Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Two PR Nightmares of 2013

Before reading this you may already be thinking up some of the drama that celebrities started in the media world. The two I chose, I chose because they are in my opinion somewhat related.

1. Paula Deen
2. Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson

Paula Deen was and still is one of my favorite cooking personalities. She seemed to have a grandma quality that other chefs didn't have. Who doesn't love cooking with their grandma? Phil Robertson is the patriarch on the most popular reality show of all time (take that Kardashians!). So what can we learn from their huge PR gaffes? How can you help your client in a similar situation from losing their careers and ruining their reputation?

Tip 1: Never allow the press to shape your narrative
I have a friend who complains about how negatively his exes have effected his reputation. The problem is that he has allowed them to shape his narrative. Paula Deen's story is one of hard work, wit and charm. Although I do not agree with her actions, as her PR Manager my job would have been to protect her legacy and in turn, her fan base. I would have focused on what she has done right, and she would have immediately apologized for any confusion on her past remarks. That is controlling the narrative, not allowing the press to paint you as a racist and then making comments that can in some ways prove them right.

Tip 2: Be aware of what you say in public
Phil Robertson seems like a nice, genuine guy. But when you are doing an interview for a non-religious organization that is not the time to talk about the controversial intricacies of your personal beliefs. There is a time and a place for everything. Use the exposure your organization gets by focusing on the positive aspects of yourself that encourage people to be interested. If you are a company seeking to choose a spokesperson, make sure they are coached on what to say and what not to say, and then make sure they know to avoid controversy for the sake of the company.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Should Public Relations Bow Down to Beyonce's Star Power?

Did Beyonce's Secret Album Release Prove PR is Unnecessary?
Many of you have heard all the buzz recently about Beyonce's surpise album that was released around midnight. She released it without visiting Oprah, being critiqued in any blogs or interviewed in any magazines. Public Relations is often the middleman between consumers and the market place. We help people to see how new products or services can enrich their lives. So does it matter that Beyonce broke an ITunes record for most CD sales in one day without utilizing the middleman?

  1. First of all, technically what Beyonce did IS a PR gimmick                                                               
  2. Before Beyonce was a worldwide sensation, she relied on PR.
  3. She doubtfully will try this again!
 Beyonce essentially decided that she's a star and shouldn't have to pay so that people will pay attention to her. She utilized her status and product to generate buzz on it's own. Its publicity for free! Without sending anyone her CD, without going on the couch with Oprah and Wendy Williams, without high fashion photo shoots and other stunts.  Beyonce does that even when she doesn't have a CD coming out. She constantly is doing PR, such as Super Bowl performances and magazine covers, she is constantly in the public eye. While she does take breaks in between, she consistently comes back into the limelight to remind us all she is still alive and glamorous. Please do not begin to think that PR was belittled or proven unnecessary by this publicity stunt. It generated so much free publicity that other stars may wish they had thought of it sooner. However, like Paranormal Activity's similar luck, such tricks only work once. After that the traditional route is used. Beyonce will most likely taken the traditional route next time, and promote her album before it comes out. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Public Relations Trends of 2013

The digital revolution of the past decade has changed the mediums with which public relations practitioners are required to use.

Three PR trends

1. Collecting Data

Everyday there are new apps that allow companies to find out when to post and what types of posts their consumers like. Apps like Social Bro and Buffer assist companies in ensuring that when social media is utilized, it is effective in reaching as many people with a message that resonates with them as possible. Many social media sites, like Twitter or Facebook, are often used on a cell phone rather than on the computer. This puts even more pressure on companies to make sure they are putting only what their viewers want to see and also the times users are typically on their phones checking their accounts. Also, cookies track what websites they like to visit so that companies can target specific interests.

2. Companies utilizing multiple Platforms to further their message

Companies like Nike pretty much use every avenue available to publicize their products. I got a email from a website I follow called Fashiolista, which is an online website for fashion lovers, about subscribers who personalized their shoes with Nike id. I got on YouTube and saw that some gurus were now talking about how they love their personalized Nike shoes. Nike also has 2 Pinterest accounts. Basically, companies are trying to further their reach and connect on any platform their is a possibility their buying segment visits.

3. More emphasis on giving back

Of course people always liked to support companies that give back to the community. But consumers have become wise about whether or not the charity is truly benefitting from donations and charity work. Many were outraged when they found that only eight percent of the benefits from the NFL's work with Susan G. Komen went to charity. People want to see CEO's volunteering, scholarships, and diversity in companies they support. Consumers look for authenticity and require social and community involvement.

For more information:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Controversy of Video News Releases

Will Honesty with Video News Releases Protect Consumers?

I'll get straight to the point. When it comes to VNRs, a quote from the "CyberGuy" said it best; "use common sense". Adults should be able to research on their own, although I do believe there are certain areas where honesty is required.
In the CyberGuy video, I do not believe anything was done wrong. The reporter edited it himself, and may have felt that the story would be interesting and news worthy to the viewers. When a newspaper prints a news release, it is used by the reporter as if the reporter completely wrote it. Similar to newspapers, broadcasters may have not have a story at the last minute or need another segment to complete the show. Also, I personally have gotten fraudulent emails. However, attribution would simply be a quick acknowledgement, and I do think it should be added.
"The Accidental Housewife" definitely needed to disclose to viewers that she was paid by sponsors. It does not make her tips less helpful, but it helps the viewer to know they should take what she says with a grain of salt. Her opinion could have been swayed by the paycheck, and the companies are given a boost of credibility due to deception of omission. By her not being open and honest, she discredits her opinion.
The Victoria's Secret Lip Candy segment though I feel was inappropriate for television, was clearly an advertisement. It was clearly being used to sell the product. Though of course it broke ethical guidelines and should not have, I do not feel that viewers could have been fooled into thinking that was a news segment. Gisele's script was also very corny.
It is not that hard to attribute sources! I wish news companies would do that in order to ensure that their viewers are being respected, rather than sell their viewers out for money.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lessons on Humanity

Why Strong Feet Hopefully Wont Matter to Generation Y

Many people complain about the my generation. The complaints about Generation Y'ers are numerous and redundant. We are are ignorant about politics, stay on Facebook too long, want to wear flip flops to work, and self-entitled. One thing that is common to the human experience, and that someone from any generation can agree with someone on, is the fact that our justice system in many ways sucks.

Today in Virginia Beach my boyfriend's friend had to go to court (typical Gen Y'er). My boyfriend and his roommate, along with two friends, sat in a courtroom and were forced to watch cases from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Observation 1: The main prosecutor, one woman, went through the huge pile of court case files she had and decided which ones would go to the judge, and which she would take care of personally. She was dressed so nice compared to the people around her, she was described as "a fat cat among pack rats". "The defending lawyers look poor, while she looked like she could have been wearing Gucci" he told me.

Observation 2: Judges and police officers are weird and rude. A woman was given a speeding ticket when she arrived at a hospital. She had rushed there to see her sister, who a nurse had called and let her know was in a coma. She tried to have the cop talk to the nurse on the phone, and the cop refused. While in this discourse with the cop, the woman's sister died. She did not get to see her sister's last breath on this earth. Yet, the only memorable thing the judge had to say (which he said twice) were that the woman had "strong feet". She was ordered to pay the ticket and court fees.

When talking about the prosecutors, he said "this is too much power for one person. Those people have too much power. They are like the hand of God". Hopefully in this generation, though we may get many things wrong, we get the justice system fixed. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Feature Story Examples

Case Study

1. case study- how an individual or organization has benefitted from a company’s service or product
This man now has a thriving company buying and selling used Lego products.
application study- focus is on how consumer can use product or service in innovative way. “5 new ways to use…”
2. Application story- focus on how consumers can use product in an innovative way
A company is re-designing swim suits to help breast cancer patients feel sexy again
3.surveys and research- hire a group to do research and put together a story about it.
Telebrands did a study on using vodka to clean mold and mildew
backgrounder-focus on a problem and how it was solved
problem- how to open a tough jar lid, fix- sandpaper!
personality profile- people like to read about people. compelling story
A football coach suspends his delinquent team and makes them re try out after improving their negative behavior
historical piece- history of company, product and its developments

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Avoiding Legal Hassles

The legal world of Public Relations

The law can often times be confusing to people who do not understand the legalese. This ignorance can cause problems if a person unknowingly makes a mistake. When people first began to post movies and music on YouTube, videos were often taken down because they did not ask permission or list the owner or trademark. Now, people know to protect themselves with disclosures that list the owners and creators of the content put on the site.
Here are the legal basics.

I. There are three organizations that protect the public interest from fraud

    1. the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)- if public relations staff releases a news release that is vague or unclear as to information they are releasing to the public, they are in trouble with the SEC.
         a. also does not allow untrue descriptions of products or
         b. leaving out true, but negative facts about news
     2. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)- provides licenses to radio and television stations and protects the radio listeners
          a. if you send an audio release to a radio station, the station is required to let the listeners know where the information came from or the could be fined by the FCC.
      3. Food and Drug Administration- oversees the advertising and promotion of prescription and over the counter drugs, and cosmetics.
           a. if you want to advertise a drug or treatment you have to also list the risks and limitations along with the advertisement.

II. Libel and defamation

      1. libel- printed falsehood
      2. defamation- comments made in traditional media or social media that are not based on facts and cause harm

III. Employees' Rights

      1. Companies cannot use pictures or statements of their employees without their permission
      2. However, if an employee leaks information or posts things the company that employs them deems improper, they could be fired.

Finally, do not use photos, logos or trademarks without permission from their creator. The fines could be astronomical and companies work hard to protect the trademarks they create.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Future of the News Release

Remember when news releases were called press releases?

Times have changed and public relations, like the rest of the world, has to evolve and change. There are three areas I believe that will make the news releases different from those we currently see.

1. The news release will become fully online and more interactive
2. The news release will not only be about the product or event, but also about the company that is advertising it.
3. News releases will have to become more honest and transparent. 
Watch the video to find out why!

Quick quote:
One standardized modality of this external communication is the press releases that are sent to the media with the intent that they will reflect the work and activities of the organizations, offering the point of view that benefits those institutions. Press releases should try generating a relationship of mutual need, and to achieve so their production and frequency must have a certain cadence in the editorial departments. ~ José Antonio Alcoceba-Hernando,


 Articles used for research 

Alcoceba-Hernando, J. (2010). Analysis of institutional press releases and its visibility in the press. Revista Latina De ComunicaciĆ³n Social, (65), 354-366. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/756685665?accountid=12085
Huang, X. (2011). Text analysis of earnings press releases. (Order No. 3456985, University of California, Irvine). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 109. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/873377680?accountid=12085. (873377680). 

 Reider, Bruce. "Publicity Bias." The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why Journalists and Public Relations Experts are "frenemies" and partners

Public Relations and Journalism: Corporate Partners

Obamacare and The War on Terror are two prime examples of Public Relation's partnership with journalism. Both phrases were consistently used as headlines and topics on news stories around America. PR created the phrases and helped create a perception of each issue, and journalists reinforced the image1 . The healthcare plan is actually an age old effort of senators like the late Ted Kennedy, who stated that he would devote his life to its passage (it was passed soon after his death in 2009)2.  Journalists picked up on the name, either in order to give credit for its passage to Obama or to attach a negative connotation to the bill. The War on Terror was called so in order to encourage public support of a war in the Middle East. When Jayson Blair caused a scandal at the New York Times, and when newspapers feel that people are not reading and enjoying what they read, they needed PR. This article demonstrated  that PR started working in conjunction with journalism, the importance of a partnership to PR and journalism, and that the future of newspapers rest on their partnership and yet independence from public relations.

In both instances it is important to see the thin line separating PR and journalism. It is the false pride of some practitioners in both areas that sometimes does not allow credit to be given to the other. PR can help journalism weather the tough economic climate. As an Advertising and Public Relations major and a journalism minor, I recognize how closely connected both areas are and how many of the skills are closely related. The story documented that PR began with former journalist Ivy Lee tipping reporters on a train wreck. With World War I "publicity agents" helped the government to educate American's on the war through press releases.

PR needs journalism, and journalism needs PR. People should not see them as competing industries, but as industries that both work to get information to large amounts of people at the same time. Due to PR's quick evolution online they have recently grown much faster than the newspaper industry has. However, that does not mean that journalism will not be able to recover. People are beginning to become interested in politics and world affairs and again, and that is due to the efforts of both industries.

Though I have stressed the partnership between the two, I also must stress that they still remain separate. Similar to how a married couple becomes one, yet still has separate ideas, dreams and identities. Journalism should not become a paid market simply to sell a framed story. They are to report the truth no matter what company or entity it may affect negatively. PR and newspapers should help each other survive without one overrunning the other. John Sullivan on Pro Publica noted that "the rise of the "publicity agent" created deep concern among the nation's leaders, who distrusted a middleman inserting itself and shaping messages between government and the public." People trust the newspaperman in some areas more and the pr agent is some areas more. The bottom line is that the truth should reign in the partnership between PR and journalism.

 1. http://gaz.sagepub.com/content/65/3/211.short
2. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/17/the-cause-of-my-life.html


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Morals and Ethics Building Projects

How would a PR professional attract and audience and generate coverage?

1. Many facets of Mexican culture have been welcomed with open arms into American society. I would throw a huge fiesta bash within the community (maybe at a local park or community center) celebrating the 10th anniversary. Guests who came in groups of at least would each get a free taco or dessert. There would be lots of Mexican food, vendors, games and dancing. A percentage of the food sold would go to a charity chosen by the restaurant.

2. A manufacturer of vacuum cleaners could use the health hook to generate publicity through keeping air clean of pollen and other particles for allergy and asthma sufferers. They could even make it out of recycled materials (or even recycled vacuums) to seem to be taking care of the environment also.
7. American’s love pizza! I would suggest that the company allow customers to create their own pizza recipe and/or toppings combination as a contest, and allow users to vote online or within their store for their favorite. The winning pizza and toppings combination would be added as a special edition pizza on the menu for a limited time!

There are always new creative PR strategies waiting to be discovered!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Poor Writing Online


1. My first example was in the San Francisco Gate newspaper. The title is "Rent bump forces Lusty Lady to grind to halt". This article is a clear violation of all rules good writers hold dear. The title is cheesy and confusing. My friends laughed and were immediately confused by the title. The writer rarely begins new sentences, and each paragraph is one long sentence separated by multiple commas. The writer described the location multiple times using the words "venerable" and "dingy" . How can a dingy strip club be something sacred? The strippers were described as victims of the porn industry and their rent manager. The word usage was so inappropriate and many words were misused all through out the story.
2. Though I have never personally read the book "Fifty Shades of Grey" (promise!), an anonymous source I know has. I looked up this quote online of the book to illustrate the awful writing of E.L. James: 
"Our fingers brush very briefly, and the current is there again, zapping through me like I've touched an exposed wire. I gasp involuntarily as I feel it, all the way down to somewhere dark and unexplored, deep in my belly. Desperately, I scrabble around for my equilibrium".
I was surprised at the low quality of writing on such a best seller.. And scrabble means to struggle to scrape, so why would she be trying to scrape her equilibrium? Is that a metaphor? The book is full of cliche's and unnecessary, childish words like "O my!" and "zaps". 
The final example comes form the Gwinnett Daily Post. The title is "Program gives patients a hand dealing with cancer". If they could have stated that sentence clearer, like program gives patients dealing with cancer a hand. I was wondering if the writer was talking about cards for a moment. Also, the article attempts to be sympathetic by over describing the hard plight of cancer patients and gives little information about the actual program that the article is supposed to be about. Sentences are disconnected and broken, yet forced to fit with multiple commas. Also, quotes used are sometimes repetitive. If you are going to say a fact with a quote you do not need to write the fact again before or after.