Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

Summer Reflection Series: Erica Stonehill

October 8, 2014

3 Lessons, 2 Jobs, 1 Summer: Where PR, Panera, and Aeropostale overlap

By: Erica Stonehill @estonehill13

panera

This summer I took on the exhausting task of working two jobs. I’ve been a tried and true Panera Bread employee for going on three years, and recently landed a position at the local Aeropostale. After learning more about public relations in the past year, I’ve noticed on more than one occasion how my current jobs intermix with my future career.

  • The customer is always right – As frustrating as it may be sometimes, you are employed to make others happy. That is your job. If a customer requests no broccoli in her broccoli cheddar soup, you will stand there and fish every green tree out of her bowl because you are paid to please.

    Very rarely does a customer/client leave unsatisfied and only think poorly of the one person they dealt with – the blame falls back on the entire company. Sally Smith didn’t give me loads of broccoli in my soup, Panera Bread did. You are the face of an entire company, and your mistakes become everyone’s mistakes. Please the client at all costs, because one bad review can outshine ten outstanding ones.

  • You will never know it all – My first few shifts at Aeropostale were nerve racking. I was so used to being a veteran at Panera that it was terrifying to be the new kid again. Retail and fast food are two totally different ball games, and I realized that immediately. I had to adapt to the different environment quickly and understand both types of customers that I was working for.

    When working in the food industry you’re expected to greet the customer and be friendly, but quick. Get them their food and move on. Retail requires a conversation, the building of trust and ability to relate to the customer. The same goes for PR. Some clients will want to build a relationship with you and others will want the job done quickly and clean. You have to be able to adapt and read your client. Everyone is different, and it’s your job to please them all.

  • Loyalty goes a long way – I’ve had the pleasure of gaining “regulars” at Panera, this summer. I opened almost five days a week, and as a result, I see a lot of the same customers on a weekly (or daily) basis. One particular lady came in every morning, and instead of bringing her Panera card, has me look it up by her phone number. After a few visits I had her number memorized, and now when she comes in, she knows I already have her squared away. Last week I forgot her coffee when she came through the drive thru, but because I had built a sense of loyalty with her she was understanding and didn’t get upset when she had to come back for it.

    Treat each client as an individual rather than a task, and they will notice. In the event that you do make a mistake, they’re more likely to understand and excuse it. There are plenty of other companies they could go to. Remind them every day why yours is the better choice and it will not only keep your relationship strong, but it will bring in new clients as well.

Even though I didn’t have an internship this summer like many of my fellow classmates, I still tried to gain knowledge and experiences from my two jobs. I was surprised by how much they connected back to public relations. Doing whatever to please the client, giving yourself room to grow in everything you do, and building loyalty with your clients are three important parts of PR, as well as retail or fast food. My summer wasn’t all glitz and glamour in a big city, but I learned a few things that I will be able to use in the future.

 

 

 

Summer Reflection Series: Gentry Bennett

October 7, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett @Gen__andTonic

NR

They say your career should involve what you do in your free time. Luckily for me, I love being online and procrastinate everything by getting on my laptop and browsing the web. My summer internship with NR Media Group allowed me to do just that, and in my pajamas!

Online internships are something I would recommend for everyone. They allow you the freedom to live in whichever city you choose and usually at your own schedule. Luckily I got the opportunity to reside in Dallas, Texas and have a job all while getting great experience in the lovely public relations field.

I was able to work with clients and develop internal strategies from the comfort of my couch. I was even flown out for my first business trip – a company retreat that was well received by all members of NR Media Group. We finally got to meet each other in person instead of simply communicating over Basecamp. The company culture is fantastic, and I wouldn’t trade in my experiences for the world. Luckily, I even got the opportunity to extend my internship while I’m in school.

I also got to launch all of our internal social media accounts within the past month and get to contribute writing to an audience of thousands each week on Tuesdays about topics that I love.

Overall, my summer internship was a great experience – I got to do research, client work and write about topics I’m passionate about. What more could I ask for?

Summer Reflection Series: Annie Beard

September 30, 2014 1 Comment

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

I spent the past summer completely out of my comfort zone, and it turned out to be an awesome and rewarding experience. It was definitely a summer full of going to new places and trying new things.

To start, I spent the first two weeks in Europe with my boyfriend and our Contiki tour group. This was an amazing experience because our group consisted of people from all over the world. Not only did I learn so much about Europe and the places we visited, but also I learned about people in my group and their countries. I even picked up some Australian slang terms, such as sunnies (sunglasses) and Eskie (cooler). Along with some slang terms, I learned how much I love to travel and see new places, and I can’t wait to go on another trip in the future.

Contiki

Once I returned to the States, it was time to start my internship – so I picked up and moved to Chicago! I interned with Tell Your Story Brand Communications, Inc., a small integrated marketing and PR agency. The founder of Tell Your Story, George Rafeedie, is an Ohio University alum, whom I met during his trip to Athens as the Jerry Sloan Visiting Professional. While interning, I worked with a team of five PR and marketing pros, who taught me so much about the industry. It was my first agency internship, and it confirmed that I want to work for an agency after graduation. Living in downtown Chicago didn’t hurt the experience either!

from the opera

This summer taught me a few lessons that I will take with me into my future:

  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things and travel to new places. Meet new people and learn new stuff. As scary as it seems, it will always pay off and teach you something you weren’t expecting to learn. Getting outside of your comfort zone will completely change you – in a good way!
  • If you work hard, people will want to help you out. (Especially Bobcats). My Tell Your Story coworkers always wanted to see me succeed, and they still do. They have become some of my biggest cheerleaders, whether they are recommending me on LinkedIn or sharing a soccer highlight video of me on Twitter. It is an awesome feeling to know that your hard work is appreciated and that people support you.
  • Go with the flow. PR is an industry that requires adaptability. Keep an open mind, and be willing to change plans if necessary. As PR Pros, we must be ready for anything that comes our way. 

Now that I am a senior, the real world will be here before I know it. I am excited to take the lessons that I have learned into my future.

chicity

Summer Reflection Series: Megan Newton

September 17, 2014

By: Megan Newton @_megannewton

Just Keep Swimming: Lessons learned as an aquarium PR intern

doryIt was a surprising summer full of unexpected opportunities. It all began in late April when I accepted an internship with the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. I know what you’re thinking: why on earth would you want to work for fish? I thought the same thing at first. I struggled to find an internship in Cleveland, and pretty much just took the aquarium internship because I was tired of searching. At the time, I had no idea of the unexpected under the sea adventure I was about to embark on.

I learned a lot throughout my time on the aquarium. The most prominent of many lessons being that PR isn’t always all the glamour and glitz it’s worked up to be. It probably hit me as I walked around downtown Cleveland during mid-July in a (wait for it) shark costume. It wasn’t your typical intern duty, but I think that’s what made my internship experience even that more special – because honestly, who else can say they’ve done that?

I hope to carry the same outlook about unexpected opportunities that I gained this summer back to my everyday life here at Ohio University. My goals from here on out are:

  1. To be a good mentor
  2. To apply the skills I gained at my internships
  3. To make an impact on the organizations that have made me who I am

If I walked away with one thing from my summer at the aquarium, it’s that you shouldn’t judge or take advantage of an opportunity before you actually experience it. Everyone who knows me, knows that my dream job is to work as a music publicist – so clearly I wasn’t so sure how writing about fish all summer would get me there. However, it turns out the old marketing coordinator at the aquarium now does just that in my dream city: Nashville, Tennessee. I’m now convinced you can find connections to your dream job anywhere, if you take every right opportunity that’s handed to you.

 

And always, just keep swimming.

5 TED Talks to Inspire the PR PRo

December 18, 2013

TED Talks are multi-length videos featuring forward-thinkers in the professional world sharing their experiences and  knowledge.  As PR junkies, we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and reach into the depths of our creativity.

These clips are a great way to hear about others’ discoveries and how they have climbed the ladder of success.  Here are a few TED Talks videos that could inspire you along your PR journey to achievement:

1. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Whether it was McDonalds or that dream internship, we all can recall the butterflies from our first interview.  Confidence is an obvious must to obtain a 5-star performance, but a simple change in your body language before that small step into the interrogation room could give you the confidence you thought only “that girl” had.

Amy Cuddy, a successful scientist, has studied human body language and how it affects our bodies and brains.  Her studies have shown that not only do others subconsciously judge you, but you also subconsciously judge yourself.  Powerful body language results in a powerful you!

2. Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-life Balance Work

PR majors are some of the most innovative and dedicated people in the work force.  We are extremely passionate about our careers and it’s easy for us to become soaked up in the amazing work that we do.  Public Relations is a highly demanding career as all of us who are preparing to enter its thrilling dynamics know.  In order to live a happy life it’s important to remember to find your balance.

Nigel Marsh, CEO and author, relates his experience as a hard working professional to his overall happiness and success through 4 observations.  His words of wisdom encourage us to remember that the smallest investments in the right places can largely impact our quality of life.

3. Alexis Ohanian: How to Make a Splash in Social Media

This short video tells a tale about an environmental organization’s efforts to stop a Japanese whaling campaign.  Alexis Ohanian gives us insight through some unexpected repercussions of a “Mister Splashy Pants” whale meme and its surprising success.

What’s the secret to a great social media crusade? It’s simple: LOSE CONTROL!  Spreading awareness across social media puts all control in the hands of day to day social media users.  Sometimes losing that control, can cause a serious message to thrive in an astonishingly silly way.

4. The Happy Secret to Better Work

PR experts know that being average won’t get you far.  Shawn Achor, the CEO of Good Think Inc., believes society pushes us into a norm, and he wants to explore the outliers.  He inspires the audience to think differently about how they view their road to achievement.

With his comedic charm he preaches the steps to rewire our brains into believing happiness can lead us to success.   Next time when your brain is on PR overload, keep in mind that a positive attitude can produce progressive results.

5. How to Make Stress Your Friend

Stress. WOW. I know I don’t even have to say it, but we all can relate to high stress lives, even more so as prospective PR pros.  Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford clinical psychologist, has studied stress and has landed on some amazing discoveries about our thoughts toward our stress levels and how these thoughts can impact our health.

The key is how you look at it! Negative stress can be a killer (literally), but viewing your stress positively can actually cause your body to mimic its reaction to joy and happiness.

-Jillian Kata is a sophomore studying strategic communication. Follow her at @jil_k.

Making an ImPRession in Australia

December 4, 2013 1 Comment

CarlyI’ve spent most of the past four years in a small but passionate community known as Athens, Ohio. However, this past fall I spent two and half months away from my beloved home. Very, very far away. I interned at a small boutique public relations agency called Dani Lombard Public Relations in Sydney, Australia.

Each and every day I learned something new about public relations. Each and every day I learned something new about the beautiful, yet sometimes complicated world we live in. Each and every day I learned how valuable my experiences have been at Ohio University and within the ImPRessions organization, specifically.

One of the main reasons I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and intern abroad was that I knew I had enough preparation and public relations skills under my belt to survive in a foreign country.

Here are a few ways that my ImPRessions experience transferred to interning in Australia:

The value of teamwork. Being a part of ImPRessions for three years requires a tremendous amount of teamwork considering each account is split up into small teams. Last year I worked on the AVW Productions account and we were in charge of planning an event for a new video premiere called Camelittle. Each account associate worked on a different aspect of planning. I specifically worked with another account associate to create a press release for the event. We not only had to work as a team to make the whole event a success but we also had to work together to craft the perfect press release.

Similarly, Dani Lombard Public Relations has four female employees (five including me). During my stay, we all sat around the same large desk and were in constant communication with one another. Often times, we would all be working towards the same goal but each have a different task to accomplish. Teamwork seems like a simple and easily attainable skill but in reality it takes a great deal of patience and practice.

Written communication. Throughout my career as an ImPRessions member, I have volunteered to write a number of PR-related assignments. I knew that these writing tasks would only help me in the long run. Boy, was I WRITE! (get it?!) I had the opportunity to write a number of press releases, pitches and blog posts as an account associate. I believe I gained more PR writing experience through ImPRessions than through my actual coursework.

When I was asked to write a press release for a client at Dani Lombard I first had a minor jump-up-and-down in my seat moment and then proceeded to write the release with confidence. Although writing styles are different and the average length of a press release in Australia is at least two pages, I was still able to show my co-workers that my writing skills are transferable in a global industry.

Knowing your media. Working with an ImPRessions client that spanned the Athens area required me to be very familiar with Dammanthe local media such as The Post, The Athens Messenger, WOUB and other event websites. Depending on the story or event my team was trying to pitch, we would tailor our message to a certain group of people or a certain publication. For example, the Camelittle event previously mentioned was tailored towards young children since it was an animated film. My team and I then crafted our message for Athens elementary school and middle school kids along with their parents.

During my international internship, I had to become very familiar with the media my co-workers pitched to. Dani Lombard has a wide variety of clients. However, its focus is on natural beauty products. Therefore, I became very familiar with magazines such as Australian Vogue, Women’s Fitness, Women’s Health and various other weekly gossip magazines. Knowing your media will allow you to craft your very best pitch to the right audience, no matter where you are in the world.

-Carly Damman is a senior studying strategic communication. To learn more about her adventures abroad follow her @CarlyDamman. To learn more about the company she interned for visit: www.danilombard.com.au

Miley Cyrus is a PR Genius

November 25, 2013 1 Comment

Photo from weheartit.com

Photo from weheartit.com

In terms of marketing herself, Miley Cryus is a living example of the “all press is good press” ideal, even when most is bad press. When you look around, there are not many supporters of Cyrus, however her name has not been out of the media since she put out her music video for “We Can’t Stop.”

She is currently one of the most famous people in the music business, and that fame is certainly helping her out in her success. Many pop stars have gone through similar transitions but there is something unique about what Cyrus is doing. However, these aren’t just random acts of crazy – Miley Cyrus has a strategic plan about how she wants to reinvent herself.

She is a reflection of youth in America. This doesn’t mean that everyone is running around in leotards sticking their tongues out, however Cyrus is using fashion and culture trends to her advantage. Producer Pharrell commented on her in MTV’s “Miley Cyrus: The Movement,” phrasing it perfectly, “…she grew up in the in the era when kids listen to hip-hop. People ask, ‘Why is she twerking? Why is she doing this?’ Because she’s a product of America.”

Twerking, edgy scandalous fashion, and party behavior are all fads among the young adults of the U.S. that Cyrus has incorporated into her image; how couldn’t she be this famous?

She is actually very talented. A celebrity can be all over the media but never actually have success because they have nothing to offer. Miley grabbed the public’s attention with her outrageous performances and music videos, but the girl has talent. “We Can’t Stop” and “Party in the U.S.A. peaked at #2 on Billboard Hot 100, and her most recent single “Wrecking Ball” made it to #1. Her new album topped the charts and had decent reviews by Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly, among many others.

Everyone loves a hot mess transformation. She is certainly not Hannah Montana anymore. The change did not happen overnight, and one of the reasons that she has remained famous is because she keeps developing (as anyone does from age 13 to 20) with the times. Cyrus mixed in her do-what-you-want attitude with skills she’s learned from the industry in revamping herself, like what she said in her documentary, “It’s a strategic hot mess.” But strategic, nonetheless.

Whether you love her, hate her or hate that you love her, there’s no denying the impressive way Miley has handled herself over the past year. It will be very interesting to see what she will do next, and if she will continue to hold our attention. Either way there’s no doubt that she is a PR star.

-Morgan Brenner is a freshman studying strategic communication. Follow her at @Morganbren.

Promoting Outside the Box: Innovative PR Stunts

November 19, 2013 2 Comments

Public relations professionals are always on their toes, anticipating what’s next. PR is an industry that is constantly on the verge of change and perpetually in motion. Today’s consumer market is so highly competitive, it forces PR brains to extend beyond traditional promotional tactics and stand out innovatively. Teams work to creatively break through a clutter of brands targeting the same audiences by staging PR stunts.

Small Girl PromTake Small Girls PR’s 30 Days of Prom stunt, for example. Two small girls delved into the glamorous, glittery world of prom by wearing a different Tiza.com prom dress every day for 30 days.  Fashion-crazed, prom-ready teens could follow the activities on a tumblr page to explore prom tips and tricks, and maybe even participate in the challenge themselves. The stunt concluded with a prom event hosted my Styleite, Tumblr, and Tiza.com.

Girls all over the country fell in love with prom again. 30 Days of Prom was even featured in Elle Girl, Glamour and The Gloss, just to name a few. This genius PR stunt created major buzz and hyped the anticipation for girls to find their perfect prom dress via Tiza.com. 30 Days of Prom caught the attention of many, and made Tiza.com stand out as a leading prom dress supplier.

Other mastermind PR stunts include Chevy’s aerial attraction, where Chevy sent a new Sonic sedan out of an airplane and streamed a video of its airborne free-fall on YouTube, generating millions of views. Someone please tell me that they would not be curious to see this?

As young professionals, here’s how we can get our creative wheels turning.

1. Think outside of the box. Tear down all the boundaries that box-in traditional PR tactics. Think beyond city limits, beyond American culture and beyond objectives. Think big and get creative.

2. Recognize that no idea is stupid. Anything can lead to something big and great. Pitch all your ideas, even if you think they’re stupid, because there is always a possibility that your small, silly and underdeveloped idea will snowball into something buzz-worthy.

3. Use your resources. Pull from all angles that are available to you to either create or implement a stunt. What lies in your bag of resources? Printing, street festivals, influential people, college libraries, anything at all can help exponentially.

4. Find what engages your audience and run with it. Hosting PR stunts will only get you so far. Along with a head-turning stunt, take the conversation online. Facilitate a dialogue that engages the audience with your brand, placing the stunt at the center of conversation.

Everyday brands pull out their swords and battle against the cluttered market population to win the hearts of consumers, especially within the plethora of logos, slogans, billboards and blogs. Attracting attention demands innovative, out-of-the-box PR stunts. Brilliant PR stunts can work wonders for your brand’s reputation and recognition, and it all begins with out-of-the-box, innovative thinking.

-Marisa Dockum is a junior communications studies major with a global leadership certificate. Follow her at @MarisaDockum

Blogging – Your Own Blank Online Canvas

November 15, 2013 2 Comments

BrickIf I had a quarter for every time a class, professor or professional stressed the importance of being a good writer I’d be rich enough to have a closet full of Louboutins and Louis Vittons. (A girl can dream, right?!) From press releases to ad copy to news writing to social media lingo, a successful PRofessional is one who can creatively communicate and articulate a message to their audience.

Blogging allows you to demonstrate your strengths and style as a writer. Whether you’re writing for a company or trying to develop your own personal brand, a blog can be your blank online canvas. Plus, it’s a great way to create clips for your portfolio. Whether your blogging about the best blueberry pie recipes or a new fortune 500 company’s philanthropy initiative, a blog can help you be seen as a thought leader. In our ever-changing technological world, brands and businesses are even implementing blogging into their social strategies. In fact, businesses that blog average 55% more website visitors than those who don’t.

Over the years, I’ve blogged a little, writing posts here and there for an organization’s or internship’s website, but this semester I’ve upped the aunty on blogging. In a professional setting I’ve been blogging for my marketing 4900 class taught by Nate Riggs. In an effort to recruit students to next semester’s class, my peers and I have been contributing to our blog – Ohio Marketing Students. From case studies to podcasts to how-to’s and more, our blog showcases the world of content marketing.

Through the purchased version of WordPress, we’ve been utilizing different analytical tools to help gain the best SEO. For example, instead of creating clever or cheeky blog titles, we create titles based on actual search terms. We’ve love for you to join our conversation by subscribing to our blog.

On a personal level, this semester I’ve also started by own blog – One Brick at a Time. In an effort to make the most of my senior year, (because YOSO – you’re only a senior once). I’m blogging about all of my bucket list experiences. From Larry’s Dawg House to karaoke at the Smiling Skull to stealing an Athens brick, each post will follow my journey as I complete signature OU/Athens things that I haven’t done before I leave this special place. Although it’s somewhat of a silly topic, my blog not only gives me a creative outlet, but it also is a way for me to showcase my writing skills.

You too can become a blogger! Choose a topic your passionate about and go!

-Sara Lowenstein is a senior studying public relations with specializations in sociology and community health. Check her out at @SaraLowenstein.

3 Perks of Having a Scripps PRSSA Mentor

November 13, 2013 4 Comments

We’ve all felt that feeling as a freshman; you’re lost, confused and lonely when you first arrive in Athens, especially if you don’t know anyone on campus. I can admit that as a freshman last year, I had no idea what to do with my major and didn’t know anyone who could help me. I wanted to get involved to meet new people by joining organizations so I could gain PR experience. Little did I know that my future PR mentor was someone I looked up to in high school four years ago.

DarbI first met Darby Fledderjohn, a senior PR student, in high school as a sophomore in our journalism class. Darby was a senior and editor-in-chief of our high school’s yearbook. I joined the staff that year and looked up to Darby’s dedication and love for the publication. I admired her hard work the entire year and because of that, I knew I wanted to be editor-in-chief when I became a senior.

Darby and I kept in touch every now and then when she went off to college. I was accepted into Scripps my senior year of high school and was thrilled to know an upperclassman. At that time, I knew I wanted to write so I became a news and information major. However, my mind quickly changed and I switched to the strategic communication track two weeks into my freshman year. I have never been so happy with my decision.

I joined PRSSA to gain experience in the PR field and prepare for future internships. PRSSA offered a mentor/mentee program in the beginning of the year and I immediately thought of Darby. Fortunately, Darby became my mentor that year and she has helped me through so much.

Here are 3 ways having a PR mentor has helped me:

1. Scheduling. As a freshman, I struggled finding classes to take because I did not know which classes were most beneficial for my major. I didn’t know which professors to avoid or take.

Asking Darby to help me with scheduling over coffee in the Front Room was a great decision. She was able to help me pick the classes that were more important and which professors she learned best from. It was a comfort for me knowing that she was looking out for me and making sure I took the best classes possible for success.

2. Advice. A mentor will not only help you with schoolwork, but also with advice about school and life in general. I found myself multiple times texting Darby late at night asking about what to put on my LinkedIn page or resume. She was the first one I talked to when I was interviewed to be on MTV’s True Life. She was the first one I talked to about internships. It was so helpful to know that if I ever had a question about PR, internships, classes or just life in general, Darby would always be there for me.

3. Another Friend. A mentor is just another name for a friend. Darby and I were friends in high school but I feel that we have grown closer as friends ever since she became my PR mentor. We both have the same taste in TV shows (Catfish and Breaking Bad) and know each others likes and dislikes (Darby is obsessed with otters and pugs, but mostly otters). I looked up to Darby in high school but I look up to her now more than ever simply because she helped me through my awkward stage as a freshman and has made me fall even more in love with PR.

I am so sad that this is my last year with her as my mentor, but I am so excited to become a mentor myself and help another freshman just like how Darby helped me. Without Darby, I would not have had the confidence needed for this major. I have her to thank for being such a great friend and an influential person in my life. A mentor/mentee relationship has been one of the best decisions I have made at Ohio University and I recommend the program to anyone looking for guidance in PR.

-Alyssa Keefe is a sophomore studying strategic communication. Follow her at @lyssakeefe.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 167 other followers