By Victoria Manenti
I recently came across an article on the Vanity Fair website about Sacai, a growing fashion brand, that does not place a strong emphasis on celebrity endorsement in its brand strategy. The article caught my attention because I think this strategy differs from what so many other brands are doing today. Sacai seeks to tap into its target audiences in the most intimate and genuine way possible. In other words, Sacai places strong emphasis on creating a “mini-army” of Sacai-wearing women in all shapes and sizes. The brand believes a word-of-mouth strategy among its most loyal consumers is the strongest way to expand its popularity.
“It’s not so much about celebrity dressing, but it’s actually about women referring the clothing to other women,” Chitose Abe, Sacai’s designer, says in the article.
I believe this is something more retail brands should be thinking about when trying to reach their customers. As stated in the article, so many retail brands rely on the use of celebrities to promote their clothing through advertisements, social media and highly publicized events. However, more and more customers are looking for brands that speak to them from a more real and authentic voice. When conducting research during my summer internship, I discovered that consumers, especially college-aged millennials, want brands to create messaging that doesn’t feel like an advertisement. These consumers also want to see average, everyday individuals featured in campaigns, rather than celebrities or models. The research may suggest that younger consumers are becoming more media literate and savvy when it comes to advertising, as well as public relations. Celebrity endorsements may not be resonating with these younger audiences as successfully as they were before. In my opinion, many brands must be more innovative than relying on celebrity endorsements to break though today’s information clutter. Brands must sustain a close relationship with its most loyal consumer base. These loyal consumers can become a brand’s most active promotional tool though customer-centric ambassador programs, advertisements and public relations campaigns.
Below, I’ve highlighted other brands that I believe are doing a successful job connecting to audiences without the use of celebrity endorsement.
Apple’s Shot on iPhone Campaign: The brand uses authentic, unedited imagery and video footage captured by its consumers directly in Apple advertising pieces.
Starbucks’ Holiday Red Cup Campaign: To celebrate this year's holiday season, Starbucks opted to use designs on its cups created by its artistic customer base to express the "shared spirit of the holidays."
Victoria’s Secret PINK’s Campus Representative Program: PINK leverages everyday college women to promote its products on campus through its successful brand ambassador program. The brand also uses content curated by the Campus Reps on PINK's official social media accounts.
Each of these brands does an effective job making its customers feel like a close part of its story and overall mission. Rather than using a celebrity endorsement, these brands allow everyday consumers to sell its brand message and newest products, creating powerful "mini-armies."
What are your thoughts on brands relying on celebrity endorsements? Do you think this strategy is as powerful as it used to be for retail companies? Let me know your thoughts below.
Victoria Manenti is a senior public relations major at Kent State. Contact her at email@example.com.
*This blog post was originally shared on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/celebrity-problem-victoria-manenti?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST
By Brittney Prather
Some people know it as New York City or as the Big Apple, but I know it as the amazing city that drained my bank account. Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about interning in NYC this past summer, but when applying to intern in another city other than your own there are a couple things you might want to consider.
Number one, living. If you are not content with living on the street to save money, you will most definitely need to set aside the larger portion of your money towards this if you don’t have family or friends that you are going to be staying with. For me, I stayed at the NYU dorms and although centrally located and a great place to live, it was over $400 a week...now let’s just say you are going to be interning for 2 or 3 months, that adds up. This does not even cover expenses for food and miscellaneous activities.
This brings me to number two, although you might think that you are good at saving money, this almost becomes an impossible task when you are surrounded by shopping central and even the most addicting thrift stores you will ever come across. You might be different, but for me there was always some way that I would justify my purchases. For example, I have had millions of milkshakes in my life and when I found out a place named Black Tap was known for having “unique” looking ones, I decided to pay $15 for a shake. It was delicious, but I can’t say it was the best shake of my life nor did leprechauns who would grant me three wishes come popping out of the straw. Also, most of your purchases will become motivated by how many ‘likes’ you’ll get on Instagram more than the actual enjoyment of the product….guilty. Speaking of milkshakes, FOOD is what is going to get you. If you are a big foodie and like to try new things, then beware. In most big cities, the prices are more expensive, but the struggle is real when you are paying for multiple $15 meals each day, it truly does add up and will suck the money right out of your pockets (or purse).
As for three, be open to new experiences and new people. Unless you grew up in the city that you are interning, chances are that you are not going to know too many people so really try and push yourself out of your comfort zone, especially within the first couple weeks . Luckily for me, I was additionally taking Kent State Classes in the fashion studio with other students, but even then I wasn’t extremely close with any of them until I pushed myself to hang out with them outside of class along with people I met in my dorms. Even if you don’t like the Bachelor or Bachelorette, go to the watch parties or throw one of your own because chances are, there’s someone who is obsessed or says they hate the show, but still continues to watch it.
Lastly, be careful! Although New York is bigger than most cities, you need to be cautious anywhere you go. If you are a girl, carry pepper spray with you at all times and ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. I am very cautious for the most part, but even that won’t make up for the high levels of sketchy that you come across at all times of the day, especially at night time. If you can, try not to ride the train at night by yourself and if you are, pretend like you are listening to music or try to stay on the phone with someone. Also, when going out to the bars and or clubs, please make sure to go with people who you know will look out for you, this is extremely important.
Overall, interning in New York City was a life-changing experience. The company I worked for was Agentry PR, which is a Fashion Public Relations company. There were several tasks that they had us do each day that we would come in and were very connected with Fashion Week so the interns got to go and work closely with the different shows. If you plan on interning in another city other than your own, consider the tips I gave above, and most of all, HAVE FUN! This is an experience that I will never get again, learn from your experience and really try to take the most out of your internship. Make connections and obviously add it to your resume and LinkedIn. Good luck!
Brittney Prather is a junior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's vice president of Membership. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Daniel Henderson
Last weekend, fifteen PRSSA Kent members loaded up their cars and departed for Indianapolis. This year's annual PRSSA National Conference, "The Crossroads of public relations," offered a lot for students to think about and bring back to their classes here in Kent. Friday morning was filled with agency tours, where students got a firsthand look at the PR activities of companies like Eli Lilly, Hiron, NCAA, and more. Resume critiques were offered, and our fellow PRSSA Chapters from Drake University, Ohio University, Eastern Michigan, and Rowan University presented on topics ranging from how to effectively manage a student run firm, to how to be a great PRSSA leader. Saturday and Sunday provided students the opportunity to learn from PR professionals at the center of the industry right now.
These sessions were in depth analyses of different PR fields, and how we can prepare for a successful future in public relations. More specifics on the rich content form these sessions will be covered in detail on PRSSA Kent's blog from the students who attended them. PRSA, our parent organization, held their annual national conference right next door and offered general sessions for PRSSA students to attend and hear inspirational presentations from keynote speakers. Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, reminded us the power PR professional's hold to affect worldwide global change for good, and how effective and targeted communication about the world’s problems helps spark to solutions to those problems. Following Kayongo, United States Astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space, spoke about his time in space and how communication and PR pros are needed to help keep the public invested in projects that will redefine humanities place in the universe. Monday morning was another PRSA general session from Theresa Payton, former Chief Information Officer for the White House and President of Fortalice Solutions. Payton's expertise on cyber security gave everyone pause about how safe our information actually is in the age of social media, and how often we put ourselves at risk. Mark Emmert sat down for a live interview about the NCAA following Payton's presentation, and gave interesting insight into the workings of the NCAA and how it handles the PR problems that arise from having 19,000 teams operating within your brand.
PRSSA Kent left conference with its fair share of recognition for successes over the last year. Hanna Moore and Brenna Parker with both recognized as recipients of the Presidential Citation and the immediate past president Gabrielle Woodard was awarded the Golden Key award. PRSSA Kent as an organization received the Teahan award for its efforts in diversity. Overall a successful trip to the crossroads of America for our members, and we look forward to next year’s annual conference in Boston.
Daniel Henderson is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's treasurer. Contact him at email@example.com.
Fifteen of our members attended PRSSA National Conference this fall, which was a great career opportunity filled with networking and professional development sessions. We had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers who have had success in the public relations and communications field.
Below are the session recap blogs written by our members:
Special Session: Become the Intern Guru
Where are They Now?
Conversation With Warner Bros. Television Publicity
Knowing What to Say: A Guide to Political Public Relations Recap
Engaging your Internal Audience
Get Your Head in the Game
Crisis in the Crossroads
The Profit of Non-profit PR
Three Ways to Spice Up Your Job Application
Start Up Smart
Why #ItsGoodToBeAGirl: You can never have enough Vera Bradley!
Work It: Fashion Public Relations
Once Upon A Time: A Guide to Storytelling
For more information about PRSSA National Conference, visit http://prssa.prsa.org/events/Conference/.
By Alyse Rohloff
Break out your business cards, resume and positive attitudes for Communications Connection 2016! What is Communications Connections you ask? CommConn is a networking event co-hosted by PRSSA Kent and Franklin Advertising for students to connect with professionals from the Northeast Ohio area. You’ll walk out of this event with tips on building relationships with professionals, information on the newest internships and tons of new connections! In case that wasn’t enough, here are a couple reasons you should come to CommConn 2016.
This has to be an obvious reason, but it’s definitely one the most important reasons for you to come to CommConn. There will be 12+ professionals from the Northeast Ohio area for you to connect with at CommConn. That’s 12+ possibilities at an internship or future job, all in the comfort of Franklin Hall. Not to mention all of the other students to connect with. Your LinkedIn is going to love you!
Building Your Personal Brand
Do you feel like your resume is lacking? Not sure if you should have business cards? Have you even thought about an elevator pitch? CommConn is the perfect event to help with all of these. Professionals will be giving you their advice on networking and personal brands through open discussions.
No, this isn’t a joke. All PRSSA and Franklin Ad members will be allowed into the event for free. All non-members will have to pay a small fee of $5. Professionals, headshots, resume critiques and food for basically nothing!
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s totally fine to be scared about networking! Talking to professionals in the form of round table discussions takes the pressure off and makes you more comfortable. This makes it easy for you to practice that elevator pitch. And if you mess up? Not a problem, there will be a ton of professionals for you to perfect it on.
Alyse Rohloff is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's Intercampus Liaison. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.