Blog 9: The Last Dance

Describe the experience of creating materials for a "real world" client. What are your main takeaways (positive or negative) from this opportunity?

This was not the first time nor will it be the last time working with a real client. I was actually super excited to have the Steamboat Classic as a client because I have always heard positive things about this historic racing event as a Peoria native. However, it left me feeling disappointed and stressed because I really did have high expectations with this client. During my time working on this project, I immediately learned how crucially important communication is with the client especially when I need urgent information to get things done quickly to beat deadlines. There would be times I would be left frustrated in the dark because the client would not respond back (like helllooo? I’m not a mindreader ???) Though on the bright side, it taught me that persistence and patience is a virtue. I have always been the kind of person who never bothered emailing someone twice because I found it rude. I always had more of the “they’ll get back to me soon” mindset. However, this semester has really taught me that double emails works! Funny story about that, actually. I sent an email to my client weeks ago and I was ghosted. I sent them the SAME email again and they responded back five minutes later! Talk about god tier persistence right there!!!

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 How can well-written public relations materials (press releases, feature stories, brochures, etc.) aid in building and/or maintaining positive relationships between the organization and the audience? Do the different writing styles of these pieces play a role in those relationships? 

Having well-written public relations material in general should be common sense. Comparing good grammar in a press release or a feature story is like wearing nice clothes to a job interview or proofreading a paper before turning it in to your professor. Pretty common sense, right? Not only does this represent the company you are writing for, but it also represents yourself and your credibility to your audience. People are more likely to trust a well written article than an article that has typos everywhere left and right. In today’s media, grammar and spelling mistakes can represent unprofessionalism and carelessness in work. Even if a press release or story is on a short deadline, it does not excuse poor work. If a piece of work is filled with misprints, it can be a huge distraction which can lead to confusion. 

Although press releases and feature stories should continue to maintain good grammar and no misspellings, they can vary in tone and structure. Press releases are more straight to the point with the 6 W’s and 1 H (Who, What, When, Why, Where and How) and a couple of key highlights, whether it’s a quote or something uniquely substantial that would make a press release stick out. However a feature story could make for a more relaxed and casual approach, it could even be described as a documentary in words.

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Describe an example of a particular organization that we discussed in class that you feel utilized social media in a productive, beneficial way with regard to positive public relations. Draw on discussions of current media events that you have previously blogged about to address this. 

The Get Well Soon, Lydia was a campaign done by Bradley University utilized great social media content to provide positive public relation content. This event was definitely something (and hopefully) will never happen again. Even though it was a pretty bad situation for our founder and her statue, Bradley decided to shed some light out of the unfortunate event and have fun with it. Not only did faculty, staff and students get involved on social media show off pictures of themselves with the Lydia statue but other organizations (like the Peoria Zoo and Illinois State) showed their creative “get well soon” support to Lydia during her recovery by taking pictures with their own statues holding signs with positive messages on them. This also ties back with Lydia being voted number one on the Groundbreaking Women in Illinois History. It shows that not only is Bradley University a well-respected university among faculty, staff and students but it shows that we take pride in our founder Lydia and Bradley would not be here today without her.

Blog 8: This goes to my homegirl, Lydia Moss Bradley

Lydia Moss Bradley was voted number one on the list of groundbreaking women in Illinois history. She beat Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey who are also significant Illinois natives. This is fantastic news for not only Lydia, but also Bradley University as a whole.

For an award this monumental, Bradley University should consider a campaign for its faculty, staff and students. A potential idea could be a week long month dedicated to the women of Bradley, whether its instructors, professors or a staff member. Any student would be able to submit an application for a woman on campus they feel are deserving for this award. This would make for great featured articles on Bradley’s website in addition to social media content and increase in publicity. It can tie back to Lydia by making the campaign known that Bradley would not be as successful without her dedication and the help from the current women of Bradley. The given award can be named after Lydia in honor of her work. 

Prior to making this campaign live is making sure this is something that would motivate people to participate in along with getting as much involvement as possible. Before anything happens, research should be done on Lydia whether that is going to the Peoria Historical Society or even researching old documents from Lydia to get a closer inside look on her history. Switching gears, a different type of research that could be done is seeing if a campaign like this has been done on campus in the past and seeing how successful it was. Another way is seeing if another university from another school has done something similar to this by seeing how it worked out of them in terms of success and how future campaigns could improve.

Strategies to bring this campaign to life would definitely be advertising on campus and making it a substantial event. Students will definitely show enthusiasm when it comes to nominations because this award could be a student’s way of saying thank you for their hard work. Different platforms would include Bradley’s website by featuring articles of interviews of people who have won the award along with posting on social media with what is going on with the month long event. At the end of the month / campaign, there can be a brunch or a dinner bringing everyone nominated together and talking about Lydia’s history (plus who doesn’t like free food?!)

 Lydia Moss Bradley supports Domestic Violence Awareness!

Lydia Moss Bradley supports Domestic Violence Awareness!

Blog 7: The Steamboat Classic

The Steamboat Classic has been a well known Central Illinois summer tradition for 45 years. This has been considered to be more than just a race. It draws in friendly faces from all around the Midwest region. It also is a community gathering that brings people closer together through friendly competition and the support by others.

Typically people find out about community events online, whether it’s through social media or on websites. The Steamboat Classic utilizes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, they are somewhat more on active Facebook more so due to their targeted demographics which is probably people in their late 20s to mid 60s. Even with Facebook being their most active platform, it still has weaknesses that can improve on. One weakness that stuck out was their messenger response times. They need to work on their promptness to direct messages as it shows a stronger credibility and willingness to help their audience. As a whole, this group is lacking content on each of their social media sites which does not make for good publicity. Understandably it can be difficult to develop content during the off-season, though it should not be a stopping factor altogether as there are many possibilities to keep the content rolling in.

One strong factor they have going is their website. It is easy to navigate, the color scheme is pleasing to the eye for viewers and it is also mobile friendly which is an added bonus! Though they really need to get on top of updating their website with the correct information keeping in consideration of those who are not from around the area or like to plan their running events ahead of time.

Incorporating a social media calendar would be an easy way for people to see at a quick glance what Steamboat holds for its community during the off-season times. It would also be a great way to gain publicity because both people and sponsors can share it to their pages with a click of a button. One thing they should include on their schedule for sure is their running practice program. Additionally giving their partners and sponsors some publicity by adding their events to the calendar would make for great content and make them happy.

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Blog 6: Putting the PR in PRofessional

Businesses today are beginning to combine public relations, marketing, communications and advertising to make one big department. As someone who has worked in the communications department for a substantially big credit union, these departments should work in unison to understand what can do for each other but ultimately should be separated. There are substantial differences between each department that divide the potential of uniting as a whole department. The activities, tactics, goals and audience each department holds are different from each other since communications focuses on positive media coverage whereas marketing and advertising seeks out what the customers want. Additionally, communications is seen as a long term investment with different various media outlets but marketing is more of a short term with the results being shown tangibly.

Standing out in the public relations field requires writing, listening, creativity and business savviness. To add on to this list, already having strong media relations from previous work experiences is an asset most companies look for. Already developed media relations with an individual shows credibility. This can also mean media outlets are more likely to pay attention to these established individual relationships increasing the likeliness of some sort of publicity.

Measuring PR campaigns can be tricky because there is not a tangible way of seeing results, like marketing. However, an ideal way would be seeing increased media publicity and increased website traffic.

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Blog 5: CLEVELAND WITH THE W!

Every NFL fan and their grandmothers knows that the Cleveland Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL for quite some time. The Browns have been on a 635-day losing streak which felt like it would never end. To add salt to the wound, Bud Light came up with a promotional campaign called the Victory Fridge that would automatically unlock a fridge full of Bud Light beers when the Browns won their first game. On September 20, football fans thought the world was coming to an end when the Browns overcame the impossible and snapped their 19-game winless streak against the New York Jets, 21-17 (what an embarrassment, Jets.)

This campaign was developed for Browns fans to have fun and something to look forward to during game day. It developed high publicity for both the Browns and Bud Light. It also formed an image that Bud Light associates themselves in the winner’s circle. However the negative outcomes formed was promoting binge drinking to their audience. It can also come off as a poor taunt that can lead to some backlash of people trying to break in to the cooler if the Browns never win. One improvement that could have been was promoting responsible driving. Bud Light could have developed a team with Uber or Lyft to promote safe driving.

The campaign does build beneficial relationships with their audience, especially with Browns fans. Bud Light also roots for the underdog, which is fantastic because most brand would rather associate themselves with teams who are likely to win.

I’m sorry I had WAY more typed out before technology deleted my text :-(

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Blog 4: Put an End to Vape Nation

Within the past few years, vaping and Juuls have became a social phenomenon with both high schoolers and college students. People often argue that vaping has benefits such as breaking away from cigarettes or that it is “healthier” than actual smoking. Another reason is that people use these products to boost their social image. Quite often you will see people at parties or bars taking out their vape or their Juul. The truth is, anything going into your lungs that is not supposed to be there is not healthy.

Just recently, the Food and Drug Association launched a campaign to discourage teens from vaping. It consists of posters and videos that show a parasite on teenager’s faces [Video here]. The FDA is on somewhat of a right path with content and design. They emphasized that vaping can lead to a slippery slope of poor health later in life because of the ingredients that are put into the liquid (such as glycerol and propylene glycol, just to name a couple). From a health standpoint, I find their method of going about this campaign inaccurate. The FDA is trying to get people to understand that this is becoming a widespread epidemic in teens and younger adults by using visual effects because when it comes to health, people typically do not make a lifestyle change unless they see a physical change. Though if we are being realistic, there isn’t an actual parasite growing in the body of those who vape.

I think this campaign will resonate with people short-term, but it will not have a long-term effect simply for the fact that the FDA made it unrealistic. I do believe there are better ways of going about this in terms of content and messaging. For example, CDC’s Anti-Smoking Ad campaign showed viewers real effects of people who have smoked cigarettes and those ads alone caused over 100,000 smokers to quit. It comes to show that realistic scare tactics are more efficient of properly getting the messaging out. Bringing it back to the FDA’s campaign, they could show real videos of people who suffer negative consequences of what vapes actually do. A man from Idaho had his vape explode in his face causing him to lose seven teeth and a second degree burn [Article here]. This could quite possibly be a better method for the FDA with both their messaging content and design.

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Blog 3: K9 Sport Sack

K9 Sport Sack is an amazing backpack that brings both humans and their pets close together. With this product, there is no more leaving your best friend behind on your adventures, bring them with you! You can take them on rides, hiking, shopping and even take them on a joy ride on a motorcycle!

Pairing up with another organization that focuses on animals (like a vet clinic or an animal shelter) would increase the positive reputation for the business. The organization I selected that would generate a great relationship with each other is Meadowbrook Veterinary Clinic. This veterinarian clinic would make a great match for K9 Sport Sack because the clinic’s mission statement says they use innovated talents and the latest technology to provide more comfort to animals they care for.

K9 Sport Sack has already developed a positive relationship with pet owners that are familiar with their products because they put emphasis that this backpack was meant to create a unique bond to bring owners and pets closer with each other. I think the veterinarian clinic could utilize this sack if the pet suffers severe arthritis or a terminal sickness and they are coming near the end of its life. Not only can this help the pet get fun outdoor time, but they also get to spend time with their owner.

An event these two organizations can form together is a pet hiking day in Julibee College State Park just right outside of Peoria, Illinois. This park is over 3,200 acres and it is great for hiking, hitting the trails, fishing and hunting. This backpack emphasizes activeness and being able to have a whole new experience with your pet riding on your back.

Examples of how K9 Sport Sack is used!

Blog 2: National Fried Rice Day!

Some exciting news for all those fried rice lovers out there! Benihana, top leading operator of Teppanyaki and Sushi Restaurants, declares Sept. 20 as National Fried Rice Day! From a public relations standpoint, this makes for awesome news for Benihana. Declaring a national holiday makes for news stories, increase traffic in businesses and so much more. With Benihana making this national holiday, he will not only keep his loyal customers but he also raises awareness and develop interest from other people outside his target audience. It also focuses on the philanthropy for such a great cause of helping out people in need.

This national holiday has so much potential of being a big hit, especially for huge fried rice fans. However, Benihana failed to mention any sort of social media presence for this holiday coming up.

One suggestion is making a Facebook event page for restaurants with noting of receiving a complimentary serving of their famous fried rice with a purchase of an entrée. This would for sure build up hype because like receiving free food or an incentive. Though the one thing I disagree on is only making this deal for an exciting holiday at select restaurants.

According to PR Newswire, "On National Fried Rice Day, September 20th, customers at select Benihana restaurants will receive a complimentary serving of the famous fried rice with the purchase of an entrée."

Nothing is more discouraging than making something only exclusive for specific stores. They should make it free to all restaurants just for one day. 

Another suggestion is making a Twitter post about it. The marketing team could have some fun with this by developing a 'meme-like' post or making some sort of light hearted joke out of it to catch more attention. The team could probably and more than likely make a pretty great meme about this holiday since the famous television series The Office had an episode featuring Benihana.

If you saw it was National Fried Rice Day, you would want to know more about it! I know I would.

Learn more about National Fried Rice Day

 

 One scene from  The Office  -  A Benihana Christmas  taken place at a Benihana restaurant.

One scene from The Office - A Benihana Christmas taken place at a Benihana restaurant.

Blog 1: Yikes, Chipotle...

The tone of Chipotle addressing the issue is appropriate for the problem because the company sounded like they are just as upset as the customers about the circumstance. Chipotle made it known that they take health safety seriously. They even have a dedicated FAQ page on their website for the situation. They mentioned a descriptive solution that will be implemented at all the locations to prevent this issue from happening again.

"Chipotle Field Leadership will be retraining all restaurant employees nationwide beginning next week on food safety and wellness protocols. To ensure consistent food safety execution, we will be adding to our daily food safety routines a recurring employee knowledge assessment of our rigorous food safety standards."

 Chipotle locations in a local area acknowledging to the public that they are holding a food safety meeting.

Chipotle locations in a local area acknowledging to the public that they are holding a food safety meeting.

An internal strength of Chipotle's issue statement is that they care for their customer's health and safety and that they take issues like this outbreak seriously. Chipotle took accountability for the problem and did not blame anyone else except themselves. In addition, their website with the information about the outbreak was transparent. They talked about what happened, further questions people may have (answering the 5 W's and the 1 H) and what they plan on doing for preventative measures. A weakness with this issue was that an outbreak similar to this current problem have happened in the past. Though looking further into several articles and news stories, the problem was truly never truly fixed. 

Lucky for me, I don't like Chipotle! :-)