This is my last blog of the quarter – and the last insPiRation (see below) I’ll give this group of Strategic Public Relations Communication students. That means next week students are writing their last blog posts of the term.
I wonder what they’re feeling? My guess based on previous classes: relief twinged with sadness with a side of pride. The twice-weekly blogging assignment is typically daunting at first. But then as students find their voices and delve into their theme they typically find it’s not as scary as they feared. They also find that the things they thought they’d blog about they typically don’t. Blogging requires planning, but it also requires flexibility. They realize they can immerse themselves in their passions and PR at the same time, and that in fact PR is hiding (or not) in most issues of the day and industries of the moment.
The main thing students realize is that writing consistently makes you a better writer. No one I know ever continues their blog from this class, despite some grand plans. But what I do hope will continue is the discipline of writing weekly and applying a critical PR lens to what’s going on in the world. I also hope students hold onto the idea that hard work and engagement with learning engenders confidence and that adhering to that cycle can help them be successful after college. And that’s my real final inspiration of the term.
Food…Ad & PR…Entertainment…
Paul Newman Who? Salad Dressing Company Adjusts to Reach Millennials (The New York Times)
What do you think about the new strategy by Newman’s Own to reach millennials? How did Paul Newman set the original standard for celebrity do-gooder projects – and how is it different than such projects by today’s celebrities? Will Millennial foodies flock to Newman’s Own once they know more about it?
“I Would’ve Voted For Trump.” And With That, Kanye West Begins His 2020 Campaign for President (Quartz.com)
What do you make of Kanye’s comments – serious political beliefs or publicity stunt? How could this affect his relationship with his fans? Will fans who hold different political beliefs respect him for speaking his mind or not? Will fans be confused by these comments which seem contradictory to other comments he’s made about political figures?
Musician Blasts Racism in Speech, After Receiving ‘Brown People’ Award (Mashable)
How do you think Aaradhna’s reaction to receiving this award will affect (positively or negatively) her relationship with fans and potential fans? Should the NZ Music Awards do some damage control?
It happens every quarter. Students really hit their stride (whatever hitting their stride means for them).
Right now, they’re finishing up infographics and revising their first round of their corporate internal memos about Samsung’s massive Note7 recall. (Speaking of, what do you think of Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees following this week’s divisive presidential election?)
At the same time, things get cray cray around Week 9 in a 10-week term.
So J452, as you finish up finish strong. Here’s some more fire for your personal social media efforts, which you’ll need to wrap up and report on soon.
And here’s a fascinating read on the future of internal communications about using Snapchat to engage employees. You will be the ones to develop new strategies like this and change PR, starting in just a few months.
But here’s some short-term insPiRation for your blog’s next week:
Weeks After Defeated Deal, Colombia and FARC Rebels Reach A New Peace (NPR)
How should Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, this year’s Nobel peace prize winner, sell this new deal to the Colombian people? Even if this one is not subject to a referendum, how can he secure legitimacy for this new plan? What should his messages be and which audiences are most critical?
VW, Audi Confirm Investigation Into Carbon Dioxide Levels in Some Cares (The Wall Street Journal)
How should VW’s PR team handle this new crisis?
10 Nonprofit Twitter Accounts Doing It Right (HubSpot)
Although the organizations profiled are very different (and one isn’t even a nonprofit), what are the commonalities here? In other words, what can other nonprofits learn (big picture) from these ones about engaging their audiences and spreading their messages?
I have a black thumb when it comes to design. That why when my students create persuasive infographics it’s always one of my favorite parts of the term. Students always go beyond what they thought they were capable of with this assignment, including the ones, like me who would rather vomit than arrange something.
One of my all-time favorite student infographics was from the first term I taught, created by Kimberly Chin (UO ’14), now an account manager for the Oregon Media Group (The Oregonian | OregonLive) in Portland. It’s simple, arresting and unusually leads with the call to action.
Last spring, some strong student examples included two about the environment – Keala Verigan’s on e-waste and Sarah Arnell’s on textile waste – and Haley Dowell’s on racial disparities in the U.S. prison population and one on movie ratings.
I can’t wait to see what students come up with this term.
Just for fun: Can you identify the design theme of each of the typewriter infographics in this post?
And here’s your (non-infographic) insPiRation:
Why do Diplomats Use This Alien WhatsApp Emoji for Vladimir Putin? (The Guardian)
Beyond the sheer “whoa” factor in this article, what does this trend mean for diplomacy communication? Can you see other ways diplomats could use social media to build consensus and support for their messages? Is there something seamy about this or is this just another example of technology changing communication?
Fans’ Favorite Live Sports Requirement? Bandwidth (CNN)
How could sports teams capitalize on these findings to improve their relationship with their publics?
Cosmetics & Skin Care…
Women Doing Their Makeup on the Train Are ‘Ugly,’ Says Japanese Commercial (The Washington Post)
How did an awareness campaign about train etiquette by Tokyu Corp. go so wrong? Do you think the company did its audience research? Since people may have no choice but to ride Tokyo’s trains to work, does the damage to the company’s brand matter?
This week I chaired a panel of three editors and executives from three very different news outlets – Oregon Public Broadcasting, the (Klamath Falls) Herald and News, and Por Más Tiempo, the biggest media cooperative of Argentina which publishes Tiempo Argentino – as they discussed how their newsrooms are transforming for the ongoing digital revolution. I had pitched attending the panel to my J452 PR students because I thought they might be curious, from a media relations standpoint, how newsrooms are changing. While the panel discussion focused on journalism rather than public relations, I was struck by how much of what they said had PR overtones. In short, they talked about using digital opportunities to build and maintain relationships with audiences and to define their brand identities. Jan Boyd, director of digital strategy and community engagement at OPB, spoke of how breaking a news story into component parts and pushing it out on various platforms based on audience research was about telling the right story with the right channel at the right time to the right audience, something SOJC’s PR area director Kelli Matthews says when she defines PR. So see, students, I’m not kidding when I say the PR angles are everywhere. And here’s your weekly insPiRation to prove it:
Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China (The Wall Street Journal)
Discuss how straining East-West ties are playing out in unexpected ways, changing Chinese perception of fashionable tourism. How have Chinese and Russian leaders used foreign policy to shore up tourism, a key economic driver? Is there anything Western powers can do to repair their image as an attractive tourist destination for Chinese travelers?
Colin Kaepernick: ‘There’s Nothing That Anybody’s Going to Say That’s Going to Change How I Feel About These Issues’ (The Undefeated)
A lot has been written about Colin Kaepernick’s pre-game protests. But how do you think his image might change if more news outlets carried this larger story, about how ongoing commitment to youth of color and these issues? What’s your take on his statement that “these issues exist whether or not football exists…football just allows a platform to have conversations on a greater extent about these issues”? Do you think the media isn’t telling the story that many fans may respect him for his social stance?
Ad & PR…
Wells Fargo Launches Ad Campaign to Earn Back Customer Trust (Housingwire)
The perfect intersection of ad and PR: an ad campaign specifically focused on repairing a damaged relationship with a company/brand’s key public. Will it work? How could Wells Fargo’s PR department mesh its strategy with the ad department’s strategy here?
55,000 Blood Donors Exposed Online in Red Cross Data Breach (Mashable)
What do you think of the Australian Red Cross’s PR strategy in this crisis communications incident? With data breaches becoming more and more common will donors be more willing to accept the ARC’s claims of accepting responsibility than they might have before similar situations at Target and other businesses in the recent past? Why is safeguarding donor privacy specifically important for the Red Cross to continue its mission?
Cosmetics & Skin Care (and Entertainment… and Music…)
Is Skin-Care the New Designer Collaboration? (Allure)
Why are musicians and other celebrities jumping on the skin care bandwagon (besides money)? Why do celebrities (including Smokey Robinson) need to be lifestyle-brand oriented now for their image? If you are a serious skin care aficionado are you more or less likely to trust a skin care label named after a celebrity? Read More…
The end of the quarter is nigh.
That means the last week of my students’ blog (unless they feel so into blogging at this point that they just can’t stop.) Which will totally happen. So my advice, is take it to the next level. One of my favorite blogs, Mac’s List, has great advice this week on 7 Smart Ways to Market Your Social Change Blog, whether or not you blog about nonprofits. We’ve just scratched the surface with blogging – there’s so much more to learn.
Speaking of learning, as part of the whole blogging thing students also created personal branding social media plans this term. The plans detailed by strategic, tactic and platform the steps they’d take to integrate their social media use and their blog to learn about and show familiarity with their chosen topic as it relates to the PR industry. (If you read my weekly insPiRation links, you can see what topics they chose.) Always, students write ambitious personal social media plans; usually, they find it hard to keep up. That’s part of the point, realizing how much goes into strategic social media. So this week students will reflect on what they learned:
What was challenging? What was useful? Did certain platforms matter more to their industry than they thought? Did they follow their editorial calendar, and if not, why? Which platforms worked as planned for which strategies, and which didn’t? Was something unexpected? What did they learn about strategic social media overall? Read their blogs this week to find out.
Oh, and you can also read their responses to my weekly insPiRation.
K-Thier out. (Mic drop.)
Can the Pop-Top Wine Can Survive Its Faddish Stage? (The Washington Post)
Another week at PRMinders, another wacky rosé story. Why is the pop-top wine going Back to the Future? What role do Millennials and craft beer culture play? What’s the scenario?
Women Shuts Down Haters With Honest Weight Loss Instagram Photos (Mashable)
How have individuals’ stolen women fitness magazines’ thunder in the age of social media? How can social media promote and encourage, and also discourage women from becoming fit?
How K-Deer Became an Instagram It-brand (Well+Good)
How did K-Deer use Instagram to break into the athleisurewear phenomenon? Can fashion start-ups beat out lululemon using social media – or is it just because K-Deer’s patterns are just so visually appealing? What do you make of the fact that the founders runs the Instagram?
This term my students’ infographics were the strongest as a group I’ve seen. So as they finish up their social media audits and conversations analysis reports and then prepare presentations on them, I thought I’d share an infographic on conquering public speaking anxiety. To me, the best tip here is “RESHIFT: Ask yourself “What does my audience need to know about the topic?” and “How can I ensure they get the information they need?” It dovetails with what we talked about it class, the Presentation Zen method. It’s all about audience and message, baby. Can’t wait to see how you engage us the last day of class.
Sea-Tac Airpot to Hire 90 Contractors to Help Shrink Security Lines (The Seattle Times)
Sea-Tac is apparently the fastest-growing airport of its size. So what are its PR challenges and opportunities (including long security lines)?
When a Country in Turmoil Hosts the Olympics (The New York Times)
What special PR challenges are there for a country in turmoil to host an event of this magnitude? How can Brazil allay concerns about Zika and its politics to put its best foot forward to the world?
ESPN’s The Undefeated Debuts And It’s A Must Read (All Digitocracy)
What do you think of ESPN’s idea for a separate website on sports, race, pop culture and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)? What PR goals at ESPN do you think are driving this new journalistic endeavor? Is the criticism about no stories on female or LGBTQ athletes fair or is it too early to level that charge? Do HBCUs get the sports coverage they deserve in other media?
Muirfield Removed From British Open Rotation After Vote Against Women (The Wall Street Journal)
Why did the Royal and Ancient take so long to take a stand? Why can golf not afford to offend women now, even regarding the male athlete tours? Is this gender equity?
How Sports Fans Are Using Facebook Reactions (News Whip)
Pick one of the emotions: How could the teams on that list use their standing to their advantage? What PR challenges and opportunities come with fans’ engagement with them on social media? Read More…
My students’ blogs are really hitting their strides. It’s about to be Week 7 in our 10-week term, and their blogs are showing it. The writing is more focused, more on point… students are seeing the PR angles in their topics, and developing a sense of voice and pace. At the start of the term blogging intimidates some of them, but now many say it’s actually not so bad (and even fun). A large piece of Strategic Writing & Communication is for students to develop a personal brand related to PR through blogging, social media and other class assignments. Some of it’s personal and some of it’s for hypothetical clients. All of it helps them differentiate themselves to future employers. In fact, in Ragan’s 4 Ways Students Can Land PR Internships, three of the four ways are things students in J452 practice: gain practical knowledge even when you don’t have experience, give cover letters your best efforts and know the industry. And I’d argue it teaches them how to do the fourth – do your homework – as well. See, J452 students, I wasn’t kidding: The whole class will help you get ahead.
So here’s this week’s insPiRation. Get to it!
No One Wants to Go to DiBlasio’s Birthday Party (The New York Post)
What should PR pros do when an event itself creates bad PR? How do events planned long in advance fit strategically when conditions change?
Clean Air Agency Informs Through Content Curation (Ragan)
What makes the Northwest Clean Air Agency’s brand journalism strategy so smart? What can other environmental governmental agencies learn from it?
Race… Ad & PR…Fashion…
Old Navy Ad Features Interracial Family, Internet Responds in Worst Way, Best Way (The Oregonian)
John McCain’s Son to the ‘Ignorant Racists’ Criticizing an Old Navy Ad With an Interracial Couple: “Eat It” (The Washington Post)
How would you respond (if at all) if you worked for Old Navy’s PR team? Does this help or hurt Old Navy’s brand?
Race…TV & Cinema…
#Broadway So Diverse (Mashable)
What can Hollywood learn from Broadway? How should Broadway capitalize on this to attract new audiences and build its brand?
Women in Tech Band Together to Track Diversity, After Hours (The New York Times)
How is this group trying to raise awareness, change attitudes and spark action? How does Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity hurt its PR efforts with internal and external audiences?
I finally finished that great big writing project I mentioned last week. That included staying up until 3 a.m. Saturday night revising it and hours more today putting on the final touches.
This is what I felt like all week:
(I always have a typewriter in my blog visuals, but this is the first GIF!)
One reason it took so long was that academic writing is new to me. And I’m figuring a lot out on my own. I don’t completely understand academic writing’s underlying structure. If you can’t see the bones, writing feels laborious. But once you unlock what I call the skeleton mystery I think writing feels like play.
That’s why with my students I always try to demystify writing structures, as in my take on cover letters: 1) Here’s big picture why I’m right for the job, 2) Let me tell you a little more about why I’m right for the job, 3) Here are some details about why I’m right for the job, 4) Did I mention I’m getting/have a degree? 5) (Softly) here’s why I’m a good fit. 6) I’ll be following up.
“Writing is thinking made manifest,” according to Ellen Goldberger, a professor at Mount Ida College. That has stuck in my head since I first heard it about a year ago. But to make your thinking manifest, it helps to know the order. We can think (and write) so much quicker when we’ve trained our brains how to organize our thoughts. I tell my Reporting I and Media Relations & Strategic Writing students that after I’d been a reporter for awhile I could write a 10-inch inverted pyramid story in 10 minutes if I had to. Because I’d practiced it over and over. Because I’d trained my brain to think in that structure.
Not every writing structure is as formulaic as the inverted pyramid. Blogging, which requires voice and taking a stance, is trickier. But I’m hoping students are at the point in the term where it’s starting to feel a little easier. Those first few (okay, 100) go-rounds with a new style of writing are challenging. Sometimes it feels like work. Then you get a peek at when it feels like play. And the mystery begins to unravel.
Here’s your insPiRation – keep it up!
From 2017, All new Mobile Phones in India Will Have Panic Button For Women’s Safety (Mashable)
Should Apple and Samsung do this in their other markets too? What would be the PR value? (Based on our discussion of CSR these week, what else would companies have to consider when making this decision?)
In Johnny Manziel, Failure as Entertainment (The New York Times)
What role has PR played in Manziel’s demise? What responsibilities do PR professionals have toward people in the public eye who are not their clients? How has social media changed the way image is constructed?
College sports… sports…
Officials: North Carolina Must Show Proof of Discrimination-Free Zone or Lose NCAA Tournament Games (ESPN.com)
What does this move by the NCAA say about its audiences? Are there any PR risks for the NCAA in taking this stance when some say college sports don’t do enough to welcome and protect LGBT athletes?
Last weekend, for the first time I walked through the Linguistics Department at UO. A display case highlighted machines used by researchers throughout the department’s history. Of course, the one that caught my eye was a typewriter, despite the unfamiliar and inventive other options. But it wasn’t just any typewriter; it was a Yiddish typewriter. The placard said researchers carried it with them in the field to record notes. As much as I’m a typewriter fan, I can’t imagine hauling one around with me, but that is indeed what researchers and reporters did back in the day.
I snapped a photo of it with my iPhone and texted that to my aunt, who showed it to my grandmother whose parents spoke Yiddish to her as a child in Brooklyn. She’d never seen a Yiddish typewriter, which surprised me although I guess it shouldn’t have.
Since then I’ve been thinking about that Yiddish typewriter from years past and the blogs my students are creating today. It seems we’ve come so far yet someday 100 years from now some college instructor may walk (or hover) past a display case of blogs and social media and be bemused by what they saw.
Until then, here’s your weekly insPiRation:
The Rogue: Oregon’s Southernmost AVA a Hot Spot for World-Class Wine and Tourism (Oregon Wine Press)
Wine Enthusiast named the Rogue Valley and Ashland one of 2016’s Top 10 global wine destinations. How might this impact the area? Press attention is often seen as positive, but how should Oregon’s Southernmost AVA retain the characteristics that make it popular while growing in appeal? Can an area’s image withstand additional attention?
Walking Together for Health and Spirit (The New York Times)
Can nonprofits use PR tactics to advance women’s health and address racial health disparities? How is GirlTrek using social media to attract its audience?