Reflections of my past semester in PR

Anybody that knows me knows that besides the fun parties that were had this year, I am quite thrilled that the semester is almost over. I will say that I did have some interesting classes this semester and it is looking like a very nice gpa to add so I am quite pleased with my results. One of my biggest/most influential gains from this semester has been my public relations class. I came into the semester very excited about taking this class because I had not realzied that up to that point, almost everything that I thought I knew about Public Relations was wrong. I thought I was about to be taking a class where I would be learning how to spin stories and keep athletes and celebrities out of trouble. Because I was wrong, this meant that I was now learning that the class would not be what I expected and that I was instead getting myself into some trouble. As the semester got going however, I began to realize that public relations is actually not too bad in terms of PR as a profesion and the many things that PR people actually do.

This class did teach me that I have a hatred for research and if possible, I hope to never have to do a PR campaign again in my life because a lot of that stuff just is not for me. With that being said I learned a lot from the class and strongly enjoyed the in class topics and discussions that were discussed about public relations as a whole. As a person with a business background and having started my own business where I am also in charge of the PR focus, I have learned a lot of things that will add to help make the business successful. I strongly enjoyed learning about the social media aspects and things such as Tweetdeck that allow me to better manage my different social media outlets. Using tactics that I have learned in this class has allowed me to get my business twitter page to have almost 4,000 followers in just a month with over 3,000 of them being people that I do not even know and are from around the world.Our website has also had over 10,000 page views in this short time so this is an important time for good PR. We have had special giveaways and contests that have made the business very well liked and popular and a lot of that comes from different tactics that I have learned while taking this class.

As a business person I also enjoyed learning how PR people try to appeal to stakeholders and stockholders and learning about different things like PR and ROI and other things of that nature. Since my strong focus is marketing, I am almost leaving this class feeling that PR is more related to marketing than anything else and a lot of things that we learned were things that I could relate to from other marketing classes besides that PR is more of a people/consumer focus and marketing is more focused on getting the sales and making money off of the people/consumer focus. I enjoyed learning about crisis management and I am sure I will be able to incororate those types of activities in my business and be prepared to prevent different crisis’s from happening. I will say as much as I do not like doing campaigns, I do like coming up with different strategies/tactics and objectives to help solve problems so I will admit their was at least some value that I gained from the campaign project.

One of the biggest things that I took away from this class was that ethics and credibility are one of the most important factors of Public Relations. I came in thinking more negatively about what PR people actually do because I thought that PR was basically the media and I do not like how the media tends to lie and spin every piece of informatino that they get. Instead I have learned that PR is a very honest profession and has to be if they want their organizations to be successful. As a whole, I am glad I took this PR class and I learned a lot this semester that I have already applied to my actual life through my business, helping others in different PR classes, and better educating myself for my future.

Now if the teacher could just give me like an A- in the class or B+, life would be really great..

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PR Definition Previous to Today

I have come a long way in my overall development and understanding of what Public Relations really is during this semester. When I started, I thought that public relations was basically looking good in front of the media and making sure that the people that represent you, does not do anything that the media could portray them as negative for and if they did, how the PR person would fix the problem. I also thought that Public Relation was about spinning stories and that a lot of it was not necesarrily ethical or was all about publicity.

I now see that public relations also has a lot to do with how the organization works with consumers and stakeholders and how much social media has become a factor with the Public Relations spectrum. For instance I never knew before the class that part of PR was looking over analytics to see when it is the best time to send posts on social media because that is when your account may be having the most traffic(Wallace, 2014). Public relations is also a lot about brand image and controlling it and to my surprise, PR is not about spinning stories but more of making sure that you have credibility. “A strong corporate reputation is increasingly a PR responsibility.”(Blumenthal). If your organization does not have a good reputation, then it will be viewed negatively to the general public and could also be portayed poorly in the media.

Crazy how a few weeks can change your overall thought process of how you think of something. I now have a much better understanding of what PR is and still keep finding out more things about it that I still may not know the true definition of Public Relations. The PRSA says “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Based on what I mentioned about organizatinos using PR within organizations to interact with the public, I a gree to that definition. I will say that it is a very elaborate profession and there many different facets of PR that makes it very important and different from almost any other profession while still combining things like marketing and advertising principals that I have learned in other classes and have better background on.

Dannielle Blumenthal ,( retrieved 4/15/14),The true role of public relations in branding http://www.brandchannel.com/papers_review.asp?sp_id=1258

Wallace, A. Class notes (2014)

PRSA. Official Statement on Public Relations. http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/PublicRelationsDefined/#.U01iqPldU7s. Accessed April 15, 2014.

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How I will use PR in My Career

So, the big question is how will I use Public Relations in the future for the career that I wish to have? As a Sport Management major, I have already been introduced to some public relations in almost everyone of my classes up to this point so I have learned that PR will definitely be important to me in the future. In terms of my career goals based off of my current major, I would like to either become involved in sport agency, work in the front office of a an NBA team either as a General Manager or have a high up marketing position, and finally work for my own business that I helped start with 2 other friends and to be in charge of the marketing operations.

As a sport agent, public relations will be a very important skill for me to have. For one, I will need to be able to represent my athletes and set them up to be very marketable and well liked by the general public and also more importantly, companies and businesses that will want to hire them for work or endorcements. I will also need good PR skills myself because businesses have to like and trust me in order for me to get my client the jobs and money that they want. A successful agent has great people skills and that is what I will need to have when working with clients.

Having a position as a marketing manager of an NBA, I will definitely need public relation skills. It is important in marketing especially for a professional team that I can market and promote different products to the fans that will make them want what we are selling. I will also need to understand what the customers like and do not like. As the marketing manager if I see through social media that fans are not very receptive to the new short sleeve team shirts and prefer the traditional basketball jersey, it is important that I am able to quickly make changes so that the team continues to have fan support and that our marketing efforts are not hurt. If I am a GM I need to make sure that as the face of the organization, I am doing what I can to make correct ethical decisions that will allow our fans to continue to like and support our team and to make sure that I do not get involved in any scandals that could hurt us. I would also need to be good with working with different media outlets.

Finally I recently helped start a business with my friends called The Sole Savior, which in short is a shoe company we started. We have experienced much success so far and Grand Valley State has allowed me to do my own business as my internship for this upcoming summer. I am strongly hoping that this takes off and can be my career until we get big enough to sell the company for millions. I will mainly be in charge of the marketing and PR so of course I will need to use PR for this job. So far I have helped get our twitter page to over 2000 followers in a matter of 3 weeks or so and I am working hard to promote to potential customers and give the Sole Savior a good image. Using correct PR tactics for this business will strongly determine if we ever fully take off or if this ends up failing, but it is great that I get to work on my PR skills now instead of later.

http://degreedirectory.org/articles/Sports_Agent_Career_Definition_Occupational_Outlook_and_Education_Prerequisites.html

Sport Public Relations, Second Edition by G. Clayton Stoldt, Stephen Dittmore, and Scott Branvold. http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/sport-organization-websites-enhance-stakeholder-relationships , retrieved april 8, 2014

http://www.nku.edu/~turney/prclass/readings/mkting.html

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ROI/Evaluation

For most businesses, the whole point of them even starting the business was that the owner felt that they could receive a positive return on investment(ROI). It would make no point in every starting a business if you were under the assumption that you would be losing money. To best find out on how your return on investment is or the the best way to have a positive return, it is important that you have proper evaluation methods. Public Relations plays a very strong part in the overall growth of a business and growth plays a factor in ROI. According to Guy Kawazaki, “Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself. People say good things about you when (a) you have a great product and (b) you get people to spread the word about it.”

A problem with PR people is that they do not always correctly evaluate to come to a good conclusion on ROI. Accroding to Molly Borchers many PR people evaluate and come to their conclusions by measuring tactics like reach and number of placements, rather than outcomes (like increase in sales or website conversions). One good thing that PR does do for a company is crisis management. A good way to lose all of your investment is to have a crisis take place with no plan in place to fix it. With good evaluation from your PR, you can prevent or save a crisis from happening which in return will save your business and protect your investment.

Stong PR also can help you strenghten your relationships with shareholders which should cause your stock value to increase which means even more return on your investment. When evaluating, it is important that as a PR person you are always making sure that your strategies can be measured. If you can’t measure what you are doing, then you add extra risk to the ROI and could be hurting the business. Social media is also a good way to use PR to see how your retun on investment is. If your business is receiving a lot of retweets, follows, and interactions between people especially your customers, this could have direct correlation to how well you busniess is being accepted and if you are receiving any type of return on your investment. Another really big problem for a business could be how exposed they are as a whole. If you are not making the amounf of money that you hope to make, it could be because you are lacking visibility or credibility within your field(Mike Santoro). Good Public relatinos will allow your business to have a lot more potential exposure and may also cause others to want to invest in your business which will allow your return on investment to be greater.

The main thing is that it is important to evaluate ways to best help you have a positive return on your investment. Using good PR techiniques is a great way to help your business gain better exposure and recognition, while also looking good to stakeholders and this should allow you to have the best possible ROI.

Mike Santoro, 8 Ways To Measure Return On PR Investments. http://www.cmo.com/articles/2012/2/23/8-ways-to-measure-return-on-pr-investments.html

Molly Borchers, Measuring the ROI of Public Relations: Five Experts Weigh In. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/molly-borchers/measuring-the-roi-of-publ_b_5021600.html

James Cooper, PR Measurement and ROI — A Reality? http://www.agencypost.com/pr-measurement-roi-and-a-reality/

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I’m taking my talents to a Good PR Rep next time

In public relations, you are always trying to do whatever you can to avoid a crisis. Unfortunately, there are almost too many examples of their being a PR crisis within an organization or athlete/celebrity. As a person like me with a Sport Management background, I tend to focus on crisises within sports. It seems that almost every week, you see a crisis happen to an athlete or sport organization and they end up all over ESPN. One of the biggest PR crisis in recent years was the Lebron James “Decision” press conference where he decided he would take his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat.

This “decision” was a PR disaster! normally there is not a problem with a star player deciding he wants to go to a new team, especially when he is doing it through free agency. The problem with Lebron is that his “decision” was very mishandled. He was a hometown hero from Akron Ohio and played for the Cleavland Cavaliers. He had everything going for him and he made it appear that he would be staying in Cleavland in search of his first NBA Title. Instead, he threw an hour long press conference where at the end he stated that he was “taking his talents to South Beach!” People were very angry at him and felt he let the state of Ohio down. His jerseys were burned and he went from being the hero to turning into the villain. I do not know who his PR people were, but I do not know how they let him do this. He could have easily not done a televised press conference on ESPN during prime time and instead, just made a quick statement that he was going to Miami.

According to Guy Bergstrom from about.com 1 of the mistakes was media overexposure. “ESPN, sports radio and newspaper columnists were already devoted amazing amounts of time and ink on what LeBron James entering free agency would mean for the NBA.””Instead, he heaped more hype on himself by talking ESPN into airing a one-hour, live TV special in prime time to essentially say two words: “Miami Heat.”” This made him come across as very selfish and a traitor. He went from being the most liked person in sports to the most hated person in sports! How do you fix this crisis?

Lebron has done a great job at restoring his image. According to Kevin Allen from prdaily.com, “The Decision,” was that it helped generate more than $2 million for the Boys and Girls Club. The organization used the money to build new facilities and bring in new equipment, including computers. He also has done a great job at making himself a very likeable and fun person. He is very interactive with the fans as well. A man hit a half court shot to win $75,000 and Lebron ran out on the court and tackled him and celebrated with him and that helps make him look like a really good guy. ANother example is how he had the whole team make a very funny “Harlem Shake” video. He also has apologized to Cleavland and has done many other good things to repair his image, including finally winning championships. Even the people in Cleavland hopes that he comes back to play for them again. He has now returned to being the most liked person in basketball and maybe even sports and this is an example of one of the worst PR moves in history, but best PR turn arounds ever.

References
Guy Bergstrom, The LeBron James PR Disaster,
http://marketing.about.com/od/publicrelation1/a/Case-Study-The-Lebron-James-Pr-Disaster.htm

Kevin Allen, March 5, 2013, Likeable Lebron: How King James rehabbed his reputation
http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Likeable_Lebron_How_King_James_rehabbed_his_reputa_13978.aspx#

http://www.siliconfareast.com/crisis-management.htm

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Does a Devils Advocate Wear Prada?

Advocasy is very important in Public relations! the definition of advocasy according to the South Central Library Sysytem, is “Public support for, or recommendation of, a particular cause or policy,” or “The act of arguing on behalf of a particular issue, institution, idea or person.” When you think about how public relations is about building mutual relationships between organizations and the public, you have to be able to see how advocacy is important because you need public support to build relationships.

If you have a product or brand, you need people especially the public to advocate for your you to help make your product or brand more credible. If you are the Coke company and the Pepsi company is talking about how their products are better than yours, then you always want to have some consumers becoming devils advocates for your company and advocating for your cause.

Since public relations is relying on social media a lot more in recent years, advocacy becomes even more important now. Almost everyone and every business has some type of social media account. According to an article by Lisa Buyer from Iaquire, stated that 46% of social media users say they would talk about a brand or product on facebook and she also stated that for every 5 tweets, one is brand related. This shows that different brands are always being mentioned on social medial sites and that the public is always advocating for a brand so there will always be public relations with advocacy.

One thing that someone in public relations would want to watch, is that public opinion can also negatively advocate for a brand. If people are negatively advocating your brand, it could hurt your overall sales and positioning within the market that your brand has. If this happens, I would say that the best PR move to do is stay honest about your brand and learn to correctly spin when needed. At the end of the day, advocacy is basically a big part of what public relations is and without advocacy I do not feel that you can really have public relations.

References

http://www.scls.info/pr/advocacy/definition.html

Top 10 Brand Advocate PR Secrets for 2014: How to Succeed (or Fail) in Search and Social Publicity, Lisa Buyer, December 13, 2013, http://www.iacquire.com/blog/top-10-brand-advocate-pr-secrets-for-2014-how-to-succeed-or-fail-in-search-and-social-publicity

http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicrelationsdefined/

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Why we need research in public relation

So the question for today is “Why research in PR?” My 2 questions to respond to the first question is “Why not?” and “when would we not need to do research within a field?” According to dictionary.com, the definition of research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. In a field like public relations that is always changing and expanding, we always should be looking for ways to establish new facts and especially reach new conclusions. Most businesses if not all businesses should have some type of PR plan in place that they will follow. In order to have a successful PR plan, according to Steven Symes, you need to have done different forms of research for your organization to determine if any of the objectives formulated for the public relations plan has been achieved and to what degree. This will help your organization decide whether to continue with the plan, make adjustments to the plan or to scrap the plan and begin formulating a new one.

Research is also very important because in public relatinos, we are all about spreading information to the public. It is important to research the fastest and most efficient ways to relay this information. Lucky for us, we have social media which allows us to be able to send out information to the public almost instantly when something occurs. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a bad thing since as we have seen, celebrities tend to say exactly whats on their minds and end up saying things on social media that they end up regretting and that we as PR people need to help clean up. For this reason it is also important to research new ways to help prevent those types of things from happening and to find new ways to clean up these problems.

In terms of dealing with your brand, according to Jessica Lawlor from prdaily.com, #1 newest trend in social media and PR is to let your brands superfans help do your marketing/selling for you. From what I have learned in previous courses in school is that public relations is now a part of the promotional mix which is a part of the marketing mix. We use research when marketing and we use research to figure out better ways to promote, so why would we not use research to better understand public relations especially when it relates to marketing and promotion? At the end of the day, “why do we breathe?” Of course the answer is to survive, so “why do we need research in public Relations?” Without proper research, you can’t expect a PR firm, sport organization, or business to survive.

References

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html, (How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans?), Steven Symes

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/5_PR_and_social_media_trends_for_2014_15667.aspx# (5 PR and social media trends for 2014), Jessica Lawlor, november 26, 2013

Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mixW. Glynn Mangold., Business Horizons Volume 52, Issue 4, July–August 2009, Pages 357–365

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