Sunday, May 31, 2015

The 3 Steps to Handling a Crisis

Amid the “19 Kids and Counting” scandal, there were a few missed opportunities for TLC to use handy PR tricks to help save face. During these tough times, it is important for companies to stay ahead of the issue at hand in order to restore their image and the faith their stakeholders have for their company. These are the steps TLC should have taken to handle the crisis/scandal/issue

1.   Communicate the issue. Once these types of scandals break, the media will be all over you looking for comment. Although there is no rush to provide one, it is not good to completely ignore the media outlets. This will allow other people to speculate your stance on the issue and create new opinions that could distance them from your service. People need to know where you stand on the issue.
2.   Apologize. Everyone is human, and humans are not perfect. Regardless if your company is in the wrong, you should always apologize for the situation at hand. It shows that your company is compassionate and cares about the people who are involved in their business.
3.   Be transparent. Be available to stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns, and take serious initiative to make change. Every scandal presents a company with the opportunity to make positive changes and be more open and honest with its constituents. Companies should share as much as they can with their constituents to prove that they are taking the necessary steps to make changes.

All of these steps help companies deal with crisis issues and help solve them quickly and swiftly.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rene Cosides. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A PR Pro's Guide to Working with a Graphic Designer

Our world today is fueled by digital and visual content. As a soon-to-be public relations professional, it is likely you will be creating visual content to develop a relationship and engage with your client or company’s audience. However, you might not be an expert in design software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign). It is likely you will have to work with a graphic designer to reach your creative goals.

Source: Stocksnap
Know your objective. What do you want to achieve through this visual content? How do you envision the graphics? Know what you want so you aren’t wasting your time or your graphic designer’s time because we all know time is our most valuable resource.

Be able to describe what you want, but give the designer some creative freedom. Before meeting with your graphic designer, write down what you want to you can easily explain what you would like to see in the design. However, remember that the graphic designer is the expert. You should give him or her some creative freedom because the designer knows what will look best and may even create something better—something you may have never imagined yourself.

Send the right files. Ask the graphic designer about the specific files he or she needs to start creating your graphic. By asking first, you will eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth emails.

Do not underestimate the time it will take them to complete the project. A graphic is just like any other piece of art. It takes a lot of time to make. Even the simplest tasks may take more time than you think. Be patient and understanding because you don’t want the final product to look rushed.

Take an introductory course in graphic design. Even if you aren’t an expert after taking an introductory course, it will help you understand the programs that graphic designers use to create your content. You will be able to understand graphic design jargon, making it easier to communicate with your graphic designer. Also, you will learn the difference between vector and pixel-based graphics. Especially when dealing with logos, you will understand that vector-based images can be resized without damaging the quality of the image.

Graphic designers and public relations professionals are both creative in their own ways, and we have one thing in common – we both communicate with our content. By knowing how to work with a graphic designer, you will be able to complete your job more efficiently, while making your client or company happy at the same time.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Megan Healy. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer Employee isn't as bright as the clothes

Source: Mashable
A month ago, Lilly Pulitzer was in the spotlight for selling out within minutes after their line launched at Target. People were lined outside the store for hours and Target’s website could barely handle all the traffic. Some customers were irate they were too late to buy anything, others jumping for joy about their new purchases. There was nothing too negative about #LillyforTarget besides the fact it was so limited. Now, the famous brand is making the news for an unfortunate reason. The internet exploded Tuesday morning after an employee had fat shaming cartoons hanging at their desk.

Lilly Pulitzer is headquartered right outside of Philadelphia in King of Prussia. The employee had extremely upsetting cartoons saying things such as “Put it down, carb face.” It wasn’t long before the social media and news outlets got the word of this. This is a PR crisis that won’t be an easy fix. Discrimination against weight is a topic that sparks a lot of conversation in the fashion world. It is no secret how many women suffer from body image issues because of size 0 models and clothing lines. Their VP of Creative Communications issued an apology explaining these cartoons of one employee do not reflect the company’s values.

Hopefully this employee will be terminated and the company can move forward with launching exciting items that make females excited to buy their clothes. Plus size clothing is something really breaking through recently. It was announced that Melissa McCarthy will be launching a new plus size clothing line and Tess Holliday was recently the first plus sized model signed to a mainstream modeling agency.

During a crisis workshop in class, we learned an immediate apology from one main spokesperson is always important. Termination of this employee will make a lot of people happy, proving to the public they do not tolerate such hate towards other women. As a female clothing line it is upsetting to see discrimination targeting other women. It will be interesting to look out for ways Lilly Pulitzer plans on addressing this crisis from a PR standpoint. #Lillyforallsizes?

This blog post was written by PRowl Director of Finance Gabrielle Lacherza 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Getting Savvy with Media Relations: Outside the Office

As is often stressed in the classroom, media relations is a lifeline for any company, client or PR associate to have a successful career and relationship with the public. Many students do not have access to learning the ins and outs of media relations until they take a class or land their first internship, but here are some tips to get an idea of what media relations is all about that you can do on your own:

Immerse yourself in the news
If you have your goals set on working in any aspect of communications and you’re not an active follower of the news that should change right about now. While it may seem overwhelming at first, being aware of what is happening beyond one’s bubble is important for being the best in any communications field, even beyond PR! You can start simple by following major news outlets on Twitter or by signing up for newsletters delivered to your inbox every day.
Consider yourself a seasoned consumer of news? Make sure to mix up the sources that you check-in with. Every news outlet, whether local or international, takes on different tones and perspectives when presenting stories or updates. Consider taking the same story from different outlets and comparing the differences you see in writing and overall presentation of the information. Understanding these differences from a PR perspective can help you get the ball rolling on understanding how you may pitch stories differently to each media outlet.

Research reporters
It is also helpful to get a better understanding of the voice each reporter takes on. You can develop your media relations skills by studying each news outlet, as a well as the specific topics reporters in each news category can take on. Focusing on topics or stories reporters have covered in the past or continue to cover currently could benefit you in future intern or career work related to news relations.

Explore Media Technologies
What is becoming a higher and higher demand today is for PR students to be as dynamic as possible when it comes to understanding computer programming, from social media to media listing technologies. While many top media list services charge for their services, we as students can still begin to familiarize ourselves with the major programs with doing our own research online. You can find quick tutorials online, such as this one for the service Meltwater, to start building an understanding of what building a professional media list looks like.
A major FREE tool that those in communications are often recommended is Help A Reporter Out. The website aims to connect reporters from a range of different news outlets to different contacts to help build their stories or leads on a specific topic. It is free to sign up and can benefit you now or later in building your understanding of the ongoing news cycle and networks

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Mina Lezenby

Monday, May 25, 2015

Communicating Abroad

The summer is officially in swing, vacations have been planned, study abroad semesters have started, and you might soon find yourself in international waters. Though time abroad should be spent enjoying and embedding oneself in a new culture, it is also a great opportunity to network with people who work in different cultural environments who can give you tips and tokens of information you won't learn anywhere else. The only obstacle, not everyone you meet will know English well or even at all, so here are some useful tips on how to overcome language barriers when networking and communicating:

Slow and Clear Wins the Race
Make sure that you are speaking slowly and clearly so that the other person can better understand you. By enunciating your words and slowing down to ensure that the other person understands, you can avoid miscommunication and lack of understanding.

Patience is a Virtue
Communicating between languages can take time. Part of being patient can mean checking that the other person understands what you are saying, and making sure to clarify if they are not. Though it might get frustrating at times, recognize that it may be frustrating for both parties involved. The outcome of being patient and finally being able to accurately communicate can be gratifying! 

Avoid Jargon and Idioms
Stick with the basics when communicating through language barriers. The more complicated the vocabulary you use, the more difficult it might be for someone else to understand you. Remember that jargon can also get easily misinterpreted and can cause unfortunate, though sometimes humorous misinterpretations.
And lastly, as always, be enthusiastic. Being able to spend time abroad is an indispensable experience. If you make the most of it and show that you are excited to be interacting with others, it can make communicating easier and will make others more inclined to communicate back. Buena suerte!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Did Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" fulfill its hype?

Whether you’re a “Swiftie” or not, there is no denying that Taylor Swift dominated the Billboard Music Awards last Sunday, where she received eight awards.  However, most of the buzz on social media did not pertain to her wins.  Instead, people were raving about the premiere of Swift’s music video for her song “Bad Blood.”

Before the music video made its debut during the award show, Swift was able to create suspense with her brilliant social media marketing plan.  Promotions began on her Twitter and Instagram accounts 10 days prior to the release date on May 7.  Swift first posted an edgy, cinematic picture of herself that revealed her role as “Catastrophe” in her music video.

Leading up to the release, the pop-singer also reveled several other celebrities who would appear in the “Bad Blood” video including: Kendrick Lamar, Lily Aldridge, Zendaya, Hayley Williams, Gigi Hadid, Ellie Goulding, Haliee Steinfeld, Lena Dunham, Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne, Serayah Love, Jessica Alba, Martha Hunt, Ellen Pompeo, Mariska Hargitay, Selena Gomez, and Cindy Crawford. Each day, Swift posted pictures of the various actresses, singers, and supermodels as their heroic alter egos.  Over 100 million people viewed the promotional media on Twitter, but the edgy theme and large amount of celebrity cameos made the video highly anticipated.

Luckily, “Bad Blood” was able to exceed its expectations after the premiere.  According to Billboard, Swift was mentioned 149,000 times during the Billboard Music Awards, and the hashtag, #BadBloodMusicVideo, was used over 112,176 times on Twitter.  The social media platform even gave Swift a customized “Bad Blood” emoji to go along with the hashtag.

Source: USA Today
Overall, more than 7 million tweets were posted about Swift and “Bad Blood” since the announcement on May 7.  Swift proved to be a savvy social media user, as well as a fearless and powerful young woman.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kimberly Leung.