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So, How Did I Do?

“Hey, Gabi…. what is it you are going to school for again? Marketing?”

This is a question I get asked at least 20 times every time I visit home. My response used to always be the same:

“No, dad, public relations! How many times do I have to tell you?”

Before this semester, when my dad would refute my answer by saying PR and marketing were the same thing, I would often just grumble in defeat and walk away. You see, although I had a basic understanding of what public relations was four months ago, I didn’t know it well enough to defend it or explain it clearly to others. However, now when my dad hits me with, “Hey Gabs, how is your marketing degree going?” I can spit out a strong statement back that shuts him right up:

“Dad, I am not majoring in marketing, marketers are concerned with selling products and they view their publics as consumers, I am concerned with the relationship between my client company and their audiences. I view my publics as real people in which it is important to create and maintain a positive relationship with.”

I don’t know how much of it he really retains, but it makes me feel good that I can actually hold up conversation with him about PR and at least try and make him understand.

Like I mentioned, at the beginning of this semester I was pretty unsure of what PR completely entails. Now, I feel confident in my knowledge and understanding of PR and although I have a lot more to learn, I feel more excited about the field I am going into!

Throughout this class, I’ve learned about the difference between PR, journalism, advertising and marketing. I’ve learned the steps to use when going through a crisis as well as how to plan, conduct and analyze research, in addition to many other valuable skills.

I definitely think my confidence and excitement about PR has grown throughout this semester. I believe I have found my voice as a blogger and through both blogging and writing out research for my campaign book, I have also learned a lot about APA style citations. I no longer have to have a 107 tabs open on my laptop with examples on how to cite in APA style in every scenario possible, I can do it mostly by memory.

In terms of the PR field, I have a better understanding of the responsibilities of a PR practitioner and the different types of work I can possibly go into (corporate, agency, in-house). The guest speakers we had in class and the hands on activities really helped me gain this knowledge and helped me relate what I learned in class to the outside world. Who knew that what we learned in a classroom is actually important in the real world!

The thing that I got the most benefit and knowledge from however, was that campaign book that we worked on throughout the semester. At the beginning of the class, I was extremely scared of anything that had to do with the campaign book. I had no idea how I was going to create my own. Once we broke it into it’s separate parts, it wasn’t as scary. Like I mentioned, I learned a lot about research and how to conduct and write about it specifically for PR but also other things like writing out objectives, strategies and tactics and planning them out with a timetable and budget.

When I finally put together my entire campaign book and printed out, I felt an overwhelming rush of pride and relief, happy it was over but extremely proud of the work and effort I put into it.

Overall, I believe I have learned a tremendous amount this semester and I am excited to carry on what I have learned to my other classes and my career!

-G

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Time to Evaluate!

As I have mentioned before, PR is a process of researching, acting, communicating and evaluating. All of these components are equally important and all of them contribute to a successful PR campaign. I relate this process to cheerleading, since I used to cheer for 7 years and automatically relate most of my life to it. For this specific process, the research step would be the tryout portion of the season. During this time, the foundation of the season is laid down by selecting the best members to be placed on the team. The action step would be the choreography of the routine, the time when the actual “thing” is being created. The communication step would be the competitions where routines are performed and the final step, evaluation, is the awards session. One could argue that the evaluation step, like the award session, is the most exciting part of the process. This is the time when you get to see if all your hard work has paid off! However, all of these steps are equally important and one can’t happen successfully without the other ones.

Evaluation is the final step involved in a PR campaign. Like I mentioned, it is important to evaluate the strategies and tactics that were employed during a PR campaign so the results can be presented to the client and they can see if the campaign was effective or not. However, although it is the last step in the campaign process, evaluation needs to be employed throughout the whole campaign. At the beginning of the campaign, a baseline evaluation needs to be made so there are values to compare the results of the campaign (Business Matters, 2013). In order to evaluate effectively, objectives and goals need to be agreed upon and written out by the PR pros and their client before the start of the campaign (Ketchum, n.d.). Of course, after the campaign, an evaluation strategy needs to be created that measures how the tactics paid off.

With new media sites and digital advancements, it is becoming harder and harder to evaluate PR efforts (Business Matters, 2013). However, with new advancements in technology comes new ways of measuring as well. The three main categories of measurement are measurement of the output, the outcomes and the business results. Measurement of the outputs include impact on media and channels, measurement on outcomes shows the impact on the target group and measurement of business results includes the impact on the organization as a whole (Ketchum, n.d.).

Along with different categories of measurement, there are also different methods of measurement. Some of these include survey, media content analysis, and online metrics. Surveys are used mainly as a baseline measurement that shows the perspectives and attitudes of the audience for an organization before PR efforts are employed (Johnson, n.d.). Media content analysis includes the measurement of press coverage, mentions and circulation an organization gets due to campaign efforts (Johnson, n.d.). Finally, online metrics show web analytics- the most visited pages, which content gets the most attention and which advertisements are the most effective (Johnson, n.d.). Online metrics can be used on both websites and social media sites (Johnson, n.d.). In fact, in terms of evaluation, the same rules apply for traditional media as they do for social media (Ketchum, n.d.).

So, after the evaluation step is completed, you can decide if you need to continue with the PR process (aka restart the cycle all over again) or pat yourself on the back and watch as the results of your campaign pan out!

-G

References:

Business Matters. (2013, November 3). “Five Principles of a Good PR Campaign

Evaluation.” BusinessMatters. Retrieved April 7, 2017.

Ketchum Global and Research Analytics. (n.d.) “The Principles of PR Measurement.”

Ketchum. Retrieved April 7, 2017.

Johnson, K. S. (n.d.) “Evaluation Techniques used in a PR Campaign.” Chron. Retrieved

April 7, 2017.

PR in the Entertainment Industry

Since I was little, the entertainment industry has always captivated my heart. The lights, the glamour, the parties, the red carpets- it has always had an inspiring effect on me. When I was little I would spend hours making up “tv shows” that I was the star of, singing concerts to all my stuffed animals and signing autographs for my “fans”. When I got a little bit older, I realized that I had little to no entertainment “talent” and I would most likely never be the mega star I aspired to be. However, I learned that although I may not end up being a star myself, I could still work with them. My dream job in PR would be working in the entertainment industry because you essentially get to experience all the same things a celebrity does- parties, press conferences, premieres, etc., just not in the spotlight. Of course, it is disappointing to know the I will never be a beloved household name, but knowing I could do that for someone else is something I get excited for.

Entertainment PR pros are usually referred to as “publicists” and publicists are basically the “media work’s version of cheerleaders” (Deahl, 2016, para. 1), seeing as they are hired to get their clients face in the media. They also schedule press releases, events and appearances for their clients (Deahl, 2016). Another important duty of a publicist is to make and maintain relationships with journalists (Deahl, 2016). This is important because PR pros and journalists work very closely with one another and rely on each other for their work. All publicists generally have the same goal in mind: get their clients publicity and save them when they do something bad. However, the ways they go about accomplishing this goal and smaller tasks they complete along the way differ, depending on what industry they are in.

In the entertainment industry there are five main types of publicists, these include: celebrity, fashion, book, sports and political publicists. The job of a celebrity publicist includes getting their celebrity publicity, determining what goes public and what stays private about their client’s life and also saving their client’s butt when they get in trouble (Kennedy). Although this is a hard industry to break into, celebrity publicists tend to get paid more than working for a PR firm (Kennedy). Fashion publicists need to know about the fashion industry as well as the social and economic effects on consumer buying. Fashion publicists also help with getting their designer noticed and organizing their shows and public events/appearances (Kennedy). A book publicist helps their clients gain publicity from their books and also assist in promoting their books. Recently, book publicists have turned to social media as the main way to promote a new book (Kennedy). A sports publicist needs to have background knowledge about the sport, so they can answer questions and better represent their player. A sports publicist is similar to a celebrity publicist in that they try and put their clients in the limelight in order to gain publicity (Kennedy). Finally, a political publicist helps to book public events and appearances for their candidate as well as assist when unavoidable scandals occur (Kennedy).

Like I mentioned earlier, the main goal of a publicist is to get their client exposure to the public. One way this can be done is through influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which an influencer (a creator, expert, celebrity, etc.) endorses a product (Freberg, 2016). Some ways to make sure an influencer marketing campaign successful is to make sure the influencer fits the brand or product they are endorsing (Freberg, 2016). It wouldn’t make sense for a football player to be the face of Hostess Donuts because athletes and junk food don’t really fit together. It would make more sense for a football player to be the face of a protein powder, because those two things would make sense together in most people’s minds. Another way to make an influencer campaign successful is to let the influencer’s voice be heard (Freberg, 2016). It is important for the influencer to feel like they have some sort of say in the product they are vouching for. This helps make their message more authentic and thus more believable the the influencer really does love the product.

Doing research for this blog post really inspired me to pursue my dream job and break into the entertainment industry. Although it may be tough, I think working in the entertainment industry will be rewarding each and everyday because it is something I thoroughly enjoy and have a passion for!

-G

References:

Deahl, R. (2016). What is a Publicist and What Does One Do? The Balance. Retrieved on March 17, 2017.

Freberg, K. (2016). Five Tips For Putting Together a Successful Celebrity Or Athlete Influencer Campaign. PRSay. Retrieved on March 17, 2017.

Kennedy, M. (N.D.). 5 Entertainment Public Relations Specialties. eReleases. Retrieved on March 17, 2017.

Crisis, Crisis Everywhere!

In any aspect of life, the possibility of crisis should always be expected. Crises can happen anywhere and at any time without warning. For example, one minute you are walking to an interview for your dream job, a hot Starbucks coffee in hand, wearing your new, very stylish and extremely professional white blazer, and the next minute you are tripping over your highly uncomfortable but SUPER CUTE nude heels. You stare in horror as your once spotless white sleeve is now covered with skinny peppermint mocha. Luckily for you, you are always prepared for a crisis. You rush back to your car, slip on your trusty black blazer and make it to your interview with minutes to spare!

Although the crises they deal with may differ from the example mentioned above, Public Relations Pros need to be prepared for every possibility of a crisis. The strategies that help Public Relations practitioners survive crises include the conflict management life cycle. This cycle involves four phrases: The proactive, strategic, reactive and recovery phrase (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber & Shin, 2013). The proactive phrase involves strategies that will prevent a crisis from happening. The strategic phase helps to identify arising crisis, while the reactive phase involves reacting to the crisis (hence the name). The last phase is the recovery phase and it helps restore the organization’s image (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber & Shin, 2013).

A recent incident that shook up the retail world was the Urban Outfitters and Kent State crisis. In 1970, four Kent State students were shot and killed by a police officer during a protest for the Vietnam War (Rothman, 2014). In 2014, the popular clothing store, Urban Outfitters advertised a “vintage Kent State sweatshirt” that was splattered with red dye, resembling blood (Rothman, 2014). Obviously, the public took this as a reference to the horrible Kent State incident. In response to the backlash the company felt, their PR team released an “apology” statement that explained that the merchandise was never meant to be associated with the Kent State shootings. They also clarified that there was no blood on the sweatshirt and the company was extremely saddened that their product caused this uproar (Winchel, 2014).

Was this the proper way to respond to such an issue?

Although the company responded to the issue with an apology statement, this crisis could have been prevented from the very start. Proactive strategies should have been set in place so that the sweatshirt was never made in the colors or design that it was. Also, it should never have been advertised as a “vintage” sweatshirt. Since the incident only happened about 40 years prior, many people were still sensitive and affected by the incident and the designers should have been aware of this. It turns out there is a reason we take history throughout our twelve years of school- it is important to be aware of past events to learn from them and reflect on them. If the company had been aware of the Kent State incident, it would have prevented a lot of headache for the brand. Also, the “apology” the company released wasn’t a full or appropriate apology at all. It simply mentioned that the public misunderstood the sweatshirt and the company had no intention of associating it with the Kent State incident (Pyle, 2016). When a company is in the wrong, even if it is unintentional, it is necessary to release a full, sincere apology to the publics.

This shows that Urban Outfitters failed at the proactive, strategic and reactive phase, but what about the recovery phase? Well, they failed at this too. Many other incidents have occurred after the Kent State sweatshirt that have stirred controversy and painted the brand in a negative light. These incidents include selling a t-shirt with the phrase “eat less” on it as well as offering a clothing item in the color options “White/Charcoal” or “Black/Obama”, just to name a few (Pyle, 2016). Apparently, Urban Outfitters need to step up their game in their PR department. They should definitely read my blog post on why PR is so important! 😉

As I mentioned before, crisis is inevitable and only some of the time preventable. However, it is important to set a plan in place so that organizations can either prevent a crisis from occurring, spot a crisis when it’s approaching, respond correctly when the crisis occurs or recover quickly after the crisis hits.

-G

References:

Pyle, A. (2016). Handbook of Research on Effective Communication, Leadership, and Conflict

Resolution. IGI Global. Retrieved on February 7, 2017 from

https://books.google.com/books?

hl=en&lr=&id=FXqmCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA144&dq=urban+outfitters+kent+state&

ots=waWPWDfkDf&sig=7RCM0JllE-

ljAqgOYTaPmtEhsOU#v=onepage&q=urban%20outfitters%20kent%20state&f=false.

Rothman, L. (2014). Why That Urban Outfitters Kent State Sweatshirt Caused an Uproar.

Time. Retrieved February 7, 2017 from http://time.com/3377949/urban-outfitters-

kent-state/.

Wilcox, D., Cameron, G., Reber, B., Shin, J. (2013). Think: Public Relations. New Jersey:

Pearson Education.

Winchel, B. (2014). Urban Outfitters offends with red-stained ‘vintage’ Kent State

sweatshirt. PR Daily. Retrieved February 7, 2017 from

http://m.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/Urban_Outfitters_offends_with

_redstained_vintage_K_17261.aspx.

 

Ready, Set, Research!

Research, research, research. No matter what your major is, it seems like every college student is constantly stuck in a never-ending cycle of researching. Much of the time, research is boring and dull. If you don’t like the topic you have to research, you may procrastinate your assignment and find yourself making 57 cups of coffee and scrambling across the web, trying to finish the assignment the night before it is due. This is not fun and definitely not an effective way to gain knowledge and conduct research. However, there is a method behind the madness. Have you ever heard the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, it may feel like you’re boring yourself to death during the research process, but man is it important. Doing your research will help strengthen your knowledge and give you a better understanding of the topic you are dealing with. So, lets dive into the many reasons research is valuable and should be taken serious, particularly in the PR industry.

One way research is meaningful is because it allows two-way communication between public relations practitioners and their audiences. Research allows PR professionals to learn the publics’ opinions, beliefs and attitudes toward a brand or idea. (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). With this knowledge, PR pros can start narrowing their tactics in order to provide the most effective campaign. Although research may cost a bit of money, it ultimately saves a company money in the long run. By knowing what their target audience wants, PR professionals can save money by enforcing the correct strategies in their campaign (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). Research also allows PR pros to measure impact of their campaign on their audiences. This is important because it shows whether the campaign was successful or not (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). Research also provides unbiased information; this is important because much of the time, leaders may have preconceived notions about their audiences’ wants and needs. Research shows truthful data that isn’t skewed by anyone’s perspective (Symes). Finally, research produces data on the way information should be presented to the public. This is important because not only is it necessary to know what type of information to provide to your target audience, it is also beneficial to understand HOW to provide that information to the audience (Symes).

It is important to keep in mind that while we are researching, we must also be ethical. In public relations research ethics is defined as, “how we ought to decide, manage and communicate” (Stacks, 2014, p. 8). It is important to keep ethics in mind when we are researching so we maintain integrity, fairness, respect and confidentiality during the process (Stacks, 2014). As long as we keep the importance of research and the standard of ethics in mind, researching shouldn’t be so bad.

Like I mentioned earlier, research isn’t something that many find very exciting or fun. However, it is crucial to the PR industry. When building a campaign, we must have something to set as the foundation or else the whole thing will crumble. Research gives us a look at what our target audience wants, how information should be presented and allows us to receive feedback from the audiences. Make sure to keep these points in mind the next time you sit down and research. Hopefully it will provide some motivation to keep up the research momentum! But, if all else fails, I’m sure 57 cups of coffee should do the trick 😉

-G

References:

Bowen, S. A., Rawlins, B. & Martin T. (February 2012). Mastering Public Relations. Flat World Knowledge, 1. Retrieved on January 25, 2017 from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/5573?e=bowen_1.0-ch08_s01#bowen_1.0-ch00pref.

Stacks, D. W. (2014). Examining Research and Measurement Ethics in Today’s Transparent World: Establishing Standards for Today’s Communications. Institute Foe PR. Retrieved on January 25, 2017 from http://www.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Stacks-PRSA-PRIME-6-14.pdf.

Symes, S. How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans? Chron. Retrieved on January 25, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html.

PR? What’s That?

Since I am a college student, I get asked this one question (it feels like) at least six times a week: “So, what is your major?” When I reply with my answer, I either get a polite “Ohhhhh” and a questioning stare or an obviously fake, “That’s cool!” So I always try and explain what public relations is to the person I am talking to. “Public relations is basically like advertising for people and brands,” I try and explain in the most simple words I can, however, PR is much more than that and is often a bear to define because it is so complex. Today we are going to take a closer look at public relations and why it is so important!

Many misconceptions float around the “PR” name. The article, “Misconceptions of PR” by Nicole Rohde outlines the many misconceptions that live in the PR world. Many believe that public relations is the “dark side” of media, is often portrayed as “evil” and is infamous for providing misinformation. This untrue image of PR is due partly because of how public relations is portrayed in film. Many assume that just because someone can write and works well with people, they can get a job in PR. However, there is a reason colleges offer degrees in public relations– there is a definite strategy involved behind the work of PR experts (Rohde, 2015).

Another misconception that adds to the negative reputation of public relations is that it only works with the elite and therefore is bad for democracy because the average joe is not involved in what is happening. This assumption is false because without PR, a majority of the public would not be informed about smaller organizations that use public relations to publicize their voice and be heard by the general population (Rohde, 2015). A major reason these misconceptions exist is because people who don’t really know the industry try and explain the role of PR and they are usually the one with the misinformation.

When I first declared my major as “Advertising and Public Relations” I planned on going the more advertising route– mainly because I did not know what PR was. One day I was curious and decided to look it up. When I realized what a job in PR entails I was beyond excited because it incorporates everything I want to do in my life. There are so many jobs that are involved in public relations that it is hard to define in one simple phrase. According to Linda Hagan, as stated in the American Journal of Business Education, public relations is, “developing and maintaining strategic relationships with the various publics of an organization.” (Hagan, 2011, para. 3). Like I mentioned earlier, when I explain public relations to others I say it is basically advertising for people and brands, but more specifically it’s the maintenance of a reputation between a brand or person and the public.

Much of the time, advertising is used over public relations because we are surrounded by advertisements everyday, they seem to follow us wherever we go– the mall, the television, the internet, etc. However, since public relations involves more behind the scenes work, we may underestimate the importance it has (Meranus, 2015). With that being said, it seems like the public relations industry needs a little public relations help itself!

Public relations is special because it involves so many different jobs. There are so many skills and strategies that are used in the PR world which makes a person who has a job in PR easily adaptable and possible to grow in multiple directions. A person who works in PR can jump from different jobs that are all considered “public relations” but do very different things depending on the industry or clients they are working for. To me, this is what makes PR so special because everyday is a different adventure!

Public relations is important because without it, there would be a lot of companies, brands and people that the public would never hear about. Public relations helps give people a voice that can be heard by many. If you think about it, we all use PR to maintain our own reputation and relationships with the people we encounter day in and day out. Many, if not all of us, work hard to manage the “face” we show to the world. We have an idea of what kind of person we want to illustrate and we use some PR strategies to help portray that image to the world sometimes without even realizing it. Without PR we would not be able to create and protect the appearance we want to display to the ones around us. This is one of the many reasons public relations is so important.

Public relations consists of a web of different responsibilities, causing each day in the PR world to be different from the last. Although public relations often gets a bad rep, it is important to remember that a lot of misconceptions made about the industry are made by people who don’t really know the industry and what PR really is. Public relations is extremely important and useful in society and just because the workings of PR experts are not explicitly publicized, it does not mean PR should be valued any less.

References:

Hagan, L. M., PhD. (2011). Building the case for educating business leaders on the importance of public relations. American Journal of Business Education, 4(8), 43-48. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/886547229?accountid=39473

Meranus, R. (2015, March 27.) How public relations can help your small business grow. PR Newswire. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/How-Public-Relations-Can-Help-Your-Small-Business-Grow.html

Rohde, N. (2015, October 15). Misconceptions of PR. Search Laboratory. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from https://www.searchlaboratory.com/2015/10/misconceptions-of-pr/

I’m a Work in Progress

Recently I’ve had an overwhelming urge to transform my body. I don’t mean lose a ton of weight and get a super perfect bikini body (not that I would be mad about having a perfect Victoria Secret model body)– BUT I mean I want to transform my body to be strong and healthy. I want to be able to do things that not everyone can do in the gym. For years, I’ve struggled with living a healthy lifestyle and for the most part I do. I eat healthy 85% of the time and exercise 6 out of 7 days a week. However, I haven’t really push myself to do better or to be greater than I am. I want to love my body and be proud of it– not just be satisfied with it. So I’ve decided to make a change and stick to it finally. After years of battling with myself I’ve decided I want the better me to win this time. By better me i mean the me that wants to be better, the me that is disciplined and motivated and inspiring.

So here is my plan-

  1. Drink at least 75 oz of water a day
  2. Start my day with SkinnyTea  boosting tea
  3. End my day with SkinnyTea detox tea and a cup of green tea
  4. Follow Khloe Kardashian’s meal plan
  5. Follow Kayla Itsines’ BBG workout plan
  6. Less dairy and less carbs
  7. No going out to eat!

217909Here is the meal plan I will be following based on what Khloe Kardashian explains in her book, Strong Looks Better Naked:

  • Before Breakfast: Glass of water, black coffee
  • Breakfast: Glass of water, oatmeal and protein shake
  • Snack: Apple and peanut butter or fruit/ nuts
  • Lunch:Chinese chicken salad
  • Snack: Hummus and veggies, water
  • Dinner: Steamed veggies and meat (either chicken or fish), water
  • Snack: Fruit and yogurt

For my workout plan, I will be using Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, but if you do not want to purchase that I found Khloe Kardashian’s workout plan you could follow as well! Can you tell I’m a bit obsessed with the Kardashians? 🙂 I actually might follow Khloe’s workouts some days just to mix it up! If you plan on doing your own workouts, just make sure there is a mix of cardio and strength training, so you are burning fat and building muscle at the same time!

I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you! Stay tuned for weekly updates and follow my blog to get notifications of my posts!

-Gabi

Photo Credits:

Mathis, H. B (n.d.) . Pinterest Post [Fitness Inspiration]. Retrieved December 4, 2016, from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AcdTSr9ktJI9pRz3yUJO_eTSCE4WMV2pRGvYIWa5AD80qs6OnBylIw8/

Star Style. (7 October 2015). Web. [Khloe Kardashian] Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.starstyle.com/khloe-kardashian-khloewithak-com-sp217909/