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Comment #4

Well, the time has arrived. I am about to submit my last and final comment for Case Studies and Issues in PR. I must admit that in the beginning I was mortified at the thought of commenting to people’s article and finding my voice in and amongst the melee of opinions. However, 8 comments later and I feel like I have gained to confidence to take a stand on an issue and share my opinion. This week I commented on an article from PR Daily in regards to a competition held by a local radio station on who is the “hottest journalist.” One of the things that drives me crazy is the objectification of women in the media. So with that being said, my response to the article is as follows:

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 11.03.44 AM *Note: My fears became a reality with my final comment. I had people respond unfavorably to my comment and a slight debate ensued. I’m not sure if I handled it right, but was trying to stay true to myself and my opinions and not be pushed around by others. Click here to see how I responded.

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A “Bliss-ful” moment for Hershey’s PR

This week in Case Studies and Issues in PR we have been asked to discuss our favourite case, why it interested us, and what I have learnt from the campaign. So, without further ado, I present to you a sweet campaign put together by Hershey’s….

Now here’s a party I can get behind…
hersheys_bliss_logo In April 2008, Hershey’s was preparing to launch their new Hershey’s Bliss chocolate. With not much new to say about chocolate, Hershey’s had to come up with a creative way to get people talking about their product. With targeting female chocolate lovers in mind, Hershey’s decided to host 10,000 chocolate parties for girlfriends nationwide. JSH&A communications company used word-of-mouth, mainstream and social media to get the word out about how all of us chocolate loving females can all share in the bliss of cellulite by hosting a chocolate party. If you were one of the lucky ladies to be chosen, Hershey’s would send you package of Hershey’s products, coupons and party ideas to share with your  closest 10 girlfriends. In the end, they were able to create 150,000 unpaid brand ambassadors who promoted the product with pleasure after their parties were held.

A Moment of Bliss

This campaign stuck out to me, as it was something that was speaking right to me. Not only do I enjoy a morsel of chocolate or two from time to time (more like shamefully eating a whole chocolate bar in my closet), but I also LOVE my girlfriends. Combine that with an opportunity to throw and party, and Hershey’s has hit the dimple on the butt cheek! Although I can imagine the coordination of 10,000 parties in one weekend might come with some challenges, I couldn’t be more impressed and inspired by their creativity.

If this campaign teaches me one thing, it is that word-of-mouth advertising still remains the most efficient way to get your message across. In a time where their customer base is so big, Hershey’s was able to break down the message in a way that spoke to the everyday person, and made them feel part of this blissful chocolate experience. I am once again reminded that I am much more likely to listen to a friend’s recommendation than an advertisement any day of the week. The Hershey’s Bliss campaign proved how important word-of-mouth advertising is as they generated more than 142.5 million impressions, 15,390 blog posts, as well as an additional 10 million impressions based on word-of-mouth advertising alone. Well done Hershey’s. My second chin thanks you.

How do you think Hershey’s did with their PR campaign?

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Comment #3

I know what you’re thinking: “what exciting comment is Carley going to make this week?” Have no fear ominous reader, I have yet again regaled the internet with some more of my musings. This week I commented on an article from PR Daily titled 14 Essentials for PR Newbies. Although I found the list quite comprehensive, I thought of one more tip that could be added:

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Occupy-ing the Silence: A PR perspective of Occupy Wall Street

occupy_wall_street_post_eviction_flickr-615x345

Well, hello 99%. Welcome to a brief discussion on Occupy Wall Street. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on what could have been done from a PR perspective in order to keep the initial momentum of the movement going.

In case you are part of the apathetic portion of the 99%, Occupy Wall Street  is a leaderless movement that takes a stand against the “greed and corruption of the 1%”. Occupy Wall Street encourages the 99% to take a stand against this inequity by taking part in protests, standing up for our right to occupy spaces safely, and protect ourselves from the far-reaching power of major banks and multinational corporations.  Amazing, right?!?

As one of the 99% (we’re a big group!), I must admit that when the Occupy Movement occurred in September 2011, I got swept up in the excitement, as well as the ideology behind the cause. The general momentum of Occupy was helped along by Manhattan PR Firm Workhouse, who provided some much needed clarity and communications about what was going on.It was exciting to see a group of people trying to tackle the corruption that occurs within major banks and corporations. Combine that with the catchy messaging of “We are the 99%,” and I’m sold. The slogan does a great job at grabbing people’s attention and showing you that you are not alone. “We are the 99%” denotes that there is no segregation based on sex, race or age; instead, it gives people a platform to take a stand against financial inequities that exist in our “free market.” It turns out that this free market of ours comes at quite the cost….

So…Are we still Occupying?  12347490-confused-young-businesswoman-shrugs-her-shoulders-in-a-clueless-gesture

No one can argue that Occupy Wall Street generated a lot of noise and media attention. I still remember walking by the Legislative Building in Winnipeg and seeing people camping outside, rain or shine. The momentum was palpable and people were revved up for change; however, almost 2 years later the revolution seems to have lost it’s horsepower, and is in more of an idle position. Now, I would not classify myself as a political activist, nor have I rallied for large scale change. I have never slept outside as a form of solidarity for a cause, nor have I passionately picketed on the front lines. However, as one of the 99%, I was waiting for the actual movement or change that would result from all the ruckus and noise. It seemed as though the movement lacked a definitive direction, or strategy as to how this 99% of people were going to “overthrow” this 1%. As we saw with Kony 2012, momentum is only the first part of a good campaign. Once people lazily lift their head from their computers, they need a call to action strong and clear enough to make the change occur. Communication plays such an important role when trying to affect change that you literally need to spell it out for people. Furthermore, I’m not sure if the 99% can agree on how this change is going to occur. I have seen a group of 5 people melt down because they were unable to agree on things. Statistically, it doesn’t look good.

In the end, the real issue with the management of Occupy, is that there is no management at all. One of the fundamental ideologies of Occupy is that it is a “leaderless resistance movement.” To me, leaderless implies that there is no one taking control. In order to communicate to 99% of people effectively, the message has to be clear, concise, and consistent.

What would it take to convince you to take part in a movement?

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Reflections

Here I sit, one short day away from completing another course and being one step closer to my PR diploma. In what seems like a blink of an eye and an eternity all at the same time, these past 6 weeks in PR Fundamentals II have been full of lessons that I will take with me well beyond the end of this program. I have been asked to reflect on my three key learnings in the PR Fundamentals II class, so here they are:

Get off your computer and get out there!

In a world where tweets and status updates are more frequent than a call to your mom, it is easy to become entranced with the online world. Everything is at our fingertips from research, to a possible husband—so why get out from behind your screen?!? Our teacher has reminded us that there is a world of people out there waiting to give their opinions and let us know what they are looking for. Although internet research is helpful, there is nothing quite as insightful as having a face to face conversation with someone, and getting a good understanding of what appeals to them. This leads quite nicely into my next teachable…..

Research!

Ahhhh the task we all love to avoid. Research is something I have been doing for many years, but I am reminded again at the importance of starting all communication plans with thorough research. I am definitely one of those people who loves getting into the tactics and strategies, so I need to remind myself that I cannot base campaigns on personal feelings. I need to get out there, pound the pavement (see above teachable) and understand what the target audience is looking for. Furthermore, it is essential to understand the needs and the tone of the company to make sure you are aligned with their organization.

Group work can be fun when you are with the right group of people

Group work: The bain of any PACE student’s existence. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good collaboration. However, when you put 25 communicators in one room for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 13 months, things are bound to go awry. With more group projects than I have dates with my boyfriend, there comes a point where you never want to do another group project in your life. With that being said, I am invigorated after this group project. Maybe not physically invigorated per-se, but I have drank the kool-aid and I am back on board for group projects. Why, you ask? Because I have just had the opportunity to work with 4 inspiring women who reminded me how good it is to collaborate with positive, supportive, and accountable individuals. Yes, it was hard work. No, we didn’t always agree on ideas. However, it was the way we interacted and supported each other that made it such a positive experience. If any of you are reading this: THANK YOU. I have appreciated this experience more than I can express.

 

Working on the CMHR project has been very insightful in regards to PR process. The thing that has struck me the most is how many times we had to come back to the drawing board in regards to our strategy, messaging, and tactics. It really is a process! There were countless times where we felt like we had hit the nail right on the head with our ideas. However, we would then come back the next day  and have to change everything because when we sat back and critically thought about our ideas, we realized they didn’t quite fit.

So, here we are, one day until our first real pitch with an actual organization. To be honest, I have no idea whether the CMHR will like what we have come up with, or if they are going to think we are a bunch of unqualified students. At this stage it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have got our first real glimpse into what we are heading into and have a better understanding of what it means to be an effective team player.

Lastly, a very important lesson from an industry professional….

Just Breathe.

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Comment #2

This week I read an article on PR Daily which was discussing if education or experience was more important. I enjoyed this article, but have found that in my own experience, a person’s attitude is an important factor when discussing success. I realize this may be an idealistic approach, as some people are quite awful and successful; however, the success I am referring to is more than just monetary success.

Here is my reply to the article:

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.50.21 PM

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RACE Formula and the PR Campaign

I have spent the past year learning about Public Relations (PR), and the mandatory steps one needs to take to create a successful PR strategy.  I am a passionate communicator, excited by new ideas and creativity. However, I constantly have to remind myself that there is more to PR than just good ideas, and catchy key messages.

When embarking on a new PR Strategy it is important to remember the RACE Formula, to avoid making some critical mistakes. What critical mistakes, you ask? Jumping to tactical ideas for a campaign before putting in the leg work of research and analysis (action). Was that a communal groan I just heard?!?! Yes, research and analysis(action) can be challenging, but it is the only way a PR professional like yourself will understand the basis and reasoning behind your campaign.

Let’s take a moment to review the 4 pillars of the RACE Formula:

    1)  Research: Every good PR strategy begins with some strong, solid research. By research, I don’t mean the first 3 websites that show up on a Google search. The goal is to find out as much external and internal information on the company as possible. Who are you targeting? What is the landscape of the market?  What is the current public opinion?

    2) Analysis (or Action): Once the research is done, you need to understand how you are going to put this information into action. This is where the goals and the objectives are stated, and the PR campaign starts to take shape.

    3) Communicate: Yay! My favorite part. This is where the strategies and tactics are decided. The meat and potatoes, if you will. Just remember: strategies and tactics are different. Strategy is the plan of action to attain a goal, tactics are how you’re going to get there.

    4) Evaluate: Measure the success of your hard work through evaluations of the campaign. The evaluation should be both quantitive and qualitative, and include recommendations for the future.

That’s it! Four easy steps to a successful PR campaign. Seems easy enough, right?! Wrong. Companies seem to struggle with this concept all the time.

Busting the ‘Block

Blockbuster is a prime example of a company that implemented tactics before doing the proper research. In 2003, Blockbuster came out with a campaign saying good-bye to late fees. I distinctly remember the campaign they rammed down our throats about the much awaited abolishment of the late fee. The problem was that there were late fees… sneaky ones. Economically, there idea was a bust. Plus, by the time they tried to salvage it, they were too late. Blockbuster failed to take into consideration companies like Netflix, and ended up losing their market share altogether.

So, use this tale as a precautionary one. Tactics before research is like putting on sunscreen for an indoor event. Useless. Be sure to follow the RACE Formula, and I’m confident you will find the success you are looking for.

What’s your favourite story of a PR Campaign gone awry?

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Comments

I was reading an interesting article on spinsucks.com which discusses “The Success Trap and Regrets of the Dying.” I found this article really resonated with me, based on things going on in my own life.

Here is my reply to the post:

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Dear My Back

Health-Back-Pain

Dear My Back,

I write to you as a desperate plea,

Could you please start working with me?

I can’t help but notice  you’re such a pain,

Let’s end this right now, before you drive me insane.

I’ll stretch you, I’ll ice you, whatever you want.

But you’re not quite getting it, I think you’re a savant.

I don’t want to lie here all day and night,

So please listen closely as I tell you my plight.

You’ve already caused so many kinks in my plan,

I was so close to becoming the next Jackie Chan!

So starting today let’s call off this battle,

I’m starting to feel I resemble the cattle.

Let’s wipe the slate clean, I’ll give you another chance,

I’d do anything to improve my interpretive dance.

Yours Truly,

Carley.

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An Ode to My BFF

bestfriend

My best friend is turning 30 tomorrow. I thought it might be nice to share a story from the “best friends vault” as a way to celebrate her, and our fabulous friendship.

I met Michelle (*name changed) in the 7th grade. I wish I could say that we were best friends from the get-go, but unfortunately this was not the case. In fact, I was so jealous of Michelle in the beginning, that I think it would be safe to say that I wasn’t very nice to her at all. She was easy-going and fun to be around, and all the guys seemed to enjoy her company. Me, I was more the annoying loud girl, with crooked teeth and home-cut bangs. Let’s just say the boys weren’t banging down my door….

I don’t remember how, or why, but Michelle and I became good friends over the course of grade 8. We did everything together. I was so grateful to have her in my life, as I was struggling in the friends category. However, at the end of grade 8, I was faced with the devastating news that Michelle and her family were moving to Ontario.

For the next 6 years, Michelle and I had a long distance friendship. We talked on the phone, sent letters to each other, and even got to visit each other from time to time. Her friendship was (and is) so special to me. Looking back, I am so proud that we were able to stay in such good contact, as the only distance between us were kilometres.

After her first year of university, Michelle, like many others, was struggling. School wasn’t a fit, and she was unsure what her next move was. After coming up with a plan, Michelle and I decided that I would fly down to Ontario to pick her up. We were going to pack up her car, and bring her back to Winnipeg. At the time, I was in a dead-end relationship, and wanted nothing more than to have my best friend by my side.

So, with little more than a good plan in mind, I set off to pick up Michelle in Cambridge, Ontario. Much to her parent’s chagrin, we packed up her little Honda Civic and headed back to Winnipeg.

That road trip was 8 years ago, and Michelle has lived in Winnipeg ever since. I have been blessed with 18 years of the most incredible friendship. We have been through highs and lows. She has seen me at my worst, and has celebrated with me at my best. I can laugh with her, cry with her, or just sit there in complete silence. We know what the other is thinking from a glance across the room. I would drop anything for her, and she has done the same for me.

So, as she heads into her thirties, with me right behind her, I am inclined to take a trip down memory lane. I couldn’t be more grateful to have a friend like her, and I will shout it from the roof tops how important she is to me. I can’t wait to see what the next thirty years are going to bring us. Life is much easier with a best friend by your side.

Happy 30th Birthday, Best Friend. You are a beautiful, smart and dynamic woman. I will continue to stand by you on this life journey, as I am your #1 supporter and fan.

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