Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Help with my research!

For those who do not know, I am working on my dissertation for my MA in PR, which is exploring barriers PR professionals are having with new media. This is also a reason my blog is not at all up to date and I apologize. I would love for you to take my survey to help contribute to my research.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

SportsChallenge: Skills for Sport. Skills for Life.

SportsChallenge is an amazing sports and leadership program for high school students. Check out the video and let me know if you have any questions or want more information.

Like what you see?

Connect with SportsChallenge in a variety of places:

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Is a Degree Necessary?

Jobs are hard to come about now a days and the work place is becoming more and more competitive. Young adults are spending a lot of time and money on degrees and, in return, just moving back home and sleeping on mom and dad's couch while they struggle to find work. This scenario is extremely common, which brought about the debate in class that asked the question:

"Is a PR degree even necessary?"

This is a question that cannot be answered through research or text books. CEO's or HR departments, of course, are going to always promote education and a degree, but the question comes to what it is they are looking for when looking through resumes/CV's. They are looking for someone who is going to make a difference in their agency. So, is it the applicant with a degree or the applicant with work experience? I feel that the answer is going obvious especially in an industry where thinking quick on your feet and common sense is more of a qualification than anything. You can teach someone the ways of public relations and the theories, but you can't teach them common sense.

The problem with that system is that agencies/corporations are hiring people who, yes might have creativity and common sense, but do not understand the ethics of PR. While I have not done intensive research on it, I feel it might have a link to the unethical reputation that PR suffers. Here are two cartoons that represents this:

You can see from these cartoons that agencies/companies are hiring people who are not really good for the PR industry in general, and that is what happens when people are hired without degree's because they don't have a true understanding of what PR is. Sadly, as companies continue to hire people without an education in PR, the industry is going to continue to hold people who do not practice ethically as well as encourage people that they do not need a degree to work in the field.

So, in final thoughts, I suggest a degree because, in the end, it's going to make one a better PR practitioner, and I personally think that agencies/corporations need to realize this and start choosing more wisely.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Social Media brings support and change.

In today's class we had a guest speaker who was talking about change and social media. He brought up a very interesting point which was "Always consider whose support you need to bring about change." This really made me start to think. In PR, it is our jobs to gain support, so what is the best way to do this? Well it does depend on the brief, but, with the world changing, it seems the best way to bring about change and support is now through social media. This includes social sites such as Facebook and Twitter to video and pictures sites like YouTube and Flickr.

A lot of people are confused about what social media is or what is does. Don't worry! It can be challenging to figure out. Watch this short video that will hopefully give you some insight into what social media is and how it works.

I hope that helped!! There are some key things for PR practitioners to take away from the video. First, the Internet is very crowded and there are many messages, which, as the video explained, can be very overwhelming for people. That is where PR practitioners really need to use their skills. They need to find places where their target audiences will find each other and be able to talk as well as a place where the organization and/or cause they are working for can speak with their targets and form relationships. Social Media is a great communication tool to bring about support that, in result, will bring about change in the future.

Change is hard to bring about. People are creatures of habit, so getting them to think a different way or change is not easy. Social media is a great opportunity to bring about this change by allowing people to have the change they want by opening up lines of communication with organizations. It is from there that change can start.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Who really controls communication during crisis?

When the idea of crisis comes up, a lot of people's minds run directly to public relations. Thoughts of strategic communication and how it can be used to smooth over the situation at hand. Some research into corporate communication has revealed that it is not the PR department who is controlling the communication but instead the legal department. Recently, Microsoft had problems when they allowed their legal department to handle a mistake within the corporation setting. Excuse the language, but the video really gets the message across to how Microsoft's decision has effected the opinions that people have on the company.

This is a prime example of what happens when companies do not consult their PR departments about communication methods. The funny thing about this video is that even this gentleman even has a proper response to the situation. Everyone knows that Bill Gates has a lot of money, so when he, one of the richest men in the world, asks for money back, it is very disturbing to the public. The gentleman in the video made a valid point, if they were going to make it publicly known, than they should have just admitted their mistake and Bill Gates should have just put it behind him and accept that he was going to lose a little bit more money. So, he would need to get rid of one of his many cars in order to help feed a family.

This issue started out as an internal crises and quickly escalated to a big public crisis was due to Microsoft's lack of planning and consideration. It was the legal department who wrote the letters that were distributed to the laid off employee's, and they did not consult with the PR team. What is extremely interesting is that Microsoft did not consider that this might turn into a big crisis for Microsoft. They are not denying any of the claims, yet they are not releasing any more information on the subject.

This is a lesson to all company's. When it comes to company communication, whether it is internal or external, a company needs to consult with their PR team in order to make sure the message was correct.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Does Global PR Exist?

In today's class, there was an intense debate on whether international PR actually exists or if it is simply a ploy by big companies to make profits. The debate was constantly going back and forth with fierce looks and gestures, but, when it came down to it, each side really just kept reciting the same things to each other. One side was fighting that PR cannot be global because it only works on a local level, so international PR firms are just a ploy to get more money while the other side was constantly repeating that it was possible because international PR agencies work with local offices to make it localized. Either way, this is the way I see it. When it comes down to it, PR is a business and they work for other businesses to improve their reputation and financial achievements. People can debate it all day long or argue what they wish, but, in the end, when you take away all the fluff of each argument and simplify it down, that is what you get. Before you start to think that I am saying the global pr is a lie, hear me out. The world is becoming smaller and smaller as the technology advances and businesses are wanting to test their boundaries to see what markets are out there for their brands. With that in mind, PR agencies are smart to move global as well because it is making the agency stronger for their clients.

Let's take a look into Weber Shandwick for an example. They are the top global PR agency due to number of employees and offices on a global scale. Weber Shandwick started as an American company and soon became an industry leader in the United States. Well, as said before, companies are beginning to move global as the world becomes smaller with technology, therefore, if Weber Shandwick wants to stay competitive and give the best services to their clients, they too need to stretch globally.

Taking all into consideration, I do not think that global PR is just a fake ploy to draw in more money. It is in fact a way to increase profits, but it is also a way to help their clients and future clients enter the international market, but with a local touch.

Interested in how international PR works? Take a look at the campaign the Weber Shandwick did for India to increase the use of condoms. It's not all in english, but you will be able to get the idea. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a worldwide growing trend. What started as fair trade groups and green peace movement groups has now grown to inspire companies to lower their carbon footprint as well. As the public becomes more and more informed, businesses get more pressure from consumers to be socially responsible. It is no longer just about the product that a company is supplying, but, now, it is about what they are doing for the local community and the environment. We had guest speaker Adam Garfunkel visit our class today to discuss his experience with Corporate Social Responsibility. In fact, he works with companies in order to improve their CSR. It was interesting and astonishing to hear some responses and attitudes of companies when dealing with CSR. Adam mentioned that companies a lot of time responded to other companies CSR plans with "Why are they getting so much credit for that?" What Adam's clients aren't understanding is that in CSR, a simple approach is the best approach. Naked Juice, a California based company, has succeed in its CSR efforts and mastered the simple theory that Adam spoke of in class. Instead of trying to reach out in every possible way, Naked has chosen to promote their company by sending the message that they the Naked product strives to have a low carbon footprint.

Naked's CSR tactics are easily found on their website and are broken down into the ways that they are lowering their carbon footprint. These things consist of Packaging, Manufacturing and suppliers. All sections give a break down into what they are doing and how it is helping the environment. Just as their tagline states "Nothing to Hide", Naked really is hiding nothing, which is resulting in a gain of trust by consumers as well as brand loyalty as consumer feel they are a environmentally friendly company.

Don't get discouraged when you don't get headline news!

A lot of companies are conducting similar campaigns and tactics, so in the media, there is a lot of noise right now on the subject. It is always nice to get a lot of coverage on positive things your company is completing, it is important for companies to remember a key point of public relations, which is third-party endorsements. In CSR third party endorsements are really going to help a company and eventually possibly gain local and/or national media attention. For example, a Naked Juice costumer may visit their website and notice that they are socially responsible. In turn, they will tell their friends who will tell more people and, in today's technology savvy world, people will blog about it or talk about it on social sites. All of these conversations will improve brand reputation all from their website.

Another quick point to make before I leave you to ponder the benefits of CSR, Naked also gave suggestions on how consumers can make a difference, which is a great idea, especially in today's market where consumers like to feel involved. It is a great call for action on the site and something that other companies can learn from.

Ever wonder how socially responsible you personally are or how much stress you are putting on the planet? Find out how big your ecological footprint is now by taking a short quiz!