Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Share A Coke, Share A Sale

Chances are you've seen Coca Cola's latest initiative, 'Share A Coke', whether it be while grocery shopping or while skimming Instagram. Soda has become a product placed in the category with things people don't necessarily feel good about buying - this puts companies in the niche industry under the same pressure as marketers of both alcohol and cigarettes. Thank you for drinking soda. The communications team at Coca-Cola needed to think outside of the box, and that, meant printing our names on their labels.

(Source: Coke Zone)
Since its release in June 2014, the 'Share A Coke' campaign has been correlated with a 2% increase in Coca Cola, Co.'s carbonated-beverage sales. The company dodged a lot of bullets towards carbonated beverages with this well-executed campaign that made buying the drink and handing it to your friends and family worth it. According to the Wall Street Journal, Coca Cola's soft-drink volumes had been decreasing for the last 11 years, and now increased in August. Over the same period, other companies in the niche industry, like PepsiCo. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. remained with lower sales.

Here are a few details of the successful campaign :
  • First launched in Australia in 2011
  • Replaced logos on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero products
  • 250 names were printed
  • General nicknames, like "BFF" and "Sister" were included
  • Most-stocked names: Chris, Jess, Alex
(Source: Coca-Cola)
Coca-Cola's goal was to replace their name with ours. Ultimately, they sought to include their consumers, hoping to reach them personally. Let's not forget, Coca-Cola isn't half bad at playing up our emotions through advertising. Three months until the holiday season and I'm already missing that cute polar bear drinking out of a glass bottle in the middle of winter.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Urban Outfitters: How Far Is Too Far?

On Monday, September 15, online shoppers of UrbanOutfitters.com were shocked to see the store offering customers the chance to buy a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt splattered in red coloring, which looked like blood. This sweatshirt is a clear reference to the 1970 campus shootings at Kent State and the school soon released a statement saying they took “great offense” to the promotion and sale of this sweatshirt. Kent State University wasn’t the only outraged audience though.

Angry customers took to social media to express their disbelief at how once again, Urban Outfitters has gone way too far. In addition to the bloodstained appearance of the sweatshirt, it was also priced at $129.00 and there was only one available. While Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne did release an apology, it was defensive in nature, apologizing for those who may have felt “offended” and defended the integrity of Urban Outfitter’s vintage line.

However, in the last several years, this is just one of many Urban Outfitters clothing scandals. A brief timeline includes the following incidents:

2012: Urban Outfitters comes under fire for selling a $100 t-shirt mimicking the design of star patches Jewish people were forced to wear during the Holocaust

2011: Urban Outfitters labels a clothing line and accessories “Navajo”

2010: Urban Outfitters debuts the “Eat Less” t-shirt

2010: Urban Outfitters sells a t-shirt in a color combination labeled “Obama/Black" 

2003: Urban Outfitters angers the African-American community with a Monolopy knock-off titled “Ghettopoly”

Over the years, these incidents have begun to pile-up and as a public relations student, I’ve begun to wonder if perhaps to Urban Outfitters, any publicity is thought of as a good publicity? While us Strategic Communication students learn early on this line of thinking is actually harmful to one’s brand reputation and message, Urban Outfitter’s actions have lead me to strongly believe they think otherwise. While most organizations seek to avoid controversy and utilize crisis communications in the event of a slip-up, it’s an interesting debate onto which side of this spectrum Urban Outfitters seems to fall. Time and time again though, they continue to seemingly provoke public controversy, but one begins to wonder: how far is too far?

As public relations students, what do you believe? Has Urban Outfitters gone too far this time? Let us know in the comments below!  

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Rachel Draghi. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Eric Holder's Legacy

Eric Holder, this nation's first African-American Attorney General, announced his resignation earlier this week. However, after six years in the position Holder has been able to do a lot of good for the American people. Here are five acts documenting the legacy that Holder leaves behind (in no particular order).

  • During the recent events in Ferguson, MO, Holder served as the point of contact for the federal response, ordered a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, and assembled a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial prejudice in law enforcement. 
  • In regards to terrorism, during his time in office Holder waterboarding (an interrogation method that simulates the sensation of drowning) as a form of torture and ordered a full review of current CIA interrogation efforts.
  • In 2011 he declared that the Justice Department would no longer defend the constitutionality of a 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage in an effort to advance progress for gay couples.
  • He also fought heavily against discriminatory voting restrictions that made it difficult for minorities and poorer citizens to vote, demographics that typically vote Democratic. In North Carolina and Texas, two Republican-controlled legistlatures, Holder challenged restrictions such as cutbacks in voting hours and strict voter-ID policies to allow those demographics a better opportunity to cast their ballots.
  • In relation, many of Holder's efforts went towards civil rights and law enforcement. He worked to ease the disproportionately harsh treatment of African-Americans in the criminal justice system saying it isn't just unacceptable; it is shameful.”
Although not everyone may have agreed with his policies or felt that he failed to act on several other issues during his time, this article is simply to focus on the improvements that were made because of his leadership. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Using the Power of Social Media for Good, Not Evil

Social media platforms frequently get a bad rap for their part in issues like privacy breeches and cyberbullying. Police frequently look to interactions on social media when dealing with stolen identities, harmful hoaxes or even public threats. But recently the Philadelphia Police have Twitter to thank for helping them identify and charge three people in an aggravated assault case. Two weeks ago, a gay couple was violently attacked by a group of 10 to 12 people in what many are calling a hate crime. The victims both suffered serious facial injuries and claim they were targeted because of their sexual orientation.

Police originally released surveillance footage of the assailants in an effort to inform the public. A Twitter user named Greg Bennett posted a photo of a large group of people at an unknown restaurant who looked similarly to those in the surveillance video. That initial post was retweeted by user FanSince09 who received responses from his followers identifying the restaurant. FanSince09 then took to a different social media platform, Facebook. He reviewed the Facebook accounts who had “checked in” at the restaurant and was soon able to identify many of the people in the photo, which he reported to police.

(Source: Twitter)

Philadelphia Police Officer Joe Murray tweeted, “This is what makes my job easy. Sure, it’s up to me to make the arrest but we are all in this together.” Three people have surrendered to police and are being charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

(Source: Twitter)

The amazing thing about social media is that it connects millions of users over cultural and geographic boundaries, making its uses for good inconceivably infinite. So what does this mean for the future of social media? Will it mean the beginning of Twitter vigilantes? Not likely. Could it start a trend of crowdsourcing investigations? Possibly. It all depends on its users to step up and take action.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Poetic Justice

You could tell there was something special about her, the minute she walked into a room. When she walked into my Tuesday night class, I'll admit, I was falling asleep, head bob and everything, but as she told us about her life of public relations, all thoughts of sleep vanished. I'm not normally one to raise my hand in class more than needed, but the day she was there, I knew I had to, almost as much as I wanted to; to learn everything I could from her. The first thing I had to learn was her name, and then how to stay in contact with her. She, is Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, and she managed in an hour what I'd taken 19 years to figure out: what I wanted to be when I 'grew up.'

It's been a year since that one class, and Meredith's gone above and beyond helping me decide what I wanted to do, she's given me the connections and opportunities to do it. But just who is Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, and what's she done? Well, we could ask her friends. Or her boss. Her colleagues? Or maybe her teachers from when she was in school? Or all of them; all of them eager to talk about Meredith, all of them full of praise, respect, and admiration. Or we could start with the basics of her life. But it's not the basics, or the many awards, distinctions, and honors in her work as a PR professional that she's received, that speaks the most about her, it's the people. I think Meredith's other half, Marques Hardaway, put it best, "Meredith is a kind and generous person, an honorable wife and caring family member. She is intelligent, hard-working, and pursues her goals with enthusiasm. Her experiences in life have molded her to be strong, yet compassionate. I am in constant admiration of her professional achievements, and in awe of her personal growth."

Before writing this piece, I reached out to some key people for a few lines or sentences about Meredith, but what I got back was staggering in its positivity towards her. What started as a 'few' people became a lot of people, indicating just how impactful Meredith has been. I started with her boss, Mark A. Tarasiewicz, Executive Director at the Philadelphia Bar Association and Philadelphia Public Relations Association Hall of Famer, and from him got in touch with MANY more people. Mark told me that "her arrival as Director of Communications and Marketing for the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association in January 2014 required her to become a quick study on the intricacies of the city's legal community and justice system. She met this challenge head-on by immediately extending herself as a resource to the Association's leadership and hundreds of committee, section, and division lawyer-volunteers. With her own lifelong passion for justice, Meredith maintains it was destiny that brought her to the Philadelphia Bar Association." Not only does Meredith dedicate her time to furthering the PR profession as a whole, but she also works for justice for Armenia and Armenian refugees, AND has managed to write 2 books of poetry. "Meredith Avakian-Hardaway has spoken to many of my Temple and Drexel classes, and she has a wonderful interaction with my students--they always love meeting and learning from her," Rosemary Rys, friend and colleague to Meredith, told me. "I was always amazed back then at how she could be the perfect corporate DuPont executive during the day, but then let her hair down (literally!) after work, reinsert her diamond nose piercing, and get out that hookah, bake baklava, or do any of her many Armenian skills. A very talented poet, her on-target, often tongue-in-cheek poems truly resonate with my students and everyone else."

Of all PR alumni of Temple, Meredith is known most notably to current PR students as the one that turned our PRSSA chapter around and prevented it from dying. Our very own professor Gregg Feistman said about Meredith: "It was apparent from the very beginning Meredith was a star-in-the-making. Her smarts, ambition, and drive were evident in the way she viewed her leadership role as President of Temple's PRSSA. As faculty advisor, I always knew I had to do my homework before I met with Meredith to discuss PRSSA chapter business, because she had done hers."

Meredith Avakian-Hardaway will be receiving the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Rising Star Award, at the Lew Klein Awards Luncheon at Temple University, on September 26, and everyone who knows her could not be more proud and supportive. Meredith, there are so many people who've congratulated you; who are going to congratulate you, that this post could go on for miles. Instead, read on for some heartfelt words.

"We are especially proud of Meredith as she carries forward the Temple tradition of excellence through her role at the Bar Association, and we congratulate her for her well-deserved honor as the 2014 recipient of the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Rising Star Award."
- Mark A. Tarasiewicz, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

"I want to congratulate Meredith on this prestigious award, I'm sure it's a precursor to many more. It's always a pleasure working together, she's a consummate professional and has helped me frame my responses to many different issues and events."
- William P. Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

"Outstanding work Meredith, congratulations from me and the Bar Association. We look forward to more of your timeless dedication and commitment to the Bar and the justice system in the future."
- Albert S. Dandridge III, Chancellor-Elect of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

"I can't think of anyone in public relations who deserves the Rising Star prize at the Lew Klein awards more than Meredith does."
- Lisette Bralow, Philadelphia Public Relations Association President.

"Meredith is not only a wonderful public relations executive and role model, she is also someone I am honored to call a friend."
- Gina F. Rubel, Esq. President/CEO Furia Rubel Communications.

"I'm very proud to be her friend and colleague!!! A very big congratulations on receiving the Lew Klein Rising Star award, and thank you for all the classes you've spoken in and will speak in!"
- Rosemary E. Rys, Professor at Temple and Drexel Universities, colleague and friend.

"It's no surprise to see how successful Meredith has been in her career. I can't wait to see what she does next. Look out world!"
- Gregg C. Feistman, Professor at Temple University, PRowl and PRSSA Advisor.

"Meredith is the ultimate go-getter, often juggling multiple responsibilities including work, PPRA and personal projects, including publishing books of poetry. I'm constantly in awe of her determination and drive. There is no one more deserving of this prestigious award. Congratulations Meredith!"
- Jessica Lawlor, Philadelphia Public Relations Association Vice President of Membership.

"Meredith is well deserving of her Lew Klein Alumni in the Media 'Rising Star' honors, and of the many more symbols of recognition and gratitude yet to come her way."
- Christopher Lukach, President at Anne Klein Communications Group

"Meredith, your arrival at the Philadelphia Bar Association in January was the best thing that ever happened to us. Your success is our success, and we wish you a lot more of it!"
- Paul Kazaras and Naomi McLaurin, Philadelphia Bar Association, dear friends.

"We (her family) are honored by her having been selected to receive this latest award, and are humbled by all of the work and patience that is at the root of her achievements."
- Marques Hardaway, loving husband.

"The first time we met, I remember wondering how someone could do so much good work in so little time. Working with you now still hasn't enabled me to figure out your secret, even seeing you find so much time to teach me the workings of the world of PR. You always surprise me with your thoughtfulness; those sandwiches you told me about have been all I've eaten the last 2 days. There's nobody more deserving, and I look forward to seeing where you take your career next!"
- Faiz M. Mandviwalla, proud intern, mentee, and author of this post.

Congratulations, Meredith!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Know Current Events: Political Satire

In order to understand the public, you must have a stable comprehension of what is going on in the news and what is currently surrounding the public. Current events are important in understanding the public's placement in emotional, financial, and sociocultural environments; this way you can strategize ways to approach your target audiences with this background information.

Soft news is one trending way that people are receiving their news. Soft news would be described as something that's main purpose is to entertain, while providing news on human interest topics, such as disaster and scandal, according to Matthew A. Baum in the American Political Science Review. Currently, there are a lot of news-broadcaster-types providing soft news every night. Here's a breakdown of three you've probably heard of, and may want to check out:

Jon Stewart (host of The Daily Show) Mon-Fri @ 11PM EST on Comedy Central 
Jon Stewart has always been the "funny guy", but since 1999 when he increased the ratings for The Daily Show by 400%, his humor really took off with a whole new purpose. Jon Stewart reports the news to you with a sarcastic attitude, one that makes it very clear which side he's on of any story. BUT it's okay! Because through his platform, he can get away with reporting in such a way that hard news outlets never could.

Book: America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart & The Daily Show writers
(Source : The New York Times)
Stephen Colbert (host of The Colbert Report) Mon-Fri @ 11:30PM EST on Comedy Central
A spin-off of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report uses satire to explain, well, everything. More specifically, it's more likely to comment on the conservative. You can think of Stephen Colbert as somewhat of a "fake" anchorman.

Book find: I AM America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
(Source: zap2it)
John Oliver (host of Last Week Tonight) Sundays @ 11PM EST on HBO
Last Week Tonight comes on once a week in both the U.S. and the U.K. With a host with such a loud personality as John Oliver's, this show has a following weekly that matches the tastes of other satirical news shows, like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. John Oliver reports on general current events over a longer span of time.
(Source: Sesame Workshop)

Monday, September 22, 2014

NBC News Gaffe

For those who don't know, Chris Christie is the current governor of New Jersey. While technically a Republican, Christie crosses party lines enough to be the governor of a historically democrat voting state, and to have the support of most of it's residents. However, last year we first heard about what's now known as the 'Bridgegate' scandal, wherein Christie surrogates purportedly orchestrated the closing of 2 lanes on the George Washington bridge because the mayor of that county didn't support Christie's reelection bid. I believe that Christie is innocent in this scandal, but there are always some who'll take any opportunity to slander those in power. Christie is also considered a serious contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, so anything newsworthy about him, especially this scandal, is very controversial to report on. With all controversial issues, it's absolutely critical to get all the facts right, which NBC news failed to do last Thursday, the 18th of September.

In their nightly newscast, anchor Brian Williams said that "federal charges are now ruled out for Chris Christie in the affair that came to be known as 'Bridgegate.'" Federal prosecutors say that the investigation is still ongoing, and that while there is currently no incriminating evidence linking Christie with the scandal, charges have not yet been ruled out. A serious gaffe, to be sure, but NBC chose the right response and quickly admitted the mistake. Had NBC ignored or denied their mistake in reporting, the consequences could have been serious, such as a decline in viewer's trust of the network. By owning up to their mistake and sticking to the truth, NBC has shown that they are a network that can be trusted; that even when they make mistakes, which is a trait of all humans, they can be trusted to fix them. The way NBC handled the situation should be a lesson in honesty; that the truth always works.

Here's a link to the full article about it: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/19/christie-george-washington-bridge-closure-report/15885679/

What do you think about NBC's mistake and how they handled it? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lasting Lessons From A Part-Time Job

As college students trying to make ends meet, summers are often filled with summer jobs rather than beaches and sun. This summer, I worked at a restaurant that I initially attained to make some money on top of an unpaid internship, however, it supplemented my knowledge of PR in a way that I never thought it would. Nestled in an up and coming neighborhood in South Philadelphia, I was able to watch the restaurant grow and gain popularity before my eyes. Though you might not be planning on owning a restaurant one day, here are some of the things I learned that I believe are important to any industry or brand:

Building Networks
As a two-year-old restaurant, it was very important for the manager and executive chef of the restaurant to build lasting relationships with other people in the restaurant industry. With any new company, building these relationships is vital, because not only does it help you learn and grow, but it also helps build support and connections for further growth in the future.

Social Media
Though the restaurant hired a PR agency to handle most of their traditional PR, the restaurants General Manager decided it would be best if she took on social media. By doing so, she was able to give the restaurant a neighborly voice and interact with customers on a more personal level. Making sure your social media channels have a voice that your followers not only enjoy, but also trust in believe is can enhance and retain your social media presence.

Every Customer is Important
With social media constantly transforming, Yelp has become on of the most feared public forums for restaurant owners but one of the most loved for their customers. Customers trust other customers, so by being genuine and attentive to every customer, Yelp can turn more into an asset rather than a horror. 

What part time jobs do you do in your very little spare time?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Rute Barkai.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What A Textbook Won't Tell You About Interviews

As communications students, we are used to having the rules of interviewing drilled into our heads. By now, I can rattle off these rules as quickly as I can recite the Pledge Of Allegiance. Over time, this interview “code of conduct” becomes common knowledge to us. Sure we know showing up late to an interview is the kiss of death. We know it is better to overdress than to underdress. Having a resume (which should not exceed more than a page) and writing samples on hand is crucial. But as I enter my senior year and look at how my interview skills have expanded over the years, I have learned some pointers that have helped me survive nerve-wracking interviews. Here are three not so cliche interview tips.

Google is your friend- Everyone tells you to research the company before going into the interview. It is important to know what exactly the company does and to read over its mission statement. If interviewing at an agency, be able to name their clients and different advertisements they created. However, nobody tells you to Google the person who is going to interview you. Look over his or her LinkedIn page. In addition to checking out what they do at the company, see where they went to high school or college. What organizations are they involved in? Who are they connected with? It’s a small world. Chances are, you may know somebody in common. Maybe your high schools played each other in football. Perhaps they volunteer at the some organization as you. These connections can serve as conversation starters and relax the atmosphere.

Be a news junkie- Professionals in any field of communications must have an awareness and understanding of world events. They must know what is happening around them and figure out how it affects their company or client. When you are interviewing for an internship, you must show the company you pay attention to things outside of your college bubble. I once went on an interview where they handed me a current events quiz. I was blindsided by this, but was also very grateful I scrolled through the news on Twitter while waiting for the subway.

Smile…a lot- Public relations professionals must have strong interpersonal skills. When interviewing for a PR internship, you must show them you are friendly and approachable. Walk through the door with your should back and a smile on your face. Smile whenever you meet an employee. Not only does this show the company you are excited about the possible internship, but it will also help you relax. Smiling often triggers “happy” signals in your brain. In turn, you will feel more positive which will lead to feeling more relaxed. Before you know it, those interview jitters will be gone!

The more you interview, the less anxiety-ridden you will be throughout the process!  What do you do 
to prepare for an interview?  Tell us in the comments. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Lauren Bentley.

Friday, September 19, 2014

For The Unmotivated College Student

I stumbled across this article about a week ago and I knew then I would have to share it with our PRowl readers. Regardless of how hardworking you are, everyone, especially college students, have experienced a period or two of pure laziness. However, this article by TIME listed a few great ways to combat the inevitable unmotivation that comes with college work. Seniors especially, pay close attention.

  • Schedule everything! Putting a specific deadline to even the smallest assignments forces you get it done. Simply adding tasks to a to-do list is a great start, but oftentimes that's all that happens: a great start. Using time restraints forces you to get tasks done efficiently and in a timely manner.
  • Choose a finish time and work backwards. This article uses the example of leaving work at 5:30pm, so I'll continue to use that example. If you want to clock out of work at a specific time, make that your goal and schedule your tasks to meet that time. If you give yourself all day to complete a project...well you'll take all day to complete that project and that's not the best use of your time.
  • Make a plan for the entire week. This tip is pretty self-explanatory but important nonetheless. Look at the bigger picture. Don't wait until an assignment is due to schedule out time to work on it. That's the beauty of syllabi; you know everything that's going to happen ahead of time. Use that to your advantage and plan accordingly.
  • Don't overflow your plate. It's great to have ambition and be involved in a ton of organizations. In fact, employers and professors often encourage us to do so. However, it's equally important to recognize your limits. If it is getting too difficult to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities, internships, and jobs, make a list of everything you're involved in and figure out what's most important. As the article suggests: "Do very few things, but be awesome at them."
  • Don't drown in the shallow end. The article describes work as either being shallow or deep. Shallow work would be all of your smaller assignments such as emails or meetings while deep work challenges you and encourages personal growth. Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to drown in a bunch of trivial, shallow work. Instead, try to focus more of your energy on projects that will actually help you to grow and learn in the long run.
In short, we all get lazy but you don't have to stay there. Take a moment to collect yourself and utilize a few of these tips to get back on track before midterms!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LinkedIn Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Digital Networking

(Source: LinkedIn)

In which scenario would you be more concerned about creating a positive first impression- introducing yourself at a networking event or the response your profiles get online? Many of us would say making a great first impression in a face-to-face interaction is more important. But with LinkedIn, the largest digital and professional network, your profile has a higher amount of potential connections to impress. It’s just as vital that your LinkedIn profile is maintained in the same way you would ensure your networking skills were sharp or you were dressed professionally for an event. Most recruiters and future employers check LinkedIn when considering a candidate or searching for prospective candidates. So wouldn’t you want your profile to be as inviting as you are in person? Here are some easy guidelines to ensure you’re optimizing LinkedIn.

  •  DO personalize your LinkedIn connection requests instead of using the automatic template.  Remind your prospective connection of how you met and why you want to connect with them.
  • DON’T connect with people you don’t know, it should reflect who you know in your personal and professional life.
  • DO be an active user.  Maintain a presence by responding to messages and connection requests in a timely manner.
  • DON’T embellish the truth.  Be honest about your experience on your profile, you never know what a prospective employer may be looking for. 
  • DO update your profile so it coincides with where you are advancing in your professional career.
  • DON’T have grammatical or spelling errors.  It seems obvious, but you have to remember that LinkedIn is not as casual as Facebook.
  • DO fill out the summary and bio on your profile.  It gives a prospective employer some background information and allows you to sell yourself the way you would in a cover letter.
  • DON’T join every LinkedIn group possible, only the professional associations you have in real life (such as Temple University PRSSA!). 
  • DO endorse and write recommendations for others, chances are one of your connections will do the same for you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Office Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

It’s easy to get comfortable in an office setting when you have worked (or interned) there for more than a few months. Although there are benefits to feeling relaxed and in control at your workplace, it can lead to mistakes that you may not even realize you are making:

1. Developing a Core Lunch Crowd: Jane from accounting and John from HR are your closest work friends, and you would rather pull an all-nighter at your office than eat with anyone else during your hour lunch break during the day. However, this is an incredibly limiting action that can cause you to miss out on important opportunities to network with your peers and higher-ups. Try making a goal of eating lunch with a different person in your office once a month. This way, you will have the opportunity to bond with your co-workers, and you will also have a chance to make valuable connections for later on.

2. Unnoticed Dress Code Violations: Most working individuals have a go-to suit or dress skirt that can be thrown on in a pinch to run to the office. However, it is important to remember that even as adults, people grow, and clothes shrink. That black A-line skirt may be a lot tighter than it was a year ago, or those pants are so loose now, a belt can’t save you. It is important to notice these problems as soon as possible before a wardrobe malfunction at work costs you more than your pride.

3. Ignoring Soft Deadlines: Yes, soft deadlines are referred to as “soft” for a reason, however, the more of these that you miss, the less reliable you appear to your boss. It is perfectly fine to miss a few deadlines of this nature, however, when it turns into a habit, it is a good idea to revamp your motivation for finishing your work on a timely schedule.

Do you have any mistakes to add to this list? If so, tell us about them in the comments below!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The New Faces of PRowl Public Relations

Last Thursday, PRowl met for our first weekly staff meeting of the semester. Looking around, it was thrilling to see so many eager new faces amidst the faces of our still eager veteran members.

After a week of conducting interviews and reviewing resumes and writing samples, PRowl is thrilled to welcome 14 new hires into our firm. We selected these new members because during their interviews and through their writing samples, we knew the following was true: they were eager to learn, ready to work hard and had a passion for practicing public relations.

Our new hires have various interests within the field, and come from very diverse backgrounds. With majors running the gamut from journalism to marketing and internship experience varying from legal to entertainment, we cannot wait to see what this well-rounded group will add to PRowl

We could not be more elated that these students have decided to take their next step with PRowl PR! You'll be hearing from our new members soon as they share their insights and advice in our weekend guest posts here on the blog.

Sarah Diomande
Kristen Hallahan
Genevieve Greene
Janelle Frace
Hannah Litchfield
Randi Nemeth
Olivia Noble
Tai Virgil
Colleen Chase
Meredith Ketterer
Jade Taylor
Rene Cosides 
Jasmine Johnson
Michelle Barry

Saturday, September 13, 2014

U2 on Ur IPhone

Some of you Iphone addicts may have noticed a new addition to your library early Friday morning.  The band, U2, released it's first album in five years...for free...through a partnership with Apple.  Apple does confirm that they paid band members, though the amount has not yet been released.  According to Daily Mail, there have been reports of Apple paying the band up to $100 million for the deal.  

Bloomberg News quoted Bono, a member of the band, saying, "People who haven't heard our music, or weren't remotely interested might play us for the first time because we're in their library.  And for the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way...the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail"

This is definitely the first of this kind of marketing/promoting that I have ever experienced.  In a way, I guess it can be called "guerilla marketing" as it took everyone with a Iphone by surprise.  With the recent leak of nude celebrity photos through the cloud and now this, I am beginning to think it is time to make some setting changes on my phone.  

Outraged customers used Facebook and Twitter to express how they felt about the whole ordeal.  People are more concerned with the violation of privacy that Apple has allowed for it's users.  Also, getting the 11 song album off of your iTunes seems to be quite difficult.  

On the opposite ends, there are fans of U2 raving about the deal, saying that the free download was a gift and has been on repeat since it showed up on their phone.

Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, said in a statement earlier this week that, "U2 has been an important part of Apple's history in music and we're thrilled to make 'Songs of Innocence' the largest album release ever."

There is not much in the news regarding the deal as a marketing move, but I am anxious to see if this kind of surprise becomes a more popular publicity strategy over time.

Do you think this was a smart way to promote the band's new album? Or do you think it may have made some enemies out of consumers for invasion of privacy? Let us know in the comments!

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Kaylie Corallo.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why Silence Is Also A Crime

One of the biggest headlines this week circled around Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and a video that recently surfaced documenting him physically abusing his wife Janay Rice. On Monday, TMZ released elevator footage from Revel Atlantic City in February earlier this year that shows Rice assaulting his then-fiancee, rendering her unresponsive, then attempting to drag her out of the elevator. Prior to the video surfacing, the National Football League only sentenced Rice to a two game suspension but has since suspended him indefinitely from the league. 

The public also hasn't taken too kindly to this recent discovery. This week alone Rice has been eliminated from his high school's hall of fame, removed from videos shown during Rutgers University football games, taken out of the upcoming NFL Madden video game by EA Sports, and sparked a powerful Twitter discussion under the tag #WhyIStayed. Baltimore Ravens owner has also written a letter to publicly apologize and the team is offering an exchange for Ray Rice jerseys. 

While it may sound like justice was served, a source revealed to the Associated Press that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had knowledge of the video back in April, despite denying that he had any access to the footage. While no significant progress has been made just yet, the Commissioner is now under fire and facing plenty of public scrutiny. However, it never had to get to this point. 

Public scrutiny is a result of public relations failure. What Goodell needed, in addition to some much needed empathy, was transparency. Had he been open, honest, and apologetic from the beginning, he, and the NFL by extension, would have never faced such heavy public criticism. Only time will tell if Goodell will also be punished for the crimes he has committed in these events as well. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Keep the Change: PYT Responds to NFL Player's Poor Tip

The NFL is plastered all over the news this week from the exciting start of football season to the Ray Rice scandal. But Philadelphia seems to be dealing with some football-related news on a more local scale. On Monday, Northern Liberties burger joint PYT posted a photo on their Facebook page of a receipt from Eagles player LeSean McCoy’s recent visit to the restaurant. But it wasn't to share excitement at serving the running back but to highlight the poor tip he gave his server. The receipt shows McCoy’s tip of $0.20 on a $61.56 bill, totaling a mere 0.32% gratuity. Both the athlete and the restaurant have received backlash from the public; McCoy for leaving less than a 1% tip and PYT for taking to social media to publically express their frustration. 

(Source: Facebook)

Fresh off the season-starting win, PA native McCoy has yet to address the incident publicly.
  • Why this hurts: A tip that is less than 1% for an average person would be considered inappropriate but for McCoy, who has a $45 million contract with the Eagles, it may seem unacceptable. Seemingly ignoring the issue may damage his reputation and likability among the notoriously fickle Philadelphia sports fan.
Though McCoy has yet to address the issue, the owner of PYT, Tommy Up, responded to criticism by releasing a statement via their Facebook page that you can read here.
  • Why this helps: While I neither agree nor disagree with Up’s decision to post the photo, I do think his response was apt. As the owner, he showed responsibility for his actions and stands by his employees and even applauds the Eagles and McCoy on their recent win. While most released statements seem crafted by PR reps (and most are), his statements comes off as purely genuine. Because of this, people will respect him and his restaurant, increasing their reputation in the long run.  
No matter who you agree with, this is garnering a lot of attention for PYT that’s not limited to Philadelphia. Even actor Charlie Sheen is chiming in on the issue!

Update: A few hours after this blog was posted, LeSean McCoy released a statement defending his $0.20 tip. You can read his response in an article from CSN Philly here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Strategic Planning: Apple Inc. Event

What you will find interesting about this post is that I am not writing about what Apple has released today. That, I am not certain of. But when large companies release major news after a major lead-up - it's a great opportunity to analyze it from the PR prospective.

Each year, consumers anticipate Apple's announcement of brand new products. What once started out as an all-new PC, Apple now carries all sorts of products from laptops to iPhones to tablets. Thanks to the internet, there are a plethora of rumors regarding what new product will be announced. Will it be a bigger iPhone? The iPhone 6? Two different versions of the iPhone 6? Or the iWatch?
(Source: Exact Target / 2013 Apple Event promo)
Consider the announcement from the internal side. It's possible that all of the information about the products was leaked on purpose. It's also possible that it wasn't. Either way, strategic decisions needed to be made in order for Apple to sustain a sense of mystery until today, the day of the unveiling event. It's ironic that as PR professionals we want to hear people talking about what we're working on, while at the same time it can be a double-edged sword and lead to possible customer disappointment. After hearing so much about these products, consumers may be easily let down if what they were excited about was not released or below their expectations.

Rumor has it that the iWatch may be announced, but not put on shelves for sale until months from now. Why? The strategic plan behind this could be that Apple really does want to surprise us. A new iPhone and iPad will only be innovations on a current category, but the iWatch is the first product in a new category. Additionally, the iWatch is not considered a necessity to most. With more time, Apple (and its consumers) can figure out why the iWatch is something that we need. Showing us what we desire without even knowing we desired it is something Apple does oh-so-well.
(Source: Telegraph)

Chances are you've found out what the new Apple product if not before, but by the end of this article. What do you think about the hype and results of one of America's favorite brands?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Don't Talk Business at a Business Lunch

This past Friday, I sat down with the owner of a law firm for my first ever business lunch. Being a stickler for proper business etiquette, I was a bit nervous of saying or doing the wrong thing; I agonized over what to order (we eat at Panera Bread) for fear of looking barbaric as I stuffed my face. In fact, I managed to overdress, arrive too early, and, in my opinion, order the wrong thing, yet lunch still went swimmingly.

I soon realized I was very lucky with who I was eating, because he took my inexperience in stride and freely gave me valuable advice on how to conduct myself in the future. He, being the owner of a law firm, and me, being a student and an intern, and much younger, there's an economic status difference; because of that, and the fact that he invited me to lunch, it's typical for someone in his position to offer to pay for your (the student's) lunch. And don't be shy about accepting, it's a sincere offer, and a free meal is something no college student wants to pass up. Hence my mistake in arriving too early, I'd already ordered and paid for myself before he arrived. However, the most important thing about a business lunch is that it's not really about getting any actual business done. Indirectly it is, because a business lunch is about getting to know somebody better, and typically that somebody is someone you are or are planning to do business with. A business lunch is about establishing a good relationship, or good rapport, so that future business can be conducted. Moreover, just like the informational interview with which I'm so familiar, a business lunch is about getting to know somebody, and learning from them.

For a student, especially in the communications or business fields, learning from established professionals in the field is the most valuable learning you're going to get. Take any opportunity to meet with someone in the field you're interested in, whether it's an informational interview or a business lunch, or just for coffee. Picking the brains of those that have come before you is the best way to learn what you want to do later in life.

Do you have any ideas on how a business lunch should go? We'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

On the Client's Side

Over the summer I interned at Breslow Partners, a full service public relations firm located in Rittenhouse Square specializing in restaurants and bars in and around Philadelphia. I was hired by the firm's founder and president, Tina Breslow, to be on her team. Each intern can take on a specific client to work on as their project for the duration of their tenure with the firm.

While interning during the week, I worked at The Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar on the weekends. Upon my return to the old side job, the manager asked me how school was going. I informed her of my new internship. Her reaction was a mixture of surprise and relief, "I'm looking for new marketing people as a matter of fact," she revealed to me, "take my card with you." Sometimes opportunity shows itself in the strangest of places. I acted quickly and pitched the idea to my boss. Upon explanation to Tina and her daughter, Jennifer a meeting with the Inn was set up.

I was in a unique situation; I knew everything about the restaurant from my three years experience, the good and the bad. I also actively worked there at the time. I was quite literally the middleman on this deal. Three weeks and four meetings later, the deal closed on July 1st. I was shocked and slightly horrified because I had put many eyes on me to help make this newly formed relationship work. Without realizing it, I created an immense amount of pressure for myself. With this deal closing, I tapped into a new drive and got down to work because this was not another homework assignment, this is a real life client and I have become a publicist.

Some say success is half luck, those people couldn't be more right. Success, in my opinion, comes from hard work and experiencing many failures along the way before getting what you want. Success is also having the foresight to spot an opportunity and having the tools on hand to grow that opportunity into something bigger. I have failed many times. I have done some silly things at the infancy of my career as a student. But this is why we go to school and intern, to fail in a safe zone where we can pick ourselves right back up and keep going. It's when we get past graduation where it takes a lot more out of you to pick yourself back up after failing. With the opportunity to be on the strategic planning side of a client, this is the avenue to creating a successful portfolio to launch myself into the career that I want. Without the support of my professors in the Strat. Comm. department for showing me what I need to do to become a successful publicist and the invaluable experience working in PRowl all last year on the Strat. Comm. account, I would not have had the knowledge and tools at my disposal to spot this opportunity let alone follow through on it. So for that I say thank you. 

At Breslow Partners, we are in the third month of the 12-month contract and we are starting to see some results.  We have over hauled their social media, created a fresh newsletter and gained media relations for special events. 

Breslow Partners is hiring interns for the fall and spring semesters.  To apply, send your resume over to Jennifer Mansfield at Jennifer@breslowpartners.com. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Nathan Wilson.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Integrated Marketing Communications...What It Means For Your PR Plan

As a public relations student with a business minor, I have the opportunity of taking some marketing classes to help broaden my perspective of strategic communications. This semester, I am taking a class that’s focused on integrated marketing communications and I would like to share some highlights and help explain why this is an important term for any 
PR or marketing professional to know. 

What is it? Integrated marketing communications can sound like a confusing term, but once you break it down the definition is quite simple. My textbook describes it as a process of integrating messages from a variety of sources about a company’s products or brands. Put simply, it means that all of the communications about a company have to be portraying the company in the same way. For example, a social media campaign has to go along with the overall brand image and other campaign materials put out about the company, it wouldn’t make sense to send your target audiences conflicting messages about your brand.

What does it mean for you? When done properly, integrated marketing communications can help to create a successful public relations or marketing campaign.  This means that when creating a public relations campaign, it is important to first look at your company from a consumer’s perspective and assess the image that it has already established. Then, build your campaign with that knowledge in mind making sure that your plan in sending similar messages. Integration of all communications that your target audience receives helps to reinforce what they already know about a brand. In turn, this creates brand awareness where the consumer can begin to establish a relationship with your brand, and ultimately can be very effective.

All of the strongest and most recognizable brands and companies out there right now follow this simple marketing approach. Some of the brands that come to mind for me are Starbucks, Apple, Nike and Target. Can you think of any other brands that have great integrated marketing communications strategies? 

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Kaitlyn Mashack.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ikea Pokes Fun at Apple in Recent Ad

Apple has become pretty well known for their embellishing product advertisements and there have more than a few parodies made at their expense. However, with the quickly approaching iPhone 6 announcement, Ikea's recent advertisement couldn't have come at a more apt time.

In order to promote their newest catalog, Ikea took a page out of Apple's book launching a promo video that highlights the different specs and features of their new product: the BookBook.

Well, Ikea's clever and well-timed campaign has already gained a lot of attention, gaining over 3 million YouTube views in just two days! What's more? Consumers are starting to get in on the joke by filming their own "unboxing" or "first time impression" videos of the newest BookBook.

So what exactly makes this campaign so successful? For one, it's definitely relatable. Whether you're a fan of Apple products or not, I'm sure most people would agree that, while exciting, their product unveilings can be a bit dramatic. Ikea is basically saying what everyone was already thinking anyway: Apple could stand to take it down a few notches. The ad also appeals to those who prefer a simpler time, a time of bookbooks as opposed to ebooks and tablets.

Just uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, this ad is gaining traction and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon!

What do you think of Ikea's newest campaign? Share in the comments below!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge: What it Has Done for ALS?

Lately, it’s been virtually impossible to scroll through your newsfeed on any social media outlet without coming across at least a few clips of friends and celebs alike doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. The trend is so popular, in fact, that it now has its own Wikipedia page explaining the origins and unofficial rules. It even links to a separate Wikipedia page that lists all the notable people who have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Although it has grown in popularity over the last few months, has this viral social media trend actually done anything to raise funds for ALS research or increase mainstream awareness of the debilitating disease?

(Source: Someecards)

Like any message that is spread via social media, the true nature of the Ice Bucket Challenge has gotten somewhat lost. There are several versions of the challenge, the most popular has participants both dump ice water on their heads AND donate to a charity of their choice but eventually evolved into donating specifically to ALS research. The ALS Association announced last Tuesday that they have received a total of $88.5 million in donations in connection with the vast participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Despite the widespread attention the challenge seems to be getting, few participants actually know what ALS actually is. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. According to the ALS Association, it is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” The Ice Bucket Challenge has received its fair share of criticism for helping to enable “slaktivism,” a combination of “slacker” and “activism” which describes the support of a cause without any actual effort. People simply pour a bucket of ice water over themselves and donate a few dollars to a cause they know little about.

Unfortunately, the Ice Bucket Challenge and the attention to ALS will likely fade into pop culture history as interests move on to the next big trend. But one thing is for sure, this is yet another example of the true power and connectivity of social media and its users.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

5 Questions To Check Your Ethics

PRSA has dubbed the month of September Ethics Awareness Month. Ethical practice is something briefly mentioned in some PR classes, but is rarely delved into at great length. Many of the misconceptions about public relations stem from the belief that practitioners do not strive to live ethically.

As public relations professionals, it is critical that we are ethical in our practice. The many misrepresentations of our industry mean that we are constantly under a magnifying glass. Also, the power of our services is heightened immensely when we practice ethically, as it increases the amount of trust between us, our clients and our publics.

To help keep yourself on the right track, here are 5 questions you should ask to check your ethics.

1. Am I following the PRSA Code of Ethics?
2. Am I disclosing all necessary information to my clients and my publics? Read up on disclosing the right way, here.
3. Could this potentially be a conflict of interest for myself or another client?
4. Am I protecting the free flow of information?
5. Am I making responsible decisions for myself and my client?

The answers to these questions should be obvious, and should be used as a guide to practice your profession ethically. To take the ethics code on the go with you, download the PRSA Ethics App to help keep yourself in check.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Life Hacks for PR Majors

You can’t browse the internet without finding an article with various life hacks for the general public.
From deodorizing shoes in a freezer to using the opening in a pot’s handle (normally used for hanging) as a spoon rest, there are many things to find that may make your life a bit easier.

But what about PR? Are there any hacks for a young professional navigating the ins and outs of the field?
Good news, there are! Take a look at these three life hacks for members of the PR field:

PR-Life Hack #1: For Internship Woes- What do you do when you don't get the internship you wanted for the semester? You sent in your application and made sure to include all of your best writing samples, but you were told that they chose another applicant. Depending on how far into the semester it is, you may not be able to find another opening at another company. Instead, try joining a PR club on campus. Organizations like the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will give you the opportunity to network with PR professionals as well as opportunities to add to your professional portfolio.

PR-Life Hack #2: For Scheduling Errors- Whether upperclassmen took all of the classes or you didn't know what you wanted to take before the class rosters filled up, you may find yourself taking a semester of classes that don’t have anything to do with PR. If this happens, don’t fret! While taking your GenEds, take some “classes” on the side. Websites like The Daily Muse have free, online classes that focus on professional development and careers. Although these aren't directly linked to PR, they will help you in the field when trying to find a job.

PR-Life Hack #3: For Informational Interviews- If you have reached out to a respected member of the PR community for a chance to conduct an informational interview, but they do not have time in their schedules, don’t worry. It’s nothing about you, it’s just that (as we know) PR professionals are very busy. If this happens, reach out to a professor that taught one of your PR courses. Whether it is a current or past professor, chances are, they have had real-world experience in the field, and most of them would love to connect with the students they teach!

Do you have any professional life hacks to share? Tell us in the comments below!