By: Jorden Shevel
Two things go together for Kent State PRSSA and the national Bateman competition, putting out high-quality work and getting recognized for it.
Bateman clients change annually and so do the objectives of the study but one thing has been the same since 2013. Kent State remains at the top of the judge’s list.
The two teams Bateman Gold and Bateman Blue have 4 members of Kent PRSSA. Bateman Gold members are Linden Miller, Margaret Baah, Samantha Farland, and Katherine Null. Bateman Blue members are Kayla Proctor, Jorden Shevel, Jada Miles, and Hailey Barnett.
This year the Bateman students will work with The Census to develop a PR plan to reach some of their more secluded audiences. The Census has a big responsibility so they rely on the help of a lot of third parties to do the communications and raise awareness about the Census. This effort, alongside their communications campaign, seems to be the most effective strategy for them up to this date.
Kent State has had lots of success with Bateman over the past decade. One KSU team placed second in the nation in 2018. In 2019 and 2017, both KSU Bateman teams earned honorable mentions. In 2014 and 2016, one team received an honorable mention. In 2013, the Bateman Blue team placed second in the country out of 68 teams.
All this success means good things to come after for participating students. Members of Bateman go on to do great work in internships and PR jobs because of their experience with Bateman.
Creating and implementing a PR strategy is something students in the curriculum don’t often get to do. There are two classes in the four years PR students take at Kent State that touch on the actual strategy of public relations. The first, PR Case Studies is taken at the beginning of the curriculum and the last, PR campaigns is taken at the end of the curriculum.
This is why Bateman is such a good opportunity for students in the middle of their time at Kent State. It’s a hands-on experience for sophomores and juniors to be able to put what they have learned about PR to the test. It also puts these students ahead of others when taking the final PR class because they have already had more experience implementing a PR campaign than their classmates.
By Jill Golden
In Hannah Riffle and John Soriano’s professional development session, The 9-to-5s of PR: The Difference in Agency and Corporate Life, they shared helpful advice. Advice for students to gain a better understanding of what the differences are between the two fields from an inside perspective. They also shared advice for students on how to land that dream job in the future.
While there are many pros and cons about both fields, Riffle and Soriano clarified that some pros can be seen as cons to others and vice versa. So it’s important to think about what you are interested in, not what sounds right according to your peers.
“You can make it your own and find a really rewarding experience,” Riffle said.
Soriano, who worked at a small corporate office in Hong Kong, said that depending on the company, the PR department at a corporation can be small at times. While he was working in Hong Kong, his PR department included him and another co-worker. Larger corporations on the other hand typically have PR departments broken up into many departments and teams.
Riffle and Soriano also talked about the ability to be loyal to one brand at a corporate office versus having a variety of fresh and diverse clients each day. They both recommend if you are unsure about what kind of PR field to go into to try out agency since you can sample different clients to find which area you are most interested in. Some may love that client variety at an agency, while others may love the loyalty of focusing on one company at a corporation.
The work/life balance at corporate offices and agencies are different as well, since agencies typically require longer hours and a time entry of the amount of time you work for each client. Corporations allow for a better work/life balance since they follow a typical nine-to-five work day.
Among the differences between the corporate and agency world of PR, Riffle and Soriano ended with some important advice for all students who are heading into their careers. Some of their advice included: never fear asking questions, ask about the employee culture during an interview, internships are key to show an employer your real-world experience and “don’t limit yourself – you’re only limiting your ability to do great things,” – John Soriano.
Riffle and Soriano certainly went into more detail and included more differences between the two fields during the hour-long session, so I’ll ask all of you, what other similarities and differences have you noticed during your time working or interning for an agency or corporation?
By Samantha Farland
At PRSSA International Conference in San Diego, I had the opportunity to listen to Erika Prime, Digital and Social Strategy Lead for Taco Bell speak at a session called The Gen Z Era: Learning the Intricacies of Social Media.
She said she couldn’t even land an interview coming out of college at CSUF. She felt really discouraged, so she started painting and posting on Instagram. She decided to build her resume by becoming a manager at a restaurant called Islands. She also worked at an ice rink where she met the manager of Anaheim ducks’ wife; she happened to do marketing for Taco Bell. She applied for an internship at Taco Bell and got it. She ended up being hired after only 4 months of working there as a content creator. Her advice from this is “If you have a passion still go after it.”
She took Taco Bell’s Instagram from 300,000 followers to over a million. Her day-to-day activities are always different.
“Working for fast food is fast,” she said.
They launch a product every four to six weeks. She is always building relationships with influencers and covering events.
“I was very fortunate that my job is super creative; fortunate to work with a company that allows their employees to grow.”
Social is changing constantly Erika Prime said, we re-strategize every single year, and we just finished our 2020 strategy.
The Gen Z Era:
Between each generation there are degrees of separation. The Gen Z generation wants someone to take the lead and do something. They want to positively impact the world. They think with their ethics and morals when it comes to making decisions and purchasing anything. This affects the way social media is presented to the consumer.
Case Study: Taco emoji campaign:
Millennials and taco enthusiasts everywhere were asking for a taco emoji to exist, especially because of National Taco Day. So, Taco Bell asked, “how do we help with that?” They created a Change.org petition to release a taco emoji on IOS. It had 33,000 supporters in 7 months. Apple then released it.
Case study: The Bell Hotel:
Taco Bell wondered, how do we create a cultural moment and community around our brand that’s hard for competitors to imitate?
“We really wanna make a worthwhile experience for you,” Prime said.
They decided to use influencers to help spread the word about the Bell Hotel and create a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect.
“Find the connections between your cult and their cults,” Prime said.
They chose Jeffree star, a Youtuber with 15 million subscribers. They had Jefree create a video in the Bell Hotel and it was #3 on trending the day it went live with 6.6 plus million views. They chose Jefree Star because his fans are similar to Taco Bell consumers: unapologetic and creative.
• Social media is so complex and oversaturated these days.
• We’re competing with culture! We aren’t competing with competition like Wendy’s or Burger King anymore.
• “It’s our job to stay in the know, we have to know not only what’s going on with the internet but with people”
• “We need to be able as a brand to connect and resonate with them and also be able to speak their language.”
• Listen to your audience. What are they saying? Who is influencing them?
• “All good ideas come from an insight”
• Keep making connections.
By Ally Viano
On Oct. 19, Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, and fellow PRSA enlightened many students on the importance and significance of keeping the communications industry as current and “ahead of the game” as possible.
McCorkindale is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR.) She describes the IPR as “a nonprofit research foundation devoted to the science beneath the art of public relations.”
During her session, McCorkindale explained that the IPR conducts research that matters to the profession, with the end goal of progressing the industry forward. She works with a board of approximately 75 CEOs and CCOs as well as agency professionals. McCorkindale advises these professionals in a way that guides them toward a more progressive foundation for their organization.
“The pace of change is more significant than the change itself,” McCorkindale said.
Emphasizing that the industry needs to constantly seek out the most current and up-to-date information in order to best serve its publics. She mentioned that while the industry is ever-evolving, strategic skills such as critical thinking and problem solving should always remain constant.
McCorkindale believes that the communications will continue to grow and fluctuate as the contractor industry continues to change as well. She emphasized that employees of companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are increasing in numbers. She also noted that the stigma against these workers is growing too. Because this industry is largely consumed by millenials, the generational divide between employees is greater than ever.
The contractor industry is continuing to flourish as more and more generation z and millenials enter the workforce. This group of individuals value this type of work more so than generation x and baby boomers due to its flexibility. McCorkindale’s research with the IPR shows that young professionals value flexibility at a job more than any other generation.
While McCorkindale offered insight into the challenges of the generational divide in today’s professional community, she also expanded on many opportunities that it provides. She stated that millennials became the largest population in the workforce in 2016, and with that, came the significance of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity encompasses neurological conditions that people may have that change the way people interact in the workplace. McCorkindale’s current research is focused on designing workplaces that accommodate neurodiversity.
In conducting this research, McCorkindale has discovered many things that hold true, regardless of generational gaps, neurodiversity divides:
McCorkindale noted that in order to succeed at these keys, an organization’s internal community must reflect it’s external audience. She also emphasized the importance of mentorship, and the need to invest in the people of the future, today.
To close, McCorkindale left with the idea that public relations is the connector of all things internal and external, and our goal as PR specialists should always be to strategically communicate.
By Vanessa Gresley
As president of an agency that is breaking standards and striving for a human-centered environment, Kimm Lincoln shared with us at PRSSA International Conference techniques we can use to adapt to succeed in the PR industry; an ever-evolving one. Sit tight as I divulge with you these three techniques.
1. Push for Campaign Integration
When working anywhere or for anyone make sure you strive for one strategic and overarching plan including marketing, PR and advertising. It goes along with the idea of integrated marketing, allowing us to create a seamless experience over all our platforms for our audience. To create that one strategic and overarching plan, we must first have a deep understanding of our audience and goals.
“Your audience expects and deserves a seamless brand experience,” Lincoln said.
Paid ads can improve the experience of your campaign. You need to know your audience so you can meet the audience where they are. Once you have that deep understanding, you can work to keep your messaging consist and look for opportunities to leverage other channels to increase campaign reach and awareness.
Lincoln showed us a great example of a campaign that carries a seamless experience: GoPro’s “There’s a Hero in All of Us” campaign. They carry the same brand experience throughout their social channels, website and messaging.
Lincoln showed us this video which is a part of the campaign. Before you watch it, I must warn you, you might cry. What an amazing video! I know it made me tear up.
To conclude this point, Lincoln reminded us to continuously work to expand our skill set or ask for training.
2. Press Releases
Press releases are a technique PR professionals have used for over 100 years.
Did you know the first ever press release was written in 1906?
“Ivy Lee represented the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1906, a train derailed off a bridge in Atlantic City, causing more than 50 deaths. Instead of hiding the facts from the public--as was common those days—Lee invited the press down to cover the accident first hand. And in order to assure the press had accurate information.”
Well, I didn’t and it’s interesting to think he created authenticity in companies and now it’s craved more today, especially from Gen Z, than ever before.
Lincoln started this point about press releases by telling us to tell authentic stories. To tell authentic stories that spark something in people. Use a press release as an opportunity to identify your unique story and spark.
Not only do you need to identify your own unique story or your companies, but you need to interest your audience with that story. If you were your own audience, would you be interested? It’s something to always make sure you’re asking yourself.
But before the press release can even reach your audience, you have to find someone to get it to them and that would be the media. Lincoln said having contact is no longer enough, you have to pitch to people you don’t know. And in some cases, pitch your key media contacts before releasing on the wire. If the news is already out there, they might not be interested.
It’s important to create and maintain relationships with journalists but also to branch out and contact new people and try new methods. As many of us know now, influencers are a huge way to reach an audience and don’t need traditional press releases.
3. PR Measurement
Evaluation, the part that comes last after all the guts and glory of the campaign. But it may be the most important part because, well, did everything we just did mean anything?
Lincoln said reporting on impressions is virtually useless if you don’t also have corresponding business-impact goals. At some point someone will ask, “why am I paying you?” and you need to have an answer. Lincoln said it’s possible to do that by having the same goals your CEO does.
But, truly great PR changes behaviors and that’s how it should be measured. An example Lincoln showed us was 5 Gum and its Live True To Yourself, #NoRegrets campaign. Warning, this also might make you cry.
After the video aired, Martin inspired so many others to share their story. Now, that is a successful campaign and it had absolutely nothing to do with gum. It doesn’t always have to be a behavior change related directly to your product, it’s about exposure as well.
Overall, work with your client, your boss, researchers and analyst to benchmark behavioral metrics and set goals. Show that what you do, means something.
To end the session, Lincoln left us with some wise words, so I am going to leave you with the same:
“Find love in what you do, be creative to make the world a better place, push for change, strive to constantly learn, fight for your beliefs and find a company to work for that lets you do that.”