Whither InsPiRation?

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Originally, I thought I’d blog about cover letters this week because it’s “cover letter assignment time” in my Strategic PR Communication class. But instead, a story on NPR started my public relations wheels whirring and I’m going to write about it instead.

It happens often in blogging. You plan and editorial calendar out the weeks and suddenly the news or latent inspiration crowds out your original thoughts.

I told my students as their prepared their social media plans for the term, which included potential blog headlines, that they’ll likely write only two of the posts they plotted. Planning isn’t a waste of time; it sets you up to be successful. It’s the beginning of getting in the blogging groove, which in turn begets creativity. When you make writing a weekly practice, the connections between your focus and other topics start flowing.

As I was driving Monday morning, I learned from NPR that Saudi Arabia’s chief of the royal court tweeted for the first time. It’s significant because the royal family’s decision-making isn’t very public and the chief himself, gatekeeper to the king, is known to be very private. And yet, he took to Twitter to ask the Saudi people to direct message him with their complaints and problems so he could try to resolve them. Traditionally, people travel to the royal court to seek redress, but not everyone can make it to the capital. The tweets are a good way to help people in that situation, especially since Saudi Arabia has the highest Twitter penetration in the world.

The NPR story also covered the PR implications of the chief’s tweets within Saudi Arabia, but what interested me more was the reminder that social media is changing PR globally. It also underscored that platforms’ popularity often depends on technological and cultural factors,  something savvy PR practitioners must consider in our globalized world.

So PR stories are everywhere, once you start paying attention. See below for more insPiRation.

(But just in case you’re wondering what I would have said about cover letters, here’s what I wrote last term.)

Fashion… active lifestyle/fitness…advertising…
Mizuno Campaign Asks What Makes Sammy – And Everybody Else – Run (The New York Times)
What do you think of this aspiration advertising campaign? Will it be effective or be labeled  pie-in-the-sky?

Travel/tourism & PR…
Why No One Goes to Naples (The New York Times)
An interesting analysis of why southern Italy is a tourism wasteland. What would you do differently to promote southern Italy?

Music & technology…
Neil Young’s Long Fight to Restore the Quality of Music (Mashable)
Can Pono compete with MP3s? What do you think about its Kickstarter campaign? What happens to PR when a business isn’t overly concerned with making money?

Global public health & PR…
“Broke” UN Agency Pleads for Help in Central African Republic (Reuters)
With all the pressing social problems globally, how can non-governmental organizations successfully compete for the attention they need to carry out their missions? How might groups that work on humanitarian crises, as in the situation in the CAR which has “no major economic or strategic repercussions,” use social media or non-traditional avenues to raise awareness of these issues?

Career & social media…
Why Introverts Make the Best Community Managers (Ragan)
Do you agree that introverts make the best social media managers? What qualities attributed to introverts do you think are most necessary for brand managers? Are you an introvert or extrovert? For more on introversion and public relations, you can read my previous post, Quiet Down, PR People.

Fashion & crowdsourcing…
Crowdemand is Like Kickstarter for Fashion Designers (Mashable)
Crowdemand is taking social sharing to a new level. Is this good for the fashion industry? How might other brands (not featured on the site) react?

Movie industry trends…
“Si, se puede,” Says Jeff Skoll, Determined to Grow His Social Mission Film Company (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
What PR challenges does a film company like this face that mainstream film companies, such as Walt Disney, don’t?

Social media & branding…active lifestyle…
GoPro Shows How to Win by Losing Control (Forbes)
According to this article, “Brand building is changing. People want to experience and share brands in their own way.” How should brands in the industry you follow react to this new reality? Why did GoPro’s strategy succeed? Can it work for every brand?

Beverages/food & advertising/branding…
Maxwell House, Aiming to Reclaim Coffee Crown, Starts  Makeover (The New York Times)
What challenges do established brands face in trying to keep up with the changing (social media, demographics) world?

Sports…branding….social media…
The Rebranding of LeBron James (Ragan)
What could other athletes or brands learn from LeBron’s PR missteps and comeback?

Travel & corporate social responsibility & consumer attitudes…
Eat, Stay, Buy Locally: Treading Lightly on the Road (The New York Times)
How is consumer desire for “ethical travel” changing the tourism industry? What are the implications for public relations – how companies advertise, for companies’ reputations, etc.?

Twitter & personal/company branding…
How to Build Connections With the Right People on Twitter (Marc’s Blog)
Have you tried any of these tips? How could brands take advantage of these ideas to engage with customers?

Food… advertising…
Impress Your Prom Date With A Fried Chicken Corsage (Mashable)
With this headline, the article begged to make this week’s insPiRation list. Is KFC’s gimmick just wacky enough to work? In the viral age, who are companies trying to reach with their campaigns? How must fast food companies adapt to increasing consumer desire for healthy fare?

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