Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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How to Reintroduce your Personal Brand

April 21, 2014

In an age where employers expect to learn everything there is to know about a job candidate from a simple Google search, maintaining your personal brand online is a must.

But what if you don’t feel like you’re being perceived quite right?

No need to worry! Here are a few tips adapted from Scripps PRSSA’s professional adviser Dan Farkas and professional marketing consultant Dorie Clark to help guide you in the right direction.


credit: adage

1) Figure out what makes you different

Unfortunately, there are a lot of resumes out there that look just like yours. This makes it important to find details about yourself that set you apart from your competitors. Do you know how to use a certain computer program? Did you study abroad in a foreign country?

Leveraging your special skills and experiences can help you make your personal brand more unique.

2) Develop your story and share it with others

Look at where you are in life and how you got there. Writing your own narrative allows you to examine how your experiences have shaped you. This exercise also helps you learn where your values lie.

Once you figure out your story, you’ll need to put it out there. A personal blog or website is a great place to start. Find three social media channels that you consistently post content to that you want to make public. Then, use these social networks to communicate your fresh, new brand to the rest of the world.

3) Prove your worth

Like the saying goes, if you talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. For example, if your brand communicates that you’re well organized, people should see this in real life.

Remember, your brand shouldn’t paint a fictional picture of who you wish you were.  Communicating your goals and hopes for the future is ok, but make sure you remain honest. Saying you’re a neurosurgeon and saying you’re an aspiring neurosurgeon is not the same thing.

world traveller

credit: allwomenstalk.com

Hopefully, using these tips will help you define your brand more clearly on the web.

How do you communicate your personal brand online? Leave us a comment below!

Corporate Social Responsibility – The Future of PR?

April 18, 2014 1 Comment

csrMany Americans view corporations as the real controllers of the free world, but they do not consider them to be benevolent businesses. Greed and extreme wealth are often associated with corporations and trust of them is at an all-time low. These reasons combined with the increasing awareness of environmental and social issues, such as sustainability, are why many companies and organizations are increasing their focus on corporate social responsibility efforts.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as “the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.”

Essentially, CSR is a management concept where businesses embrace responsibility for their social and environmental actions, and strive to have a positive impact on the community through their daily activities and policies. When done correctly, CSR can be cost effective (i.e. energy savings) and present a company in a more positive light to the public.

Now, more than ever before, consumers place a larger importance on buying from and supporting socially responsible companies who treat the environment and its employees with care. In a 2013 study by Good.Must.Grow., a socially responsible marketing agency, 60 percent of people said that buying goods from socially responsible companies was important to them.

This means that companies who commit to doing good and have public relations efforts in place to promote this goodwill, will ultimately benefit.

Here are some brands and businesses that are benefitting from their CSR initiatives while helping those around them:

Each week, this organization partners with a nonprofit to design a t-shirt specifically for their cause. $7 from each item sold during that week gets donated to the designated charity.

Burt’s Bees
This company played a role in developing the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, which creates guidelines for what can be labeled as natural. As a member of the Sustainable Packing Coalition, it also follows the highest standards for packaging sustainability.

“Ecomagination” increases awareness of how the company is using renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. The “Ecomagination” line includes products that improve both operating performance and environmental performance.

Starbucks Coffee
Starbucks focuses on acting responsibly and ethically, as well as on the sustainable production of green coffee. The company supports products like Ethos water that brings clean water to over 1 billion people worldwide.

Kenneth Cole
The fashion company is a public supporter of Aids awareness and research. A full 100% of proceeds from sales of its “Awearness” products go to the fund.

Whole Foods
An obvious supporter of sustainable agriculture and the reduction of waste, Whole Foods encourages environmentally sound cleaning and maintenance practices. The company also created a program that provides up to $10 million in low interest loans to small local producers to grow their business. It additionally fights poverty through microlending programs in rural communities around the world.


This Californian apparel company recently launched an initiative encouraging its customers to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle their clothing and equipment, rather than buying more.

Global Prairie

Since 2008, this integrated marketing communications firm has donated more than $5 million in addition to volunteer work to sustainable causes that its employees and clients are passionate about.  10% of the company’s annual profits are divided between the employees so they can donate the money to charitable causes.

The business world is full of opportunities to make a positive impact and benefit the global community. CSR helps businesses operate in ways that benefit society and help improve the public perception of the company. The combination of sustainable business practices and welcomed promotional efforts by consumers means CSR may just be the future of public relations.

Kerry Tuttle is a senior studying Strategic Communication. You can follow her on Twitter at @kerrtut.

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.

What a Service Industry Job Taught Me About PR

April 7, 2014

Server-Job-DescriptionLike many teenagers trying to earn a little money, I spent quite a bit of time working a service industry job. My senior year of high school, I got a job as a dining room server at a local retirement home, and I genuinely loved working there. The facility where I worked was brand new (I was hired within a month of its opening) and seemed more like a cheerful, upscale hotel than a stereotypical depressing old folks’ home. More than that, though, I enjoyed getting to know the residents and bonding with my coworkers. For a 17-year-old working her first non-babysitting job, I’d been pretty lucky.

One thing that never really entered my mind while I was working there was the fact that I was, in a way, promoting our business and selling our services. And while working at a public relations agency hardly seems comparable to serving food to old people, many of the core qualities of a great PR professional can be gained through service industry jobs, from waiting tables to working in retail. I didn’t know it at the time, but that service job was giving me some of the key skills I’ll need in my future PR career.

  • Have a positive attitude. Those who have worked service jobs have probably heard it a million times: smile and act like there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. A disgruntled server or store clerk who clearly doesn’t enjoy his or her job isn’t going to make anyone want to return to that place of business. Even if you’re having the worst day ever, don’t let it show – especially when you’re interacting with customers. Your attitude says a lot, and if you’re not enthusiastic about the company, then why should they be?
  • Stay calm and professional in a crisis. Everyone who’s worked in the service industry has had at least one (and probably more) experience with an unsatisfied customer. Even though you probably wouldn’t realize it, you’re gaining valuable crisis communications skills while dealing with customers who want their food sent back to the kitchen because it wasn’t prepared to their liking. Getting angry and overly defensive isn’t going to solve anything – instead, keep your head on straight and do what you can to fix the situation.
  • Know your product. This might seem like a no-brainer to seasoned PR professionals, but it’s absolutely important to know everything possible about what you’re promoting or selling. We had to memorize the specials for each meal as well as the soups of the day, and there was nothing more embarrassing than when a resident or guest had a question about a menu item that I couldn’t answer. If you’re working with a client or doing in-house work for a company, make sure you stay in the loop about new product and service updates so you can adjust your promotion strategy accordingly.
  • Listen to your customers. Great PR, marketing and advertising campaigns typically come as a result of tailoring the promotional approach to customers’ specific needs, rather than blindly mass-promoting something. If customers in a restaurant or store speak up with a question, problem or even a compliment, take it seriously and keep what they said in mind for the future. When residents at my workplace raved about a certain dish, we made sure to offer it more often; likewise, we did away with unpopular entrees that not as many people enjoyed. If lots of customers like or need a certain product, it makes sense to promote that, as opposed to wasting time and money promoting something that they find unappealing or useless.

While not always easy, working in the service industry is a great way to learn how to deal with people. There will be customers who seem to have no intention beyond making your life miserable, but it’s important to learn how to deal with them in a professional manner. However, there will be others who absolutely make your day and remind you why you do what you do. No two days are the same in either a service or PR setting, and you never know what you’re going to get.

Lindsey Zimmerman is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications and specializing in Spanish. You can follow her on Twitter at @lindseyzim716.

Thick Skin is In

April 2, 2014

thick skin

Yes, you heard me right. Thick skin is in. I would go so far as to say it’s the new black of Public Relations.

Recently, I stumbled upon blog post titled “10 Traits of Talented Public Relations Pros.” Ugh, I thought. Another cliché article how to be successful in the colossal world of PR. I glazed over the post with little enthusiasm until I reached number eight on the list. Suddenly, a nerve was struck.

“Have Thick Skin” was advice #8. I thought, this really should have been number one on the list,. Since my middle and high school years of playing competitive travel sports, coaches and mentors have loved to tell me to “have a thick skin” and be “mentally tough.” But what did mean? In high school, I had no clue. It wasn’t until college that I began to grasp this concept. As a young, aspiring public relations professional, these words of advice have become increasingly more important and relevant to my life.

Frankly, public relations is not for the faint hearted. The same goes for any work in journalism. Reporters get shot down all the time. People rudely refuse to answer questions or be interviewed. Writers get criticized for the things they write about. News broadcasters, especially women, are scrutinized for their hair, makeup and outfit choices. Campaigns aren’t always successful. Pitches could be a hit or miss.

Public relations professionals must be able to receive criticism. Critical feedback has no filer and it will come from a variety of people and sources. It can be biting and painful, but it’s inevitable. As much as I hate clichés, the old saying “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” is rather appropriate advice. Yet, negative feedback doesn’t only have to be negative. It’s a way to reevaluate and improve your objective, making the end result more successful. If the only thing you heard was how awesome and wonderful you are all of the time, would there be any room for change or progression? Probably not.

I am 100% confident when I say that no human on planet earth is a stranger to criticism. I have been criticized for everything – from being an only child to having an Android phone before I bought an iPhone (which is just about the dumbest thing ever). I vehemently believe that it can only disable you if you let it. Allow yourself to learn and prosper from it instead.

On the flip side of the coin, PR professionals shouldn’t be afraid to be critical when necessary. If you sense a potential problem or issue, speak up! Communication is the core of public relations, and professionals are inherently strong communicators. Sharing your insights with colleagues and peers will lead them to respect you and view you as asset to the group. There is always room for improvement. Use your criticism wisely and effectively.

In short, wear your Thick Skin and wear it proud. Don’t forget to smile, too.

Morgan Borer is studying Strategic Communications with specializations in Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development. You can follow her on Twitter at @morganborer.

Think Big, Get Results

March 21, 2014 1 Comment

It’s hard to stand out in the competitive world of PR and advertising. Yes, there are certainly safe, go-to marketing strategies that have stood the test of time. But to get real results, you have to get a little crazy. Throw caution to the wind! Color outside the lines! Think outside the box! Whichever cliché saying you prefer, the point is that the best PR practitioners don’t rely on tradition and the molds of conventional campaigns. Here are examples (in no particular order) of some adventurous campaigns, stunts, and ads.

  1. HBO’s True Blood: Revelation marketing campaign. This marketing campaign got True Blood’s already loyal fan base even more hyped about the show. The creative geniuses behind the campaign, Campfire (check them out!), sent vials of red liquid with labels in a “dead language” to horror bloggers. They created a “vampire-only” website called BloodCopy.com. They put up fake PSAs that promoted equal rights for vampires in major cities. This campaign piqued people’s interests and was a creative way to get people interested in the show.
  2. Office Max’s Elf Yourself. THESE WILL NEVER GET OLD. I’m fairly certain everyone has uploaded pictures of themselves and their friends into this 2006 interactive E-card invention. Over half a billion shares later, it’s a beloved tradition. When these start showing up on your Facebook feed, Christmas is near! Office Max found a fun way to get their name out there – over and over and over again. Creative partners: Jason Zada, EVB, and Maccabee Group.
  3. Taco Bell’s Twitter. First of all, let’s talk about Taco Bell’s Twitter.  One word: HILARIOUS! (They have an awesome presence on Instagram as well.) They know the importance of sharing pictures and interacting with their followers. They retweet and respond to their fans – sometimes celebrities, sometimes run-of-the-mill chalupa lovers – and just seem like a cool 20-something who happens to be a Mexican fast food chain. Their strongest customer demographic, the 18-34 age group, loves the casual-cool persona that Taco Bell has created. Just ask their 1.09 million followers.
  4. Taco Bell’s Mir Space Station Promotion. Ok, so Taco Bell is kind of a 2-for-1 in this list. In March 2001, Taco Bell held a promotion to coincide with the re-entry of the Mir space station. They put a huge target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and announced that if the target was hit by a falling piece of Mir that every person in the United States would win a free Taco Bell taco. They bought a hefty insurance policy for this stunt, but alas, no piece struck the target. The point is that they got people excited! AND a lot of media attention. Good job, Taco Bell!
  5. Athens Bicycle’s Gravel Rouser. Every year since 2004,Athens Bicycle hosts the Gravel Rouser, a four-day event of races and relays. The fun is that any one can win the 4 quirky events. It’s meant to be a light-hearted way to kick off the biking season. What started off as just an “Athens thing” now brings people to Atheathensbikens from all over Ohio. It includes a ride along a wooded path – hooked up with speakers blasting classic rock, a scavenger hunt around Athens, a donut party and a lot more. Athens Bicycle found a way to get their name and logo out there, gain some fans and increase business. By the way, it started yesterday!

These are just a few examples of businesses that weren’t afraid to get a little wild. Being bold pays off! It takes a lot of planning and creativity, but the next time you have a goal, take these businesses’ lead and think BIG (in the good way). Like Dr. Seuss said:

“why blend in when you were born to stand out?”

Elaine Carey is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @snakesona_laine.

Keeping Ethics in Mind

March 18, 2014

ethicallyUnlike some professions, we as journalists/communicators do not have to be certified in any way to work. This is a gift and a curse for us. We don’t have anyone telling us what is right or wrong, instead we have to form our own ethical code alone. Fortunately there are organizations that help us out, but the ethical codes are either general or vary from company to company. We need to be aware of our ethics, and know when we have gone too far and crossed that invisible boundary. Unlike news and information journalism, PR professionals have to work with the client and the general public. With this in mind here are some ethical issues that you should be aware of when working in the field.

  • Independence: Independence is the biggest ethical problem a PR professional can face. You want to please your client and do as they wish, but you also have an obligation to communicate with the public in an effective manner. These two ideas don’t always match up. As professionals, we need to make decisions that will please both the client and the public. In most cases, both sides will have to give a little. There will be instances that one side will get the better end of the stick, but knowing you acted independently is better than knowing someone else influenced your decision. Make the decisions that you think are best. Having two mouths to feed makes it more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
  • Transparency: This is another major ethical dilemma for PR professionals. Again, being a barrier is difficult, but if you are open and communicate well with both parties, at least they know you aren’t hiding anything from them Let the public know why you make the decisions you do, and be sure that the client is always aware of your decisions. Transparency is key to a happy client relationship.
  • Honesty: The final ethical value I will talk about is the importance of being honest and truthful. Providing the truth and not deceiving the public is very important in PR. If the public finds out that the information is false or distorted, then they will lose trust in your client. Also remember to be honest with your client. If you don’t think something will work, tell him/her. Clients need to know what you think and how you can make it better. Otherwise it will only cause problems down the road. Truth is highly valued in our profession, so remember to always keep it a priority.

There are many other ethical values, but these three have a major impact on our work. I encourage you all to make up your own code of ethics to keep in mind. We all have different values so write down yours to refer back to it. If you need help visit the PRSA Code of Ethics to get some ideas.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. He is an Assistant Account Executive for the College Book Store account and you can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

The Secrets to Creating a Cover Letter

March 17, 2014 1 Comment

????????????????????Writing a cover letter can sometimes be tricky! There is so much information to include that must accurately reflect your skills and experience, as well as parallel the job requirements of the position you are applying for. Listed below are the secrets to creating a cover letter, which provide useful tips and information about what you should include when crafting your own.

What to Include

Contact Information. This is the most obvious of elements to include in your cover letter. Your email address, street address and phone number should be easily identified on your cover letter (I believe the best place to display this information is at the top of your cover letter). After you include your contact information, you should also include the contact information of the person you are addressing in your cover letter. Include their full name, the company name and that person’s email address.

Opening Paragraph. In the opening paragraph, it is important to include who you are, what you are majoring in, where you go to school and the position in which you are applying for. I always like to include how I came across the position.

The Body Paragraphs. Following the opening paragraph, it is important to talk about the company and how you would be a good fit in that organization. This is where some research comes into play! You want to closely parallel the company’s needs with your own traits and skills. This tells the company how it could benefit from hiring you. I also like to include any information that I have recently come across about the company, such as an award it won or an event it hosted. This shows the employer that you have a genuine interest in the company and you are acknowledging its achievements.

The next paragraph ties all of the previously stated information together. This is where you highlight not only why you would be a good fit for this position, but also what other skills you have to offer.  This is also a space to show off some of your personal qualities that are suited for the workplace. For example,

[Company name] can rely on me to think rationally when crisis arrives, to always be in pursuit of a challenge and to produce the very best work possible.

Try to stay away from overused and generic words such a hardworking, responsible and a team player.

In closing. Always end a cover letter with a sentence that requires an action. For example, “If you have any further questions upon reviewing my application, I am available by phone or email.”

These secrets to creating a cover letter can hopefully serve as a basic template or an outline of information to include. However, it is important to remember to tailor each cover letter to the position and the company to which you are applying. Happy cover letter crafting!

Kathleen Marincic is a junior studying Strategic Communications with specializations in Marketing and Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter at @KathMarincic.

What’s your story? (As compared to fiction writing)

March 13, 2014 2 Comments

Work & PleasurePublic relations can be boiled down to storytelling. A brand consists of multiple different stories being told in multiple different ways. That’s the truth of this field; you need to know how to tell a good story. Personal branding is really the way you choose to tell your story, and this is the time of the year everyone is talking about it. You might find yourself wondering if yours is up to par. There are a lot of aspects of personal branding such as websites, logos and your voice on social media. These aspects are not powerful without knowing your story behind them, just like any other brand. What is your story? How do you tell it?

Here are a few easy steps to get you started in creating a better personal story:

Keep it simple

I am a man that enjoys simplicity. I don’t have a logo or a website because I like to keep it simple and because it is not necessary for my current path. I am not a fan of the unnecessary, and neither are those who are experiencing stories.

If you want someone to listen to what you have to say then simplify what you are telling him or her. Every part of a good story has a purpose. There will be points you want to get across clearly but creatively. Each part of the story should be telling something new but that doesn’t mean it is not reiterating a main point.

I have always liked the idea of using three points to base around what you are trying to tell.  Choose three points that you can back up with your past and reveal the values you need to get across.


  1. I’ve always had a passion for telling a story
  2. Those around me place me in leadership positions, whether pursued or not.
  3. I am determined, which can be proven by looking at key points in my past

These are the surface points that your story is based around. There are a series of events in your life that extrapolate these points and show why they are true. Saying all of this is one thing; showing it through what you have done is another. These points are revealed through the story of achieving your goal or, more accurately, your motivation. They are part of your story, and help you reveal your motivation but they don’t drive it forward. Let’s clarify what I mean by…


There are a lot of facets to a great story. There’s a rising action, a dramatic question, a resolution, a main conflict and so on and so forth.

As important as these aspects are, there is one thing that starts and defines a story as far as I am concerned: the main character’s motivation. Kurt Vonnegaut, author of “Slaughterhouse-Five” said, “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”

In the traditional campaign, the hero and the protagonist of the story is the consumer; it’s the viewer. This is the time in your career where you are telling (and living) a story where you are the main character and you are the hero.

Key points in your life and why you chose the direction you did are the superficial starting point of understanding your motivation. There was a day you decided you wanted to go to the college you attend. At some point, you looked someone in the eye and said I want to be in public relations or the next president or the Foot Ho – I really hope other people watch “Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23”. Behind these decisions and aspirations was one reason that drove you forward.

A lot of great characters don’t realize they are pushing the kitchen chair out of the way to get to that glass of water. Perhaps they haven’t even realized they walked into the kitchen so they can get a glass of water. It’s okay for you to be that character. Most of us are. As you go on, your motivation will change or maybe you will see that you were really motivated by something deeper.

Deciding what motivates you right now enables you to tell a good story. You can then take your original three points and build them into a story that is driven by that motivation.

This process is simplifying a complex human being into something as simple as a story. As I said before, keeping it simple is the only way you are going to get your point across. A potential employer or gatekeeper to your next opportunity most likely doesn’t have the time to get to know you but they do have the time to hear a story.

As of now, I can trace back what my motivation is and where it started – all the way back to the age of 6. I waddled up to my mother, told her I wanted a marker set for my birthday so I could “write stories.” If anyone really asks me why I’m doing what I’m doing I would say, “I want to tell a good story.” Hence my obsession with stories. I love public relations for what it gives me: another outlet to tell a story. The truth is I’m not near as good of a storyteller, or even writer, I want to be. That’s why I’ll keep pursuing this. There will always be another kitchen chair in the way. Perhaps in two years I will decide my motivation is something else but for right now I am sure that’s what it is.

This is easy if you take a second to think about your reasons behind your actions. You need to have a reason. Employers want to see a passion. Passion is born from a desire. What is yours? What motivates you?

Then it is as simple as building your story around that, but always be sure to include…


Motivation is a brilliant part of the story, but there really isn’t a story without a conflict. What’s in your way? I already hinted at this with the glass of water analogy: the kitchen chair.

“He walked into the kitchen, poured a glass of water and then drank it.” is a boring anecdote and not much of a story.

“He walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water but realized the kitchen chair was in the way. He pushed the chair back under the table, poured a glass of water and then drank it.” is a story about a character that was competent enough to reach his goal when challenged.

People interested in your story don’t want to hear that you wanted something and then just got it. They need to hear what made it hard and what was in your way. There was always something holding you back, whether you realized it at the time or not.

Someone experiencing your story wants to know that you struggled with a year of hard classes so you almost didn’t get into your dream college, but you saddled up senior year of high school, got great grades and wrote a killer entrance essay. They want to know that you were thrust into an unfamiliar circumstance in your organization that made it harder, so you never thought you would be in a leadership position. The story is in the fact that you once again you proved you were worthy of what you wanted and got that position. There are many different conflicts you have gone through to get where you are right now and conflicts you are facing as you read this. Include what those are when telling your story.

Where is the conflict in your story? How was it stopping you from getting what you wanted? How did you overcome it?

When you decide on a motivation and the conflict that was stopping you, you have a story. Build it and tell it again and again. I would be very surprised if you didn’t start to blow away interviewers and professionals. That’s how you portray the best you.

After all, you are the hero of this story.



Daniel Mulvey is the Chief Executive Officer at ImPRessions. You can follow him on Twitter at @DanielDMulvey.

The Greatness of Shark Tank

March 11, 2014

shark tank1I have always wondered what it would be like to swim in a shark cage, so for spring break I decided to do just that. The anticipation was nerve-racking; I imagined being surrounded by bloodthirsty animals ready to kill all my hopes and dreams, and then imagined the courage it must take to face the oceans’ deadliest killer….

What really happened…

Okay, in reality I safely sat in my family’s living room cuddled up with my mom and dad BUT I did watch Shark Tank. Not as exciting and thrilling, but still nerve-racking for the brave entrepreneurs diving into a room with five bloodthirsty self-made, multi-millionaire tycoons. These up-and-coming entrepreneurs have the chance to convince the “sharks” to invest their hard-earned cash, give them the funding and the business advice they need to jumpstart their business ideas.

My dad is an entrepreneur and he started his own business when I was growing up; he has often said, “Why couldn’t I have been the one to invent Crocs?” Not because he likes the style of the shoe, but because everyone knows Crocs. He of course was the one who introduced me to Shark Tank, and has taught me the value of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs are creative, inventive, fearless, passionate and hard working. All of these traits are not only useful but also crucial for both business and PR professionals. Watching the creative pitches and business negotiations for each product shown on Shark Tank has helped me develop as a budding PR professional.

shark tank2Each entrepreneur brings a product or an idea they have invested their time, money, and passion. Anyone in the PR industry can learn from the dedication entrepreneurs have, they are constantly branding themselves and they are always looking for opportunities. They also have an understanding that failure is part of success and there is no guaranteed path to success.

Entrepreneurs teach people about hard work and dedication because an entrepreneur has a desire to achieve/create a successful idea or business. Entrepreneurs have a nurturing quality, and are willing to take charge of and watch over an endeavor until it can stand-alone. They have an acceptance of responsibility. They are morally, legally and mentally accountable for their projects. Watching Shark Tank gives key insights into entrepreneurship and reveals personality traits that can help those in any industry.

Hannah Tobin is a junior Strategic Communications major. You can follow her on Twitter at @HanTobes.


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