By: Lauren Garczynski
In 2006, the ‘me too’ movement was founded to give hope and support to survivors of sexual assault. However late last year, the viral #MeToo hashtag emerged and generated both a national and global conversation about sexual violence, methods to combat assault and support survivors and how to introduce systemic change. As the world has witnessed, no profession nor person is immune to falling victim, however, as one of the sessions I attended at conference discussed, there are ways to promote measures in an organization to help combat and prevent this worldwide travesty in the workplace.
The session, #MeToo and Other Smoldering Crises, was led by Deborah Hileman, President and CEO of the Institute for Crisis Management, which operates to assist and guide organizations through preventing and mitigating crises. The session dove into the numbers and statistics behind #MeToo regarding organizations, as well as how #MeToo has impacted organizations from the inside and outside.
On a personal note, while I found the session to be informative and the statistics to be alarming as well as imperative, at times I thought the points discussed by Hileman almost teetered on viewing #MeToo as a problem organizations need to fix, rather than the problem of sexual violence and sexual assault in the workplace. I think Hileman had thought provoking research and data, but the way she presented and framed her information almost made me uncomfortable, as if PR practitioners need to work against #MeToo rather than combat the and work against the individuals who have perpetrated the reasons for the necessity of #MeToo.
By: Katie Pavlick
In this session, Jason Mollica discussed the importance of personal branding in his session titled “#CEOofYou2 Personal Branding, Digital Analytics and Your Future Success.”
Mollica started the session with the quote: “Don’t sacrifice your trust or your ethics for a quick win. It will be a loss that last forever.” He then talked about how important it is to stay true to who you are. There is no gain from pretending to be something that you are not and there is nothing greater than remaining genuine.
When you create your personal brand, there are three things that your brand should represent: trust, transparency, and ethics. These three concepts are also important in the field of public relations. As a public relations professional, your brand should also represent these things.
The first thing you should do is define your brand. Mollica says, “when you grab hold of your personal band, it is yours to shape.” He then discussed how your personal brand should always be a work in progress because you should always be evolving as a professional. In a study, 91% of people believe employers value personal brand. If people believe that employers value a brand then we all should as professionals.
The next step in a personal brand is to analyze. When you are analyzing your personal brand, pick your analysis tool, audit yourself and invest in your brand. “Auditing yourself shows where you stand on social networks,” says Mollica. You do not need to invest thousands of dollars of on a website to invest in your brand. It’s important to find ways to make yourself visible online. Your personal brand should not be something that makes your look like a robot. You want your brand to show personality and show how you would fit into a company’s culture. “Your brand should echo how you want others to feel about you,” said Mollica. It’s also important to look at analytic platforms and be aware of who is viewing your information/ brand and who is interacting with it.
Mollica used the quote, ”give yourself permission to care and don’t be afraid of your passion. You have two lives: the second begins when you realize you only have one.” Throughout this session and the conference in general, speakers talked about the importance of finding your passion. When you realize what you are passionate for, it will show through your work. “Our jobs are important, grades are in important. But at the end of the day, you only have one life,” he concluded.
After the session, the floor was open for questions. One student asked about posting on social platforms. He questioned how much someone should post about certain topics on social media. Mollica responded, “what would annoy your audience if you talked about it too much? If you were to talk about politics or religion, or anything, –as long as there’s a balance and not too much of it, you will be okay.” Many people often find it difficult to separate their professional and personal lives.
Mollica ended the session stating, “our brand, our life, is very short. Take the time to show people what you mean. Show people that you are the best at what you do”
By: Jenna Langan
Katie Gatti and Michelle Agnew of Southwest Airlines shared the true meaning of being a people-centered airline brand at this year’s PRSSA national conference.
“If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your customers, which in turn will make your shareholders happy,” claims Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly.
Southwest prides themselves as a very people-centered brand that is designed with customers in mind. With that being said, they offer not one, but two checked bags free, no fees to change flights and customer service that goes above and beyond.
When customer experience is designed with “people first” in mind, the brand follows.
In 2014, Southwest completely relaunched the brand.
“Revolve and stay relevant, that’s really important. Know what customers want before they know they want it,” Gatti said.
Southwest cherishes how social media can turn customers into brand ambassadors.
A lady with down syndrome named Tracy had the dream of being a flight attendant for a day, and one of the Southwest flight attendants made this dream come true. News channels told this story to the world.
A photographer reached out about going across the country to take a photo of the solar eclipse. Southwest made this happen right away, they had him meet the whole crew and the pilot even washed his window so he could get the perfect picture. This story also made national news.
However, despite all the good, things can still go wrong. From things like weather to discrimination-- safety is always the number one priority to Southwest.
Connecting with customers on an emotional level builds trust. Experts say goodwill and brand love you built is what helps in a crisis.
Southwest shared five words to describe what responses should be in the event of a crisis.
Art and Science in public relations are no longer polarized ideas. They are beginning to mesh with the acceleration of the digital sphere. Data may sound analytical, robotic or even boring, but the truth is: PR is moving towards data whether you want it to or not.
So how does data affect public relations? Data can be extremely large sets of information that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations especially relating to human behavior and interactions. This can form the strategies we use in public relations. You want to be seen as a strategic partner in your organization and be able to articulate the business channel and how you are using public relations to help solve it. Data can be the conversation that gets you a seat at the table.
Why is data so important? There are 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data created each day (2,500,000,000,000,000,000). And even so, the amount of data collected is accelerating. With such fast growth in technology and data, 90 percent of the data in the world was collected in the last 2 years. As a public relations professional you have to ask yourself: Are you going to be on the train or not because the train has already left the station.
Increasing in popularity, the Internet of things is causing data to rise significantly. Everything we build now has technology that is gathering data, whether that is how many steps we take or who we are calling, companies are collecting the data and using it to inform their business strategies.
There is now a basis of neuroscience behind many organizations and their data. So firstly, neuroscience is any or all of the sciences, such as which deal with how the brain works.
This plays into digital public relations and the psychology of social media “likes”. We can use data to get more likes, by tracking what triggers a social media user to push the heart on Instagram or comment on a Facebook post. Knowing what drives interaction can be the key to your organization’s success online.
There is another concept called the elusive of 600. This says that the brain has the capacity to understand 750 words per minute, but we speak at around 150 a minute. This plays into length of advertising, length of content and studying the effectiveness of brevity in digital content. We can understand so much more than what is being said, so how are we gaining all of their headspace.
Every 8 seconds, we reevaluate whether we are going to continue to pay attention and focus on something, if not we move on to something else. This is valuable science, that as public relations professionals, we constantly have to be aware of when creating, pitching and presenting information to key publics. Competing for mind space and time share should be one of our main concerns.
What are we storytelling? Storytelling has main drivers that we can track and detect when facing our audience. The brain reacts differently to certain types of storytelling. Facts only activate 2 parts of the brain but stories activate many additional parts of the brain. This evidence can help us tell stories that trigger multiple parts of the brain and we can convey this to our bosses, to convey our value in the business process.
Science proves that when PR professionals convey a story, you (consumer) will enter yourself into the story, doing the work for us (PR professionals). From the data we also know, you have to keep content short and compelling as we are trying to be a part of each person’s consumption capacity in a day. The brain processes images 60x faster than words so how can you show the consumer instead of telling them because data says it’s more effective.
Neuroscience and data are a weapon all public relations professionals should be using. How is the brain acting and then ultimately how do we use that to our advantage to gain clicks, ROI, impressions, gain awareness, tell a story or create a brand. But remember, data means nothing with the insight and ability to analyze it. Being able to analyze and recognize data is an invaluable skill to carry with you, so join in on the trend of neuroscience and big data.
By: Audra Gormley
Last Friday, PRSSA students from various schools gathered at Eaton Center for the annual PRSA Student Day. The day consisted of three panels, professional headshots and resume reviews. This event was a great opportunity for PRSSA students to network with PR professionals in the greater Cleveland area.
The first session was "How I Manage a Brand." The panel was moderated by Ann Marie Halal,
the manager of communications at Eaton. Three professionals, Alan Ashby, media relations officer for The Cleveland Foundation, Amanda McFarland, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Lisa Pocci, vice president of marketing for Fairmount Properties, spoke about how they reached their current positions and what it takes to maintain their brand's image.
It was interesting to see how the companies they work for differ in terms of audiences, crisis approach and digital tactics. The professionals discussed new trends in brand management, and one example of their way to gain engagement is ODOT’s plan to create weekly video content for their social media and email newsletters.
The second panel session was "Getting the Job,” where the panelists discussed all of the steps that go into getting your first job-- from applying, to interviewing, to negotiating. The panelists were Jill Detwiler, President and owner for F&C Executive Search and Recruiting, Lisa Gackowski, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant for Eaton and Holly Mueller, Owner of Holly M. Communications. They ensured students that the process isn’t as daunting as it seems and, with practice, gets much easier.
These professionals discussed how every step of the interviewing and job search process is important. Detwiler recommended the STAR method for interviewing which stands for situation, task, action and result. The panelists shared advice on how to accept or decline job offers, negotiate salary and create cover letters and resumes. In terms of “getting a job,” they said don’t just accept something in order to wait for a better offer. They noted that the benefits of a job (vacation time, work environment, etc.) can definitely outweigh the base salary. If you are unhappy with the salary of the offer, they suggested saying things like: “I’m thankful and excited for this job offer and do want to accept, but is there anyway we can negotiate the base salary up due to still having high student loans?”
The last panel discussion was titled "Women Who Rock." This panel dove into all of the
preparation that goes into planning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in
Cleveland. Panelists included Shauna Wilson, director of communications for the Rock and Roll
of Fame and Museum, Anastasia Karel, archivist and curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Shelby Morrison, director of artist relations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Jen Valencic, director of partnerships for Destination Cleveland.
The panelists noted that the induction ceremony requires a combined effort from the city and the Rock Hall Museum. Wilson talked about the complex plan it takes to market a major event like this and gain media attention for it-- whether paid or earned. Morrison spoke about the challenges of organizing the artists at certain locations and their reactions to getting inducted into the museum. The panel also described Destination Cleveland's part in preparing for the event, including booking hotels, venue location, and planning the entire induction week leading up to the day-of event at the museum.
Overall, this event was a great experience and I highly recommend that any PRSSA member attend next year’s session.