by Hanna Moore
At PRSSA National Conference this year, I was happy to learn more about public relations in the restaurant industry at Who’s Coming to Dinner: Restaurant PR from Linda Roth, founder and president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. In addition, Roth is also a publicist and writes for Food Service Monthly’s “latest dish” column.
Linda Roth’s background
Roth began the session by speaking about her experience in the restaurant and hotel industry. Her first job was in a disco, where she wrote its newsletter and learned about promotion, community relationships and working with the media. Her experience at the disco led her to working for Champions restaurants and sports bars to translate its restaurant-bar concept into a program that could multiply across the country. Roth stressed the importance of including all relevant experience on your resume, even if it does not seem important — like organizing events for a fraternity or sorority.
“Every single part of it is reflective,” Roth said.
Is restaurant PR for you?
“If you can tell me every TV show that is on Friday nights, we’re probably not going to hire you,” Roth said. People who work in the restaurant PR industry like to go out on the weekends and would rather go out to bars, clubs and restaurants than stay in.
Campaigns Roth has worked on
Roth’s typical week
“If I had a typical day, it would be two days in the year that are the same,” Roth said. Working in an agency has not calmed down too much, but it is manageable because she has enough people to work with her to be her support team.
Del Frisco’s CityCenter DC opening launch:
This restaurant opening fell at the same time as many other high-end restaurants. Roth developed a press kit made up of press releases, fact sheets, bios and headshots, menus and photos/renderings of food to distribute to media contacts. She used social media, as well as traditional media, to promote the event. The social media posts were planned one month in advance and were then given to corporate to post. Roth said that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the area and in the world because you can’t keep content flowing without addressing what happens in the the world.
The first step in planning an opening party is to establish a budget because not all restaurants will want a big party. Then, research to find a core group of other restaurants in the area. Reach out to local officials and ask the mayor or another well-known personality to cut the ribbon. Send out invitations. Send out a media alert to highlight any personalities who will attend. The number one thing after the event is over is to collect the press clips.
“We have to be the first to get the press clip to the client,” Roth said. “If we’re not the ones that send them the clip, they think we had nothing to do with it.”
I found this session interesting and very informative. Prior to it, I had not learned very much about the restaurant PR industry, but I was instantly intrigued once I saw it on the schedule. Even though I don’t think I will pursue a career in this sector of public relations, I still enjoyed hearing from a professional about her work in the industry.
So this is it.
This is what it feels like to leave something you love behind and start a new chapter. Joining PRSSA Kent, in November 2011, was my first love here at Kent State University, and I hope it has been or will be soon for you too.
I volunteered for tons of activities my freshman year. At the time, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my involvement. I just wanted to help, make friends and find out if the practice of public relations was something I could really love. A former PRSSA Kent officer reached out to me and promised that the more I stayed involved, the more I'll grow to love it. Turns out, she was right.
I had to learn about PRSSA very quickly, but getting involved early truly helped me understand its purpose and influence on a local and national scale. Our Chapter is not a club, it's a pre-professional organization designed to help you achieve success in your career and to be your close network of major-related peers. Without this group of resources and close-knit friends, I would have never had this sense of appreciation, love and pride for PRSSA Kent.
Witnessing our Chapter earn the Dr. F.H. Teahan Award for Outstanding Chapter, the highest honor that can be received on a national level, at the 2014 PRSSA National Conference was the perfect ending to my college career. It validated the sweat and tears that went into our Chapter's efforts in the last three and a half years paid off. It's truly been amazing.
And so, I leave you here with this. With Thanksgiving coming around the corner, I hope that you are thankful for being a member with PRSSA Kent. I know I am. PRSSA Kent made me confident, experienced, loved, and appreciated, as well as shaped me into a strong leader. But most of all, it introduced me to my "bffs" for life. Cherish those three to four years with us because it's going to go by fast.
With love and best of luck,
by Anna Lemmon
During the PRSSA 2014 National Conference, I attended a session called "Around the World and Back: International PR," a panel discussion led by John Trybus from the British Embassy. The panel featured Liselle Yorke from the Grameen Foundation, Amber Kahn from Women for Women International and Laura Rusu from Oxfam America. During the panel discussion, John asked the women many different questions, but here I will share a few of my favorite topics and responses.
One of the first questions John asked was “What international issue is most pressing right now?” The responses given showed a lot about each woman and her beliefs, which was a great way to start off the session.
Amber said she believes the consequences of a crisis, whether it is Ebola or the rise of a conflict at the hands of a group like ISIS, are often the biggest for communities who are least equipped and able to handle these crises.
Laura believes that inequality – from income to race, age and gender – is a very challenging situation. She said, “The poorest people are on the front lines of these issues,” though it is typically the higher classes who are at fault.
Liselle said lack of access and information to healthcare was the most pressing issue. She said it affects so many other things in our society by a domino effect – communities can’t go to work and produce income, which creates an income gap and then affects regions on larger scales.
The panel had great PR career advice. Amber emphasized you must be trustworthy and have a credible fountain of knowledge. Laura said you must be able to quickly boil down complicated topics. Liselle said to be a storyteller and be able to cater to different audiences.
Next the women gave advice for international PR. While all women agreed students should study abroad, Liselle recognized that it’s not in everyone’s budget. She suggested you can still be culturally competent by listening and being aware. Whether domestic or abroad, you need to write well and clearly, be able to translate what you see into a story that your audience can understand and definitely be flexible in time zones. Laura said you need to have a hunger for knowledge and try to travel as much as possible and get as many internships as you can.
Amber made some final great points about international PR. She said while we are comfortable in our spheres of community, there are many different cultures and traditions just within our own country. It is important to see what others bring to the table. There are businesses and markets trying to open up around the world, and building global connectivity brings opportunities to apply your skills.
by Rachel Gill
There are three very important factors young professionals should take into account when deciding which path is best for them for their public relations career: location, personality and agency vs. corporate.
In the session “Choosing Your Path: Agency or In-House PR” at the PRSSA National Conference, IBM Digital Experience Manager Brandi Boatner and Taylor Account Supervisor Ryan McShane lead a professional development session about the best way to choose your career path.
Both of them outlined benefits of working in both sectors of the industry.
“The three main benefits of agency public relations are a diversity of clients, a diversity of work experience and a diversity of colleagues,” McShane said.
From the other perspective, Boatner said the major work she accomplished in corporate public relations included researching how the corporation generated revenue, identifying companies that were globally known and companies that had high consumer brand loyalties.
However, both speakers agreed on a few main factors when deciding which path to take. Keeping your options open is key when looking for that first job, but you should also be specific about what you want to do. You should never limit yourself to just agency or corporate when you first start looking for employment opportunities. When choosing the right path, it is important that you remember who you know and what you ultimately want to do.
“Don’t look for a company or agency where you think you’ll fit in,” Boatner said. “Look for a company or agency you think would fit you.”
by Elline Concepcion
Mastering the best marketing strategies is extremely valuable to the retail market. Retail used to be run by the sellers and what they chose to sell to the consumer, but that has all changed. Shoppers have become more intelligent and demanding to the trends and what they want to see in stores. It has become more difficult to stand out in the retail world, but Neiman Marcus has done amazingly in giving its shoppers the ultimate experience.
Along with the changing market, media is playing a huge role in promotion for retailers. Through different media channels such as magazines, newspapers, fashion websites, social networks and fashion blogs, retailers have a huge platform to reach their audience. Neiman Marcus also emphasizes the power of interactive platforms and the different messages that can be promoted through different media.
Neiman Marcus went a step further and created The Christmas Book. The Christmas Book is a huge magazine Neiman Marcus releases every Christmas season that showcases their products and great gift ideas. The Christmas Book is something Neiman Marcus customers enjoy and look forward too every year, and it is an amazing way to keep the store interesting. The Christmas Book makes Neiman Marcus stand out compared to competitors.
Another important part of the Neiman Marcus experience is they give all their associates iPhones that allow them to lookup any product for customers. Neiman Marcus prides itself on training its employees to be “the best brand ambassadors” and creating the right environment, which is key in the customer experience.