By Leah Marxen
The Hidden World of PR was an invigorating and exciting session on five key pieces of advice that most of us are rarely taught in our studies. Brandi Boatner, a brand communications manager at IBM, previous PRSSA president and PRSSA Hall of Fame inductee, led this discussion on the multiple significant factors we’re missing as PR students today. Brandi went over these five major points.
1. Personal branding
Brandi first talked about personal branding. How our brand is not what me make but what others make of us. She emphasized the importance of beating the “imposter syndrome.” This is where we pretend to be someone else to fit what we believe others want us to be like. Brandi talked about how this was a huge problem within our generation and how we need to defeat it to create our own personal brand. She talked about how we must be completely honest with ourselves and be open about who we are so we can differentiate ourselves in the world. If we continue with this “imposter syndrome,” we all become the same and there will be nothing to cultivate our own brand. Brandi touched on how no one ever opened our eyes to this, and she wants that to change.
Brandi talked about failure and how we all must go through failure to succeed. She said that we must embrace failure, realize that it is inevitable, grow and learn from it. Brandi used examples like breakups to relate this idea of failure and how we must embrace it. Brandi said there is always a lesson to be learned after something ends and you have to meet people where they are. You can’t win every battle.
3. Business literacy
Business literacy is something huge that people in the public relations sphere often miss. As PR professionals, Brandi suggested we know what we are talking about when it comes to business. She encouraged everyone to get familiar with business terminology and learn how to communicate like a businessperson.
4. Building your skills
Brandi gave large amounts of resources for ways to build our skills as PR professionals. She touched on the importance of learning how to code, how to be digitally intelligent and how to be savvy in all different platforms. She provided us with a set of site links where we could get certified for multiple different skills related to the digital world, which is expanding more and more by the minute.
5. The art of negotiation
Lastly, Brandi discussed the art of negotiation. This last bit of advice got very truthful and touched on a lot of issues within America’s workforce today. Brandi talked about pay wages and how women and men are treated in the workforce. Brandi emphasized the importance of being confident and knowing what you want when you are job hunting in terms of pay. She emphasized the point to “get out of your feelings.” Brandi said to look at the negotiation as a business transaction and don’t let business relationships cloud your mind. She also encouraged everyone to do research on the organization they have the potential to work with and make sure the organization is giving you what you deserve.
This session was incredibly moving and helpful in many ways. Brandi’s use of humor and real stories helped keep us all engaged and interested in what she had to tell us. Learning about these key factors in our profession was very reassuring and made me feel more prepared for my future endeavors. It was a great experience and a great session.
By Sophia Iannelli
If you are in the field of public relations, you have probably heard some horror stories about working with “the talent.” Celebrities and influencers can seem difficult to work with and demanding at times, especially when you are the one at their beck and call.
Founder and President of The Celebrity Source, Rita Tateel, shared some tricks of the trade at the Celebrity Focused Public Relations session at the PRSSA International Conference. Tateel began the session by mentioning that we will all have to work with a celebrity or influencer at least once in our career. She then warned us that celebrities are some of the most insecure people on the planet.
“One way they can feel secure is by being demanding,” Tateel said.
The trick to deal with, or even lessen, the amount of demands is to become trustworthy in the eye of the celebrity. One example Tateel shared was “The Booger Principle,” which comes from the time she told a celebrity they had a little something to handle near their nose. No one else had mentioned it to the guest, so when Tateel did, she immediately gained their trust. The goal is to help them feel secure.
But how can you do any of this if the celebrity doesn’t come to the event? The first step is getting them to say “yes.” The following are some of Tateel’s key tips to get celebrities and influencers on the guest list:
Great! The celebrity is on the list and the event plan is complete. They don’t show. Now what?! As the session came to a close, Tateel stressed how important it is to have a backup plan. Crazy things happen, plans change and influencers dip out. If you have a secondary plan built into your primary plan, there’s no need to worry. Preparation is key.
Hopefully, now you feel more prepared to deal with “the talent” and tackle the ups and downs of celebrity public relations. Good luck!