Arby’s is Slicing Up A Good Reputation: Image Repair Tactics as A Public Relations Strategy

Sarah Voelkel, here. Today’s topic relates to a scholarly article written by Josh Compton describing Arby’s image repair tactics that were, well, rather genius. Arby’s minimized any potential damage to its brand by executing risk management, and as you will see, did … Continue reading

Uncovering a hidden beauty: The LSU Arboretum

Welcome back to my blog!

For most college students finals are quickly approaching. Spring break was nice, except I had triple the work to do whenever I came home. Everyone has final projects to complete and it’s pretty much a race to the finish line. This semester has been full of excitement, stress and every other emotion possible. I will be glad when May 12th comes around, because that means finals will be a thing of the past!

With the end of the semester, comes the end of our SCVNGR campaign. However, my group has been very lucky to secure such a fabulous client. We have partnered with the LSU Hilltop Arboretum. Better late then never! My group is busy creating and implementing the the 8 tactics for the Arboretum. We have decided to make the organization a Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, flier, updated brochure, new logo, social media release and a couple of other goodies. All of our deliverables will be promoting the up and coming October PlantFest for the Arboretum. We are very excited to be working with such a fantastic client. The landscape of the Arboretum is remarkable. I got to see it for myself when we met with the client on Monday to discuss plans and goals. It seems like the perfect environment for a relaxing picnic or stroll, and the park features  many native plants!  Many people are not aware of the beauty that the Arboretum has to offer. It’s very exciting that we get to take part in uncovering this hidden beauty to the Baton Rouge community!

“like” the LSU Arboretum on Facebook and spread the word!

Here is a flier that I have already made for the Arboretum. However, I’m still going to create one more flier that the Arboretum will use for their October PlantFest.

In addition to the Arboretum’s October PlantFest, they have an upcoming Spring fling plant sale in April.

I would like to thank the LSU Arboretum for allowing us the opportunity to work with such an amazing non profit client. It’s a great opportunity for them and it is also a great learning experience for my group. I’ve already learned so much just by being part of this unique project. At first, it was very intimidating and scary. However, my PR writing teacher once said, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” 

 

And I know it sounds silly, but that little saying really helped me progress through the semester!

As always, thanks for reading my blog! Future posts will follow =]

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How to act [PR]ofessional. And get an Internship in the [PR]ocess.

Hello, and welcome back to my blog.

Is it that time of year, folks? When graduation is looming on the horizon and you’re not quite sure how to prepare?

If your graduation date is approaching slowly but surely, you might need to hop on the internship bandwagon. For example, my expected graduation date from LSU is less than one year away. I’m supposed to be accepting my diploma on stage on December 21, 2012 at approximately 9:30 a.m. This realization is far from rare. Don’t worry freshmen, your day will come and you will be in the very same state of awe. Seniors, you are most probably in the same boat as I am.

It is as if the past four years of college didn’t even happen. You know what they say, “time flies when you are having fun.” Although, I did have a few days of partying, there were far too many days of studying. As a freshman in college my original major was business. During this time, I was involved with a professional business fraternity at LSU called Delta Sigma Phi. I was fortunate enough to actually learn a couple of useful things that i’ve decided to share with you.

Most college students interested in public relations have similar goals. We all want to “grow up” and become a public relations practitioner and/or professional. As some of you may not know, professionalism requires more than just a resume. It encompasses personality, personal style, experience and knowledge.

How to dress to impress (for females):

First of all, it is important to remember the phrase “less is more.” Believe it or not but this statement is very true and can be applied to many different areas of life. Today, I am going to apply it to professional business attire. People will always judge you by the way you look; whether it holds true meaning or not is up to you. There are a few tips that you should keep in mind whenever you are in a professional setting and are trying to make a good impression. The worst mistake you can make is overdoing it. The number one thing you want to avoid is bulky or flashy jewelry. In order to be taken seriously you are going to want to wear simple jewelry and in moderation. You are probably not a fashion major, but you can always show off your true personality when you go out on the town with friends. However, if you have a job interview and you are worried about how to dress, it is probably best if you stick to clean, presentable and professional looks. If you are unsure what these words mean, then keep on reading..

You want to work with solid colors with either dark or light hues. Blacks, whites, browns, tans and neutrals seem to get the job done. You most certainly want to avoid “loud” or flashy patterns, such as houndstooth, stripes or polka-dots. Also, when you are considering shoes, you will want to wear a solid, moderate heel. This ensures that you won’t trip or look like a stripper. My preferred professional attire is a knee-length pencil skirt with a tucked-in blouse. However, a female pant-suit is also suitable. A pant-suit is more professionally dressy so it ultimately depends on the event or situation in which you are attending. Just remember to be modest and to not wear anything too revealing. You want to show potential employers that you know how to make a great impression without using your body. When it comes to hair styles, you must make sure that people are able to see your eyes. Eye contact can be very important. If you have incredibly long bangs you might want to pin them back with a headband or bobby pin. In addition, high pony-tails are typically not considered professional. The perfect professional hairstyle for me is either a french twist secured with a clip or a half-up half-down hairstyle, which gives you the best of both worlds. When it comes to make-up, this is really when “less is more” is important. Make-up is there to enhance your beauty and not cover it up. Also, a woman’s goal is to ensure that it looks as if she isn’t wearing any make-up at all. In order to do this avoid heavy or bright eyeshadows, eyeliners and lipsticks.

Quick, easy tips to remember:

  • Avoid flashy, bulky jewelry or outfits.
  • Do not wear revealing clothing.
  • Stick with modest, yet classy.
  • Always look clean, including hair and nails.
  • Keep any hair out of your face/eyes.
  • Embrace neutral colors.
  • Less is more!

How to get an internship:

Now that you know a little bit about how to look like you have an internship, here are some hints on how to actually get one. Most colleges and universities require students to complete one semester interning at someplace that relates to their major. For example, The Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU requires this before graduation. I am beginning the hunt for an internship. I am starting to realize that there are a few things I should have done differently.

I really should have started searching for an internship months ago. However, late is better then never. Firstly, if you do not have a professional resume that is up to date, then you need to get one. That is a major priority, because it might be the first thing your potential employer will see. Once you have a resume, you can begin your tireless search for an internship. It is extremely important that you start looking early, unlike me. There are many resources that can help you get your foot in the door. For example, you can create a LinkedIn account, which allows your resume to be presented in an online portfolio for potential employers to see. You can use sites such as monster.com or LSU’s career services center. Career services has a Website that offers “Careers2Geaux,” which is a free resource for students to find job postings and internships. I know I am constantly getting e-mails from LSU about available internships. It is a shame that a lot of students don’t take advantage of this resource. We need to get the word out there and there is no excuse! In order to realize potential opportunities, you need to have your eyes open and network with other people!

The sooner you start looking for an internship, the sooner you will be able to show off your new professional style!  Also, the sooner you will be able to realize if you actually enjoy and want to pursue your current major.

Don’t forget to dress to impress and to start looking for that internship! You will thank me later ;).

While you’re online searching for an internship, you might want to check me out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Cheers! happy blogging and hopefully, happy graduating!

Nonprofit, where are you? And more importantly, who are you?

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In my public relations 4001 class there have been a few road bumps, but there has also been positive progress. We have been working over these past couple of weeks to sign SCVNGR for free with a nonprofit client. So far, it isn’t looking so good.

Visit SCVNGR’s Twitter page to learn more about the smart-phone applicaton!

It’s harder then it seems to sign SCVNGR for free with a nonprofit. We have not yet been able to sign a letter of agreement with a nonprofit. So far my group, PRservingBR, has pursued two nonprofits and they both have turned us down in so many words or less. It’s been difficult to pursue client after client, and we are ready to find an organization that says “yes.” This is unfortunate, but I think it’s also a great learning experience. However, time is running out and it is almost time to create our “treks.” If we only had a nonprofit…..

The SCVNGR project teaches students to manage time efficiently and work with others professionally. This includes fellow students and nonprofit representatives. However, it is not easy working with college-aged adults. They are constantly busy with classes, homework, projects or studying. In order to coordinate schedules for group meetings everyone must be flexible. However, it’s natural for schedules to conflict and people must learn to adapt. This is one of those positive learning experiences that I mentioned earlier in my post. Students are busy, but public relatons professionals are even busier. We understand that nonprofits have other, more important responsibilities, and that they can offer less of their time to college students. This is also another learning experience. It teaches students to be determined, stand out, and pursue their goals.

Learning begins in the classroom. However, it is what you can do with what you’ve learned that is most important. Students can take what they’ve learned in class and turn it into something unique and productive. Sure, learning in a classroom setting is great for the basics. However, getting an internship before graduation is really “the cherry on top” so to speak. As students, most of us don’t have enough real world experience that relates to our public relations area of interest. This is the key to getting the job you want and competing with others similar to you that are trying to steal the job you want.

I found a particularly interesting blog about PR. It’s called “PR Squared.”

As a public relations student, the main goal is for you to get your “dream job.” In order for you to do this you need some real world experience at an internship or starter-job  to get the job you’re really passionate about later. This is crucial to your success as a public relations professional. The student will get to determine if they actually like the job they are pursuing, and you can’t get that in a classroom. For example, I thought I was interested in broadcast journalism. I worked at TigerTV for a semester and realized it was not the direction I wanted to head. I have since then changed my major to public relations.

To sum things up:

  • Mc 4001 is a class you should take at LSU.
  • Nonprofits are tough cookies to crack, but do not fear! Progress awaits.
  • Working with fellow students in a professional setting is beneficial.
  • Internships are required for success!
To learn more about SCVNGR, you can Discover Baton Rouge with SCVNGR on Facebook and Twitter!

Feel free to contact me on any of my professional or social media networks:

A glimpse into the world of public relations in a classroom setting.

Say hello to LSU's Mike the Tiger VI!

Welcome back! It’s always a new day in the life of a public relations professional. Of course, I am just beginning to experience the PR profession in my classes as a student. The experience will continue every day, because every day it is possible to learn something new. The learning process is never-ending and that is the way it should always be.

Speaking of learning, I am beginning to realize more about the nature of public relations as an industry. The many public relations classes that I am taking require me to complete PR case studies, analysis, presentations and projects. I believe that one can learn a great deal by doing and that is the mentality I try to uphold. So far it is working, because I’m learning an unbelievable amount this semester!

Time to update you on our SCVNGR campaign. My group and I are in the process of searching for a nonprofit client. Unfortunately our client of choice has not given us a direct decision. This has complicated our timeline and schedule for completing the “treks.” However, we have a back-up client that we trying to get in contact with. We are hoping that with some persistance either our first client will respond positively to SCVNGR, or our second option will give us a response as soon as possible. It is time to get this campaign rolling and to start building our “trek” so customers can interact with the nonprofit organization. To find out more about the application called SCVNGR you can check out the SCVNGR Twitter page. Also, if you want to stay on top of our SCVNGR campaign to “Discover Baton Rouge” you can become a member of the group on Facebook.

On another note, one of the activities we had to complete for a grade in class was a Twitter social media exercise. I have to admit that tweeting about specific places on campus was fun because I was able to put my own twist on what I wrote. In my opinion, that made my tweets unique and showed LSU in another point of view that others may be interested in. You can also follow LSU on Twitter to stay up to date with important campus announcements.

Feel free to check out my Twitter and follow me so you can see what we are learning in MC 4004. In this class we communicate with the hashtag #ashleysprclass. It is a fun way to participate while at the same time interacting with current social media.

You can also add me as a friend on Facebook to find out more about me!

Add me as a professional connection on LinkedIn and help me build my network.

Thanks for reading and tune in to my next post sometime next week. Who knows what will be the next topic of discussion!

Progress continues successfully in public relations writing

I’ve been in school for almost two months in my senior year at LSU and February is finally wrapping up. That only means one thing, mid-terms! The public relations course I am currently taking requires a lot of time, effort and consideration. We are continuously working on a variety of personal branding assignments and on a client marketing proposal which is a group effort. This week calls for the editing of our brochure, sales letter and client marketing plan, which we will soon present to our potential nonprofit client. I’ve mentioned this in my last post, but our potential client is the Baton Rouge Festival of the Arts. Before next Wednesday our group’s client liaison, Karsten Davis, will need to contact our potential client and decide on a time and place that we can present our SCVNGR marketing proposal. We can only hope that our future nonprofit client will absolutely love the idea of entering a social gaming network! I am hoping for the best.

However, if the potential client unfortunately decides to deny our proposal we will have to search for a back-up client. It will be a shame if our nonprofit of choice decides not to participate with us. The reason for this is that my group will have to research another nonprofit organization. We have already spent many hours researching our first choice. However, I guess that’s life. My group-mates and I were discussing that our team is made up of college students, and the possibility of that deterring potential clients. But, if they decide to pass this opportunity up they are not taking advantage of what is being offered to them. SCVNGR is giving nonprofits a chance to freely participate in something that would otherwise be very expensive. Also, my teammates and I will do our very best to work closely with our client to ensure  their needs are fully met. I hope our determination and professionalism will outshine our status as college students.

If you want to Discover Baton Rouge with SCVNGR please check out our Facebook group! You can also follow the group on Twitter to stay in the loop and read daily updates about our progress!

So far in this course I have not come across any kind of ethical situation or dilemma. In addition, having the opportunity to work with a nonprofit client is the perfect chance to engage in the surrounding community. I have not done much in the Baton Rouge community, and this is a great chance to give back. Even if it means only helping one organization in Baton Rouge. I am very excited about working with this unique organization, because I have always enjoyed the arts!

I know I will continue to learn a great deal in this class. I’m eager to apply all that I have already learned, and all that I will learn in the coming weeks to my future career as a public relations professional.

Please follow me on Twitter here to learn what I am doing in my other public relations classes.

Connect with me on LinkedIn so I can increase my networking skills!

In addition, you can also add me as a friend on Facebook =)

Thanks for reading, and tune in soon for my next post!

Public relations is advantageous and beneficial to non profit groups

My experience thus far in MC 4001 through LSU has been short, but overwhelming. I came into this class expecting to learn a great deal, but that expectation is now turning into a reality. It seems as though I have a great team on my side that will be pertinent to completing the mini campaign for our non-profit client.

My teammates and I have decided to pursue a non-profit organization as our client. Some ideas we have come up with are as follows:

Baton Rouge Festival of the ArtsFollow this link to visit their homepage

Another idea that we have is the Red Stick Farmer’s Market. Follow the link for more info!

We have typed up a sales/proposal letter in which we will soon send to our client in hopes of coming to a mutual business agreement! We have not interacted with the client yet, but we are preparing for that day by making sure we have all of the necessary materials.

There is actually a great deal of research that is done behind the scenes of public relations. For example, in order for my group to formulate an appropriate sales pitch with a proposal letter, brochure, slogan and group name, we had to research the background, purpose and nature of our non profit group. The reason for this is so we can specifically cater to their needs and point out why they need SCVNGR and how it will help to increase their organization for the better. We can’t plan a mini-campaign without research, so that is the base of our SCVNGR campaign. We have to know who we are selling too, what they might be looking for and how it will specifically benefit their organization.

Don’t know what SCVNGR is? Click and see for yourself–> SCVNGR Homepage. 

To learn more, you can also join the group, “Discover Baton Rouge with SCVNGR,” on Facebook!

The ethical side of public relations is also a factor that needs to be considered while preparing this mini-campaign. Everything we do needs to be in the best interest of our non profit client. Promising to do the best work possible and then executing that will show the organization that we are serious about this assignment and it will also demonstrate good work ethic. I think in the near future when my group has interaction with our client is when public relations ethics will need to be considered more.

I believe it is important to engage in the community around you, and that we are each socially responsible for contributing to society in some positive way. Working with a non profit organization to promote SCVNGR is the perfect opportunity to give back to the community while practicing our public relations skills.

Public relations is a great way to assist non profits in achieving organizational effectiveness. Many non profit organizations do not have the funds necessary to successfully promote themselves. That is what public relations is for! We can get them the free media coverage they so desperately want and deserve. I can’t wait to see if our client agrees to do business with us and how this entire project pans out. I think with dedication and determination we will create one awesome SCVNGR trek for the Baton Rouge Festival of the Arts!

Make sure to add me as a connection on LinkedIn, so you can check out my resume at your leisure!

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Follow “Discover Baton Rouge” on Twitter!