By Meghan McDonald
The session “Get Your Head in the Game” focused on sports PR and was presented by Andrea Farmer, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at NCAA. She began her presentation with what the NCAA thinks is the most important goal, to make sure everything you do as an organization leads back to your vision, mission and principles. I believe that this is part of what makes the NCAA such a successful organization, being focused on the college athletes themselves.
She continued the presentation with breaking down the different communications departments within the company and what each department is responsible for. Despite there being different departments, all of the decisions taken throughout the company are data driven. Media/web analytics, public perception surveys, focus groups and relationship surveys are all used in decision making. All strategies are based off of this data. So be sure to pay attention during your research classes because an ability to read and interpret data is incredibly useful!
One of the main concerns of the NCAA is public perception. Due to the fact that it is such a large, widely-known organization, there are many misconceptions about the company. The main concept that the NCAA wants people to recognize is that 90% of their revenue comes from the television rights from March Madness. Then, the 90% of their revenue goes back out to conferences to fund their sports programs, especially for the less popular or less televised college sports that wouldn’t have as much funding.
Overall, I really enjoyed the presentation and I learned so much about sports PR and the NCAA as an organization. I now understand how large of a role research plays in the process of creating strategies and tactics. Nothing can even be started until the research has been taken and interpreted. Andrea Farmer was a great presenter and a wonderful spokesperson for NCAA.
Meghan McDonald is a junior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's secretary. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Alexia Castillo
Students gathered in for a session to listen to Myra Borshoff, APR and founder of Borfshoff, and Jen Dial, Global communications manager of Eli Lilly and Company.
Borshoff does public relations work and advertising for clients. Eli Lilly and Company is a global pharmaceutical company that is headquartered in downtown Indianapolis.
Myra has worked with the Indianapolis Colts, St. Francis Hospital and Eli Lilly and Company. She began her career by starting up her own agency in 1984, representing a law firm in Indianapolis. She spoke about a client that pushed her into wanting to get into crisis communications.
Myra said, “One day I received a phone call at 6 a.m. about one of the senior partners at a law firm being killed by a male prostitute. I felt challenged and was interested in that type of communication by how unexpected all this can be.”
Myra’s definition of a crisis is when it disrupts the organization to the extent that does not allow them to proceed through their normal work duties. It is something that keeps the CEO awake at night.
Her advice on what to do in a crisis as a PR professional: Stay calm, do not get caught up in drama and get the facts. It is vital to do search for the company if there have been any other incidents in which they have been previously involved and make sure there is an official spokesperson that is prepared to be transparent while speaking to the media.
Myra said, “Don’t try to divert attention to someone else in crisis, approach the issue with a statement immediately, otherwise it will backfire and another story will pop up.”
When talking about employees, she said you, as the insider, are expected to know what’s going on at all times. You need to have an offside destination for the media to come depending on how severe the crisis is.
Jen Dial has had a different take on crisis communication. She said when it comes to dealing with patients and the media, you need to keep patients privacy in mind when sharing their status, but also needing to be quick to address the public.
Jen said, “The first time you say no comment to the media, the media will stick around longer.”
It is important to determine when the appropriate time to say nothing, saying something doesn’t always correct the problem efficiently.
Jen has three A’s she lives by in regards to crisis communication: Acknowledge the problem right away, apologize to the public and take action.
The way one reacts to a crisis is important because the spokesperson is speaking on behalf of an organization and company. Dial and Borshoff served as mentors for PR students during this session on how to react when a crisis hits.
Alexia Castillo is a junior communication studies major at Kent State. Contact her at email@example.com.
By Holly Disch
Not making or conducting primarily to make a profit.
As a PR student, you can go into so many career directions: corporate, agency, non-profit or anything else you can dream of.Though, with student loans and cost of living in 2016, it’s hard to imagine not being compensated for all your hard work; this is an assumption by many about working in non-profits.
So, what profit is in non-profits? #PRKent was able to learn all about the industry at this past week’s PRSSA National Conference from Shedd Aquarium’s director of communications and public relations, Nicole Minadeo.
The Shedd Aquarium is a non-profit organization that is funded by 76% earned revenue, 17% donations and 7% the Chicago Park District. As the director, Nicole’s job is to create a relationship with donors, along with the day-to-day communications duties, including the campaign highlighting the rescue & rehabilitation center at Shedd. Beginning with a baby otter washed up on a west coast shore, the PR team began to tell the story of how Shedd’s rescue and rehabilitation changed the otter’s life.
This was one of Nicole’s many examples to show the reward of non-profit communications. She explained how telling the world of a meaningful cause could be the one of most rewarding experiences. Her day in the life of a non-profit was explained in this short list:
If you are the type of person who wants to change the world, and tell a meaningful story, non-profit is the career route to take. Nicole made it clear that the true reward and profit isn’t in the salary, but the experiences you create for the world to see.
Holly Disch is a junior public relations major at Kent State. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Holli Phillips
So, you think that you have the greatest resume and cover letter, right? And that resume is going to land you your dream job because you’ve worked so hard with school, internships and have been involved a lot on campus? What if I told you that you were wrong? The beautiful resume you have put so much time and effort into creating could be spiced up a little bit says Danny Rubin, author of “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?”
Rubin spoke at the PRSSA National Conference because he is full of advice for Millennials. During his session, “How to Write a Killer Job Application”, he gave us great advice on how to write a job application that stands out to employers. There are three main points that fall under spicin’ up your application:
1. QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY.
Rubin says people are often vague in their resumes and cover letters. Avoid using words such as: large, big, etc. BE SPECIFIC and give real numbers, you want to make it seem like no one else has your track of success. This will make you stand out to employers because you show how much you can really handle.
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Crush their expectations
Make sure when you are emailing companies, you have previously done research on them. You want the email to seem personalized, showing that you are truly interested in the company itself. Research their blogs, press releases and current issues; you can include some of this information in your cover letter and this research will come in handy when you land that interview. Research is a compliment to a company; it makes them feel as if they are special to you. This will make the company gain interest in you.
3. THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF A “STORYTELLING” COVER LETTER.
Rubin said, “Learn to tell your story, and doors will open.” Stories are like magic, they paint a picture for the employer and show how creative you can be. Don’t start with “Hi, my name is…” create something original, something that will make them remember you. Write a story about a difficult situation you overcame; include the problem, the process of fixing it, and the solution. Rubin says that from now on, your cover letter will be 10x better than any other applicants.
These three points will help you stand out to future employers. Now you can land that dream job if you utilize this information. Rubin says employers “Hire character, train skill,” so start telling your story.
Holli Phillips is a sophomore public relations major at Kent State. Contact her at email@example.com.
By Natalie Meek
One of the sessions at PRSSA National Conference was a Q&A between PR professionals Deirdre Breckenridge, from Pure Performance Communications and Taylor Ray, Orsbon from Geben Communications.During this conversation, these women took turns asking each other about their experiences and the advice they had for the students in the audience. Below is a recap of their insightful questions and responses.
Why do you do what you do?
Deirdre explained to us that she wanted to help solve any issues and find new ways of putting people together by bridging the gaps in the relationships of businesses. She said, “I love the challenge of being in the business as a problem solver. What comes out of these relationships is a type of collaboration that can have amazing effects.”
What kinds of things do you do to build relationships?
This question was also answered by Deirdre, who said that you have to start with listening. People come with preconceived notions, all you need to do is to put your agenda aside to listen and hear about other people along with what they have to say about their business and ideas. You can then take your original questions and ask them in a better way that is specific to their company. Some relationships are gonna come and go, no doubt about it, but by starting online with “Hello” can be a kick start to a powerful partnership. She said, “In the beginning of a relationship, you’re going to give a lot. But if you take the time, boy does that come back. The universe always speaks back to you. You do that with friends and peers, with the media, with bloggers, and with customers. That’s my best approach.”
What advice would you give to professionals that want to start their own business?
Taylor explained the importance of having a strong support system of friends, family and advisors to seek counsel when you need it. She said that you should always reach out to people you look up to. “Building a strong support system will help you through the tough times and help you celebrate the good times. There is going to be failure. Find the opportunity and positives in the stuff that doesn’t go right.” She told us how at Geben Communications they have a series of principles that they use within the company and the public. These principles are the core values of all their services and business. Her favorite saying is embrace the crazy. When a situation gets tough don’t fight it- embrace it!
What are the characteristics of the entrepreneur and what are things that you’ve learned from having to build up?
Taylor said that entrepreneurs are people who are natural self starters. Starting a business requires initiative, positivity and the ability to take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity. Entrepreneurs want to make an impact in the world around them--they want to leave their footprint and they aren’t afraid of failure. Deirdre agreed, saying,“You can’t teach passion, and you also have to believe in yourself. Innovation and vision are also always important. Think big.” Taylor explained that through building up Geben Communications, she learned to share her ideas with others. “What you know on day one is going to be very different hate what you know on day 30,” she explains. Everyone will handle problems differently, and change is unavoidable. It’s incredibly important to be prepared to change the ways in which you do things on a constant basis. It’s okay to celebrate the little moments and take challenges head on. Balance your work and your life. If you don’t have balance then you won’t be your best self, nor as efficient and present. She says that she has learned to take time for herself, to balance her work and social life. From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. she turns her phone off, saying that it gives her peace and it lets her brain heal. Deirdre pointed out how she has learned the importance of keeping her family around her. She said that her daughter grew up in her agency because she didn’t want to send her to a neighbor or a babysitter. She has been able to integrate her family into her business life.
What energizes you?
Deirdre told us how she has so much adrenaline running through her. “I wake up everyday in my home office, and I get to see my family. That starts my energy.” She explained that whether it be teaching, consulting, book writing or speaking, you have to rely on the fact that you’re going to build relationships all the time. Those people that you meet- you will feed off of them. They’re learning, and she’s learning--education powers everyone.
What’s a bad position that you often see entrepreneurs put themselves in?
Taylor told us that it is so important to build your product and service first. Some people are too focused on marketing and branding right away. You can’t always focus on what the product is going to be in the future. Deirdre agreed saying that they always think they need to start with marketing and promotion.. It’s in your product and not the sale.
Overall, this session was incredibly helpful and engaging!
Natalie Meek is a freshman public relations major at Kent State. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.