Monday, February 28, 2011

Public speaking: all about your mindset

In your public speaking class or in your personal experiences, have you ever been encouraged to approach your speaking from an acting mindset? In his blog post for the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bubriski points out that public speaking classes have borrowed many of their techniques from the acting profession in recent years.

"[T]he energy and creativity this can unleash can be a good thing when it leads to well-told stories that inspire colleagues, customers and stakeholders to action," he says. "But it doesn't work for everyone."

If you are one of those people that does not feel comfortable or is not a natural at using acting techniques in your public speeches, Bubriski suggests a rather insightful alternative mindset you can try: "think of practicing speaking skills like practicing a sport," he advises. "With a sport you're not pretending to be someone else. You are training your body and your mind to achieve feats of skill--building your muscle memory with drills and repetition," he explains.

How can you do this? Bubriski explains that it starts with an awareness of your own skills. He recommends looking at yourself and recognizing the "instruments, and how versatile, flexible and capable they are." Chances are, you have a lot of strengths that can be applied--you just have to learn to channel them for use with public speaking. Bubriski's sports mindset could be a way to help this come about.

Do you think this mindset would be helpful? Will you give it a try? Do you have another metaphor for public speaking you think our readers would find useful?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The NFL Drops the Ball

The Super Bowl is one of the largest sports spectacles in the world. Around 111 million television viewers looked on as the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers battled for football glory. An additional 103,219 spectators saw the game live from Cowboys Stadium in North Texas. But due to poor planning, the stadium was not able to accommodate 400 fans who showed up to the game with their tickets in hand.

Due to a lack of space, the stadium’s maximum capacity was exceeded. In order to allow additional seating, temporary sections were built, but construction was not completed by Super Bowl Sunday. As a result, 400 fans were removed from the stadium and denied re-entry. The NFL failed to take proper action and is facing public scrutiny because of it.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys Stadium owner Jerry Jones were both in attendance, but did not apologize for their mistake face-to-face to those impacted. After reports surfaced about the ticket debacle, the NFL took action in efforts to compensate the fans that were not allowed to see the game and to save face in the public sphere. What unfolded achieved neither.

The NFL presented the 400 fans with two options. First, each fan would receive a free ticket to next year’s Super Bowl along with $2,400, a figure three times the amount of this year’s tickets face value. The second offered fans one free ticket to a future Super Bowl of that fan’s choice. This option also included round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. Fans immediately rejected the initial offers. The NFL neglected to assess how much those 400 fans had spent on travel arrangements. They also forgot to account for the inflated cost of tickets when sold by third parties. Under the two options, fans’ expenses were still far from reimbursed. The NFL failed to properly assess the extent of monetary losses experienced by the fans. In doing so they made the organization appear stingy and unattached from their fans. This mishap and the failed attempt to solve it could not have come at a worse time for NFL executives and owners.

With the uncertain status of the new collective bargaining agreement and the looming potential of a player lockout, the NFL finds itself reliant on the support of its fans and will need some public sentiment. They may have lost all hope of that with their Super Bowl mistakes. Typical NFL fans have a hard time relating to rich athletes, which may ultimately lead them to side against players, blaming a potential lockout on their selfish demands. But, your typical NFL aficionado can relate to an ordinary fan being denied entrance in a game that he or she has paid for. The mistake, along with the obvious mishandling of the solution, reflects negatively on the operations of the NFL, which in turn may lead the fans to conclude that the NFL is responsible for the potential lockout, not the players.

A lockout will tarnish the reputation of the NFL. Executives and owners will take the brunt of the blame because of their failure to exhibit foresight and fairness with their largest profitable entity, their fans.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Evan Galusha.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Advice from a Junior PR Major

There are a many of moments when I look back at my college career so far and think of what I could have or should have done in order to further my professional career. In this assessment of my college career I wish to discuss what I have learned in my experience so far. It is my hope that my story will help younger students as they begin to make decisions about their future.

One thing that has helped me as a public relations professional in the making is that I have spent a great deal of time reaching out to fellow students and professionals who are more knowledgeable about the field than I am. One of the greatest resources within the university for reaching out to professionals are the office hours professors provide. Going to talk to professors during their office hours was especially helpful to me because I learned more about my professors’ fields of study, got help with my writing, and built relationships that continue to be beneficial. While visiting a professor’s office hours may be intimidating at first, the benefits are great since professors can become mentors for your future as a public relations professional.

Another thing I have learned is that you can never ask too many questions. Inquiry proves that you have interest and that you are invested in learning more about a topic, a field, or an organization. My ability to ask questions helped me learn more about some of my professors and helped me become a member of PRowl Public Relations.

A final thing I have learned that I would like to impart here is that you should invest time and care into your work. Essentially, it only hurts your ability to be a great public relations professional if you do not care what you turn in. This is especially true with your writing. If do not try to improve your writing it is only hurting your chances of landing your dream job. If you learn one thing from this post, do not turn in lackluster work if you want a dazzling response.

The above are some of the greatest lessons I learned in my three years at Temple. What lessons have you learned in your undergraduate career that may help younger students?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Become a Better Spokesperson with 9 Tips

In my full-time job after graduation I am looking forward to joining a national financial services company (my ideal starting place to capitalize on the information I have also learned in business school!) as a coordinator for company-wide communications. One responsibility of my department is to prepare executives for speaking to the public - whether through investor meetings, conferences, interviews, etc. Although I most likely will not be the lead person for these tasks immediately, I have been trying to read articles that I think will pertain to my job and help me assist my supervisor as best as possible.

In an article by Brad Phillips on his blog, I learned "Nine Things New Spokespersons Need to Know" - and they're really good!

1. Develop a message - Know what you want to communicate and prepare your three most important phrases or sentences.
2. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. - Articulate at least one of your messages in every answer (not verbatim though).
3. Transition - Bridge from the reporter's question to your message with phrases such as "The most important thing to remember is..." or "Well, what we're seeing here is..."
4. Don't make a new friend - The moment you get comfortable and start thinking the reporter is your friend, you're going to venture away from your message and make a mistake. They may be nice, but they're not your friend.
5. Speak everyday English - Don't use big, jargon-filled words, especially when speaking with general audiences.
6. Don't bury your lead - Give the most interesting part of your answer, aka your "lead," first. If you have additional time, you can go back and provide more context.
7. Be your most engaging self - Gesture, convey warmth, and smile when appropriate.
8. Speak 10 percent louder than usual - This will help you sound less monotone and helps animate your body language.
9. Watch your tone - If you feel defensive, you will look defensive. Don't greet tough questions with panic, welcome them as opportunities to correct the record.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Purple Tie Happy Hour

An evening of professional networking in one of Philadelphia's premiere Italian restaurants is one of a series of events planned to help raise money to support the local fight against cancer. Relay For Life of South Philadelphia, the American Cancer Society's signature fundraising event, will host its first Purple Tie Happy Hour tomorrow, Thursday, February 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Positano Coast at 212 Walnut Street in Old City.

The American Cancer Society invites members of professional communications organizations to socialize in order to raise money for Relay For Life of South Philadelphia that will be used to directly fund cancer research and treatment in the Philadelphia area. Professionals will be offered beer, wine and authentic Italian hors d'oeuvres during an enjoyable evening of philanthropy.

Tickets are priced at $35, are available for purchase at the door, and online at

To learn more about Relay For Life of South Philadelphia and the other fundraising events leading up to the Relay in June, visit www., follow @RFLSouthPhilly on Twitter or connect with Relay Philly on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

iPads Upgrade the Shopping Experience

Keeping up with technology trends is important. For retailers, that means recognizing that their customers may prefer being able to customize products or browse their options online before making an in-store purchase. Many retailers are making efforts to accommodate their technology-savvy shoppers by incorporating iPads into their stores.

An article from the Chicago Tribune discusses some of the ways stores are using iPads to upgrade their customers' shopping experiences. One cosmetic company, Make Up For Ever, is using iPads to allow customers to access face charts for browsing makeup combinations. Things Remembered, a personalized gift retailer, is using iPads to allow customers to browse messages and designs for engravings. The stores plan to eventually add a feature allowing customers to view their completed design before they order. Other clothing stores are using iPads to allow customers to browse their online catalogs while shopping in their stores.

How much the addition of iPads to stores improves the shopping experience is something to be experimented with and debated, but making the in-store shopping experience more high-tech will likely appeal to the wired generations.

Would you be impressed by iPads when shopping in stores? Have you been to any of the stores already using them?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Using house parties to build relationships

In PR we focus on building relationships with all sorts of internal and external publics. It is important that we constantly seek new ways to interact with our publics and maintain those relationships.

I recently learned about what is essentially a new PR tool called The site describes itself as a collection of "thousands of parties across the country, hosted by people like you." Each event offered on the site is "sponsored by a leading brand and focuses on something the sponsor wants its best fans to experience firsthand and share with their friends." The concept is simple: organizations put together and sponsor themed parties and consumers can apply for the chance to host the parties in their homes. The chosen consumers are supplied with materials, decorations, prizes, discounts, freebies and other supplies to host their parties.

I think this site is on to a great idea. What better way to raise awareness and generate buzz about your company or product than to offer your consumers a chance to try it for themselves- for free- in the presence of their friends? Further, these parties represent the basis for a two-way, mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the consumer; the consumer gets a social experience, "insider" information about the company's products and some free stuff while the sponsoring company gets a chance to wow a whole group of people with their product and has the opportunity for that excitement to spread to attendees' other contacts in a viral, grass-roots fashion.

Would this type of party work for your company or client? What other creative ideas do you have for fostering relationships with your publics?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Social Media Week: “Defend the Tweet”

“There is something about a perfectly crafted tweet.” --JWT’s Chief Creative Innovation Officer, James Cooper

Recently I went to New York to attend Social Media Week--for free.

What I originally expected to be just another boring speaker series filled with out-of-touch professionals turned out to be one of the best networking and learning events I have experienced.

I observed a lively series of practitioner panels on topics like YouTube, Foursquare and Twitter and how to use them effectively in both personal and professional settings. The best part: every one of them got it!

From 50-year-old marketing veterans to 18-year-old entrepreneurs, everyone was there to learn and discuss how social media influences and changes us and our society. At one point in the evening, I found myself speaking with a marketing student at NYU, a director of digital strategy and a freelance website designer from Boston.

At the end of the day I attended the panel discussion for “Defend the Tweet.” The idea was to get five of the 25 most influential tweeters to literally defend their controversial tweets against a slew of questions and criticisms from the participating audience. Here are a few points I took away from the panel:

• Twitter is all about who you follow
• Twitter is a creative not restrictive outlet
• Information should come to you- the idea of destination web visits are over

Social Media Week is held biannually, every February and September, and is predominantly free thanks to corporate sponsorships. So if you are looking for more than just a humdrum networking event and want to move into a collaborative learning environment that welcomes new ideas and differing points of view, register to attend Social Media Week’s New York City event in September 2011.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jacob DeChant.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Expanding Your Network Beyond PR

As aspiring public relations professionals, we are constantly told about the importance of networking with current PR professionals. However, I have come to realize the benefits of expanding my network beyond PR.

After attending the 2011 Media Access Workshop organized by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, I know now how important it is for future PR professionals to network with journalists and people within the business industry.

As future PR professionals, we must remember that PR is not practiced in a vacuum. PR people constantly interact with the media, advertisers, marketers and a host of other business people. Therefore, networking with professionals in these industries is a great way to learn firsthand the best ways to approach them in the PR process.

Attending the workshop provided a comfortable atmosphere for me to communicate directly with media people, and learn real world approaches for pitching stories. Networking with these media professionals also allowed me to gain media contacts. In fact, I was able to secure a media placement for the organization I intern with through a contact. The event also provided me the opportunity to network with other organizations that could partner with the nonprofit I intern for.

Essentially, networking outside of the PR industry will help aspiring PR professionals learn how to build beneficial relationships with professionals in positions vital to the PR process.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Shari DaCosta.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Could Facebook Be Forced to Go Public?

CEO and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has infamously declined unthinkable amounts of money to keep his treasured social networking site private. Now, it seems it may be out of his control due to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Rule 12g5-1(b)(3) that requires companies with more than $10 million in assets and 499 shareholders to register as public companies. Facebook has recently been valued at $50 billion by Goldman Sachs, and has agreed to sell $1.5 billion worth of its stocks to elite Goldman clients, possibly putting the shareholder count over 500.

The reason I say "possibly" is because according to Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, Goldman is attempting to create a "special purpose vehicle" that will only count itself as one investor since the offering will be managed by the firm, even though money could be pooled from many other clients.

Although this could be a potential loop hole, in Section B of the rule it states (in more confusing terms) that if the primary reason for creating the "special purpose vehicle" is to get around the rule's constraints, specifically the shareholder limit, then each Goldman client who gets involved will be considered an individual shareholder in the company, pushing Facebook's number over 500.

Via an article on, top securities law professor Adam Pritchard says "If Facebook is selling to [Goldman] knowing this is going to happen, then they are on their way to having to register the company as a public company with the SEC."

An important note though: Just because Facebook will have to register as a public company does not mean they will have to offer stock to the public. They WILL have to disclose their financials though, including profits, revenues, top executive hires and departures, etc. Many who are informed about the subject suggest that if Facebook has to disclose their financials and register through the SEC, they might as well issue second-class (non-voting) shares to the public.

Going public and trading shares can be dangerous for some companies. Read "Facebook likely to go public in 2012" on to learn a little more about why the author will not rush to hold stock in Facebook.

Here are the list of articles I read about the possibility of Facebook going public:

I recommend you read them too in order to get a better grasp of why Facebook may have to go public and what the possible effects are for "The Social Network."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Google One Pass

Google has taken a subtle stab at Apple. The internet search giant unveiled One Pass, its new Android prescription model. One Pass is a direct competitor to Apple's recently launched App Store subscription service. Without directly announcing its new product is meant to compete with Apple, Google has designed a service that will surely outdo the App Store subscription service.

What is the One Pass, though? The application is meant for tablets and smart phones. Users are able to sign on to websites using a single name and password. Publishers are able to authenticate individual subscribers so users are not forced to resubscribe. These same publishers are also able to experiment with revenue methods- metered access, subscriptions, 'freemium' content or single articles for sale.

Google tactfully announced, "Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content."

Beat that Apple.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brands Are Getting Dumped on Facebook

During last week's meeting for one of PRowl's accounts, we held a small social media workshop to educate staff members about the various differences between Facebook and Twitter and how to handle those differences accordingly while managing those channels. We discussed how establishing an engaging online presence on Facebook may not be the same way it is created on Twitter and created several strategies and tactics in order to successfully create relationships with all of our users in the most effective ways.

With so much social media on the brain between managing my account and the current social media course I am enrolled in, I have been stalking the internet for interesting articles about the best ways to handle Twitter and Facebook accordingly. I came across this article on Twitter from TWTRCON about a study that was recently conducted by ExactTarget and CoTweet that revealed why Facebook and Twitter users "unlike" or "unfollow" brands, and how the expectations around brand communications differ between the two social media platforms.

Marketing Profs reported the results, and below is a comparison of how Facebook and Twitter users engage with brands, courtesy of TWTRCON:

While Twitter users are less likely to ‘dump’ a brand, they do expect brands to keep it interesting – 52% “unfollow” brands due to boring content. Only 38% of Facebook fans “unliked” a brand because content became boring or repetitive, but a significant majority (63%) “unliked” a brand due to excessive postings – Facebook users don’t want to hear too much from a brand (44%), and want to keep their wall fairly uncluttered (43%).

Additional highlights from the comparison:

  • A significant amount – 26% of Facebook users, and 27% of Twitter users – only “liked” a company to take advantage of a one-time offer
  • 24% of Facebook users and 27% of Twitter users said the company didn’t offer enough deals
  • 24% of Facebook users and 21% of Twitter users said posts/tweets were too promotional
  • only 51% of Facebook users expect a “like” will result in marketing communications from brands, vs. a whopping 71% of Twitter users
  • 20% of Twitter users have stopped following a company because their tweets were “too chit-chatty”.
  • 71% of Facebook fans say they’ve become more selective over the past year about which brands they “like” on Facebook. And even after users have “liked” a brand, 51% of Facebook users claim they rarely (or never) visit the brand’s page again.

The most surprising data was how the decision to ‘unlike’ a brand had relatively little effect on future buying: 63% of Facebook fans say they are as likely or more likely to purchase something from a company after ending their Facebook relationship.

What are your thoughts on these statistics about brand communications via Facebook and Twitter? What are some recommendations that you have for being a successful communicator on both platforms? Let us know!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Bakery Masters Social Media

It seems that companies in almost every type of business have jumped on the social media bandwagon. Your gym, your bank, and your favorite coffee shop might now be on Facebook or Twitter. Social media has become an important way for businesses to connect with their audiences if their audiences are in the demographic of social media users. However, simply having a Facebook or Twitter account is not enough. Businesses must be strategic in their use of social media to reach their audiences in the right ways.

An article in the Wall Street Journal profiles a New York bakery's effective use of social media. Spot Dessert Bar uses its Facebook page to offer discounts, contests, and news to customers who "like" it. The bakery also offers laptops and iPads to customers in the shop so they can make posts about the bakery on their social media profiles. According to the article, the bakery has seen a 15%-20% increase in sales since it began this social media campaign.

Spot Dessert Bar has figured out how to use social media to engage and attract customers. Although the bakery's tactics would not be appropriate for all types of businesses, other businesses would benefit from taking notes and thinking about social media tactics that could work for their company.

Do you know of any other businesses effectively using social media to attract customers?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Free-ish speech online

Where does the line fall between your right to free speech and your employer's right to protect its reputation? The world is still figuring that out.

In case you missed it, the National Labor Relations Board won an important lawsuit against American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc last week. The NLRB had sued the company after it fired a worker who had turned to her Facebook page to vent her frustrations about her boss.

As a result of its loss in court, American Medical Response will change its blogging and Internet policies, as well as two other policies that forbade employees to say negative things about the company over the Internet, according to an article for the AP.

The decision is believed to inspire employers around the country to review their Internet policies. However, while this case helps set a precedent for free speech on the Internet--particularly when it involves the workplace, don't take it as a free pass to go spouting off about your employer online. The jury is still out when it comes to just how far employee rights to free speech extend on social media.

"'The line can go over into disloyalty or disclosure of truly confidential information'" warned a labor and employment lawyer for the NLRB, "'this is not without boundaries, but we just don't have a good sense yet of where the boundaries are.'"

It seems that we as a society are still adapting old laws to a new world dominated by online media, and it is a tough course to navigate. While it looks as though steps are being taken to ensure employees' rights to free speech on social media, err on the side of caution when posting about your employer.

I recommend only saying things that you wouldn't be ashamed to repeat in person.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Deeper Look into Diversity

Since February is Black History month, it is important to examine how diversity is intertwined with public relations. While our industry has made great strides in attaining a more diverse employee population, African Americans and women are still underrepresented. The Calvert Study, released this past fall, stated that women hold less than 1 in 10 top paid executive positions. Women only make up 18% of director positions within the top 100 S&P 500 companies, whereas 92 out of 100 CEO’s for these same companies are white males. Additionally, within the public relations field, there are low hire rates for African Americans, both male and female.

Public Relations is a global industry that demands diverse perspectives. In the PRSay article, “Diverging into Diversity: A Communications Strategy,” Larry Jones explains that companies are reluctant to move from the familiar to more diverse populations. Jones describes the importance of this idea by saying, “Diversity in communications also can mean building bridges to new audiences or tapping into new perspectives and ideas.” This statement is a central idea that can permeate through any realm of public relations. As public relations professionals, it is important to provide creative opportunities for our clients. With the help of people from different backgrounds with different experiences, we can provide the most innovative and comprehensive strategy for our clients.

Diversity in public relations is something that can always be improved upon. As young professionals, it is in our best interest to be continuously aware of the inequalities that all minorities may face in our industry. We must focus on changing these aspects to ensure the most inclusive community of public relations professionals. This will ultimately allow companies to provide a more complete plan for their clients.

Do you feel diversity is a problem within the public relations world? What steps can young professionals take to change these issues?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alex Crispino.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Social Media is Hurting Corporations

Does your organization or company use social media for public relations? If so, watch what you post or your audiences might start seeing double.

Fake public relations social media accounts are a rising trend in internet tolling. No longer are dissatisfied consumers and irate activists confined to personal accounts or the comment sections of news websites. A single motivated individual can now reach huge audiences by creating a mock corporate social media account. These accounts often post humorous and harmful messages that can cause a public relations nightmare for the most astute crisis management expert.

Two of the most prominent examples of mock social media accounts in recent history are the @BPGlobalPR and @KennethColePR twitter accounts. BP faced a public relations disaster after an explosion in one of its oil pipelines flooded the Gulf Coast with millions of barrels of oil in the spring of 2010. Soon after the initial explosion, the fake public relations twitter account @BPGlobalPR came into existence – much to the chagrin of BP’s real twitter account @BP_America. Memorable tweets from @BPGlobalPR include “Negative people view the ocean as half empty of oil. We are dedicated to making it half full. Stay positive America!” and “What a gorgeous day! The ocean is filled with the most beautiful rainbows! #yourewelcome #bpcares.” To this day, @BPGlobalPR has around 160,000 more followers than @BP_America.

Kenneth Cole recently found itself in a bit of hot water after a blunder on its corporate twitter account. The account, @KennethCole, tweeted, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at -KC.” The very same day the fake twitter account @KennethColePR was created and started tweeting similarly fashioned product plugs with a noticeably more malicious undertone. One tweet read, “South Africans won’t be able to tear APARTheid my new knits – they’re just that strong! #KennethColeTweets.” The @KennethColePR account was only active for two days but managed to get over 7,000 followers.

The backlash against Kenneth Cole did not stop there. Mashable reported that a decal of the original @KennethCole was plastered to the storefront of its Kenneth Cole’s San Francisco location. As if the social media blunder wasn’t big enough already, multiple national news organizations also picked up on the story including Forbes and The Huffington Post.
So what is a corporation to do? BP unsuccessfully tried to get @BPGlobalPR removed (instead the account had to clarify that it was fake). In Kenneth Cole’s case, removing the offensive tweet and offering a half-hearted apology was not enough to quell peoples’ anger.

Kenneth Cole’s official twitter account has not made a single post since February 4. Is silence the best answer? How would you deal with a corporate social media blunder?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Doug Bennett.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Opinion - You Need Brain Balance for PR

I was reading my PR Daily News Feed yesterday (2-10-11) and couldn't resist taking the Right Brain versus Left Brain Creativity Test from the Art Institute of Vancouver that was posted. Typically, creative people use the right side of their brain more than the left side, and vice versa for more logical people. I consider myself a fairly creative person, but am also very diligent and focused. I am actually surprised at my results! Due to my love of "to-do" lists, classical music, research and numbers I would have assumed I would be overwhelming left-brained, but alas I am only left-brained by a slight majority. It turns out that I am 58 percent left-brained and 42 percent right-brained.

Although I came out as more logical than creative, I am confident that I am entering the right field in public relations due to my dominant left brain characteristic: verbal processing. Verbal processing is a method used by the left hemisphere to process our thoughts and ideas with words.

What brain are you? Also, do you feel like most successful PR people are right-brained? I personally think that those in PR need a good balance of both (maybe I'm biased...). Although I think creativity is an essential aspect of finding attractive angles for the right audiences, I also think that organization, logic and diligence are extremely important for managing heavy workloads and strict deadlines, and advocating for your projects to upper-level management, who often may only want to hear about the logic and numbers behind your idea, rather than its genius creativity.

Thoughts? Take the test here!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twitter For Sale?

According to multiple sources, including the Guardian and several blogs, Twitter is holding discussions with potential buyers to sell the micro-blogging site. It is a rare day when you learn mega-companies are being taken over or up for sale. Is Twitter one of those mega-companies, though?

Twitter was launched only a little over four years ago. Some people (clearly not public relations professionals) are still asking, "What is Twitter?" According to Guardian, giant brands like Facebook and Google are looking to purchase Twitter for between 8 and 10 billion dollars. Let me write that again. 8 to 10 billion dollars.

For the social media site to go from nothing to 10 billion dollars in four years is not something to take lightly. Less than a week ago, AOL bought the Huffington Post for a measly $315 million.

My first initial reaction to hearing Facebook is one of the potential buyers is thinking this may be a conflict of interest for one social media giant to buy its main competitor. Is Google buying Twitter any better, though? What do you think about Twitter up for grabs?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Word On the Street About Food Trucks

This semester, I am taking a special topics course about social media in PR. The class allows students to learn important theories and concepts about social media use and then apply them to simulated campaigns for real clients that are in competition with each other. After debating over local coffee shops, bars and breweries, the class decided to represent various food trucks on campus. Temple's campus is well known for these meals-on-wheels facilities there are always debates surrounding which truck is the best (The Crepe Truck, obviously!). While doing research for our campaign, I realized that food trucks are becoming a popular trend and have begun to explore the various aspects of social media. Throughout my research I came across a great article from Ogilvy Public Relation's blog: 360 Digital Influence about food trucks "thinking outside of the (lunch)box" about ways to connect with their publics both online and offline.


• Mobile Meteor just launched a new app (it works with an existing Twitter account) that optimizes food truck websites for smartphones, so they can reach new customers who may not use Twitter as regularly. A Google map feature with their exact location will automatically appear on the mobile site. With half of all Americans expected to own smartphones by the end of 2011, it will be interesting to see how many trucks go this “route”.

• Huge corporations see the value of reaching consumers through food trucks -- Virgin America worked with Loopt and rebranded two taco trucks in California with specials to market the airline’s new flights to Mexico.

• Food trucks are joining forces on tracker sites, like Food Truck Fiesta (DC) and Mobile Cravings (which covers about 30 cities), making it simple for fans to get a quick glimpse at the daily food truck scene.

• Trucks are hosting unique events, often with partners, to expand their fan base and build loyalty. Seattle’s Skillet, doesn’t just care about your lunch. They care if you have a hot date, or at least something to do on Valentine’s Day. They’re teaming up with two other local vendors to host a street food style v-day.

• Rather than let the Twitter-challenged resort to fast food chains, Holton Farms (a farmer’s market on wheels) has a 1-800 number, which provides info on the truck’s location when it’s on the move.

• Food trucks are using social media for social good, by getting behind local charities that their followers care about. DC’s TaKorean truck donates 1% of gross sales to local environmental and youth based non-profit organizations – and they write about it on their community giving blog.

I am really looking forward to learning more about this upcoming market and how they are successfully utilizing social media to increase their awareness and traffic with the public! Are there any other ways food trucks are getting the word out via social media? Let us know!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Have the Internet and Social Media Become Rights?

There are countless blog posts and articles discussing the many ways social media is changing our lives. The recent events in Egypt have created a new debate about social media. An article in The Washington Post reported on U.S. officials speaking out against blocking the Internet and social media, referring to these technologies as rights.

This topic was brought up in one of my classes last week. Our conversation quickly became focused on what constitutes a right. As we all (should) know, the First Amendment gaurantees us five rights: speech, press, religion, assembly and petition. My professor stressed that social media and the Internet have become tools to help us exercise these rights. The ability to exercise our freedom of speech through social media is obvious, but the other First Amendment rights can be exercised through technology just as well. As oppressive goverments have realized, these technologies have come to aid people in organizing themselves to challenge the status quo. Banning social media and the Internet do not completely prevent people from exercising these rights, but it does take away a major channel for doing so.

So the question stands: if the Internet and social media are tools for exercising our rights, does that make access to these technologies a right as well?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl ads are more than just fun to watch

Whether or not you are a sports fan or you cared about the teams playing, chances are you tuned in to the Super Bowl yesterday. If you're like me, you were excited to see the ads.

While ads run during the Super Bowl, the "most-watched single telecast in the US," are usually entertaining, Susan Gunelius also points out that there is a lot to learn from them.

In an article for, Gunelius looks back on important ads of Super Bowls past and draws interesting takeaways from each. Of course Apple's 1984 ad for Macintosh made the list, but Gunelius makes some great points about the ad's impact. "[I]f you know your product is great, go big -- or go home," Gunelius says.

Remember this ad from I didn't, but I was really impressed by it:

Be sure to check out Gunelius' article to see what she had to say about this ad, what other ads she showcased and the enduring lessons we can all learn from them.

What lessons can you draw from the best and worst of yesterday's ads? What ads from more recent years do you think are worthy of addition to Gunelius' list?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Can You Be a Social Media Pro without Personal Accounts?

Many people are labeling themselves as social media pros these days, using it as a marketing advantage in a stiff job market. But what does it really mean to be an expert in social media? Would you still consider someone a social media pro if he or she wasn’t personally active on social media sites?

As public relations professionals, I think it’s important for us to build our own personal brands, which can be done extremely easily through social media sites. If you’re the only person out of a pool of potential employees not active on social media sites and not showing off your own personal brand, you could find yourself at the competitive disadvantage. After all, a big part of PR is influence. Influence could become a PR prerequisite, just like strong writing and verbal skills. In addition, social media gives employers a huge insight into candidates – what their strengths are, what kind of person they are and what they like – all invaluable information in the hiring process.

I think to truly be a social media guru, you should practice what you preach and act as a source of good information.

Would you consider someone an expert in social media if they were not personally active on such sites? Do you think PR professionals who haven’t personally embraced social media are at a disadvantage?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Trish Wyatt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Will the News Release Rest in Peace?

With the recent speculations about whether the press release will become obsolete, a Forbes article confirms my feelings that the boom of social media use is causing the traditional press release to become useless in many situations.

As I’ve learned in my public relations courses, reporters can get up to hundreds of press releases a day, including many by email, which can be deleted as soon as the boring subject line is read. To avoid these downfalls, many services have been created online in order to facilitate the company’s needs without wasting the time, money and inbox space.

Companies such as H&R Block and Budweiser are able to serve their customers directly with websites such as founded by Jason Kintzler, a former reporter. They send out a two-sentence pitch to major outlets such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone. Using this approach allows them to craft a message specific to their audience instead of trying to communicate to the CEO of their client.

It seems social media is doing for public relations practitioners now what the news release did a couple of decades ago. Do you think this will be a new era for the public relations industry?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Emily Ascani.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quotes from "Father of Advertising"

David Ogilvy is considered by many as the "Father of Advertising." He created one of the largest and most successful advertising (and now marketing and public relations) agencies, Ogilvy & Mather, and is rumored to be the inspiration behind Don Draper's character in the popular TV series Mad Men. He is famous for making high-end products, like Rolls Royce, seem like a 'sensible' use of one's money by appealing to the consumer's refined taste and class status.

Here are 10 quotes from David Ogilvy that thinks could revolutionize blogging:
  1. “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.”
  2. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”
  3. “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”
  4. “I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive.”
  5. “I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
  6. “Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.”
  7. “If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see another agency steal it. This is irritating, but don’t let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising.”
  8. “First, make yourself a reputation for being a creative genius. Second, surround yourself with partners who are better than you are. Third, leave them to go get on with it.”
  9. “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”
  10. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."

To find out how these quotes relate to blogging, read the full article by Darren Rowse on here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Use Twitter to Help Find a Job

As a last semester senior, the pressure is on to find a job for after graduation in May. In this slowly recovering economy, students need to utilize any means necessary to look for job opportunities. That includes using social media to connect with potential employers and search for job openings.

I posted a Tweet yesterday (@evannicholson) asking if any of my followers had suggestions for the best Twitter profiles/users to follow when searching for a job. A friend and fellow PRSSA member advised me to check out this article. The article breaks down how to get started using social media professionally in order to search for a job.

The main takeaway I had from this article is to sign up for the free use of TweetMyJobs. The service is able to "connect employers and recruiters with targeted job candidates instantly any time a new job is posted to our service." Employers and people looking for jobs are able to connect with targeted users.

If you have any additional users or services to use for job searching, share them with everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook Statuses Protected as a Constitutional Amendment?

We have all heard horror stories about potential job candidates being turned away at interviews after revealing unprofessional Facebook and Twitter updates. However, the newest headline surrounding Facebook rights and privacy is about a high school student in California who was recently suspended for making a rather vulgar status update about his biology teacher.

The status updated, prompted by a large amount of assigned homework, read that his teacher was a "fat a** who should stop eating fast food..." among other rude slurs. Although incredibly inappropriate and wrong, the ACLU is claiming that this was within the boy's constitutional rights of freedom of speech. Since the status was not created during school hours and was not made from a school computer, the ACLU argues that the boy is entitled to the update without punishment.

Even though it was incredibly rude, I do not believe that the school had the legal right to suspend the student for the status update. This has not been the first of cases such as these surrounding freedom of speech via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Was the school right to suspend the student or did they violate his first amendment rights? Let us know!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taco Bell's Lawsuit Response

Taco Bell has recently been hit with a lawsuit accusing the fast food chain of using meat fillers rather than real ground beef. To combat the negative accusations, the chain has launched a print and web campaign.

The print campaign includes full-page ads in national and local newspapers with the headline "Thank you for suing us. Here's the Truth about our seasoned beef." The ads explain the chain's reasons for adding extra ingredients to their ground beef and give a list of all the ingredients used in their recipe. The web campaign includes a YouTube video of Taco Bell President Greg Creed explaining this as well.

Personally, I had not even heard about the lawsuit before reading about Taco Bell's response. The company's prompt and aggressive response to the situation may help it to reach consumers with its message before consumers get wind of the negative accusations from other sources.

This is not the first time Taco Bell has come under fire about the ingredients in its food, but its response seems to be on the right track for this one. What do you think: does Taco Bell's response reassure you about its ingredients?

To read more and see the campaign efforts, click here.