Hear our thoughts on Zac Efron’s new movie, That Awkward Moment, as well as some of our very own awkward moments.
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Coming into this semester, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my Communication degree. I spent this semester getting to know the different aspects of Communication so that I would have no regrets about the path I chose. Public Relations was definitely the one concentration that I knew the lease about, however, after taking my first PR course, I already feel like a PR expert! I know I still have a lot to learn, but I can proudly say that I feel much more comfortable about how PR works. At first, I assumed that public relations was the same thing as marketing and sales, so I was shocked to see how it actually consisted more of networking and working with different publics in many situations, not just sales. This past summer, I had a marketing internship that was just not for me. I hated the internship so much that I considered dropping this class because the internship program had described itself as a form of PR. However, I am very glad that I decided to stick with this course because although we had a lot of work to do, it didn’t really seem like work. I really enjoyed working with all the different kinds of social media, especially the blog and LinkedIn, and studying about how to handle crisis situations. I also like how interactive the class was. I have so many classes where I come in, sit through a lecture, and leave without even knowing the name of the kid sitting next to me. I liked how Professor Mullen emphasized how knowing people was a key factor in succeeding and I love that she encouraged us to get to know one another and to increase our network in every way possible. Even if I do not decided to pursue a career in the field of PR, I believe that I have learned skills in this class that can and will help me in any future career choice I make.
Social media has become the number one news sources for many people. Anytime an important event, disaster, or whatever happens, most people turn to their social media sites to get the “facts.” Although social media has connected people worldwide with things such as hashtags, it has also been the cause to many news and PR disasters.
Last April, another #HashtagFail hit the web when Maragaret Thatcher, the former British Prim Minister, past away. The British website, Is Thatcher Dead Yet?, encouraged its visitors to react to the royal death by adding the hashtag #nowthatchersdead to their tweets on Twitter. The site meant for the hashtag to read: Now Thatchers Dead, however, due to its lack of spacing and/or capitalization, many tweeters misread the hashtag for saying: Now That Chers Dead.
Although Cher, an American singer/actress, is still alive, many fans were mourning her death via their Twitter pages. Twitter newsfeeds were filled with confused tweeters not knowing who they should actually be remembering.
Since this wasn’t really a mistake on either party’s side, no one needed to do any damage control, but it obviously wasn’t a win-win situation. Cher experienced a huge increase in publicity, so she had no reason to be upset over her fake death. On the other hand, the loved ones of Maragaret Thatcher thought that the hashtag fail was a disgrace to the former Prime Minister’s memory.
Although no one released a public apology or anything, this is an excellent example of how powerful social media can be, but like always, with great power comes great responsibility. By not thoroughly checking the things that we post to the web, we can easily say things that can be misinterpreted and cause mayhem,
Back in July of 2012, Chick-Fil-A’s company president and COO, Dan Cathy, made public comments opposing gay rights. Since day one, the company has vocalized its biblical views, but when Cathy spoke about supporting only traditional marriage on a religious radio station, the tape went viral and caused an uproar on social media. Customers were irate over what they heard and took to the internet to lash out. There were nasty Facebook comments left and hashtags trending dissing the company.
After the story came out, the company released a statement that said, “The Chik-fil-A culture is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” However, many gay-activists worldwide did not find the statement very sincere. As the online attacks become harsher, Chik-Fil-A started using fake profiles online to share positive thoughts about their company. When this was discovered, more problems emerged.
As society become more mad, supporters of gay rights began to hold “kiss ins” at Chik-Fil-A’s acrossed the nation. The company then decided to try a new approach to the situation and stopped making comments about their views. After the scandal had started to blow over, the company stopped funding anti-gay organizations and created a new recipe in order to “re-band” themselves.
I believe that the company’s first mistake was announcing their views at all. I think that it is important for growing companies to realize there is an image to protect and just because a CEO feels a certain way does not mean it should be represented by the company. By staying mutual over heated topics, businesses avoid angry opinions from either side.
Today, Chick-Fil-A has successfully maintained their business, however many people have yet to forget about their scandal. I think that if the business remains out of the limelight and avoids discussing politics, they will be able to overcome this crisis for good.
Photo Credit: Michael Cherenson via Success Communications Group
Since I am still rather new to the Public Relations field, I am always looking for tips to help me succeed in in my PR classes that I can also take with me into the work force. I came a crossed an article online written by Jason Falls. As a PR Agent, one must not only come up with a great campaign and execute it, they must also always stay above the competition. Falls came up with a few great tips to help public relations professionals stay on top of their game and above the competition.
Photo Credit: DGrantSmith via The Appetizer Radio
Tip #1: Think Outside the Box
In order to be success in PR, you have to keep things different. Come up with creative ideas that set your product aside from the others. By talking about how what you have to offer is different, you make your product seem unique. Instead of just trying to compete with other marketers, you need to “create your own sandbox”, as Falls says, so that you can be in a playing field all your own.
Image Credit: Media Mark
Tip #2: Maximize your Communication
You need to reach out to as many consumers as possible. We all know that social media is a great way to do this, however as the internet expands, so should your campaign. You need to stay up to date with all of the current social media sites. Yes, creating a Facebook page is a great way to get your name out there, however, you also need to be blogging, hash-tagging, and take part in any other social media trend that is popular at the time.
Photo Credit: PixMac
Tip #3: Be the Fastest
Having up-to-date material is key in PR. Have your communication tools automated to your audience by using on the go devices, such as laptops and smart phones. You always want to have the news out quicker than your competitors. Once your news has been published, be consistent. However, this does not mean that you should just keep repeating everything. Try to keep pushing your ideas out in fresh new ways that deliver the same all around message.
All in all, you need to know your competition and exceed them. It may take a lot of time and effort, but in the end your message will be heard and remembered.
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Abercrombie & Fitch is a retail store that has had its share of bad publicity over the years. It all started back in 2006 when the company was accused of purposely excluding plus-sized women from wearing clothing sold in their stores by not offering sizes above a large. However, clothing they made for men came in sizes up to XXL. The CEO of the clothing store, Mike Jeffries, commented on the accusations and his words upset a lot of consumers worldwide. Jeffries quoted, “we hire good-looking people in our stores because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” When the world heard what the company had to say, a lot of negative remarks about the store were made and sales decreased. Tim Walker posted an article online that described this event as not only bad publicity, but also as a bad business move in general. While the company’s biggest rivals were adding larger sizes to accompany more consumers, Abercrombie didn’t budge. Jeffries made it clear that he wanted to deliver a certain look and he wasn’t going to change it. Although this isn’t the first time that a retail store has been accused of discrimination, it was the apology that the CEO made that really grabbed attention from the media and consumers.
Earlier this year, the quotes that Jeffries said resurfaced after a YouTube video was posted of a man giving Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to the homeless. After this video went viral, the CEO made a public apology that stated his words were taken out of context. Many people did not believe his apology was sincere and a riot against the company began. Petitions against the company were created and business started to drop. To solve this dilemma, the company invited members of the National Eating Disorders Association to the headquarters to discuss the events that took place. Many people are still upset about the situation, but some people think that the actions the CEO took were strictly business tactics.
Jim Joseph wrote an article that explained the strategical side of the situation. In his post, he state that when removing personal emotions from the equation, the business plan behind it all is revealed. Joseph says that Jeffries was simply defining his brand and what it stands for, which is a key to good marketing. By pinpointing who the targeting consumers are, Jeffries created a well-defined market for his business. He even states that the CEO’s speech was merely a publicity stunt to get attention from the media. When looking at the situation in this way, the company achieved the success they were looking for. I thought that this was a great example of ethics versus business. Although the company did not actually do anything wrong, the public deemed it as unethical, which hurt them in the long run. I believe that an earlier apology could have really helped the company out. Since Jeffries waited nearly four years before he apologized, consumers did not buy his sincerity and believed that he was only apologizing because he got caught. However, since the targeted market was not the ones who were upset by this behavior, I do believe that the company will be able to survive this downfall and continue to have a successful business.
This past week I was able to talk with two highly qualified Public Relations Professionals. My first interview was with La Toya Keys, a Brand Steward at Year Up. Keys has been in the Public Relations field since 2005 and has earned a Masters Degree in Public Relations and Advertising. During her time in Public Relations, she says that the dependency on media has been the biggest change. Although La Toya has experience in many aspects of Public Relations, she says the project she is most proud of is her development of Elle Kay Events. Since she has always loved event planning, being able to run her own business is very rewarding for her.
Keys has proven herself not only as a successful Public Relations Specialist, but also as a strong and independent women. Hearing about her achievements made me wonder how it’s done. La Toya explained her typical week to me and talked about the sporadic events that take place depending on the her clients’ needs at that time. In order to be successful in such a spontaneous career, Keys says that getting a good education helps build a steady foundation but that getting the most hands-on experience that you can is best. Although Keys believes that having writing skills is crucial in order to receive the respect you need in this field, she recommends that all students wishing to pursue a Public Relations career get as many interning experiences as possible and keep up to date with social media networks since the field is constantly changing.
My second interview was with Dr. Roland Huber. Dr. Huber has over 47 years of experience in the Communication field. He has published four books, had his own radio show, worked in television, and is currently an advocate for the child welfare system. Since Dr. Huber was raised as a ward of the state, the child welfare system is a very important part of his life. In this time of his life, his weeks usually consist of publicly speaking about his books and organization for abandoned children. His autobiography is the project he is most proud of because it speaks about his childhood and helped him discover who he is as a person.
Since Dr. Huber has such a broad range of experience, he says that he uses the internet and the youth to stay current. Since he is an author, writing has impacted his career greatly and contributed to a lot of his success. Even though Huber has a long list of accomplishments, he still wishes he would have taken more opportunities to get involved before going into his career. He also encourages all up and coming Communication students to be as involved as possible, complete as many internships as you can, and to start building a professional network now.
For more information on his organization or books, please check out his website.
After speaking with these professionals, I am more likely to have a career in Public Relations and Communication because I have now heard first-hand the success that can be built from this career field. As a student, I have learned to keep on building my networking and to take as many internships as possible, paid or not. Since hearing these tips from the pros, I am now more excited for my future in Communication.