Sunday, March 28, 2010

Expressing Your Style Online

Today I was reading an article at about the "5 Ways Social Media Changed Fashion in 2009". This article was written by Macala Wright Lee the CEO of FashionablyMarketing.Me. Lee explained how social media is becoming a huge outlet for fashion designers and brands. The fashion industry as adopted social media as a way to connect fans and create brand loyalty. She went on to discuss the different changes to the industry including communities, embracing the mobile apps, the rise of bloggers, the impact of user-generated content, and creating niche communities. Within the section on niche communities, I found a website to explore, This website is a place for the public to express their personal style. This website has a section where you can interactively create a look by picking different pieces of clothing. I found this to be fun and a really good marketing tool. After I made my "look" I felt stylish and accomplished in my task. This is a great idea because it gets the users familiar with the brands and incorporates individual style. There is a style advice section along with brand information section. The advice section is very smart and user friendly. They also added a celebrity style bar and a section of hot trends. I enjoyed all of these factors of the site and felt they were very organized and interesting to use. I checked out the Polyvore blog to get inspired and gain new information for my new Chiq blog post this week. I loved the style of the blog and the individual fashion sets that were posted.
My first poster:

When constructing this fashion poster I felt like I was using a program in Photoshop. It has hundreds of choices for the backgrounds, pieces of clothing and accessories. You can design the poster anyway you want and place items where you please. When you are finished, the site asks for you to publish your work on Twitter or Facebook. This aspect shows how social media is incorporated within another social media site. I find this to be interesting how we communicate through these outlets. What will they think of next?!

Green Peace: Viral Video Making

This week, my group will embark on the journey of making a viral video. When I think of a viral video, many popular YouTube videos come to mind but as I learned in class, viral videos are used not just for entertainment. In my Public Relations for Social Media class, we examined different viral video campaigns. One organization who has produced many successful viral video campaigns is the well known Greenpeace. They have produced many videos that have caused a lot of buzz within the media including the current Greenpeace vs. Nestle campaign. The organization produced a video examining how the manufacturings of Kit Kats are destroying rainforests. The Kit Kats have palm oil, which is in abundance in the paradise rainforests. The video sends a strong message to viewers as an office worker bits into a KitKat for a snack and the KitKat resembles a finger of a monkey. The man takes a bite, and everyone around him is surprised to see that the KitKat is bleeding. The message is blunt and straight forward to the public. The video has turned viral and has caused uproar against Nestle, which is exactly what Greenpeace wanted.

I was very intrigued of how these videos become viral in a matter of hours. I read a piece by Daniel Bird, Multimedia Producer, of Greenpeace International about how the organization produces these successful videos. I was happy to learn the process that Greenpeace goes through to make a video go viral and create a successful campaign. First you must propose to make a viral video or a video that will be intended to reach a high amount of viewers. This video must reach its maximum potential by being passed from peer to peer, which is a fast acting promotional tool. The video must have a hook to get viewers intrigued and create a statement. This hook can also be the tone of the whole campaign so choose this wisely. Next, this video should be passed along to different outlets such as influential bloggers, video streaming websites like YouTube, and mailing lists. If these rules are followed then your video could be the next talk of the town.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

FTC : Protecting us from Deceptive Blogging

I have been doing my fair share of research on the Federal Trade Commission in the last couple months. My capstone project is centered on the regulation of advertising and through my research I found the guidelines to advertising according to the FTC for many different outlets. The FTC is in charge of protecting consumers from deceptive practices and unlawful strategies. I was intrigued when reading the new guidelines regarding word of mouth advertising or blogging. The FTC believes that bloggers should state their association with a company as they might be publishing a bias opinion on the product or company if they are compensated. If this word of mouth marketing is not credible then the marketing may not be trusted and found to be deceptive. 

I remember learning about a one of these deceptive blogs last year in my public relations class. The blog started in 2006 by an American couple, Laura and Jim. Their goal was to visit every Wal-Mart in America. The blog was interestingly named "Wal-Marting Across America" .The couple would blog about their travels and the friendly staff at each Wal-Mart. A story from Business Week reported that:

"Every Wal-Mart employee that Laura and Jim run into, from store clerks to photogenic executives, absolutely loves to work at the store. Sound like a great Wal-Mart publicity campaign? Anyone familiar with Wal-Mart and its reputation for being quite stingy with wages and benefits will roll their eyes at such a rosy picture. In fact, some critics are so skeptical that they wonder whether Jim and Laura are real or whether they were concocted at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark"

Over time this blog was found to be a hoax. The family was paid by Wal-Mart to go across America and to "blog" about the stores. The evidence proved the blog to be bias and not credible. If the family had not been compensated for their traveling and blog, then the American public might be more persuaded to go to a Wal-Mart store. Nice try Wal-Mart.

The FTC is making sure these kinds of mishaps do not occur to influence the American public. By composing new guidelines they are protecting the essence and credibility of word of mouth advertising. 

Summary of FTC Guidelines:
  • Advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.
  • "Material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed.
  • Both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

PRSSA National Assembly Highlights

This weekend was a very exciting and educating experience for the members of PRSSA. The PRSSA National Assembly was held in Austin, Tx this year, and the PRSSA chapter at St. Edward's University was more than happy to welcome everyone from across the country to our town. The assembly started on Thursday March 12th and ended Sunday March 14. During the three days of assembly, there were many activites and sessions for PRSSA members to take part in. The first night was focused on welcoming everyone to the assembly and networking with other members from across the nation. We were able to become familiar with the assembly schedule and what each day would entail. The purpose of the National Assembly is for the election of the national PRSSA commitee. This election process is something that each chapter around the nation can take part in. The entire third day was devoted to the elections because it is very a long process.  

The second day of the National Assembly was filled with informational sessions. This was something Ally Hugg, The president of the PRSSA chapter at St. Edward's University, and I experienced last year. We found the sessions to be a great tool to bring back to our chapter at St. Edward's. This year we were excited that our attending PRSSA chapter members were able to experience these sessions and take all that they could from them. The first part of the morning was devoted to chapter officer sessions. The sessions were broken into groups and memebers would attend the officier session they were currently in or hope to be elected into. The sessions were split into:
  • Presidents/Vice Presidents/ Firm Directors
  • Public Relations/ Liasons/ Historians
  • Secretaries/ Tresurers/ Webmasters
  • National Officer Preparation
These sessions were to inspire officiers and bring new ideas into their chapters. Ally Hugg, Courtney Medford and I attended the Presidents/Vice Presidents/ Firm Directors session. Through the session, we learned ways to recruit new memebers, tips on how to deciede the tasks of an officer, point system strategies, and ways to make each chapter the best it could be.  Ally stated:
 "I was glad to get advice from other chapter presidents of the best ways to trasition officer titles. I know that when I graduate, the next Preseident will be prepared and ready becasue of the stragies I learned about passing along my duties."

As the morning went on, we attended Leadership Training sessions. The sessions were based on protecting your personal brand, problem solving within a chapter, and how personality types can affect group dynamics. Each meeting was inciteful and fun. My favorite session out of the three was, "Does my Personality Affect Group Dynamics?

For this session we were given a test to figure out our personality type. Once we answered the questions and added up our scores, we went to our indivisual colors. The colors were blue,green, gold and orange. Each color resembled what personality type we were close to. Everyone went to their color and talked about how they fit into the color traits. For example I am a blue person. A blue personality type is someone who is enthusiastic, sympathetic, personal, warm, communicative, peaceful, and sincere. We read about how we interact in work, in love, and in childhood. Everyone in my group shared stories and examples of how the blue personality type fit them perfectly. Next, all our groups composed symbols and logos that represented our personality type. For the blue group, we decired to focus on how we are emotional and caring for people. We long to be symathetic to others need, and are compassionate in every aspect of life. The blue team composed a cloud with symbolic raindrops falling into an umbrella. The umbrella held the rain as we hold on to others obstacles and try our best to help them through it. Some of the water missed the umbrella and went on the ground where flowers grew. The flowers symboled how we are rooted in our ways and stand tall for our selves and for people around us.

All the colors in the room, presented their personalities to the other groups and discussd how all our personlities were different. I found out that a green person is very analytical, logical, a perfectionist, and hypathetical which is the complete opposite of a blue person.   Though blue and green personalities can clash, they need to be dynamic in group settings for everyone in the team to suceed. This excercise made everyone realize that we all have differences in how we work and feel but we can all work together and be a driven force. I thought of my peers in PRSSA and our different personality colors. Knowing how these personalities are catagoriezd helped me understand my peers and how we can overcome a lot as a group if we distinguish the best ways our indivisual personalities can work together.

Monday, March 8, 2010

PRSSA Podcast for St. Edward's University 125th Anniversary

Last week Ally , Courtney , and myself created a Podcast designed around the 125thanniversary campaign at St. Edward’s University. We had the opportunity to interview Director of Communication, Michelle Diaz and Public Relations Associate, Marcie Lasseigne of the St. Edward’s marketing department, who are both heavily involved in the campaign. As public relations students, we were very interested in the campaign logistics, and the strategies used to promote the anniversary.

We developed questions to help our audience understand the campaign and the various ways to become involved in the year long celebration. The questions varied from a focus on the campaign’s use of social media to the incorporation of the “real life” Topper mascot.

Marcie and Michelle thoroughly answered our questions and gave us much insight into the public relations aspects of the campaign.

As Marcie mentions in the episode, “people like to get their news in a variety of ways.” We learned that social media has been very useful in facilitating communication about the anniversary and related events, and we encourage our fellow students to check out the new microsite and get involved in activities on campus.

Join the effort – we can’t wait for the year to come!

Show Notes:

00:06 – Introduction to Podcast show
00:19.3 – Description of episode
00:13.1  - Introduction of hosts and guests
00:48.5 – Overview of 125th campaign
01:16  - Sara asks about campaign, and why focus specifically on 125th year?
03:03 – Incorporation of social media sites in campaign
08:59 – Service challenge
11:14 – Ally asks about incorporation of “real-life Topper”
12:08 – Upcoming events on campus
13:19 – Conclusion of interview

Sunday, March 7, 2010

YouTube: Who is a Hit Contributor?

I have an addiction to the popular video website YouTube. It contains the music videos I want, the humor I crave, and even tutorial videos for anything you could possibly think of. Though I am on this video broadcasting system for hours a day, I have never really thought of how these videos become so popular. How did the famous dancing wedding party become such a hit that primetime shows are using the same idea? How did the famous piano playing kitten end up on my Facebook wall? So I asked myself, what makes a video a hit?

After reading the study of Persistent Paradox, I found my answers. The study looked at the reasons of success and popularity in the video uploads. The research was conducted to view 10 million uploaded videos. The quality of the videos was considered as well as the age of the video. The older videos tend to receive more video views counts since they have been on the website longer. Very few videos receive much attention if the contributor broadcasts videos constantly. The most popular have been from a first time post or a random upload. The study also found that the popularity of these videos changes over time.

With this research in mind, I decided to look up the most popular videos that have been on YouTube, and decide for myself why they were viewed millions of times.

"Charlie bit my Finger"
This video has had 166,874,929 views since it aired in 2007. This is considered a definite hit. It is humorous but very simple. Watch it and see what you think.

Another video is the "Evolution of Dance". With 138,505,127 views since 2006, this video has the appeal of entertainment and talent.

A more recent video on the list comes from a main stream celebrity. Miley Cyrus has taken over the world of music and every young girl wants to be Hannah Montana. When Cyrus released her "7 Things" music video, YouTube was hit will millions of views. The video has 112,120,624 views since its release in 2008.

What these videos have in common is their appeal to the American society. They are humorous, extraordinary, or already known in the entertainment world. I would have to agree with the study but I would love to hear about a study on what the American audience gravitates to on YouTube and why they view the videos. I guess that might be a study I can conduct some day. Happy YouTubing!

What not to Tweet About

Through this class of Social Media for PR, we have learned the success Twitter can have on companies, businesses, and individual people. The Tweets can heighten your presence in the professional world and give you a leg up on the competition. This is not always the case if you do not know the Twitter etiquette.

The new Bravo series, Kell on Earth, takes the audience into the world of the renowned PR professional, Kelly Cutrone. It portrays the cutthroat world of public relations in the fashion industry and the life of the powerhouse, Kelly in action. Her employees undergo countless tasks, long hours, thousands of emails, and ignorant interns.  She makes it a priority to let her people know, “if you have to cry, go outside.” Kelly has her bar set high for her employees and her company, People’s Revolution. Two episodes ago, Kelly had to fire two of her employees because of their unprofessional behavior and poor performance. The unacceptable behavior included: being associated with people who were consuming alcohol at a business party, not keeping up with the tasks at hand, and having too many spelling mistakes. This week, Kelly left for London’s Fashion week, while her assistant Andrew went searching for a new employee. Andrew thought he found the perfect fit in a young woman named Virginia. She was qualified in every area and Andrew offered her the job on the spot.
Once she exited the building the story became very interesting. The newly hired Virginia, loved her social media outlet Twitter and she decided to Tweet about the time leading up to the interview, the interview itself, and her happiness about her new job. She tweeted about how she had the job in the bag and how she rocked the interview, who was at the office, who interviewed her, and even how she would celebrate the new jobs by having drinks with her friends. Please watch the irresponsible behavior of the new hire.


As you can see from the video, Kelly’s company is very private and did not approve of this behavior. She was hired and fired within an hour. After watching this train wreak occur, I began to wonder about how many people Tweet or broadcast content like this on their Twitter. First of all it looks very unprofessional and immature and it also reflects bad on the company. My advice, DO NOT TWEET ABOUT YOUR JOB, unless you know what the rules and guidelines are in the company. Twitter can help you and hurt you, and in this situation, Virginia lost a great job because of a couple Tweets. So be careful my fellow Twitter fans!