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7 Everyday Tips to Prepare for the Inevitable PR Crisis

In this article by Katie Kiley Brown, the reader learns about 7 everyday tips to help prepare for a PR crisis. It goes without saying, but as a PR professional you need to know how to handle a crisis. This article from prdaily.com lists great traits to prepare for a PR crisis. 

1. Be nice: Build good media relationships. Know your friends and enemies, Brown says you are a salesperson (kind of) and you need to sell your product. Having bad relationships could put a damper on your sale.

2. Look nice: If you want people to take you seriously, then look the part. If you look like a slob, people will think you are unprofessional. This one is kind of a no-brainer.

3. Be a beacon of trust: People need to be able to trust you. You will know very sensitive material about your client. You don’t want something to get out (that doesn’t need to come out), that may be damaging. 

4. Have backup childcare (if you have kids): A crisis can happen at anytime, make sure your kids are taken care of if you aren’t home for a while.

5. Play it safe with social media: This goes back to pictures taken where we all are now. Don’t have a Facebook picture of you getting tanked in Aggieville come back to haunt you as you give a press release on behalf of your client. 

6. Practice safe post-mortem: “It ain’t over ’til you decide it is,” says Brown. Let others know when things are bad and when they get better. Let everyone know you are on top of everything. A great thing to do as well; work with your fellow PR crew to find some human interest stories to keep around for when the crisis is over.

7. Study your craft: Follow other crisis in PR, and study them. Study national crisis and local crisis, and learn from them. Pay attention to what reporters ask, look for mistakes, and look for things people do right. Brown says to conduct mini case studies of stories pertaining to your field. 

Crisis can come at any time so it is vital that we are ready. If we conduct each day with these tips, we will have a leg up on the crisis. It was good to read that case studies are a critical piece of the PR practice. The cases we have talked about in class will help us in the future, just don’t stop looking at case studies when this semester ends!

Retailers opening on Thanksgiving, bad PR?

This year, you might have noticed several big-name retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving to start Black Friday deals, many as early as 8pm. Why are they doing this? Some believe the jump start on shopping will benefit the economy, others say it’s becoming more of a holiday norm. While these might be reasons to consider, what the retailers don’t seem to notice is that breaching into early holiday shopping has caused some-what of a PR mess.

Lets look at this issue from a consumers perspective. I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving is not about buying a laptop for 100 cheaper, but about spending time with family and friends. And this is exactly what many Americans are agreeing with. They are complaining that the new opening hours are ruining the Thanksgiving spirit. This kind of attitude surely cannot help a business’s image if people think they are ruining Thanksgiving. Although you could look at it this way: Is it the people who feel that they need to shop at 8pm on Thanksgiving the ones who are ruining Thanksgiving? Surely another way to think of things.

Not only do i think this is bad external PR, but its also hurting the companies internally. With the exception of a few that want the extra cash, many of the employees are complaining about having to work on this holiday. The companies are saying they are family-friendly, yet making their employees work on a holiday that is suppose to be spent with their family. This is not going over well with those who want to celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional ways. Some employees of the big box retailers have even launched an online protest via Change.org urging retailers to remain closed on Thanksgiving. From a PR standout, it’s crucial that these companies show their employees that they are more important than a small increase in holiday sales. If they don’t, it makes them seem like a scrooge.

I personally think its ridiculous to shop on thanksgiving, and i do believe that retailers are pressuring consumers to shop on this holiday by opening up early. I feel like consumers wouldn’t feel like they had to shop on thanksgiving if retailers just waited till the early morning of actual Black Friday. As a consumer, i see retailers not being compassionate, especially when i see people working at a time when they should be with their loved ones. Maybe if the executives of these companies skipped the pumpkin pie and went to work as well, i’d feel a little better.


Resume Review

I recently attended a resume review with a senior recruiter at the AAFKC Career Day in Kansas City. The recruiter reviewed my resume and internship portfolio. She told me that objectives were no longer needed on resumes because employers know why you’re submitting your resume, they don’t need to be told it’s because you’re looking for an internship or part-time job. I thought that was interesting because almost all of my professors have suggested I include an objective on my resume before submitting it to a potential employer. She also pointed out that unless your GPA is 4.0 it’s not necessary to include. It made me feel better because she told me that in our industry employers want to see a candidate that is well-balanced, involved and a leader rather than a student who wasn’t involved but had straight As. I asked her for advice moving forward in my senior year and she told me it was very important I try and get as much experience as possible in the field. Like my contact at Fleishman-Hillard, she suggested I look for an internship second semester or next summer. I never knew seniors were still eligible for internships, I wish I had completed more than one. She also gave me the idea of going around asking local businesses if they needed any advertising or PR help. I’m going to offer my time and expertise, hoping to gain more experience. It was nice to have another set of eyes look over my resume, especially someone who is so experienced. She’s definitely going to be someone that I’ll  be contacting in the future. I can’t say enough good things about the AAFKC Career Day, I had the chance to meet with very influential people and received great advice.

AAFKC Career Day

I attended the American Advertising Foundation of Kansas City’s Career Fair on Monday, Nov. 12 in Kansas City. Although I’m not a member of AAFKC I thought it would be a good networking opportunity to strengthen my professional connections. The day was filled with workshops, divided in to 3 sections. You had the option of attending a workshop aimed at students who were interested in the creative aspect of advertising, account management or those who were undecided. Each session had three speakers, who presented over various topics. I attended each of the undecided sections, as they had an eclectic mix of speakers and topics. One workshop I found to be interesting was the corporate vs. freelance vs. agency topic. I wasn’t entirely sure what the difference between the three was so I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with the three different options. After listening to each speaker describe her respective career, I decided that agency work sounded like it would fit my personality the best. I don’t think I could handle the unpredictability and lack of structure that is common in a freelance career, while working in the PR department of a corporation sounds boring. I want variety and I want to be able to work on a multitude of different projects and meet as many new clients as possible. I feel that with agency work I’ll have the opportunity to be exposed to much more than corporate. I met a woman who worked for Bernstein- Rein, an ad agency in Kansas City. Her vibrant and bubbly personality struck me as she told us how much she loved working for an agency. She told us that although the starting pay isn’t very high it shouldn’t deter us from working for an ad agency. I spoke with her afterwards and her advice was this, find what you’re passionate about and go after it, no matter the pay.

Professional Development: Personal branding: 5 components to help you land a job

Belema Iyo.

As PR students and professionals, one thing that stands true as important and nerve-racking everyday is what happens when we graduate. We begin to wonder exactly how long it’ll take to land a job. What most people forget is that you have to start planning and preparing for that way ahead of time. Even those who remember this don’t know the steps they should take. This article does a good job of highlighting one of the many important steps; personal branding.

Personal branding in simple words is how we market ourselves. Personal branding defines who you are. The article notes few things one needs to identify to create a personal brand. They are:

Define yourself: What are your unique skills, experiences, and values? What makes you different?
Determine your audience: Who are you trying to reach?
Establish your messaging: What are you trying to convey? What do you want others to remember about you?

These then become the backbone of what defines your brand. The article then goes on to mention useful tools one can implement to communicate brand across to professionals. These are useful things to include; logo, tagline, brand tools, social media and greeting cards.

The article highlights how important personal branding is as it helps to tell your story outside what can be found in emails, online applicatons and resumes.


Professional Development: 5 rules for starting your PR career

Belema Iyo.

I think as students involved in the PR field, one of the most important things we tend to push over is what happens after. We all just want to get a job, be good at it, do what we are told and hope that gets us somewhere. This article does a good job of explaining 5 basic rules that will be beneficial to the starting of one’s PR career.

Although it is very important to take advantage of every single oppurtunity we come across, there is also some other important information we need to consider. What comes then? This article not only helps with telling us how to get started in simple steps, but also teaches us how to maintain and improve the positions we find ourselves in.

Below are the 5 simple tips:

1. Raise your hand. Demonstrate an active interest in the business.

2. Be curious. Be a “student” of the media.

3. Step out of your comfort zone. If an account is presented that doesn’t seem to immediately match your skill set, go for it.

4. Remember: managers aren’t mind readers. Speak up about your goals, ask for advice, and understand you won’t be handed everything you want.

5. Take notes. Not only does it demonstrate active engagement during the meeting itself, but also it ensures that follow-up activities don’t deviate from what was actually discussed.

Like the author states, “using these rules won’t just enable you to start your career right, they are critical to sustaining and maintaining your career’s path in a changing world.”