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From Professor Nixon’s lecture on Crisis Communication, I learned that it’s better to prevent a crisis before it happens. Planning for the worst, is a particularly smart move. This will ensure fast action when a boo-boo occurs.

  • Prevent a crisis from happening by setting up Google alerts. Google alerts will send you an Email whenever your name is pinged in cyberspace. Knowing what people are saying about you will help you decide on a course of action.
  • Buy out negative domain names attached to your company. Ex. ihatemcdonalds.com
  • Have a research team that will test procedures

To plan for the worst, make an Emergency kit. This will help press releases go swifter should a code red arise.

  • A contact list of people on a crisis management team
  • Fact sheets about the company and new products
  • Bios on every manager in the company
  • Copies of company, division and product logos and the scanned signature of your CEO on a disk.
  • Contact info for media outlets

SPRING BREAK! Keep your shirts on, please. I realize that Spring Break was last month. However, I also realize that I’ve been in terrible error about not blogging about it (is was an actual blogging assignment). Tisk tisk to me.

The dance group on stage after the performance.

My Spring Break was no break, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Every semester, Southeastern University hosts a leadership conference called The Forum. This year guests included Former President George W. Bush, Former First Lady Laura Bush, CEO Jim Blanchard, Hillsong church pastor Brian Houston, Joyce Meyer, and many more!

I am a dancer in a group led by Nickolas Dixon that was asked to dance at The Forum. We learned a piece choreographed by Dixon, and rehearsed during Spring Break. It was such an honor to perform for some of the great speakers and attenders of this year’s conference. I will never forget it!

As human beings, we’re generally a persuasive lot. Think about why it’s suddenly fashionable to “Go Green” or go a day without shoes (Toms Shoes). It’s because other people are doing it! Of course, environmentalists and humanitarians were proactive back in the day, but because of celebrity support and advertising, they’re now leading catalysts in new trends sweeping the nation.

Chapter nine in Public Relations Strategies and Tactics discusses these phenomenons. Searching this chapter for something to write about, I stopped on The Life Cycle of Public Opinion (217). Using the example from the book, I will insert my one hypothetical situation:

  1. Definition of the issue: Bono goes to Africa and sees children without shoes and says, “Hey, this is wrong.”
  2. Involvement of opinion leaders: Bono goes home and writes a song about African children without shoes.
  3. Public Awareness: People listen to the song and say, “Hey, this is wrong.”
  4. Government/regulatory involvement: People start to rally for the government to get involved.
  5. Resolution: The government caves in and  says, “Hey, this is wrong.” Legislation passes that allows a certain percentage of the national [non-existent] budget go to humanitarian efforts in Africa (mainly children without shoes).

For those of you confused about the title of this post, it’s just one of the many hand-clapping chants from my childhood (concentration 64 was its name). The topic of the day, however, is evaluation. Chapter eight in Public Relations Strategies and Tactics talks about the importance of reviewing a tactic after it’s been implemented.

Everyone looks back on projects they’ve done and wondered what they could’ve changed to make them better. This contextual reflection is a very helpful habit, because it causes someone to think about ways to improve current projects.

Basic evaluation questions every PR practitioner should ask:

  1. Was the activity of the program adequately planned?
  2. Did the recipients of the message understand it?
  3. How could the program strategy have been more effective?
  4. Were all primary and secondary audiences reached?
  5. Was the desired organizational objective achieved?
  6. What unforeseen circumstances affected the success of the program or activity?
  7. Did the program or activity fall within the budget set for it?
  8. What steps can be taken to improve the success of similar future activities?

(Public Relations Strategies and Tactics 195)

Samantha Reho found me on a Twitter chat for PR students a few weeks ago.  I had posted an S.O.S. about needing to interview a PR professional for class, and Reho graciously came to my rescue! After the interview, I was encouraged by her useful advice and humbled by her hard work.

Freshly out of the University of Florida, Reho was offered a civilian job as Public Affairs Specialist to the U.S. Army. Her position brought her to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where she currently resides and will take her to the Pentagon as she is a part of a 3-year training program.

Because she works for the military, Reho’s job is very structured, however she rarely has a “typical work day.” As editor and lead reporter for The Fort Bliss Monitor, she travels different areas of the Public Affairs office working on stories. For the first time, she has had to work with video and broadcasting, which required her to quickly learn Final Cut Pro on-the-job. Even though she wasn’t familiar with this particular field she just kept asking a lot of quesitons to keep from getting overwhelmed.

At the end of the day, she loves her job, because it gives her the opportunity to do great work. One project she was particularly proud of was an interview she did with the Secretary of General Affairs. The story was even featured on Army.mil. She says that PR is all about communicating oneself affectively, and that being an impeccable writer is a must.

To gain such great writing skills and such a great job, Reho worked hard at the University of Florida and graduated with Summa Cum Laude highest honors. While there she served as the Public Relations director of a non-profit organization called Project Makeover, which renovated underprivileged schools in Alachua County. She was also a member of Savant UF Leadership Honorary, PRSSA, and LeaderShape. Upon graduating with a major in PR, she was accepted as the first digital intern in New York City to Burson-Marsteller Public Relations.

Now that she has tasted the field of PR from several different angles, she has realized how beneficial social media is. From blogs to Twitter, PR professionals must continue to find new ways to create conversation. She says that creating a Facebook fan page just to get a huge amount of members won’t do anything for a company. The company must form a relationship with its public.

As our interview came to a close she gave me some advice to being successful in Public Relations.

  1. Stay current. She told me to read a little bit each and every day in order to know what the next big thing will be and when it will come out.
  2. Have a willingness to adapt and improvise. As Reho has personally learned, this field will throw major curve balls and you’ve got to learn how to solve problems.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

From our phone interview, I gathered that Samantha Reho has followed her own advice to become the admirable professional she is today.  Thanks, Reho, for “paying it forward” to college students such as myself!

Kneale Mann, the fast-talking, passionate marketing and social media strategist had an interesting conversation with Barbara Nixon a few weeks ago. Mann has mounds of experience with Public Relations and social media, and was kind enough to share his thoughts on blogging.

“My blog actually stemmed from a geek dinner,” says Kneale Mann. A geek dinner is a bunch of people who have met through a business contact or over social media. That night, his fellow geeks asked him if he had a blog, and he said no. Thanks to the encouragement from them, Mann started his blog about an hour after the dinner. Two years later, he’s still blogging!

Advice from Kneale Mann on blogging:

  1. Just start writing! Find something that interests you and write about it. “Sometimes we’re trying to go for the absolute victory, before we do the work.” However, you can’t expect instant results. Put the number of followers out of your head and just write for the sake of getting thoughts on paper (or on webpage).
  2. Just keep writing! Even if your interests change, just keep writing. Don’t validate yourself by your number of followers, just keep writing!
  3. Comment on other people’s blogs, because “the price of admission is contribution.”

Check the video of this interview out, because it’s really quite interesting.

Professor Barbara Nixon interviewed Mark Waxman about working in a PR agency for her PR students (me being one of them). Waxman co-founded Palette Public Relations in Toronto, Canada with such clients as Proctor and Gamble, Olay Skincare, Herbal Essences, Atkins, Dove and Secret. When creating the company, Waxman and his associates decided to base the company of three basic pillars:

1. Simplicity: making client’s lives easier

2. Energy: not giving up until we get results

3. Honesty: Being up front and honest

In his spare time, Waxman helps with a podcast called Inside PR about PR and social media. I was surprised to learn that they use Skype to record their podcast instead of doing a live recording. I always thought of Skype as a casual tool I used over the summer with my friends. In fact, a few years ago I’d only relate social media to young people. Adults just didn’t step into the world of AIM, Myspace or Facebook unless they had ulterior motives. It’s nice to know that social media is advancing to the point where it’s professionally acceptable to use on-the-job. Go Skype!

Well, a big thanks to Dr. Nixon and Mark Waxman for the informative interview!