Category Archives: PR

Slam Dunk Controversy

If you’ve been near a television, radio or basically any social media outlet over the last couple of days, you’ve heard about Donald Sterling and his less than appealing commentary. In short, Sterling made negative comments about his girlfriend being friends with “blacks” and said he did not want them at his games. Once the audio of his remarks were made public, Clippers players as well as the NBA were outraged. In response, the NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million dollars. Anyone else think Sterling is kicking himself right now?!

As PR people (note applicable to all human beings), this mess can serve as a teaching moment for several reasons. Numero uno: Nothing you say is private if your life is public, meaning if you live in the public eye, you are vulnerable to have whatever you say and do examined by the world. In Sterling’s case, the comments he made were said in private but clearly it didn’t make a difference. It’s important to make our clients aware of this and make sure they know what they can and cannot say in various situations.

donald sterlingPoint number two: Trust no one. Now, this is a hard sell because you need people in your life to talk to. But for those in the public eye, it’s important for them to realize not everyone should know every detail of their lives. There are bad people out there who just want to get close to someone for the story or the almighty dollar. Public figures and celebrities need to keep this in the back of their minds.

No one is denying that what Sterling said was completely wrong. He should be held accountable for his actions regardless of where or when he made these comments. One could argue, though, that more severe acts have been committed with minimal consequences. For example, Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles made racist comments at a concert. He was fined as a result of his actions but is still an active player within the NFL. I understand each sport’s leadership is different but Sterling’s lifetime ban versus Cooper’s fine makes me wonder. Other athletes, say Michael Vick for example, have gotten away with far worse too.

The bottom line is people, public figures or otherwise, need to be held accountable for their actions. PR people need to aid their clients in being responsible for their words and actions. Donald Sterling’s situation is unfortunate but can be used as a lesson for all of us.

A Knowledge-Filled Saturday

As a young professional, I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and grow my industry expertise. This is occasionally challenging because I do not work within public relations. While I love my current job, I still want to maintain a breath of public relations knowledge and keep up-to-date on industry trends.

The schedule for the day!

The schedule for the day!

Luckily for me, I was invited back to Temple University this past weekend for the TU Invitational hosted by Temple PRSSA, one of my former student organizations. While the event was for students, I am so glad I attended. There were four speakers, each with a different PR specialty. Below are the “quick tips” I learned from each.

  • Cassandra Bailey from Slice Communications was the keynote speaker. You couldn’t have picked anyone better to kick-off an event! Cass was energetic, passionate and real. My biggest takeaway from her presentation was to break the process and be different. You shouldn’t change yourself to fit within a role or company. People want someone authentic, interesting and who challenges the norm. I adored her ideas and hearing that being different is a positive when hiring people.
  • I then went to Jessica Lawlor’s breakout session about personal branding and blogging. I read Jess’ blog religiously and worked with her during our PRSSA days at Temple, so I was really pumped for her session. Jess managed to pack so much info into her session without overwhelming us. She walked through various social media sites, outlining what essentials we should focus on to help build our personal brand. I was also beyond thrilled to hear the you don’t need to have a niche blog to be successful. I like to write about a lot of topics and according to Jess, that’s a good thing, as long as you are providing useful, fresh content. Overall, it was an awesome session and now I have a ton of ideas for my social media profiles and my blog!
  • After lunch, Steve Cameron from Air Products spoke to the group about a variety of topics. Steve has been in his role for several years so it was interesting to hear his perspective on how the industry has changed. Obviously, social media is the biggest advancement for PR professionals. Steve presented a social media decision tree for both personal and business use. This visual was so helpful in articulating the questions that need to be asked when figuring out how a company can utilize social media. The personal portion of the tree provided insights on the company’s social media policy; much easier to read than several convoluted paragraphs!
  • Our final speaker was Scott Tattar from LevLane, a PR agency in Philadelphia. Scott spoke about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how it is now an essential for companies. CSR is the bottom line and should serve as a marketing tool. I found it interesting and refreshing to hear his insights because not all companies think like that. A good CSR program is focused, so even if you are a large corporation, you shouldn’t support a million charities. It also empowers the customer (or employee) to do something rather than to just write a check. Lastly, it should be in line with the company’s mission. For example, Coca Cola should not back a cause like childhood obesity since their product is soda. Scott’s session was my favorite of the day because it was a topic not addressed frequently.
All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

We all went and celebrated a successful event after it was over. I was so proud of my former student organization for putting on a great event where I learned so much. My day reinforced the importance of continuing to learn even as a professional. Hopefully, I’ll get to go back to next year’s TU Invitational!

ROC Race Sprints Past Shutdown

A couple of months ago, my friend and I decided we were going to run the ROC race in Brooklyn. The ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) is a 5K race held all over the nation that has different obstacles. From wrecking balls to water slides, this race has it all! We were super excited to run the race this upcoming weekend until the government decided to shut down.

The ROC race was being held at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, which is part of a national park. Since the government shutdown, all national parks have been temporarily closed, thus postponing this race. Obviously, race participants were not happy, myself included. Not only was I training for the race, but I also paid a decent amount of money to run. The ROC race understood all of this and responded in the best ways possible. Here are the couple of actions the race took to ensure all NYC race participants were happy:

roc-race1) Constant communication: The race has sent me at least six emails since the shutdown began. They provide detailed updates about the race, our registration and any other developments. Just this morning I received a reminder to not pick up our race packets since the race is postponed. Some may think it’s overkill, but I like being informed and updated.

2) Updates on all outlets: Not only have we gotten email communications, but the ROC race has done a great job of updating their website FAQs and posting on Facebook to keep everyone informed. Their Facebook updates are particularly helpful as it’s easier to read that on my iPHONE.

3) Contingency plans: The ROC race has been very intentional with their planning. They could not have possibly known the government was going to shut down and postpone their race. They have set deadlines and already secured the space for next weekend, in the hopes that the shutdown will be over by this coming Monday. They are also taking race set-up and participant notification into consideration: If the shutdown isn’t over by Monday (October 14), they will not run the race that upcoming weekend. They are not trying to rush and just get the race done. They care enough about their participants to make sure the experience and execution are flawless.

4) Listening skills: When the race was first postponed, runners had two options: Run the race on the new date or transfer registration to another ROC race in a different location or on a different date. Once that news got out, people reacted strongly and were upset that they couldn’t choose a refund instead of a registration transfer. Race leadership responded quickly and created two additional options: a complete refund or a registration transfer to a friend. This absolutely showed how the race is primarily concerned with their runners’ experience and are willing to change plans in order to accommodate more participants.

Overall, I think the ROC race handled a difficult situation really well. Of course, there are still unhappy participants and everyone still wishes the race would run this weekend. But, given the circumstances, race leadership dealt with this mini crisis in a positive and professional way.

Media Mania

I  am not a media relations girl. To me, it’s the hardest part of public relations and an area I didn’t master while in college. Truthfully, I don’t think any novice is in love with media relations. Practice really does make perfect with this aspect of PR.

WWA Volunteers!

WWA Volunteers!

Luckily for me, I was able to practice these skills this past weekend while volunteering at the Wawa Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia. I’ve worked media areas before but hadn’t in a while so I very much appreciated the opportunity to brush up on these skills

After my experience, here are a few things I learned when working with the media.

  • Prep work saves lives: I was not directly involved in the pitching efforts for the festival. However, their PR team clearly was prepared, with releases printed and available for media at all events.  I could only assume their efforts paid off since there was an abundance and variety of media present. There was also a list of approved freelancers and outlets, a vital document that all media areas should have.
  • Put yourself in their shoes: Test out shots from various locations at your event beforehand. Is there anything in the way? Can reporters move from one area to another easily?
  • ID please: Not just anyone is allowed in the media area. It’s essential that only media with credentials come into the designated area to check in. Typically, big events give out their own specific credentials or press passes at this time. Folks who belong at said events are usually very willing to show you their media identification. It’s the ones who have no clue what you’re talking about or reference a celebrity that should concern you.
  • Playing security: You might have to help photographers and camera people get their desired shot. Be ready to hold things, block off areas and gently remove unwanted objects or people from shots
  • Under pressure: Do not cave! Random people will want to come into the media area. Others will be unapproved media who will beg to get in. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Be politely militant.

I had an awesome time volunteering with the Wawa Welcome America Festival last weekend. It was the perfect refresher I needed for working with the media. Have you worked media areas? Any tips to add to my list?

Guest Post: Three Pinteresting Tips

I am very excited to have my first guest blog post from Kaitlin Walukonis,

an Assistant Account Coordinator at Van Eperen & Company

Posting, liking, tweeting – and now – pinning! If your organization isn’t pinning and repinning, it may be time to get with it and join Pinterest.

The Public Relations Society of America National Capital Chapter recently hosted an event focusing onpinterest social media trends for 2013. Denise Graveline, a consultant at Don’t Get Caught and Anthony Shop, managing director of Social Driver, shared their opinions and knowledge of these trends to public relations professionals at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center. Both experts stressed the importance of visuals and the social media platform Pinterest, which can help attract your audiences and direct them to your website blog and other social media pages.

Pinterest – previously explained by Laura Van Eperen in our Spring 2012 Newsletter – is a social media platform that allows users to create pinboards, a web-version of a bulletin board and pin or repin photos and videos of anything that interests them (hence the name Pinterest). Pinterest is the third largest social media platform, trailing only Facebook and Twitter and is the fastest growing social media network. According to this Mashable article, Pinterest is now almost as popular as Twitter. Based on Graveline and Shop’s discussion, here are three great tips for using Pinterest within an organization.

1. Pin visuals from your blog.
People don’t want to read a block of boring black and white text – they want visuals. Incorporating visuals into your blog posts will not only attract more readers but it will also allow you to pin these visuals to a pinboard. Pinterest users can then repin your visuals, passing along your organization’s news. Graveline gained a lot of traffic to her blog because of her Pinterest account. This brings us to the next tip.

2. Don’t be a one-way pinner.
You have to show loVE to get loVE (VE & Co.-style love). Follow other bloggers and pinners, interact with them and share their information on your pinboards. This will make them much more likely to reciprocate. As Shop puts it: “Social media is like a cocktail party,” meaning you have to mingle with other professionals on social media networks for your information to be seen and shared.

3. Incorporate your organization’s personality.
Social media platforms can be fun! While it’s important to share your organization’s news, be sure to incorporate some personality while doing so. Van Eperen and Company’s Pinterest account shares news and blog posts, but it also includes a pinboard on business casual attire.

Now, go pin and repin. Be sure to think about what unique pinboards your organization can create to demonstrate its personality.

 

kaitlin

 

About Kaitlin: Kaitlin, a dance fanatic and undercover-balloon-animal-maker, provides strategic communications, media relations and event coordination support for corporate, non-profit, government and entrepreneurial clients as an Assistant Account Coordinator with Van Eperen & Company. Kaitlin earned her B.A. in Communication, Public Relations from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2012

PR and Entrepreneurship

Twitter chats are becoming my favorite way to learn more about the industry and how to grow as a professional. Last night, @PRStudChat moderated an awesome Twitter chat about public relations and entrepreneurship that featured some experienced solo PR professionals who gave great advice.

Below are a few of my favorite responses to the great questions moderators Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon asked to the attendees.

Q4: Who are the key business partners every PR entrepreneur needs?

From @shonali: A4: Depending on how you plan to grow your business, look for partners who can complement, not supplement, your skills. #PRStudChat
– I never thought of finding business partners who had complementary skills. Shonali made a good point; if everyone’s strengths are the same, your business will only be focused in those areas.
Q5: What percentage of time/budget should be spent on pro bono or philanthropic work?

From @prtini: Q5 I’m a big believer in the idea of “doing well by doing good.” And it works! The NP we adopted led to multiple paying clients. #prstudchat

– I’m glad the moderators brought up the idea of pro bono work because that was my original idea of how to start my own agency one day. Heather’s answer proves the value of pro bono work.
Q7: What are the best ways to network and grow your business?

From @arikhanson: A7: When “networking”, look to HELP others. Simple, but brilliantly effective in developing relationships that lead to biz. #prstudchat

– Networking is SO important but not everyone understands that it should be reciprocal. Arik’s response is a good reminder for young professionals that you need to show your value as well when reaching out to industry professionals.

I really enjoyed last night’s Twitter chat and found everyone’s advice very helpful. The topic of discussion is one that I think several young professionals are interested in but just don’t know where or how to start. The conversation on Twitter last night led me to other resources, like new people to follow and new blogs to subscribe to. Overall, I’m glad I paid attention to @PRStudChat’s chat last night and plan to attend more in the future. Special thanks to my friend and mentor Jason Mollica for pointing out the chat to me.

Do you agree with the answers above? Have any other advice about starting your own business? Share your thoughts!

Touchdowns & Fumbles of Superbowl 47

I guess I’m going for a sports theme this week! I am an avid football fan and look forward to the Superbowl every year. While my New York Giants were not in attendance, I still tuned in for the game. This year, I really watched the game through a public relations lens, meaning I thought about the positive and negative PR aspects of the entire event. I actually kept a list of touchdowns (pros) and fumbles (cons) from a PR professional’s perspective during the game. Here’s are my thoughts:

Touchdowns

  • The Entertainment: I understand the Superbowl should be about football but by having megastars Alicia Keys and Beyonce perform, you are appealing to a larger audience. You know certain people just tuned in to see these divas perform, thus increasing ratings. Additionally, having children from Netwown, Connecticut sing was the perfect way to honor the memory of all those who lost their lives earlier in the year. A lot of NFL players were in touch with families who lost loved ones so it was an appropriate connection.
  • The Game: Well, obviously the game should be the main focus but sometimes it isn’t. This year, the game proved to be highly entertaining and a nail biter towards the end. Hopefully, the competitive showing by both teams helped the NFL recover from its big blunder of the night.
  • Oreo: Whoever created the advertisement that went viral during the blackout should be promoted immediately! In response to the blackout during the game, Oreo send out an ad over Twitter and Facebook that captured the essence of the brand. The ad was fantastic, but it was even better that Oreo had a social media plan in place for such an event.

 oreoWSJ

Fumbles

  • The Blackout: Of course, this was the biggest problem of the night. I understand things happen that are out of our control. However, you are the NFL and this is your most important event of the year. From the lack of information to the ridiculously long delay, it was clear to see that the NFL did not have a blackout as part of their crisis communication plan. Bet they learned their lesson.
  • The Commercials: Except for all of two commercials, companies did not hit creative gold this year. Most commercials were confusing or utterly disturbing (see GoDaddy). You pay all this money for prime advertising space just to say we’re all farmers or to broadcast old people making out. Customers deserve more.
  • The Players: I feel like this year more than ever, the players in the Superbowl made some silly comments. First example: Joe Flacco using the word retarded to describe playing at MetLife Stadium before the game. Then he dropped an F-bomb after winning while his mic was still on. Ray Lewis as a preacher might offend some people. My advice: hire a publicist to write statements for you. You have the money to do it.

I enjoyed watching the Superbowl this year. It felt good to take everything I’ve learned in school and apply it to a real-life event. I have noticed more and more that I view situations and events through my PR lens. Can’t lie, I love it! Goes to show that I chose the right career!

What were your favorite parts of the Superbowl? Share your thoughts with me!

superbowl47

jeetphiladelphia.wordpress.com/

Exploring Philly's international food scene, one cuisine at a time

Of Undisputed Origin

Life Advice from Brilliant Minds

Filter Me, Please!

Ramblings of a Chronically Ill Chick

ChickpeaCards

Handcrafted custom made paper goods

Chit Chat Tracker

Keeping You In Touch, One Story At A Time!

Pint-sized Girl in the Big World

Daily musings from across the pond

Kerry Patricia Creations

Film. Photography. Life.

The Official Blog of PPRA

Inspiring Excellence in Public Relations

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

United We Eat

all for the love of food

Temple PRSSA

The Temple University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America

Jade & The City

Dreaming & scheming my way through the city

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Social is a Lifestyle

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

PRactical Politics

A place to share my opinions and thoughts about all things public relations & politics. Look out for the occasional travel post as well!

One Guy's Journey

A Hub of Growth, Learning, and Evolution in the World of Communications and Public Relations

Bake Sales and Boot Camp

Surviving one cupcake at a time!