Today I was reading PR Daily and I saw a post in regards to Walmart and a social media snafu. The article was titled, “Walmart Briefly Posts Profane, Mysterious Facebook Status.” Now, the article itself wasn’t overly interesting, or worth comment; however, I was blown away by the fact that Walmart had already commented on the article in order to clarify their misstep and smooth things over. I thought this would be a great time to try and reach out to someone outside of my circle, and try to attain an inside source for our assignments due later on in the course. Here is my response to the article:
Posts Tagged With: PR Fundamentals II
Today, I decided to respond to journalistics blog post on “What led you to PR?” Now, I know that I might not be “contributing to the PR conversation” with this one, but it struck a cord in me. At a point where I am feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed, I thought it might be nice to remind myself why I am on this path. I justified responding to this blog because I thought that even if one person read my comment and found themselves in a similar situation, I might be able to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Here is my response to the blog:
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…..
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….
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:
Meet Amy Tuckett. Amy is the Communications Coordinator for the Manitoba Metis Federation, as well as the Metis Economic Development Organization. I chose to do a telephone interview with Amy for this assignment, as she is part of the reason I am here today. Amy and I met many years ago, and were on the same path. Amy was a massage therapist, and I, social services worker. We were both doing jobs that we knew we weren’t going to sustain, and we both needed a change. Three years ago, my dear friend Amy decided to go back to school and pursue her dream to take Creative Communications at Red River College. For me, this lit a small flame, an inspiration that continued to burn slowly until an opportunity was able to present itself.
Last year I started into the PR and Marketing Management diploma program, and Amy was heading into her last year of Cre-Comm. It was great to see what she was going through, so I could anticipate what was to come. During her second year at Red River, Amy was required to do an IPP (Individual Professional Project), which would help hone in on the skills she learnt over the past two years. This is where “Hell on Heels” was born.
How was Hell on Heels Conceived?
I started out thinking I was going to do a documentary on the health problems that arise from wearing high heeled shoes. The focus is on mandatory heel height policies for female workers in restaurants, and why government needs to develop legislation to protect the female worker.
What were your initial objectives, and how did they change as the campaign progressed?
My initial objective was to create a documentary and pass my class (laughs Amy). No, I wanted to show the health risks associated with high heeled shoes. As a massage therapist, I often treated patients with issues directly related to high heels. However, I quickly realized that it was more of an awareness campaign, and that I wanted to start a conversation about the issue of mandatory heel heights for female workers in the restaurant industry. My main objective was to educate, but now it is to create change. This shift in campaign direction affected my messaging, and it became more than educating people; I wanted to create change.
Can you describe the strategies and tactics behind the campaign?
I wanted to target young women, and let them know that they don’t have to do this. There is a culture of women who are scared to speak about the issue because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. Many of the women who are speaking up about the mandatory heel heights are women who knew they are leaving the industry and don’t fear the repercussions. I started a Facebook Page, as well as a Blog, which let people know about the campaign. Once it generated some interest, the newspapers picked up on the press releases. I also did some targeted pitches to journalists I knew had interest in the issue. My panel and documentary release night coincided with the news releases and my panel night sold out in under an hour.
What’s next with the campaign?
Within the next few months I am launching into the second part of the campaign. This is where I am going to meet with key people in politics, such as Jennifer Howard, to discuss getting legislation towards banning mandatory heel heights.
What have you taken away from this experience so far?
BE DETERMINED. Keep on it even when you want to give up. Stick to your key message, and know who you are pitching it to. Need to have consistent messaging or it won’t get off the ground.
Any advice for your old pal Carley?
Do what you believe in. If you have passion for something, it shows. People want to get behind things they are passionate about. Have the guts to take a stand and be a voice. Be responsible for yourself.
Amy’s words resonate with me as I write this blog.
Do what you believe in.
If you have passion, it shows.
Have the guts to take a stand and be a voice.
Be responsible for yourself.
Simple words, harder application.
Do you have any words of advice for me as I head into my career?
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?