by Alyse Rohloff
Can you imagine sitting second row in a fashion show at New York Fashion Week and being in the same room as former Glee star, Naya Rivera? Well believe it or not, these things actually happened to me. Last week, my dreams came true when I was given the opportunity to volunteer with a fashion PR firm in New York City for New York Fashion Week. I worked with Agentry PR for the Claudia Li and Rubin Singer presentations and the Nicholas K and Christian Siriano shows. My duties were basically to hand out programs and help seat guests, nothing challenging. The best part was after all the guests had their seats, the volunteers were able to sit in any open seat, meaning I got to sit second row!
I couldn’t believe that I was actually at New York at Fashion Week because it had been a dream of mine for so long. But to be honest, I was terrified. I was going to New York alone to work with people I had never met before. I was scared about learning how to use the subways, what people would think about my outfits and if I would make any friends. But going alone and doing my own thing was one of the best choices I could have ever made. I proved to myself that I don’t need someone to hold my hand. I went to fashion shows, surfed the subway, made new friends and I did it by myself.
Overall, going to NYFW was one of the best experiences of my life. It made me excited to go back to New York in the summer for an internship and even more excited to (hopefully) live there someday. It also showed me what fashion PR is like and a small glimpse of what my future career will look like. It also showed me that I am strong enough to do my own thing and make the best of it. I would strongly recommend anyone that is interested in working in fashion PR in the future to volunteer for NYFW and get your foot in the door.
By Julianne Calapa
Spending the money to go to PRSSA National Conference is undoubtedly daunting, especially for someone like me who overthinks anything and everything. It’s scary to commit to spending the $500+ when you don’t know if you’ll be reimbursed the full amount, which is dependent on the funds raised by Homecoming Auction, YouToo, etc.
But I’m here to tell you the truth: Go.
While there are definitely more than 10 reasons to go, I’m going to highlight the important ones:
You get to spend five days in a city that isn’t Kent: I know, this is reason enough to go. When I went to PRSSA National Conference in 2015, we spent a lot of time wandering around Atlanta during our off time, which made me fall in love with the city. Now I find myself yearning to go back!
Money will come and go in your life, but the memories and experiences you gain from PRSSA National Conference will stick around forever. Try not to dwell on the finances too much. Plus, you’re bound to get reimbursed for most of the money you spend because of the hard work everyone puts in at the fundraising events.
Take it from me: You’ll be happy you went.
By Brenna Parker
Presented by Dan Balser, Advertising Department Head for The Creative Circus
Pippa Seichrist, Co-Founder, Head of Innovation and Development, Miami Ad School; Director, Portfolio Center
At the “How Your Portfolio Gets You Hired” session at the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta ‘the portfolio’ was on the main stage. This session talked about how public relations specialists could use their portfolio to get into a creative department in an agency. Gone are the days where your resume, cover letter and grade point average landed you the job. Today public relations professionals need to excel in crafting the perfect personal brand by online networking and using social media.
“Your portfolio and your personality get’s you hired.” -- Dan Balser, Advertising Department Head for The Creative Circus
Portfolios on sites like Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress allow you to customize your site by creating simple pages with galleries and blogs. One unique takeaway from this session was that your resume and cover letter should be written with your best friend in mind. Resumes should include awards and social media icons for employers to easily identify you online. The panelists even recommended having social media accounts that are solely tailored to your interests: food, fashion or travel.
One question brought up by a student was “how do I show my case study and campaign books online?” Pippa Seichrist, Co-Founder, Head of Innovation and Development at the Miami Ad School, showed a video approach by showing a video done by Miami Ad students for the Vitamin Water #MakeBoringBrilliant campaign. The quirky video featured talking animals that spoke about the results of the campaign. The company read tweets that included #boring and replied with comedic images that correlated with the customers tweet. The end of the video, which ran like cinematic credits of a film, showed the results of the campaign. The campaign received recognition from Twitter for being “best in class” for a social campaign, it sent one million customers to the site and created over one thousand unique pieces of content for the campaign.
Vitamin Water - #MakeBoringBrilliant
One example of a personal website well made is, Kent State alum Isaac Versaw. Versaw, who majored in advertising and visual communication design, created a personal website for his unique portfolio. At Communications Connection in October Versaw said he used Squarespace to house his personal portfolio which includes passion project “Rap, Paper, Scissors,” a collection of hand cut paper illustrations of classic hip-hop artists in the form of GIFS.
Another element to consider adding to your personal portfolio is a side project. Balser and Seichrist both talked about the importance a side project can have when trying to stand out against other job candidates. One example shown was a side project a female student at Miami Ad School did in which she photographed every man that cat called her on the street. The photo series was picked up by the Huffington Post. These side projects speak to employers because they show your unique interests and point out that nobody asked you to do this.
Whether it’s an ongoing photo story or self-published ‘zine’ students can now produce their own content on their own terms. Publishing online is also a cost-effective way for students to self-promote. Projects can be tailored to specific interests and hobbies that can be shown in interviews for internships and jobs. What is great about having a side project is that it allows you to demonstrate an interest in a specific style or genre of work you want to work in or gain experience in. They show employers that you are creative, but also motivated to try something new. College students have a lot more free time then they may think, a couple minutes a week dedicated to creating new content may pay off in the long run.
We communicate on an online global spectrum where each keystroke and post is recorded and watched by people in walks of life. For creative public relations professionals the work and projects that we create for a portfolio need to be shared online on personal websites. Side projects allow for experimentation and improvement with new work. By having a side project it can add to a portfolio and professional development.
What makes you stand out against all the rest?
Tips when building your digital portfolio
· Keep your name dominant and identify your discipline.
· Highlight projects on your resume
· Keep your ‘about me’ concise, yet interesting.
Keep The Meter Running
By Brenna Parker
American pop culture is often defined by what we consume. And for many women we have grown up with Barbara Millicent Roberts. In many ways Barbie is an introduction to womanhood. She has played a role in how young girls (and boys) view femininity and gender. Her many career choices from a UNICEF Summit diplomat to a Baywatch lifeguard, have shown that women can become any profession they so chose. Although, Barbie has changed with the times by reflecting changing social norms, she in herself has become a stereotype.
Mattel, Barbie's parent company, has fiercely protected her image and brand over the past 57 years, but Mattel decided they could no longer ignore their number one customer: millennial parents. In an attempt to save America’s golden “it” girl the brand launched an internal campaign to make Barbie more relevant. The result was three different body types: tall, petite and curvy.
In a recent interview with TIME magazine, Barbie General Manager Evelyn Mazzocco, said millennial parents are more concerned about what brands signify within their household. Barbie for many young girls represents the “ideal body type” that so many look to achieve. Mattel felt as though consumers on social media painted Barbie as an out-of-touch product that consumers did not relate with.
Mattel shifted its focus to try to rework the company’s social responsibility to young consumers. As a result, Mattel spent two years on the secret “Project Dawn” campaign to adjust the brands relationship with Barbie and the public.
Some of the criticism Barbie faced from consumers on social media was that she did not reflect the multicultural environment that her audience plays with. Barbie’s Senior Designer of Design Robert Best said that Barbie’s hair is the most significant part about the doll. Some of the dolls the company plans on releasing feature different textures of hair, multicolored hair and even some dolls with half-shaven heads.
Mattel hit a strong mark by listening to their consumers. Their struggle was not with young girls, but with parents (particularly with moms) who have questioned the role Barbie has played in their lives and now in the lives of their daughters. It is unfortunate that the company waited 57 years to address the root of the issue that not all women are built the same.
By Marcus Donaldson
“Stay on message.” This is the advice of nearly any public relations professional in media relations. What is the message, though? I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The city’s own Debbie Wetherhead presented a professional development session on media training and delivering compelling messages. Wetherhead broke down her strategy for message development in five steps.
Step 1: Set the agenda. Determine who will be talking and what about.
Step 2: Develop key messages. What are we here to discuss? During this step, we tailor our messages to fit our established agenda.
Step 3: Find support. Here is where Wetherhead says communications professionals should back our key messages. Do research to give your messages a structured foundation.
Step 4: Prepare for Q&A. Think like a reporter and anticipate questions to prepare your trainee.
Step 5: Solidify a closing statement. In general your trainee should speak in sound bites, but the closing should be memorable, as well.
These are Wetherhead’s five step steps to crafting compelling messages. I look forward to using these steps to, hopefully, develop messages for PRSSA Kent’s future media training clients. Does your organization use these or similar formulas for media training message development? Share your thoughts below.