Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Best Practices in PR

Throughout this semester in Advanced Communication Skills I have learned numerous best practices from the pros in public relations. In this last entry, I have mentioned just seven that I have found to be most valuable.

1. Read the newspaper- You must read newspapers and keep up with the trends, way of life and what is going on a local and national level. You have to know how the media works and how they reach the public. This is among one of the most essential elements of public relations.

2. Transparency- act like you have nothing to hide. A Coca-Cola case study involved nine children who got sick in Belgium after drinking Coke. This was made known to the public and Coke failed in taking care of this issue solely because the company did not confront the issue. There was no transparency; they left people in the dark, so in turn Coca-Cola got a lot of negative press. Coke tried to deny responsibility. Being forth coming and taking care of the issue is always better. It allows the public to know exactly what is going on, so no questions are raised about the company. PR has a lot to do with image control and transparency is needed to keep a good image perception. (

3. Corporate Social Responsibility- Image perception also relies heavily on corporate social responsbility. Companies have to maintain one especially because of the Internet. Companies are being held much more liable because information is out there for anyone to see. Paul Kelley, CEO of Harrison and Cowley, spoke about CSR and how he advises his clients. Kelley states, "Go through the motions becasue if you don't, there are consquences and you will suffer those."

4. Mass Personalization- These days companies have to cater more to the individual. Nike has done this by beginning their NikeID line ( Consumer can actually go online and build their own shoes, choose the colors they want and even add your name onto your shoe.

5. People like me- Consumers are no longer trusting those in positions of authority, consumers would rather hear from "people like me." By building their own networks within blogs or other websites, consumers choose who and what they want to believe. In Edelman's 2006 Trust Barometer, six of the 11 countries surveyed the "person like yourself or your peer" as the most credible spokesperson of a company and among the top three spokespeople in every country surveyed (

6. Grasp a hold of new technology- Since the “New Frontiers in Employee Communications” study in 2004, the 2006 report states, "the number of blogs globally has doubled more than three times, growing from roughly 6 million to more than 57 million." ( Blogs have become an essential part of almost every company. Blogs allow companies to write about new products, upcoming events and reach a wide range of audiences. Blogs can be used for news, political campaigning, events or any subject matter. This social media is interactive and allows readers to leave commentary, responding positively or negatively to any post.

7. Use your resources- There are so many companies these days that have gone global. PR companies who have offices around the world are in luck when a company is trying to merge into a different geography. It is absolutely essential to use these resources in order to figure out the culture of the area you are trying to integrate into. Euro-Disney when coming into Europe had numerous problems. Being such a success and icon in America, Euro-Disney thought they could just go into Paris and be just as successful. They failed miserably because they did not do their research. They tried to bring in American ways and people resented that and their arrogance was quite prevalent. It is absolutley essential to get that culture you are trying to emerge into to help you out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SMU Trend Challenge...The "New Entrepreneur"

Our class assignment this week was to analyze how young people (18-35) are redefining their values concerning work, careers and happiness. A key shift in this generation is the rise of entrepreneurs.

Young people are taking their future into their own hands and with that comes a shift in attitude towards work. In this day and age, recent graduates do not want to work for a nagging boss or start off in a entry-level job, they want success and they want it now. Although most know its a far fetched dream and unrealistic, in my personal observations, young people are becoming entrepreneurs as a side job while working in their field of interest, remaining hopeful that credibility will be built, contacts will be made and their once far fetched dream may eventually become a reality.

At SMU, I know several people who have started their own business. Andrea Swain, a senior art history major began designing her own hand bags ( in college.

Harrison Hughes, a senior real estate/finance major, is the CFO of a clothing line called Southern Tide (

"I feel like our generation is itching to be great right after they graduate, and the best way that they can show their creativity to the world is by becoming entrepreneurs," says Swain. "I did not want to sit back and let someone else decide my future. There is a certain rush of excitement and love that one has for something they have created."

Personally, I have always had a dream a becoming a event planner and owning my business with some friends from SMU. After speaking with women who have actually done so, I know it would not be easy. You have to have experience in the field in order to gain any credibility and you have to know people, lots of people, to help you transfer your dream to reality.

Swain calls it "luck." "To make a successful business one can be very hard working and bold, but a lot of it is also luck," explains Swain. "So although being your own boss can sound ideal, you are completely liable for anything that occurs in your business. I started creating handbags, after doing a lot of research, and luckily got in contact with a manufacturer that suited my needs. I plan to expand slowly over time, and eventually moving into other genres of Fashion such as jewelry, shoes etc."

Success comes in various forms, starting from some of the smallest, simplest tasks. Overcoming a challenge or a new venture is another success. It's nothing easy, but if you work hard, get in contact with the right people and know the business well enough, you just might make it happen.

"To me success comes in different stages, says Swain. "Ultimately, it was making my idea a realization, through my hand bag line, web site, business cards, etc. Then actually selling in small boutiques and selling my bags online, brought me another level of success. By starting a business during college I was able to see if I would in fact be able to turn this life long passion into a life long career."

Young people have been breed to be successful. With teachers, parents and adults constantly telling us how hard the workplace can be, how hard it is to make a living, how hard it is to be able to provide for a family, young people in turn are not willing to trust their bosses for that long awaited promotion, they are starting their own businesses and taking a hold of their futures. Entrepreneurs are on the rise with fresh faces and unique ideas, so you better watch out, it's out with the old and in with the new.

Swain states, "As an entrepreneur, I believe you do not reach a glass ceiling of success, the possibilities are instead endless, because you are in the drivers seat."

Monday, April 2, 2007

Edelman began a study in 2004 measuring the various communications channels used in organizations. Since the first "New Frontiers in Employee Communications" in 2004, the number of blogs globally has doubled more than three times and the number of podcasts on the Internet has outnumbered the amount of radio stations worldwide.

In Edelman's "New Frontiers in Employee Communications" 2006, the company further examines the changes in media, new technologies that organizations are adopting and the future of communications.

The report reveals three specific elements: "Despite increased awareness of new media technologies, companies are hesitant to adopt them for internal communications; Organizations should consider a mix of channels depending on their communications goals; and communicators misunderstand the obstacles to implementation of new media technologies in organizations."

To find out more please visit Edelman's "New Frontiers in Employee Communications" 2006 report at

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wendy's Garden Salad Sensations Case Study

I looked into Wendy's Garden Sensations case study that Ketchum helped Wendy's launch back in 2002.

Wend'ys noticed a decrease in market share due to higher-end fast food restaurants offering a healthier substitute for health conscious consumers. The company knew it needed to add something to its menu to compensate for its lack of healthier items, such as salads.

Wendy's introduced Garden Salad Sensations, a line of specialty salads including: Mandarin Chicken salad, Chicken Caesar salad, Southwest Taco salad and Chicken BLT salad.

Ketchum traveled to Wendy's 36 top markets within two weeks. More than 2,000 salads were delivered to target reporters, newsrooms and morning show producers/crews. I thought this was a clever way to target food experts as well as health advocates and get them to spark interest and support Wendy's newly added salads.

Through Ketchum's strategic planning and lauch efforts, Wendys received more than 300 hits within a six-month period regarding the new salads and the media persuaded the public to try the salads (95 percent gave the new salads rave reviews, 90 percent categorized Wendy's salads among the best fast food for good helath). The majority of the same-store sales increase that amounted to 6.6 percent was from Wendy's new salads and Wendy's documented record sales weeks following the launch of the salads.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Group Audio Blogging has designed a new website that allows users to create a "voicebook" which provides audio to the website just as a blogger creates a post. This new media is called Group Audio Blogging (GAB). Bloggers can now add their own audio to their blogsites and encourage debates among other users. GAB is not limited to bloggers, however adding audio to your blog site can add a unique and positive dynamic, as well as bring more visitors to your site. Check it out!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Online Campaigning

In the 2004 elections, blogging proved to be a vital tool for online campaigning.

Campaigns and the political parties created blogs to present their views and ideas and in turn brought supporters and bloggers together.

Alex Rice states "Dean was the first candidate to use blogging, Meetups, and other innovative technology tools as part of his campaign strategy, which created a loyal grassroots network and fundraising base. Dean raised more than $20 million online, showing the fundraising power of the Internet, reinventing campaign fundraising by shifting from a few big donors to countless small donors. These new and important Internet strategies were then adopted in the John Kerry and George W. Bush campaigns, along with political parities and candidates on the state and local level." (

With the growing use of the Internet and all that it has to offer, online campaigning has received a lot of attention.

Hillary Clinton announced her candiacy for the 2008 presidential race with a video posted on her website ( titled, "I'm In." Since that announcement she has posted videos titled "Let the Conversation Begin." By setting up her campaign as a conversation, she has invited bloggers to share their ideas on how to make a change.

The evolution of blogging is remarkable. To find out more on the 2008 presidential candidates, the Bivings Report takes a look at the candidates' websites and the growing use of the Internet as a means for political news. (

Friday, February 23, 2007

Building a New Blog for Cancer Magazine: Heal

A place where cancer patients, survivors and family members of loved ones suffering or lost to cancer can come together to share, remember and provide hope for those in need....the mission for the development of the blog site for Heal magazine in my eye will be just that.

Just recently losing my Aunt to brain cancer, I know in order to get through something as tragic as this disease can be, it is essential to talk to others who are in the same situations. Having a soundboard such as a blog, a place to hear and talk to "people like you," creates just that environment.

In order for Heal's blog to be a success, the blog must be updated with current news and consist of bloggers who have cancer, are recovering from cancer or treat cancer.

Blogs such as Glamour's Magazine, Life with Cancer, takes you through the journey of Glamour editor, Erin Zammett Rudy's struggle with Leukemia. ( The Cancer Blog ( provides news, resources and personal perspectives from cancer survivors and those passionate about health topics regarding cancer.

Heal's blog must also contain sidebar topics such as links to the various types of cancer, treatment, prevention, causes of cancer, news related articles, survivor stories and commemorations.

In order to draw participants and keep them coming back, Heal's blog must provide a wide variety of information for each person affected by cancer in some way.

To visit Heal magazine go to