Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Your Thoughts on Advertising Alcohol

For my Capstone paper, I wanted to explore how people felt about alcohol advertisements. In my paper, I discuss the controversial topic : Should there be Stricter Regulations on Advertising Alcohol? I did a vast amount of research on the topic and interviewed people representing  both sides of the controversy. To end my paper, I wanted to hear from the public. I wanted to know what your thoughts, opinions, or ideas are about advertising alcohol.
Please watch the commercials below to experience the current alcohol advertising on television.

The following are some questions to spark your interest:
 1) What is your overall impression of these advertisements?

2) Did they appeal to you?

3) What are your opinions about the content and tone of the ads?

4) What ages do you beleive these ads appeal to?

5) Do you feel minors would be influenced by these ads?

6) Would you change anything about these advertisments?

Please comment on this post with your opinions or questions. Thank you for your interest .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Crisis Communication: Who got a A+

“Crisis communications is a branch of PR that is designed to protect it and defend an individual, company, or organization, usually from a reactive response, facing a swelling public challenge to its reputation, brand, and community.” Brian Solis

Crisis communication can be used everyday around the world. People working in public relations must be prepared for a crisis when representing a company, brand or specific individuals. There are five essential types of crisis these people might face in their career. There are self provoked crisis, Smoldering crisis, malicious attacks, organized attacks, and natural disasters. Today I learned the new wave of crisis communication dealing with a natural disaster. The recent volcano eruption in Iceland not only blew ash into the air, it blew a crisis to every airline in Europe. There were no flights in or out of the airports and people were stuck. This frustration of cancelled flights, lost luggage, and  people stuck at airports and hotels caused a uproar against the airlines. Many people were ranting about long wait times of calls and complaining about how the airlines were handling the situation. Some of the airlines dealt with the crisis the wrong way. They did not address the customer’s questions, provide information to be easily accessible to the public, or tell the customers of their plans for the days to come. The people were extremely angry. However, one of the airlines did know how to deal with the crisis the right way. KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines was put in the same situation as the other airlines but instead of shutting out communication from the public they used the 5 C’s:
Concern – Clarity – Control – Conference - Competence

 KLM used their website to provide information to their customers stuck in the crisis. Instead of using phone lines they published “ Frequently asked Questions” and the answers to them so customers may understand the next steps to take. They also addressed individual questions on Twitter by replying to customer tweets. The airline also published updates on their Facebook page to communicate more information to their public. They  provided a video from the CEO on their Facebook page where he explained the current information and apologized for any incontinence. 

KLM used the 5 C’s to rise high above the crisis while other airlines were left in the clutter and confusion.  They get an A+ in my book.

Crash Course in Building a Social Media Resume

Since my time in college is coming to a close, I have been on the search for jobs and opportunities within the public relations industry. This process is long and frustrating at times as we are submitting our resumes and cover letters constantly. Now I am here to remind you that there is another way. Social media resumes allow you to distinguish yourself from the crowd. You are able to customize and reflect your personal brand with a collection of social media elements, multimedia attributes, sharing features and of course, your resume.  For all of us enrolled in Social Media for Public Relations, this is what we have been building all semester; our own personal social media resumes.
I read an article on Mashable.com, which provided steps on how to build a social media resume. As my class is coming to an end, I have completed many of these steps.
First you must start with a website, or blog. Some free sites are Bravenet.com, Wordpress.com, and Google Blogger.  Next, make sure you create the perfect URL.  Your URL will be on your paper resume, all of your social media networks, and your business cards and any other marketing materials.  The next step is focused on format and design. Make sure your format is clean and easy to view and design as you please but keep in mind that this is your brand. Recruiters are looking for certain things when viewing your website or blog . Here are some ideas for you use when putting together your personal page:
Press/media, contact, career highlights, distinctions, bio, blog, case studies, about, skills, experience, credentials, intro, consulting, vision, endorsements, resume, newsletters, news & events, volunteer projects, strengths, social networks, interact, demo real, art portfolio, sample projects, personal information, professional information, wiki, speaking events, awards, profile, photos, videos, associations, clubs, technical competencies.

Next step, enhance your page with key multimedia elements. This aspect will make your resume interactive and allow recruiters to connect with you on a personal level, compared to reading your experience on a plain  piece of paper. Some examples of multimedia you could use to jazz up your blog or website could include: photos of you at industry events or business people, a video or MP3 of you answering basic interview questions, your personal podcast, audio testimonials from previous clients or supervisors you have worked with.
Integrating your social network profiles is an important element to remember. First clean up your pages so they are appropriate and reflect a professional feel so recruiters will not be turned away from viewing them. Some social networks to include are: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube.
Lastly, make your social media resume shareable. This will increase your chances with job opportunities as you will create more visibility of your resume. You can use Delicious, Digg, Reddit, or Share This.  
Now your social media resume is complete and you are on your way to new opportunities and hopefully a promising career.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Censoring your Facebook for the Road Ahead

I recently read an article on CNN called “Young job-seekers hiding their Facebook pages", by Stephanie Goldberg. This article revealed the lengths in which young jobseekers are going to hide their identity online. Many of these individuals are changing their names, or profile pictures to trick the companies but many are not successful. A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online. Many of these applicants have not gone through their Facebook and censored it to be "applicant" friendly. I learned many of these tips last year at the PRSSA National Assembly.

First, make sure to understand your privacy settings, and use them! My advice is to keep your profile private to people who are not your friend. If you keep it open, future employers have the freedom to look through your social media page and critique you’re every move. You may friend these employers and add them to certain "lists" on your privacy setting that enables them to only see certain parts of your profile.

Next, clean up your profile. This means to go through all aspects of your page. Go through your info, photos, and even your wall posts. Here are the top ten turn-offs for employers on social networking websites:

1. References to drug abuse
2. Extremist / intolerant views, including racism, sexism
3. Criminal activity
4. Evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
5. Inappropriate pictures, including nudity
6. Foul language
7. Links to unsuitable websites
8. Lewd jokes
9. Silly email addresses
10. Membership of pointless / silly groups

Once your profile is employer safe, make sure to keep it clean. If you are tagged in an inappropriate photo for the workplace make sure those people cannot see your tagged pictures, or better yet make your privacy where no one can see what pictures you’re tagged in. Just because you have the job does not mean you can let your Facebook page go wild. You can still be fired over your social media self. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Everyone Is a Publisher; Everyone Is a Broadcaster" -The Evolution of Blogging

This week I read a chapter out of the innovative book, Citizen Marketers. This chapter, titled "Everyone Is a Publisher; Everyone Is a Broadcaster", focused on how everyone is able to become a part of the big picture. Everyone can publish their ideas, opinions, and rants to numerous outlets and audiences will consume their message. I found this chapter interesting because the authors traveled back in time to reveal how "blogs" have been around for thousands of years. An example of this is the Roman "Acta Diurna", Daily Acts. Over 2,100 years ago the Romans would publish these works through stone or the spoken word. These daily acts, described various miracles, sacrifices, funerals, and adventures of the Roman citizens. This is exactly what we do in our blogs. Though it is 2010 and we are working with html instead of stone, we are still using the same concept of publishing our work.

Throughout history, our publishing techniques have been very different.  Though we are not published the same way as the Romans, the ideas of being heard and expressing our ideas, are the same. Our innovations in technology are always on the wave of change. Everyday something new is on the web for people to use to broadcast themselves. The sense of blogging arose from emerging social media and the thought of two way communication instead of one way publishing models. The start of blogs came from online journals. The "very first blogger" was a student named Justin Hall. Hall would journal about his personal observations on relationships, jobs, and family. His "journal" contained 4,800 posts and lead the way as an individual publisher. Hall was also the creator of LiveJournal, a host of over 10 million journal accounts. These journal entries soon turned into the new idea of blogs.

Blogs arose around the year 1999 with the launch of Blogger. Blogger was purchased by Google and the creations of blogs began to take shape. Ben and Mena Trott released the Movable Type 1.0 from their San Francisco apartment. Movable Type is now the home to millions of bloggers. Now there are millions of blog outlets and they are being used every day. Social media has been over looked in the past but now it is an essential component of a company. Big companies such as General Motors, Southwest Airlines, Amazon.com blog on a regular basis and encourage two way communication with their customers. This is a way to manage their customer feedback system and make sure they are on the right track.

This chapter delved into the insights about blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds and more. The section on blogs was very enlightening as it provided me with the history of blogs and allowed me to understand how far personal publishing has come in the last ten years.  I can only imagine what we will see in 2020.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Topper Takes a Tour

This week, the “triple threat” ( Courtney Medford, Ally Hugg, and I), embarked on another creative strategy to bring notice and excitement to the 125th anniversary of St. Edward’s University. As a group, we have been providing the marketing department at St. Edward’s University with new, fun ideas to commemorate the 125TH Anniversary. In our last podcast project , we interviewed the marketing team, who gave our audience insights and vital information regarding the 125 Anniversary Campaign.  We decided to make a video to commemorate the festivities and explore the history of the St. Edward’s campus.  We came up with many ideas to publicize this message but one idea stood out from the rest.  We wanted Topper.
We had all seen our hilltopper mascot at the games, prancing around campus or even eating next to us in Ragsdale, but we wanted to introduce the real life Topper. To make this dream come alive, we contacted Lt.  Dan Beck and asked for the presence of the famous celebrity Topper. Our group had read about Topper (real name Pax) in the Hilltop Views article "Goat to be Unveiled", and saw pictures of his appearances at the homecoming festivities.  Lt. Dan Beck was very gracious to agree with our video request and welcomed the idea of his goat becoming a movie star.
We came up with the video “Topper Takes a Tour”. This creative video showcases the real life Topper giving a tour of the St. Edward’s campus to perspective students, played by Ally, Courtney, and myself. Topper leads the students on a journey of St. Edward’s campus while educating them on fun and interesting facts. He provides historical facts about specific sites around campus to ensure the students get the full St. Edward’s experience on their tour. Topper leads the students to the beautiful surroundings of Holy Cross Plaza, the lucky St. Edward’s seal, the wondrous main building, and the nurturing Sorin Oak tree.

We believe this video showcases some of the most influential spots on campus and audiences will be astonished with new interesting facts told by none other than Topper himself. Our group hopes that “Topper Takes a Tour” can be influential impact within the 125th Anniversary campaign. We encourage students to become involved with the celebration by taking part in activities and events and of course participating in the 12th service challenge. These activates will bring our community together and let us celebrate St. Edwards magical years.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Social Media Press Release

This week, I learned about something that will change the way we all look at press releases. I was introduced to the new social media press release this week after reading the renowned blogger Tom Foremski's new blog post "4 Years since 'Die! Press Release Die!...' And STILL No Hyperlinks". This post came after his influential "Die! Press Release! Die!" which has been used in many communication University programs. Foremski is still wondering why the social media press release has not become the only kind or release to use in the PR profession.
  • Deconstruct the press release into special sections and tag the information. This would allow the publisher to pre-assemble some of the news story and make the information useful.
  • Provide a brief description of what the announcement is, but leave the spin to the journalists. The journalists are going to go with their own spin on the story anyway, so why bother? Keep it straightforward rather than spintastic.
  • Provide a page of quotes from the CEO or other C-level execs.
  • Provide a page of quotes from customers, if applicable.
  • Provide a page of quotes from analysts, if applicable.
  • Provide financial information in many different formats.
  • Provide many links inside the press release copy, and also provide a whole page of relevant links to other news stories or reference sources.
  • And tag everything so that I can pre-assemble my stories. The tags would be things like: recent share price, founders, first quarter revenues, analyst quotes, etc.

I completely agree with Foremski's points. Social Media has become such  a prominent part of the marketing and public relations industry. It has molded the way the industry works and it has lead to new innovations and professions. Once I saw the template for the social media press release, I was excited to write one of my own. I have never liked the format of the normal press release because I found it to have a lot of rules and no room for creativity. This new format allows readers to become familiar with the release through links, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and more. It is personalized and there is a lot to choose from. I am very excited to use this new release. I think it will revolutionize the way we publicize stories and use PR.

Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Following

As this semester is coming to a close, I have been on the bandwagon of looking for an internship and job in the public relations and marketing field. During this process of researching these PR occupations, I came across some professional Public Relations blogs. These blogs have provided me with a vast amount of information about social media, marketing, and anything and everything about public relations world. Since my classmates and I are all interested in this field, I felt I should share some of these informational blogs.

By Social Media Strategist, Sally Falkow
Falfow is a great person to learn from when concerning social media. She is a specialist on how social media has affected the world of PR. Her posts are practical and informational. I have used many of her posts as topics to write about for many of my communication classes. Her blog is very worth reading on a daily basis. 
Here is picture from one of her most recent posts about social media:
By Brian Solis
Brian Solis is one of the most prominent published authors of new media within the communications industry. His blog is a leading business and marketing resource for all professionals. I have found his posts to have insightful details and interesting outlooks on new media. Here is a picture from one of his posts about personal vs. professional branding in social media. 

By Amanda Chapel/Brian Connolly
Also named the "Naked Journal of PR". I love this blog because it portrays the honest and cynical approach to public relations. The blog posts are based on current practices in PR and there are a lot of interactive links on the blog. There is even a section portraying old poster advertisements from the 1940's.

I recommend this blog to readers who want the real truth behind the PR industry. Here is a quote that was published in the quote of the day section of the blog. 

"It is important for PR to involve regular people through social media to provide observations that humanize and connect, so that the ‘voice of authority’ is friend and confidante."