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Celebrity Scandals are Becoming too Much to Handle

December 9, 2014

By: Annie Beard, @annie_beard

The days of endorsers standing by their celebrity through think and thin, scandal or no scandal, are no longer happening. Companies are now dropping celebrity endorsement deals quicker than ever. We have seen it everywhere, from Ray Rice, to Adrian Peterson to Bill Cosby, to name a few recent examples. An article from the “New York Times” says it best: “There is no “till death do us part” in marriages by endorsement, only “till you doth embarrass us.””

In 2009, when Tiger Woods was facing, and admitting to, claims of infidelity, Nike stood by Woods and even featured him in a TV commercial about the scandal, highlighting Wood’s remorse, which you can watch here:

In 2014, only five years later, Nike was quick to drop Rice and Peterson. They were both dropped shortly after allegations were made. This seems to be the best and most effective PR move these days in order to save a company’s reputation. When it comes to cutting the cord, “Just Do It” is the best advice.

Bill Cosby’s celebrity scandal is recent and still ongoing. In case you are unaware, a dozen women have accused Cosby of drugging them and taking advantage of them sexually. Cosby has already lost projects. TV Land is pulling reruns of The Cosby Show, NBC is dropping its deal with Cosby to do a sitcom and Netflix cancelled a special on Cosby that was supposed to air on November 28.

So, why do we think this is becoming the best way to deal with scandals? Why are companies becoming less tolerable in situations like these? One reason, and probably the biggest reason, is because everything goes viral. In today’s world, if a celebrity does something we consider immoral, it will be on millions of phone and computer screens within hours. When bad press is surrounding a celebrity, it is normal for brands to want to get as far away as possible, but it is happening faster, and more often, than ever.

I’m in PR, and I approve this message

November 28, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon

policitcal 1

Driving down the street or watching a favorite TV show September through November fourth, political ads are almost impossible to avoid.

We’re all fans of promotion, advertisements and public relations here right? So why have most people, even us marketing lovers, come to hate these political ads? While there are many similarities between campaigning and the typical brand marketing we’ve come to love, it’s the differences that drive the less-than-pleasant feeling we have towards them.

Research is a good place to start when putting together a good public relations or ad campaign. Political campaigns are no different. Field directors and their teams start off the campaign process early off in the year bye contacting and surveying registered voters in their district. A typical phone conversation early on in my summer as a campaign intern: (it’s May 3rd) “Hi yes, I’m calling to take a survey about upcoming election.” Voter, “What upcoming election?” Exactly. Brand promoters keep monitoring their success throughout the campaign – political campaigns continue to actively reach out to survey voters all the way up to the election. This is to see which candidate is winning the race.

While brands utilize social media, not only to monitor their ad’s success, but also promote the campaign. However, political campaigns are not utilizing social media in the way that brands are. The 2008 election had the first notable use of the Internet and social media, and (obviously) that strategy paid off for President Obama. Today, political campaigns and the candidates themselves are becoming more and more active on social media, especially the Democratic Party which typically targets a younger demographic.

Social media is slowly growing in politics, and utilized more and more these past few years in its grassroots marketing efforts and aggressive ad tactics. It’s illegal to post political signs on private property, but yet yard signs seem to pop up everywhere around election time. This is because field teams made this happen with grassroots marketing – they are calling and knocking doors, hoping supporters will want to put a “So-and-so for Congress 2014” sign on their property.

Political2

Now, I’m a big supporter of Hidden Valley Ranch, but they have never contacted me to put a sign in my yard in order to advertise. Equally true, Hidden Valley doesn’t dig up horrible secrets and use them against Kraft ranch dressing in their ads. I’d think it’s safe to say that this is the main reason people tend to not like political ads. Trackers, people whose job it is to find dirt on a candidate, are often times the ones who dig up the information we see in political ads that slams the opposition. Yes, the drama of the ads is typically overdone, but one publicized scandal can dictate the results of the election.

Yes, many of us are sighing in relief that election season is over and the frequent ads are done until the next election, but in reality, these political ads aren’t as different as those of our favorite brands. See you in 2016 voters.

 

Summer Reflection Series: Alex Corsi

September 19, 2014

By: Alex Corsi @acorsi17

How to Figure Out Your Career Goal by Sitting on a Beach 

beachFor the past two summers, I’ve worked on the beach as a lifeguard. My duties include saving lives, handing out Band-Aids, sitting in my chair and knitting (but only on cloudy days when there is no one at the beach). This summer was so fun, and I worked with my four closest friends and established great relationships with the other guards on staff. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about myself and my professional strengths and weaknesses from my place on top of the lifeguard stand:

  1. I love to socialize, especially professionally. I’m a people-pleaser, something I’ve always known about myself – and I love to talk. But lifeguarding has shown me that interacting with people – from friendly people wondering about the tide chart to not-so-friendly-people who make us explain in detail why inflatables have to be Coast Guard-certified – is something that comes naturally to me. I’m going to work with all types of clients in a public relations career, and I’m going to have to deal with infinite different types of people, so being able to talk to everyone and anyone is a good thing.
  2. Jobs that look easy aren’t always as easy as they seem. Whenever I complain about something that happened at work, my non-lifeguard friends tell me to shut it because I have the easiest job ever. While at times it’s nice to sit back in my Tommy Bahama chair and tan when there’s no one at the beach, there is one bad day for every good day. One day, there is no one at all on the beach and I don’t do so much as spray a jellyfish sting with vinegar. But the next day the beach is packed with people on every square-inch of sand and first aids happening every five minutes.
  3. I thrive off of helping people. My proudest moment was this past summer when I helped a woman who was having a diabetic emergency and needed medical attention ASAP. I called 9-1-1 and guided the paramedics through the situation. I loved every minute of it. I felt so happy that I was able to help the woman and her family, and she ended up being just fine. Lifeguarding has taught me that I feel so much more complete when I brighten someone’s day, even if it is just giving a smile and saying, “Welcome to Anchor Beach!” in my cheeriest voice. Choosing a career that requires me to help people will make me the happiest.

This semester, I hope to “find my place” in the public relations world. I am taking on the role of assistant account executive of the Prescribe Change account here at ImPRessions, and I’m very excited to be putting into action the PR plan I helped write last semester as an associate. I want to help guide our account toward success, and I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of fresh, interesting faces this year. Whether it’s in public relations or lifeguarding, I know there will always be a place for me, and I’m so happy I have the opportunity to find it.

 

Why a Personal Blog/Website looks Good on a Resume

August 1, 2014

By: Morgan Peterson @mopeeeezy

When trying to land the perfect dream job, it’s important to find a way to stand out to the employer. Sure you might have a perfect resume and transcript, but you are a dime a dozen to some employers. If you don’t get the opportunity to get an interview, a personal website is one of the best ways to stand out from other candidates.

Showcase Your Work

With a personal website, you can market yourself and your work, however you want to. By creating this website you have an exclusive space of your best work. It’s also easy for employers to click and see if they like you, allowing the experience on your resume come to life. Also by showing the work that you do, it shows employers that you have enough pride and confidence in your work to showcase it to the world.

Build Your Brand

Building a website allows you to create a virtual gallery of all of your best work. Even though social media is great, a personal website is just that – personal. You don’t have to worry about trying to stand out because it’s your website. It shows that you care enough about your work and your brand if you took time out to create a full website for it. It’s the one space on the Internet that is all yours so really put some time and effort into building it. Maybe take a weekend just for personal branding. Some great places to start to make a website would be weebly.com, wix.com, fourspace.com or WordPress.com. These website building sites are easy to use and not expensive to acquire your own personal domain. Who knows you could get a job just by an employer looking at your website!

You aren’t the norm

Not many people have their own personal website so by making one you’re already one step ahead! It also shows that you have acquired specials skills to build a website. Learning how to build a website helps you to gain many skills especially when it comes to programming or coding. In PR it’s often good to know how to work with technical things because you never know when you might be asked to design something on the fly. This allows you to be a really well rounded candidate.

The Tipping Point

July 28, 2014

By: Morgan Borer @morganborer

tipping pt

What are social epidemics? The word “epidemic” is an adjective meaning widespread, contagious or sweeping. The word “social” suggests person-to-person contact. This concept seems awfully simple to understand. However, before diving into “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell, I didn’t understand the meaning of a social epidemic, nor had I ever heard of a “tipping point.” These concepts were as foreign to me as the French language.

This summer, after finishing “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham (a New York Times bestseller, which I highly recommend), I was hungry for another good book. I blatantly ignored all of the hype about “The Fault in Our Stars” and did a Google search instead. Though I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, I typed in “best books for read for PR professionals” or something of that nature. BAM! I found Business Insider’s list of the “10 Must-Read Public Relations and Marketing Books.” Seems legit, right? Number two on the list was “The Tipping Point.” Moments later and a few clicks on amazon.com, the book was en route to my doorstep.

In “The Tipping Point,” Gladwell examines the way that ideas, trends and social behaviors change all at once and spread like fire. He takes something very small and explains how it can cause great change. In the book, Gladwell points to three rules of epidemics: the law of the few, the stickiness factor and the power of context.

The law of the few means that it takes a tiny army of people to drive a social epidemic. These few people cause something – perhaps a disease – to tip and spread rapidly. These people are not ordinary; they possess qualities that you or I do not have.

The stickiness factor means that people remember it. Advertisers want to impact people with their messages by making them memorable. Finally, the power of context highlights the fact that epidemics are extremely sensitive to changes in context. The conditions and circumstances in which an epidemic occurs cause it to “tip.”

In “The Tipping Point,” Gladwell addresses a wide range of epidemics to aid his arguments, including Hush Puppies (the once-popular American suede shoes) a gonorrhea epidemic, and even Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street. Having watched both shows a generous number of times as a child, I was very interested in his comparison and evaluation of the shows. Sesame Street was wildly successful because the researchers and producers tapped into the minds of preschoolers. They ran tests to see what the teenyboppers remembered and what “stuck” with them. Month after month, year after year, the segments became more entertaining and memorable. Sesame Street was a television epidemic, and the world became infected.

Blue’s Clues took a different approach. It relied on one actor, Steve, and a star dog, Blue, instead of a large cast. It’s less humorous and clever than Sesame Street. How did it see higher ratings? According to Gladwell, Sesame Street used advanced humor to appease adult viewers. Often, children simply didn’t understand it. When children don’t understand what they are watching, they stop paying attention. Also, Sesame Street was divided into dozens of very short segments, all separate from one another. Children were scratching their heads trying to connect ideas and concepts. Blue’s Clues turned a new page and invented something unique. They created an interactive show – one where Steve asks questions, pauses and waits for the viewer’s response. The predictability, simplicity and repetitiveness of the show worked like a charm. Sesame Street was more sticky than jam.

Personally, I felt like I could relate to the majority of Gladwell’s ideas, particularly the idea of “social channel capacity.” Humans are highly sophisticated when it comes to relationships. We enjoy socializing with large groups and having intimate relationships. Is there a limit to our socialization? The answer is yes. 150 is the number of people that we can have a genuine, close relationship with. My lips curled into a smile when I read this. Think about that next time you feel envious of someone with 1,000+ Instagram followers. How many of those people do they really know?

All in all, this book is a must-read for public relations professionals, but also journalists, marketers, advertisers, psychologists and business professionals. It’s about communication and how ideas and trends spread. It’s about people and social dynamics. It is extremely clear and well written. It broadened my mind and challenged me to think critically about everything from the connector Paul Revere and his legendary “nighttime ride” to the decline of crime in New York City. Most importantly, Gladwell gives practical information, something that I think every (and I hate to use this phrase) “20-something” is hungry for.

 

The Difference Between Advertising and PR – A Simplified Version

July 25, 2014 1 Comment

By: Kate Schroeder @kschroeds7

PRI’ll admit it. Even as a strategic communications student, I’ve had difficulty explaining to people who ask about my major what the difference is between public relations and advertising. Going into my senior year as a strategic communications student, I have a good deal of knowledge of each industry. However, when asked this simple question I end up rambling on all the differences between PR and advertising pros,– usually leaving my non-journalist counterpart thoroughly confused and in need of an aspirin.

Looking back I wish someone had given me a simple, cut-and-dry answer to this not so simple question my freshman year at OU. I knew plenty about the world of news, but no one could seem to give me a simple answer to, “what the heck is this PR and advertising stuff I keep hearing about?”. Even though both careers are in the Scripps School of Journalism, transferring from news and information to strategic communication was like learning a new language. So for all you strategic communication newbies, let’s take it one step at a time and finally get this question straightened out!

“Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

Advertising

The main goal of advertising is to create ads and campaigns and place those in appropriate outlets to allow their message to build exposure. Advertisers want to impact as many people as many times as possible or specifically impact their target market depending on the product. Unlike public relations, advertising has complete creative control of the message it is promoting, but can be extremely expensive.

What advertising is trying to say: “Buy this product”.

Public Relations

Where advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media. A public relations specialist will take the brand and works to build the brand credibility. This is mostly done through media relations, which is working with reporters and editors to write positively about your client or brand. This can also be done through social media! Work done through public relations tends to have more credibility than advertisements, because the content was not paid for. This builds trust between your brand and the public

What public relations is trying to say: “This is important”.

What makes them similar?

The reason it is sometimes hard to explain how advertising and public relations differ is because they both share a main goal. Both help a company or product gain exposure in a positive way. Also, both avenues target a specific audience, also called a target audience with their message.

 

 

Making Time to Blog: Quality > Quantity

June 30, 2014 1 Comment

By: Kerry Tuttle @kerrtut

As PR majors, we’re writers and storytellers and lovers of personal branding.  However, making time to blog can be tough, especially because we already spend so much time writing for our classes, internships and student organizations.

Having a blog is not a requirement for getting a job or being a PR major. If you can’t see yourself regularly contributing content, just create a personal website that serves as a landing page for your online presence. Blogging should be something that’s enjoyable for you. It shouldn’t be a burden or feel like it’s another assignment you have to turn in.

That being said, here’s my advice for making time to blog:

  1. Blogging because you’re inspired to write something, is better than blogging because you haven’t gotten a post in for a while. I don’t keep myself on a set schedule. The content I produce is a result of me finding inspiration or feeling the need to write about a recent experience. Your posts will turn out better if you’re writing because you want to, rather than because you have to.
  2. Aim for at least one quality post per month. You’re not a professional blogger that’s expected to update us on your life every day. In my opinion, quality is greater than quantity. I’d rather read one well-written, thought-out post per month, than four average weekly ones.
  3. Keep a list of blog ideas. This will make it easy to write something when you’re feeling like you need to update your site. Also, start posts and save them as drafts. It’s easy to come back to them if you want to publish something.
  4. Try out new things. I know that everyone says that your blog is supposed to have a theme and I agree to a point. I say write about whatever you want to write about in order to find your voice. A personal blog is a perfect place to experiment with new writing styles and subjects. Every single post doesn’t need to be industry related. If you want to write about your latest travel adventure or an awesome recipe you tried, do it. Your personal blog should reflect you as a person and your interests.

Happy blogging, Bobkittens!

You can read Kerry’s personal blog, Keep Calm and Kerry On, here.

It’s all Different when you switch to B2B

June 26, 2014

By: Kelsey Miller @Kelsey_65

Once getting into public relations, the initial thought of most starry-eyed freshmen and newbies to the industry is being able to connect a business to the general public. What people don’t think about is the market of business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing. The B2B world may not seem as exciting to a hungry PR star in training, but the reality of the matter is that anyone and everyone that wants to work the agency life will most likely be taking on a B2B account at some point. Sure, you may not care how medical equipment ends up in your local ER, but it is a big industry that has a lot of money in it.

DMU = Decision Making Unit

The decision making unit (DMU) between consumers of the general public and clients of businesses are polar opposites. We will take Whirlpool for example. Selling stoves to consumers directly would make for a small decision making unit. In a family of four (two parents and two children), the DMU would be the two parents versus if Whirlpool was trying to sell to restaurant chains across the nation. The DMU of a business would be much more than two people, hence, making it much more complicated.

The approach of B2B marketing is much more personal in contrast to B2C. No need to spend millions on TV advertising, and no need to focus so much on social media. Although social media is a very important attribute in this type of marketing, it isn’t everything. Sales in this industry resort to a lot of personal interaction to make sales. Businesses in this market aren’t targeting millions of people, but more like dozens of businesses. The DMU may be smaller in B2C, but there are fewer clients to advertise to overall in B2B. The first thing to do is to market internally with a company with mono-e-mono customer relationship building. This gives the PR reps a good grasp on the client personally as well as better understanding client’s brand and what they are looking for.

The complexity of a product is yet another major differential factor. In many B2B transactions, the product being sold must go through many tests from a qualified expert to make sure products need any extra fine-tuning. With a lot of business, money and a reputation on the line, it is imperative that products are working perfectly before sent to clients. Most products in this market are parts to create machines – a machine that makes cars for example. If a machine isn’t working properly to manufacture cars, the business that builds the machines will be responsible for the cars that don’t function properly and will most likely lose business from other car manufacturers.

It’s not for everyone but…

As mentioned before, B2B may not seem like the glamorous account that people think about when talking public relations – but many PR gurus find themselves engulfed in the market.

How to Diversify your PR Experience

June 26, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett @Gen__AndTonic

Feel like your resume falls flat compared to your peers?

Don’t fret! There’s always time to diversify your PR experience. There is many ways to get experience in all aspects of PR while still pursuing your passions.

1. Try out every segment of PR

Public relations is needed in every sector of the world, from nonprofit to corporate. Trying your hand at every segment will diversify your PR experience, and allow you to investigate the direction of your career. Try looking in to internships with nonprofits, agencies, corporations, B2B firms and more.

2. Work for a digital company

NR mediaIn the ever-evolving world we live in, digital companies are extremely viable and many offer stellar internship programs. My current internship as a Content Marketing Specialist for NR Media Group has allowed me to move to Dallas, TX and pursue my daily interests without need to go to an office.

3. Travel

Traveling the world is a dream for many, and can easily become a reality. Pursuing a job or internship overseas will not only diversify your PR experience but also your life. Traveling is also an option with a digital internship with no office time needed.

4. Get experience in every skill

While you may find your niche in social media or blogging, be sure to gain experience in every skill needed in the PR world. Traditional communications are still needed and most jobs will require you to wear multiple hats, so having experience in every skill will diversify your PR experience and improve your resume.

5. Pursue your passions

Overall, it’s very important to pursue your passions. Employers will always appreciate a good resume and cover letter, but being able to show you are pursuing your passions is also quite vital. The nice thing about PR is you can fuel your passion for the public relations world in to your other passions. Love yoga? Do PR for your local studio. Passionate about nonprofits? See if your favorite charity has any openings in their communications department.

No matter which direction you end up going with your career, trying to diversify your PR experience will help you immensely.

Best Practices For Your LinkedIn Summary

June 2, 2014 7 Comments

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

linkedinAs we all know, first impressions are important. A LinkedIn summary can make or break you by determining the first impression you give potential employers who are visiting your profile. In order to create the first impression that you want, consider these five steps:

  • Be authentic. While writing your LinkedIn summary, be sure that your personal story shows through. This is your opportunity to be creative and define yourself the way you want. What makes you stand out? What are you an expert at? What are you proud of? These are questions that should be answered in your summary in order to give potential employers an idea of who you are. And always write in first-person. Writing about yourself in third-person can give your summary the opposite impression that you are looking for by making it seem impersonal.
  • Keep it short. Just like anything else these days, it is important to get to the point in your LinkedIn summary. While you need to tell your story, do it in a concise and simple way. Employers see many resumes and LinkedIn profiles each day, and it is crucial that they be impressed quickly before they get bored or distracted by their busy schedules. Keeping it short will ensure that they read everything you have to say. Another good idea is to break it up. If you feel like you have a lot of information you want to include, break it up into smaller paragraphs to make it easier and quicker to read.
  • Include key words. The types of key words that should be included in your summary are ones that describe what your strengths are and what your expertise includes. I don’t mean key words such as “hard working” or “determined.” A good list of key words could include strategic communications, market research, creative, analytics, entrepreneur, etc. When an employer sees that you are knowledgeable in certain areas that they need, it will make you more marketable.
  • Add a call to action. At the end of your summary, include a call to action that lets people know what to do next. It could be as simple as, “If you want to get to know me more, email me at ________.” Or it could be, “Reach out to me if you want to talk social media, SEO, or shopping.” There are plenty of ways to get an employer to reach out to you. Make sure that your call to action stands out and gets their attention.
  • Write what you would want to read. Perhaps the most important tip of them all. Write a LinkedIn summary that you would enjoy reading if you stumbled upon it, yourself.
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