Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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I’m in PR, and I approve this message

November 28, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon

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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.

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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.

 

The Taco Bell Blackout

October 30, 2014

By: Kelly Hayes @kmshayes

If you haven’t heard already, Taco Bell is on a blackout. Yes, a blackout. If you try to check any of their social media pages you’ll get this:

tacobell

 

Now I’m sure you’re wondering why Taco Bell, one of the best brands on social, would purge their followers. The answer: a genius ploy to promote their new app.

Is it genius?

Taco Bell has always been one of the funniest brands to follow on social media, especially Twitter and Snapchat. While they may have just purged all of their following this past week, people are still going back to follow. The reason: it’s Taco Bell.

Now many are excited because now you can order Taco Bell from your phone! Instead of going through the drive through and waiting, you can order anything on the menu from your phone. Saving you time, and getting you to your tacos faster. While purging all of these followers is just a marketing trick to get you to download the app, because it’s #OnlyInTheApp, it’s working.

Looking at this from a PR standpoint, this could be considered a genius ploy to get people to download their app and ‘create buzz’. Because let’s face it, apps are starting to become annoying space hogs on our phone – especially if you have an iPhone and need to download an update. However, Taco Bell might have just figured out their way around it by making it so they aren’t available on social media anymore. Just look at their Tumblr page:

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While this may be making headlines for the brand there are some downsides to the blackout.

Blackout = no engagement

Taco Bell is one of those brands on Twitter that is constantly engaging with their customers, but with this blackout that engagement is no more. While many brands would kill to have an engagement level like Taco Bell’s, they just threw it away for an app. Because again, everything is #OnlyInTheApp.

However, is this app really worth it? Is this actual genius or did they just lose a big fan base all for an app? The answer: I’m not sure. If you look at this in the long run, Taco Bell will eventually have to go back online and try to gain all of their followers back. It could take them a pretty long time to regain their 1.4 million Twitter followers, but maybe the brand will bring their social media back with a story line. Who knows? It’s #OnlyInTheApp.

Instagram: To be Professional or Not to Be

May 22, 2014 2 Comments

By: Morgan Peterson @mopeeeezy

instagramWith summer in full swing, I know everyone is happy to get a little loose, and with this comes a surge of Instagram photos to document the fun times. Just like the average college kid, I have a lot of trouble trying to distinguish what is appropriate to post on my Instagram and what is not. To me many of these lines are blurred, making it hard to separate the two especially working within Public Relations. The battle with being authentic is where many people get into trouble. Even though social media is for you to express yourself, sometimes every moment isn’t “shareable” on the Internet. Here are a few tips on how to manage your instagram personally and professionally.

Define Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is what people are going to know you by when they see you on the Internet, so be cautious but yourself. Everyone’s personal brand is different, so once you know what yours is, it’ll be easier to know what’s appropriate for Instagram. Instagram pictures help make and enhance your personal brand. Remember, just because someone else posts something that you don’t agree with doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, that might simply be how he or she wants to be portrayed.

If you don’t want your Mom to see it, don’t post it

I think this is a really good rule of thumb. Essentially you want to post things that you want to be known for. So if you don’t want to be known as a party girl, don’t post pictures of you always at a bar. I know sometimes that can hard considering a lot of Ohio University social life is centered around Court Street and fest season. You want to post a picture of you having a good time, but it’s not always the right thing to do. If you feel like you could be hindering yourself from getting a job or internship then don’t take the risk. Another option is to just make your Instagram private.

Show your work

Instagram is a great tool to show others what you’re working on! Lifestyle pictures are great but also try using Instagram as a marketing tool to show people your talents. For example, one of my friends is an artist and all they use instagram for is to promote their artwork. This shows companies that you’re serious about what you do, and you made it easy for them to view it.

Be yourself!

Be mindful of things that you post on the Internet, but at the end of the day the right job or internship will find you. If you feel like you can’t be professional and personal on Instagram, then that might not be the right platform for you to use. If you feel like you’re too scared or restricted on Instagram, then try and find a platform that fits you where you feel like you can be yourself while being professional.

Hope some of these tips help! Happy posting!

All You Need is a Little Facebook Love

May 20, 2014

By: Austin Ambrose @tex_ambrose7

dislikeFacebook has more than one billion users. That’s one billion people ready to criticize something that is not in compliance with their views. As PR professionals, it is crucial to take this criticism gracefully, and know how to handle a potentially harmful situation. Contrary to our initial instincts, never, ever try and refute any bad publicity. Firstly, you would be igniting a fire in the person who commented. Secondly, based on associative network theories and principles, refuting a bad rumor or post will actually make people believe it more.

Yes, Facebook is a platform with a lot of users and we are terrified by one tiny negative post that will ruin us, but we have to remember that there are probably more positive posts – heavily outweighing the negative. Studies have shown that the best way to handle a negative comment is to talk about all the good in your company or brand. People will begin to start associating your name with the positive comments you’re outputting, instead of the one negative post you received.

A less effortful approach to dealing with the comment, but still highly effective, is to completely avoid the comment altogether. If you never mention the comment, then there is no reason for more people to be drawn to the issue. There is a chance for a few avid readers to catch the comment, but that doesn’t mean it is going to affect their perspective of your company or brand, especially if the comment stands alone.

One brand that should be noted for handling negative comments so intelligently is Honey Maid. Their recent campaign, “This is Wholesome,” focuses on families that shows support for gay and mixed-race parents, because every type of a family is a family.

After receiving some hateful comments, Honey Maid decided to spin this negativity into something positive. They printed out all of the negative comments that people posted, rolled up these sheets of paper and had two artists spell out “Love” with the rolled up sheets. Then they printed out and rolled up all the positive comments and surrounded the negative with the positive, showing how many more positive comments there were than negative. They created a short video to show their response and the process of this artistic creation. BuzzFeed covered the story and has the video, which you should check out.

Honey Maid took more of a direct approach to handling criticism, but it was done in a way that was smart, creative and meaningful. Sometimes negative comments may require a more drastic approach such as this one. However, most times, one little negative comment on Facebook is not worth the worry or effort. You, as the professional, have to be the gauge to determine what sort of action (if any) should be taken.

A Lesson from Warby Parker: How to Use Instagram Effectively

April 22, 2014 2 Comments

Warby Parker is an amazing eye-glass company that sells unique and stylish frames for $95 (yes that also includes the lens)! In addition to the amazing price point for every pair that is sold, a pair is given to someone in need. Aside to being known for its trendy glasses, outstanding customer service and exceptional prices, Warby Parker is also known for its social media – namely its Instagram account.

Warby Parker has mastered the use of Instagram and is a perfect example of a company who uses the platform effectively.

Culture

Looking at Warby Parker’s Instagram account gives a customer not only a look at their product, but an insight into what the company and its employees are like. It showcases their interests in books, favorite places to dine and amazing scenery from the company travels.

Instagram provides an all-access pass into WP’s company headquarters by documenting days at the office. Snapshots focus on behind the scenes work at photo shoots, company uniforms for WP’s “Spirit Day” and office pot lucks!

Promoting Events

Any event that WP is attending or hosting is usually featured on Instagram, accompanied with an awesome photo and unique hashtag.  There have been many events, such as The Warby Parker Class Trip (#wpclasstrip). Employees were sent on a road trip across the country in a renovated school bus to bring WP glasses to areas where there aren’t any showroom locations. Photos of their road trip were featured on Instagram – allowing users to follow along with them as they made their journey across the U.S.A. Other events and promotions have included #whereswarby and #warbyegg.

Earlier this year, WP celebrated another milestone: its 4th birthday. To commemorate the company’s birthday, its Instagram was filled with pictures capturing employees and the four founders when they were 4 years-old.

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2Promoting the Product

The ultimate goal of brands being active on social media platforms is to push their products. WP is no exception. However, its advertising is not as obvious or in-your-face as most brands. Photos of the glasses often appear on its Instagram surrounded by numerous other items such a books, newspapers, food, candles, coffee, etc. For these Instagram photo shoots, WP tries placing the glasses in an environment that they would typically appear in if a consumer had them.

People may feel uneasy about buying glasses online and that is why WP lets you pick out 5 pairs of frames, ships them to you for free and gives you five days to try them on and decide which frame you like best. This can be a tough decision! WP uses social media as a way to connect with its consumers who are struggling to select a trendy frame. Customers can upload pictures of themselves in the different frames, and by using the hashtag #pickapair, WP specialists will step into help! WP also features employees who are stuck deciding between frames and allows the customers to give their input.

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WP has even been praised by Business Insider and IMPACT Inbound Marketing Agency for its content on Instagram and other social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. The company has set the standards for brands on social media, and given them a model to aspire toward.

Follow WP on Instagram: @warbyparker 

Kathleen Marincic is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @KathMarincic.

How to Reintroduce your Personal Brand

April 21, 2014 2 Comments

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.

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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.

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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!

Resume Trends: Dos and Don’ts

March 28, 2014 1 Comment

resumeeLooking through old pictures, I am in shock of how many butterfly clips I put in my hair in grade school. Okay, and middle school. Another 90s trend I wasn’t ready to let go of that my peers had thrown away.

Resume trends come and go just like the choker necklaces and layered polos we once held near and dear. Keeping in mind what trends will last can help you land the job (or internship) of your dreams. So grab your Lisa Frank notebook – here are some resume trends you should and shouldn’t follow.

DO.

Tailor your resume to the specific job. Let your potential employer know that you did some research on their company, as well as the position. This is especially important in a cover letter. Your experiences that are most applicable to the job should stand out, or at least be towards the top. For example, when applying to an internship focused on social media, highlighting the Twitter accounts you manage would be more important than working at a pizza place.

Don’t.

Use too many buzzwords. If the phrase “I am a hard worker” is on your resume, take it off. IMMEDIATELY. Save that for the interview when you can explain WHY you’re a hard worker. Sometimes buzzwords can be important – some companies electronically scan for specific words and sprinkle them lightly throughout. You also don’t want a ton of clichés on a resume. Words such as “led” or “built” can be good words that computers will pick up while also showing off your leadership roles.

Do.

Show specifics. Statements with action words about what a past experience entailed can be great, but hard numbers of what this experience accomplished can go a lot further. Being able to show how many placements a news release got or a percentage of increased followers will show them you’re an impact player.

Don’t.

Share your social media outlets if they’re not professional. This should be fairly obvious. If your last 10 tweets include any reference to the following: acting ratchet, twerking, the phrase “turn down for what?” or profane language, clean it up (or create a separate account) before adding it to a resume. However, if you tweet responsibly, a Twitter handle is a great addition to your contact information.

Do/ Don’t.

Color. It boils down to “Do #1,” tailoring your resume. When applying to a position where creativity is extremely valued, then adding color and a design can be a great trend to follow. Additionally, formatting your resume in a unique way (i.e. an eye-catching info graphic) can show off design skills. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re sending your resume in hopes of working in politics, keep color to a minimum. Find a balance between being creative while maintaining professionalism.

Do.

Go the extra mile. Following up with the company after you send out a resume is a trend that never goes out of style. Little things such as connecting on LinkedIn, an email or even tweeting at someone can make your resume stand out. Better yet, picking up the phone or sending a hand-written Thank You note can leave a lasting impression. And aren’t good impressions what we’re all about?

Building a strong resume can take time, but it’s worth the time when you come away with something you can be proud of. While it can be important to stay on trend, the most essential aspect about creating a resume is incorporating your own style.

Devon Pine is a senior studying Journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at @LuckyNumbrDevon.

7 Tips & Tricks For Networking Trips

March 26, 2014 3 Comments

7 Tips & Tricks For Networking TripsWhether you’re traveling to a new city alone or with a school organization for a networking trip, interacting with professionals can always be intimidating for a college student on the job hunt.

Over the course of my professional experience, I’ve discovered how essential it is to plan for the worst before diving head first into the “working world.” That way, you’ll be completely prepared and the right mindset to give your best first impression. Here are the seven tips I’ve taken away for professional networking.

Research the Company Before Visiting

This is crucial before even setting up the trip. For starters, it’d be beneficial to research your PR point of contact, company history, brand standards and social media platforms before you do anything else. You’ll sound knowledgeable while interacting with the professionals at the company online and in person using solid talking points from your research.

Bring Your Resume/Business Cards

Bring several copies of your most updated resume to give to every professional you meet. Business cards are also great if you have them too. Being able to showcase your professional experience is important, especially when time is precious on a company tour.

Look The Professional Part

No sweats, no gym shoes and for goodness sake do not cake on the make-up. This is the time you look your sharpest. Shine your shoes, iron those dress pants and don’t forget to put on deodorant before walking through the front doors of the company you’re visiting. When in doubt, a blazer and dress pants, or black leggings are my go-to professional attire. I never wear heels, unless they are low or on a tall boot, but even then I bring flats in my bag, just in case blisters appear.

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

I always bring a purse with me on professional occasions carrying items for the most inopportune moments when you have coffee breath, your phone is on 2% battery, etc. These key items are:

  •       Altoid mints or gum
  •       Hand wash
  •       Perfume/Deodorant
  •       Cash
  •       Portable phone charger
  •       Band aids
  •       Dental floss

Tweet At The Company Before Visiting

True story: tweeting at MediaSource, a PR agency named 2013’s Best Health Care PR/Marketing Agency by communications industry powerhouse Ragan Communications, before touring their office in Columbus, Ohio with PRSSA earned me my very own MediaSource coffee mug and “swag bag”. It was really exciting being recognized in front of the whole group tour for using their hashtag #BobcatsBrandJournalized14 before visiting. It just goes to show you what doing your research can achieve: recognition before a face-to-face introduction.

Don’t Be Late

Arrive two hours early if you have to, butjust make sure you are not late. Just don’t do it. Period. (Rule of thumb is 5 minutes early is on time.)

Follow Up

Through email or LinkedIn, following up with a personal message is the perfect way to show your appreciation for their time and especially shows initiative for keeping the conversation going.Hand written thank you notes are an excellent personal touch too. Don’t stop there though. Keep the relationship consistent with an email every few weeks with a possible blog link you found interesting or info-graphic worth checking out.

 

Stephanie Gort is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @StephGort.

AVW Week: Planning for Perfection

March 14, 2014 1 Comment

AVW WeekAs the anticipation of AVW Week approached, the ImPRessions AVW Productions account was hard at work, planning for perfection. AVW Week is happening this week and will continue through Sunday. As the Account Executive, I worked closely with Elyse Freeman, the Assistant Account Executive, and Thomas Sinard, the Marketing Manager of AVW. Our wonderful and hard-working associates are Alex Davies, Angela Keane, Brooke Robinson, Carolyn Nachman, Erica Stonehill, Jill Kata, Kat Safreed, Megan Valentine, Rachel Fleig and Rachel Shehy.

The week of events has included the release of the new AVW website on Monday, commercial releases on Tuesday and producer interviews on Wednesday. On Thursday, AVW hosted an AVW Fair in Baker 226 from 3 p.m. to 7p.m. so students can learn more about the organization. Tonight, AVW will have a premiere in the Bobcat Student Lounge from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. where members can see a new and collaborative episode from AVW Newstime and Fridays Live. On Saturday, students around campus will be participating in AVW’s newest show, TOUR. You can follow them with the hashtag #TOUREP1. AVW Week will wrap up with the video game tournament hosted by Tech Heads starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday in Baker 240.

In order to plan and execute these events in the best way possible, we decided to split our associates up into two teams: event planning and media relations. Our two teams worked to complete and pitch a press release, make a flyer, pitch to classes throughout the week, talk to businesses in order to get food and prizes donated, brainstorm ideas and event names, social media and anything and everything else we asked them to do. It has been amazing to watch each of our associates step up to the plate and complete each and every task above and beyond the expectations we had set.

Events such as AVW Week allow students to create, pitch and implement their own ideas, helping them to grow further in love with their major. We have seen so many associates grow as leaders throughout the planning of AVW Week, and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings!

You can follow #AVWweek on AVW’s Twitter, Facebook and new Instagram account.

Pinning for your Personal Brand

March 7, 2014 6 Comments

pinterestMost girls love Pinterest for the style tips, craft ideas and wedding planning. However, not many people think about using Pinterest as a way to strengthen their personal brand. No matter what your brand is, it’s time to start thinking of Pinterest as a part of it.

Pin things that matter

Start pinning crafts that you will actually do. If you love fashion or interested in going into fashion PR, pin fashion from your favorite brands, designers, cute clothes, etc. If you are environmentally conscious, make a board about eco-friendly ideas and products. For all of you food lovers out there – don’t forget your food board. You can also make a board about things that catch your eye or interest you; whatever describes you. These tips don’t mean that you have to log in and delete your wedding board right now. If you’re someone that would openly talk about weddings at work or are hoping to work in wedding planning, this board is perfect for strengthening your personal brand.

Creating your own content

Many people forget that you can create your own board. If you’re really ambitious, you could upload your resume and portfolio pieces then upload them on their own board. It’s eye catching and original. If you like travelling, create a board with pictures and locations of places you’ve traveled. Pinterest has a lot of great pins in their travel category, but adding in your own content adds to the fun. Remember, you don’t have to stick within the categories Pinterest has set for you – the opportunities are endless.

It’s time to stop looking at Pinterest as a personal site, and start looking at it as another social media site that you can use to strengthen your online presence and improve your personal brand. Pin anything and everything that it is interesting and describes you. It’s ok to have a few professional boards, or to mix them with fun or inspirational boards. As long as your Pinterest describes you and gives others an idea of what you are like, your doing it right.

Jess Carnprobst is a sophomore studying Strategic Communication. You can follow her on Twitter at @jess_carnprobst.

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