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Archive for the ‘PR Connections’ Category

The Big Apple

I was recently in New York for a week at a Model UN competition with the team from Georgia Southern University.  We stayed at the Marriott on Times Square – right in the middle of everything!! It was beautiful and I had a great experience.

Examples of innovative Public Relations techniques were everywhere. In the picture below, you can see huge screens that constantly flash advertisements on Times Square. Nothing like a 5 story moving screen to get your attention! There were even TVs in the taxis, with GPS to show you where you were going and Regis and Kelly explaining all the available features.

new-york1

The competition was a mock United Nations conference. Georgia Southern represented the Republic of South Africa. We were split into committees and worked together to write resolutions on which we  voted at the end.

I used a lot of things I have learned in Intro. to Public Relations, especially in my interactions with others. It was a competition, so everyone wanted to be recognized by the dias (chair) for exceptional work. However, we also had to work together and get support for our papers. Therefore, there was a lot of persuasion and “selling” our ideas to each other. Overall, it was a really great experience. It was my first time in New York and I would love to go back again. Maybe I’ll even get an internship there………preferably a paying one.  😉

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Yesterday, Wednesday, April 29th, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requested in a CNN interview for Americans to refer to Swine Flu as H1N1 Flu.  This request comes as pork imports from the U.S.  have been banned in several countries, including Russia, China, Dubai, and the Philippines.  Health officials have announced that the flu can not be spread by consuming pork.  However, the stigma that has been attached to pork still remains for many.  The U.S. government is hoping that this change will dissipate the connection between pork and the virus.  Fred Tasker explains the situation in an article in the Miami Herald.

When I first heard about the name change, I thought it was silly.  However, after learning how steeply imports of pork have been affected, I now see the value in changing the way we refer to this new strain of the flu virus.  I think it’s interesting that Vilsack made a request to the American people as a whole, not just government and health officials.  This broad approach could be helpful as people interact with importers of pork.  It will be interesting to see how many people actually change the name.  I think the new name may be used by government and health officials, but the first name of something new has a way of sticking in the general public, especially when it’s referred to on the news.

Below is a video of Dr. Joe Bresee, M.D. with the CDC Influenza Division speaking about the H1N1 Flu, which he called “Swine Flu” at the time:

Source: Tasker, Fred. “Name Change: Government stops salling virus ‘swine flu’.” The Miami Herald. 2009. Apr. 30, 2009 <http://www.miamiherald.com/459/story/1025884.html&gt;.

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In my Intro. to Public Relations class, we have talked a lot about social media. I’ve written several blogs about it, including two on Twitter: Twitter…..  &  Twitter: the Second Time Around.  I have tried for the first time two social media outlets: Twitter & blogging here on WordPress.  I have learned to be open-minded about different social media outlets, and may even branch out from YouTube to Hulu every once in awhile.  Who knows what’s in store next.

I remember having a Tagged account a few years ago, then MySpace, and now Facebook (did I really have to hyperlink that one?).  Though I can’t imagine deserting Facebook for another source of distraction from schoolwork, similar mediums have a way of blowing up and then fizzing out when the next best thing arrives.  Facebook has definitely gotten huge, and in a relatively short amount of time.  According to Stan Schroder in his article “The Web in Numbers: The Rise of Social Media,” numbers of social media users are rising dramatically.  Facebook grew by 100 million users in just 8 months.  According to a study done by Nielsen Online, included in the article, more people now have used social media networks than e-mail.

There is no doubt that this phenomenon has had a lasting affect on the field of Public Relations.  A prime example of this is the fiasco that challenged Domino’s reputation recently, which I discussed in a blog post.  If organizations are going to stay ahead, they must remain abreast of the new mediums for conversation about their label.  Many are, as companies are starting Twitter accounts and tracking what people are saying about their business.  I think that being a PR professional now definitely includes knowing how to navigate these relatively new avenues.  Maybe that could be a source of comfort for PR college graduates looking to find jobs in this delightfully friendly market: they are probably more familiar with new technologies than anyone else in the business.

Source: Schroeder, Stan. “The Web in Numbers: The Rise of Social Media.” Apr. 17, 2009. Mashable: The Social Media Guide. 2009 <http://mashable.com/2009/04/17/web-in-numbers-social-media/&gt;.

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A 2006 article by Jake Tapper and Toni L. Wilson on ABC News’s website remarked on the public relations campaign that fed the fire already burning Wal-Mart’s reputation. Wal-Mart hired Andrew Young to chair Working Families for Wal-Mart, a nonprofit organization. Wal-mart’s reputation for putting mom-and-pop stores out of business was one issue that Young was to address.  He is quoted as saying that the owners of these local stores “are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. … They’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs. Very few black folks own these stores.”

It seems as though Young was trying to connect with the black community to win their sentiments and convince them that a big retailer such as Wal-Mart is better suited to their needs. However, he obviously did not think about the larger context of his statements. He soon after made an apology and resigned from his position.

Wal-Mart has been cleaning up the mess since then – not an easy thing to do, especially when there already exists negativity concerning its reputation. This uncomfortable situation is worded perfectly in the article: “Wal-Mart finds itself in a spot no company wants to be in — needing a PR campaign to defend its PR campaign.” Hopefully, in this venture, Wal-Mart will choose people who will be speaking for the company that have a better concept of the world-wide impact their comments will have on the multi-billion dollar corporation.

Source: Tapper, Jake & Toni L. Wilson. “Wal-Mart’s Public Relations Problem.” U.S. 2009. ABCNews Internet Ventures. Aug. 18, 2006 <http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=2331545&page=1&gt;.

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I listened to my first podcast, and it was a pretty good experience!

Managing the Gray # 75 How to Create a Social Media Strategy

Hosted by C. C. Chapman

Below are the show notes for this podcast, followed by my reaction to it:

The hot assignment that everyone seems to be getting or looking for is to develop a social media strategy. Every day I hear about someone having to figure this out for their company and they don’t know where to start. So, today on Managing the Gray I thought I’d give my advice on how to approach this and succeed at it as well.

Links that I mentioned during the show include:

At the end of the day I think every company from the smallest of corner shops, all the way up to the biggest global companies have got to figure out where social media enters into their mix. It should not be tacked on to each program, but integrated from the start into all your programs. There is so much to gain if you do this right.

My Reaction:

I learned a lot from listening to this podcast.  The steps that Chapman outlined for how a person/organization should approach setting up a social media strategy correlated with those that I have learned in class for the process of public relations:

  • STOP!  Take time to analyze what the company is already doing in the field of social media.
  • RESEARCH!  Find out about applicable strategies that have and have not worked in the past.
  • OBJECTIVES!  Set goals and objectives to make sure you are always working toward the desired final outcome.
  • AGENDA!  Make an agenda and periodically check your progress to make sure you are staying on track.
  • FLEXIBILITY!  Social media is constantly changing.  You have to be able to change with it to be effective.
  • LONG-TERM!  Think in the long term when making plans. 

Chapman emphasized the importance of thinking in the long-term when planning a social media strategy.  Numerous social media campaigns have ballooned into a major success for a short amount of time, then fizzled into oblivion because they did not have the strcture needed to survive.

This podcast was very interesting and the host was easy to listen to. I enjoyed it and will explore more podcasts covering a variety of subjects.

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