After lunch, we participated in a PR campaign competition seeking to help the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus give thanks to their many volunteers, while recruiting new volunteers. Each of the three groups had an hour to create a news release, social media component, overall goal and strategy and an additional component. All three teams created unique yet exciting campaigns and pitches. Kelsey’s team walked away with the best news release, Melaina’s team walked away with the best pitch and Allison and my team walked away with the best social media campaign and overall campaign.

Overall, this day reinforced the importance of getting to know members from local PRSSA chapters. Between sessions and during the lunch, it was nice talking to other students and hearing their perspective on things, as each school structures their PR classes and PRSSA differently. We all had a fun day of networking in Columbus, and came away with reinforced understandings as well as new perspectives!

Saving Sabra: Tips for Managing Crisis

April 13, 2015

By: Elizabeth Papas, @elizabethpapas_

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I woke up Wednesday morning and checked every single social media platform, before actually making the commitment to leave my bed. While I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I came across a tweet that truly struck my inner foodie. The tweet read RECALL, and was accompanied by the label of my favorite hummus brand. On Wednesday, Sabra Hummus sent out a press release explaining the company’s recall of 30,000 cases of its classic style hummus. The recall was a result of listeria contamination in a random sampling of their product. As a regular consumer of Sabra’s products, I was immediately concerned and felt mistrust toward the brand.

As aspiring PR professionals, we might be faced with a client crisis, similar to Sabra’s hummus recall. It can be imperative to our client’s business, and reputation, that we are able to handle crisis in an effective and timely manner. In order to prepare for crisis, we can familiarize our selves with these three crisis management tips.

1. Be Aware

Before sending out any information to the public, it is important to fully understand what the situation is and why it has happened. Being aware of the crisis can make explaining the situation to the public much easier. In addition, listen to the brand’s audience on social media, and gauging consumer’s reactions might help pin point the most effective way for the brand to address the crisis.

2. Be Honest

Once it becomes time to distribute information to the public, it is important for the information to be honest and accurate. Encouraging clients to remain transparent throughout the heat of the crisis can help maintain and restore trust with consumers. Honesty will also help in preventing the brand from attracting any additional problems.

3. Open Channels of Communication

After addressing the crisis to the public, be sure to encourage consumers to contact the company with questions or concerns. Opening the channels of communication between the company and consumers can ensure the public that the brand has nothing to hide. In addition, it might be helpful to address consumer’s concerns directly on social media. For example, returning a negative tweet regarding the crisis with a positive proactive comment.

It is true that crisis does and will occur; however, being prepared to act appropriately in the situation can save a client’s business. Therefore, if one is found in a moment of crisis it can be helpful to recall these three simple tips.

What Your Favorite ‘Parks & Recreation’ Character Says About Your PR Style

April 8, 2015

By: Lindsey Zimmerman, @lindseyzim716

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This past February, fans of America’s favorite small-town government said goodbye to the characters and storylines that had become a modern television classic over the past seven seasons. Although we’ll never get to see the Parks & Rec crew embark on any new adventures, the messages of their stories extend far beyond the fictional city limits of Pawnee, Indiana. Due to the show’s workplace-centered plot, your favorite member of the Parks department could say a lot about your own personal work ethic, particularly in an industry like public relations.

Leslie Knope 

You get stuff done. You’re not afraid to work hard for what you believe in, even if it’s not the most popular choice. You’re the type to dream up a crazy, out-of-this-world, outrageous campaign and actually pull it off, because you have the drive to make it happen.

Ron Swanson 

You’re probably the strong, silent type, and might not be much for small talk, but your coworkers and friends have no doubt that you care about them. You’re a perfectionist and wouldn’t even dream of executing any part of a campaign unless you’re confident that it’s the best it can be.

Tom Haverford
You’re an optimist who sees potential in everything. For you, there is no idea too far-fetched and no client too difficult to handle, thanks to your innovative and creative mindset. You have a lot of passion for life in general and a particular knack for business.

Andy Dwyer
You’re a little kid trapped in an adult’s body, but as Andy demonstrates, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You give everything 110 percent, even if it’s not something that you want to be doing, because you know that giving it your all is necessary to get you where you want to be. The word “jealousy” is not in your vocabulary – you are nothing but happy for your friends and coworkers when they achieve their goals.

April Ludgate
You’re crazy smart and sarcastic to a fault. Not one to waste time, you cut to the chase and make an impulsive decision if that’s what needs to be done. If you find yourself in a professional role that isn’t quite what you want to do, you work hard to create your own opportunities instead of thinking about what could be.

Ben Wyatt
A true data geek at heart, you’re the one who gets legitimately excited about campaign analytics and the numbers behind them. Despite your enthusiasm for the statistical side of things, you have a great imagination and work hard to turn your ideas into reality.

Chris Traeger 

You’re a natural leader, but you don’t let this get to your head, and you treat everyone with the respect they deserve. You are constantly trying to be the best version of yourself and this shows in your work as well.

Ann Perkins
Just like the show’s very own resident PR girl, you’re calm, cool and collected, and know how to keep your head on straight under pressure. Thanks to your ability to see the best in people and situations, you probably have a knack for crisis communications.

Donna Meagle
You are confident in your abilities and ideas and not afraid to tell it like it is. You know right away when something isn’t going to work and will try to put a stop to it rather than watching the potential disaster unfold. You’re extremely creative and have the smarts it takes to bring your ideas to life.

Jerry Gergich
Extremely devoted to your career, you come into work every day with a smile on your face and consider your coworkers to be like family. You might be a little accident prone, but you can own up to your mistakes and usually recognize what went wrong.

I’d consider myself to be mostly like Leslie with a little bit of April thrown in. Which character speaks to you PR style?

The New Scope Periscope Brings to News

April 7, 2015

By: Erin Golden,@eringolden

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By now, everyone’s probably heard of the immediately popular, Twitter-created app, Periscope. Periscope allows people with a mobile device (and the app) to live-stream video content.

The Meerkat app, which was released first and was heavily funded right before Periscope, has failed miserably after Periscope launched. Periscope’s usage and downloads have recently spiked and passed the downloads and the rankings of Meerkat. A large difference between the two apps is that Periscope saves the content on the app for 24 hours after the first live broadcast.

We can use our phones to live-stream events straight to the Internet in real-time, so what?

An app like this, however, could drastically change the news industry for media and for brands as well.

Here’s what apps like Periscope could mean for the PR/media industry.

  • We (the people) become even more of a “citizen journalist.” Giving the public the ability to be the first to report on events with video is a big deal. Now, big-time news outlets like CNN or Fox have competitors when it comes to quickly broadcasting real-time news. People with their phones might be able to post the content and spread the news faster than a news crew can get there. This doesn’t mean the quality will be high – just like citizens posting incorrect information on Twitter and Facebook, live video can still be taken out of context. However, seeing is believing, which makes it easier for a developing story to tell itself through an app like Periscope.
  • Brands could be hesitant to dive into a live-streaming app. It’s been stated that Twitter probably won’t be able to filter all of the content coming through Periscope. This could mean events that weren’t scheduled or monitored could be out on the web before a brand’s communication team might even be aware. Crisis communication anyone?! For this reason, brands might be hesitant to invest and partner with live video streaming like Periscope.
  • Global connections are made even easier. Periscope seamlessly connects users to other users all over the world, therefore really focusing in on the “international connectivity” aspect of social media. When traditional media reports internationally, it’s often from the perspective of a journalist who is not a native of the country, possibly skewing the reporting or having a bias on the news. Periscope allows people all over the world to glimpse into another’s life and view it from their perspective; from all the way across the world to right down the street.

No one (even us PR pros) can predict the future of technology and the effects of every new app that comes on the market. But, apps like Periscope harbor the potential to possibly change the landscape of the public relations and media markets.

3 Life Lessons Learned From “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

March 27, 2015

By: Melaina Lewis, @melaina_lews

Unbreakable. It’s a miracle. The ingenious mind of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock did it again – this time creating satirical dynamite on Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt released, to what feels like, instant popularity. Within days, people were binge watching the series, then telling their friends to do the same. As public relation professionals, we know word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. If a brand can gain the trust of one person, then it can easily gain the trust of ten more people. Let’s be honest, we all wanted to be the first person telling someone to watch Kimmy Schmidt. Like many, I watched 13 episodes over two days, and yes, I can see why this show was a strategically planned PR goldmine. However, Kimmy taught me more than just marketing skills. Here are three lessons I learned from watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

1. You are strong as hell.

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As a former mole woman, Kimmy offers a handful of life advice throughout the series. Lesson one: Never allow anyone to make you think you’re garbage. When life gets tough, remember you can do anything for 10 seconds at a time. In all seriousness, you can overcome anything, it’s mind over matter. At times, we lose touch with what’s important in life, and get distracted by work, school or homework. Take a step back and readjust your priorities. Be surprised by your strength.

2. Achieve your dreams

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A speaker at Lead365 (a stellar conference for student leaders), told me if you write down your goals and look at them three times a day, you’re more likely to achieve success. You may have to zig more than you zag, but just like Kimmy, you can get friends, a job and an apartment in New York City, all in one day.

3. Don’t be afraid of the unknown

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Embrace it. Step out of your comfort zone, and then once you’re out, step again. Great experiences can come from the unknown. Tituss never stopped pursuing his broadway dreams. Like a true entrepreneur, he created his own generic version of Disney’s Lion King. Don’t talk yourself out of an opportunity. Apply for the internship or job in the city of your dreams. Remember, you’re unbreakable.

Myth-Busting: Introverts in PR

March 23, 2015

By: Emily Barber, @emilybarbershop

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The stereotypical image that comes to mind when picturing a public relations professionals is someone who is loud, outgoing, talkative and extremely social; a.k.a. an extrovert. While many people in PR fit this description, there’s also another group that doesn’t fit the same mold – introverts. According to Introvert Retreat, about half of the population is introverted, so some of them are bond to make their way into PR. This means that these individuals enjoy spending time alone to recharge and relax. Despite these inward tendencies, introverts can still be successful in PR, and here are a few reasons why:

1. You choose your words carefully

Introverts tend to be more reserved, and therefore think before they speak. While those extroverts are posting tweets that could damage a brand’s reputation, you take the time to carefully select each of your 140 characters.

2. You’re detail-oriented

Much like their strategic word choices, introverts pay attention to detail. They are good listeners and like to take their time, so you know every event planned by an introvert is sure to be a success.

3. You value your relationships

Network, network, network. As PR people, we hear this all the time. Rather than making short, shallow connections with a bunch of different people, introverts develop strong relationships. In a business where it’s all about who you know, introverts can be sure that their connections will help them out.

4. Introversion ≠ poor communication skills

A common misconception of introverts is that they are awkward communicators, but this is far from the truth. Introverts do not necessarily have inadequate social skills; they simply gain energy from being alone. They can still give a killer speech, network like a pro, or control mobs of prying journalists – they just might need a little quiet time after!

I grew up with an introverted mother and an extroverted father, so I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of these two personality traits. I enjoy talking with and meeting new people, but I will also choose staying home and reading a book, instead of going to a party sometimes. Nevertheless, I have no doubt in my mind that I will someday be a successful PR pro. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, PR can be your thing, as long as you’re dedicated, driven, and passionate!

How to Up Your PR game Over Spring Break

February 26, 2015

By: Elise Mills, @itsELISElove

Are you going on an amazing trip for spring break? Yeah, me neither, but don’t worry! For those of us who don’t have trips planned, there is still plenty for us to do. With the spare time, here are some simple things to do to up your PR game.

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1. Update your LinkedIn.

Yes, most of us have one by this point, and we can all admit it could look better. Spend some time making sure your biography really reflects your personality or spend some time actually writing about your volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, instead of only having the standard name and date.

Goal: Try to reach ‘Expert’ or even ‘All-Star’ on your profile bar.

2. Remember that you have a blog.

Oh yeah, that thing you created when you bored. It’s time to hash out some new ideas. A blog is only as effective as you allow it to be, and if you only post once every couple months, it’s not truly showing your creativity or dedication to the craft.

Goal: Post once at the beginning of break and once at the end, it’ll help get those creative juices flowing and remind you why you started blogging in the first place.

3. Check out PR Daily (prdaily.com).

They are chalked-full of articles from crisis communications, to social media, to writing and editing. The latest post I read? “6 ‘House of Cards’ quotes that apply to PR.”

Goal: Read a couple of articles throughout the week. Not only are they fun, but informational.

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4. Look up internships.

If you are trying to get an internship then this is not new to you, but for those who have yet to start looking, this is the best time. Take an hour or two and look up some of the places you could see yourself applying to in the next few years and look at what it takes to be an intern there. Not only does it give you a sample of what you’ll be doing soon, but also it shows you areas to improve or what you could be doing now.

Goal: Look up a couple internships and ask yourself, am I on the right track? If not, what could I do to get there?

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