Saturday, March 28, 2015

Q&A With Tierney's Francesca Gunning

With eight years of PR agency experience, Francesca Gunning, a Senior Account Executive from Tierney shares her agency experience with PRowl PR. Francesca's career began at LevLane as an intern in 2009. After gaining valuable agency experience, she moved her talents to Tierney in 2012. 

Check out our Francesca’s insights in our Q&A below:

Describe yourself in three words.
Perpetual plate spinner

Tell us about your hobbies outside of PR?
I am a Spotify and Instagram addict, always exploring and capturing new music and interesting moments from the City of Brotherly Love. I love to run, watch HGTV with my four-legged best friend - a 19lb Boston terrier named Cookie - and enjoy all that Philadelphia’s culinary scene has to offer.

Describe what you like most about working in an agency.
I love the variety and the opportunity to gain experience in multiple different industries. I can bounce between industries ranging from automotive to food and healthcare to nonprofit on a daily basis. Being at an agency certainly keeps me on my toes and forces me to be nimble.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Usually I come in and determine the biggest priorities for each of my clients and then get to work. My daily activities can range from conducting media relations, to planning events, to handling crises or managing issues, to meeting with clients or my internal teams.

What does being a Senior Account Executive entail?
As a Senior Account Executive, I serve as a day-to-day contact for clients. I work with my supervisors to manage projects and team members, with a deep understanding of my clients’ business and communications objectives. I offer proactive recommendations to our clients, leveraging industry trends and the changing media landscape. I also research, develop and present communications plans.

What type of work does an entry-level PR position typically do?
Our entry level PR position is called an Account Coordinator. They’re the backbone of our teams. Our “ACs” help us do a variety of things like daily media monitoring, conducting research, planning meetings, building media lists, creating press documents and much more.

Based on your experiences, what would you say makes a successful client-agency relationship?
I would say trust and open communication. The best clients that I have worked with have been really trusting in our team’s ability to be successful and have been engaged and responsive every step of the way.  I’m lucky that I’ve had, and still get to work with, wonderful clients each and every day.

Do you have any advice for professionals entering this industry?
If you’re trying to work at an agency, I recommend that you try and get an internship at one in the market where you’d like to work. When you’re there, be a sponge – soak up as much knowledge as possible and become a critical extension of the team that you’re supporting. If you’re already in an entry-level position, work hard and don’t be afraid to try new things and learn from new people. Seek a mentor who can show you the ropes and give you advice when you need help. Your early years can be formidable and will shape you who become as a professional – cherish and own this time.   

Name three skills you believe all PR professionals should master.
  1.  AP Writing
  2. Flexibility
  3. Time Management

What is your proudest PR accomplishment?
Landing my first national news story on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams was amazing. It was about a nonprofit that was working to revitalize an 87-acre park in North Philadelphia. It took two years to make and when it aired, it was the best feeling in the world. It garnered so much great exposure for my client and the project took off from there. It really showed me the positive impact we can make in this industry. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Colleen Chase.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Starbucks' 'Race Together' Ends After One Short Week

Starbucks recently began and ended a marketing campaign called 'Race Together' that was intended to open discussion between baristas and customers about race in our current society. 
Source: (CNBC)
Chances are you've had an immediate reaction to this initiative. Customers (and most likely part-time baristas) are wondering: why? After talking about the campaign details with peers, it seemed like the majority were only interested in being handed a grande Pike Place first thing in the morning.

Starbucks' latest campaign stirred up a lot of conversation, nonetheless; just not the type of conversation the company had expected. The public took to social media and blogs to express their distaste for the forced 'Race Together' discussions. Only a week after the campaign's birth did Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, formally announced the end of 'Race Together':

"While there has been criticism of the initiative -- and I know this hasn't been easy for any of you -- let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise."  

Schultz insists that the initiative was scheduled to end on March 23, 2015 to begin with, and that the criticism received has nothing to do with its removal. Schultz also mentions that this is not the end of the long-term discussion Starbucks' is looking to start with its customers - more campaigns are to be anticipated and more goals have been added to the company's to-do list.

What would you do as one of the PR professional for Starbucks? Take Starbucks Senior VP of Global Communications Corey duBrowa as an example of what NOT to do. After receiving negative feedback on social media about the campaign's obvious flaws, duBrowa decided to delete his Twitter account.

"I was personally attacked through my Twitter account around midnight last night and the tweets represented a distraction from the respectful conversation we are trying to start around Race Together. I’ll be back on Twitter soon," duBrowa told Business Insider.

The PR issue is that the SVP of Global Communications should not delete a personal form of communication during a communications dilemma. If the campaign is focused on starting conversation on race relations, then the communications team should be prepared to share, too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Travelling Tips for PR Students

Whether you are studying abroad or travelling to a different city to shadow a successful PR executive, it is important for students to master the art of travel and packing techniques that will save you time and stress!
1. Pack Basics: Regardless of your destination, you will need to be wary of how much you pack. If you are taking a flight, you may only be allowed one “free” bag check, and even if you aren’t flying, you don’t want to be lugging around multiple suitcases! When packing clothing items, it is important to pack essential pieces for the dress code you are hoping to fit into. If you are going for business casual, packing key pieces (khakis, blouses, etc.) will help you stay away from over-packing. Also, packing certain items over others will increase your ability to travel light. If you pack chunky suit coats or things that need to be carried, your baggage could weigh you down. Instead, pack items that may still be considered professional, but don’t need as much care! (sweaters, dresses, tights, etc.)

2. Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your hotel details and to pack! Travelling itself is full of stress, so adding last minute troubles will only make your experience less enjoyable! Be sure to book your hotel room in advance not only for convenience, but because it may be cheaper to book earlier rather than later. Also, packing is a burden regardless of when you do it, but the sooner the better! Leave your toiletries and electronics out until the night before, but be sure to pack your clothing and professional materials (such as portfolios or resumes) at least a few days in advance.

3. Remember the Small Things: Your last packing step should be making sure you remembered small details that will make your travelling experience more pleasant. If you are taking a plane, remember to pack gum so that you can keep your ears from popping. If you will need a passport or some sort of ticket, make sure you have those items in an easily-accessible compartment of your bag!

Do you have any travel tips to share? Let us know!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Apple Watch

No matter your opinions on the new Apple Watch, the simple fact of the matter is that you have heard of it. Anyone that is even somewhat remotely active on social media or catching their news online has probably heard news about the new Apple Watch from someone, whether their comments were positive or negative. This is exactly how Apple is getting the best unpaid marketing possible.
When Apple announced its new watch earlier this month the Internet exploded. Some people were excited and others were skeptical, calling it unnecessary and over the top. Call it what you will but Apple is riding this controversial surge perfectly.

A recent social media study by Mediametric stated that on the day the new watch was announced the amount of social media chatter and buzz that the watch produced well surpassed Game of Thrones, which had just released a trailer for it’s upcoming season. That’s really saying a lot, that within minutes of being unveiled it had gathered more social media steam than one of the most social media frenzied shows on television.

Now, starting in early April you can walk into an Apple Retail store and try on an Apple Watch for no more than fifteen minutes, along with a whole other bunch of conditions that must be met before you try it on. In order to try on the watch for fifteen minutes an appointment has to be made and the fifteen minutes are guided one on one with an Apple employee. At the time of the appointment you can also schedule another appointment to pick up your watch when it’s officially released at the end of April.  
Seriously, how amazing of a marketing ploy is that after such a media uproar? What can Apple do after such a controversial social media explosion except make the product even more mysterious and controversial by allowing people to try it on with all of these crazy stipulations.

Not only is Apple using all of the social media to their advantage, despite the fact that responses seem to be split evenly down the middle in terms of positive posts and negative posts, they are also doing an excellent job of upping the hype even more by allowing shoppers to wear their watches for fifteen minutes in a very controlled environment.

Word of mouth advertising can be one of the most important aspects of a companies PR campaign nowadays, especially since opinions and thoughts travel so quickly on social media. Apple is showing exactly how you can play that word of mouth up and use it to your advantage by creating even more hype and talk.

Regardless of how well the Apple Watch actually sells, it will still have accomplished it’s goal of being one of the most talked about things on social media and that, in and of itself, is a major PR achievement. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Hannah Litchfield.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meerkat: SXSW's Hottest App

It seems like there is always a new and inventive app trending that it’s sometimes difficult to keep up. The latest taking the app store by storm is Meerkat, a user-friendly iPhone app which allows users to livestream video. It also links (well, linked, but more on that later) to Twitter, allowing users to comment and share through tweets. It’s quickly becoming the hottest trend at this year’s South by Southwest festival (SXSW), an annual festival celebrating music, film, and interactive media.


Twitter recently confirmed their purchase of Meerkat’s competitor Periscope. Now they are limiting Meerkat’s access to the “Twitter graph,” effectively making it impossible for users to find and follow other Meerkat users. It’s a setback and experts are skeptical the app can recover.

Whether it’s a long-lasting service or a SXSW trend, here’s everything you need to know about this videosharing app so you can get to “Meerkating” too.

  • It’s only developed for iOS , allowing users to live stream from iPhones or iPads. Sorry Android users.
  •  Previously, when Meerkat users start streaming, the app would automatically tweet out a link to the video. The app “borrows” your social network from Twitter so you don’t need to search and add your current social media following on yet another outlet.
  • Since Twitter acquired livestreaming competitor Periscope, they have removed the app’s access to this “graph,” giving Meerkat a hesitant future. 
  • Twitter only gave Meerkat cofounder Ben Rubin two hours’ notice before cutting off their access. 
  • Although SXSW continues until Sunday, many assume Meerkat will receive the unofficial “it” app of the festival.

It’s not all bad news for current and future Meerkat users, though. You can still post videos on Twitter and log in to Meerkat using your Twitter password/username.  The difference is that Twitter will no longer automatically send notifications telling your followers when you are streaming live.

Give it a try and let us know what you think of this up and coming app!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Killin' that Snapchat Game

Two weeks ago was spring break, and I was able to spend half of it in beautiful, warm Los Angeles; where even though it rained it was still a million times nicer than the frozen tundra of the East Coast. A little while after landing, I opened my Snapchat app and noticed a new story on my feed called 'LA Life.' I quickly realized that the story only appeared because I had my location services allowed, and was specific to the city of Los Angeles area. Even better, any snap I took I could upload to be considered for show in the story, for the entire city to see. I assume that some computer or team of people looks at all these snaps and picks the best for the story, so it was even cooler when my first snap actually appeared in the LA Life story about 30 minutes later. I had obviously picked something that I didn't mind everyone seeing, and it was cool to know that so many people were really going to see it. Snapchat has had these stories, native to a particular area or event for a few months now, but this LA Life story seemed to just exist there perpetually, as a place for all the 'Snapchatters' of LA to share their stories. I was disappointed (for many other reasons, too) to return to Philadelphia and find no such story for our area.

Snapchat has also introduced a new idea called geo-tags in the last few months, where they have preset filters that can be overlain on your pictures. Based on where you are, there are filters customized for that area. For Philadelphia, you can overlay the word 'Philly' in a bright, sparkly font. In Los Angeles, there were tons of different geo-tags, even for different districts of LA; there were two specific just to the Santa Monica Pier! They have also added ones that tell the time or temperature of where you are, as well as how fast you are moving. As a form of social media, Snapchat has rapidly become the most fun to use platform, as well as the most customizable. And, Snapchat has done it without really appearing to most people as a form of social media, but more as a means of communication, a means that is becoming integral to many people's daily lives. I know I always checking out all the Snapchat stories, from people I know to all the featured ones. There have been featured stories from the New York Fashion Week, from huge concerts and festivals like Tomorrowland, and just everyday life ones like the LA Life story. Snapchat has been doing everything right, and I believe will become the biggest social media platform.

Questions or comments about Snapchat? We would love to hear from you in the comments section!

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a junior at Temple University and the Director of Finance for PRowl Public Relations. You can follow him on Twitter here or on Snapchat at bbqpringles. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How To Tackle Your First Weeks At A New Internship

Joining a new organization can often feel nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Where do you go on the first day? What if you don’t make any friends? Who do you eat lunch with? These were the same questions we had on the first day of school, and many of the same questions we have the first day at a new internship. But, the good news is that everyone understands and will try to make your transition as seamless as possible. To further ease into a new internship, try taking a look at the following tips.


[Source DIY Network]

Tour the Office
You can acclimate yourself to new surroundings by taking time to explore the office. Your supervisor will likely show you around on your first day, but exploring on your own means you can discover new things that weren’t on that initial tour. You may discover a different kitchenette, or maybe a fully stocked storage closet.  And when your supervisor needs you to make those copies, you’ll know exactly where to go.

Meet Fellow Interns
Your first days, and even weeks, at a new internship will be filled with meeting new coworkers and interacting with supervisors. It is also important to form relationships with other interns in the office. Remember that other interns are just as new and confused as you are, and you’ll have to lean on each other to figure things out. Fellow interns may be the people you go to lunch with everyday, and will be valuable contacts to have in your network.

Schedule One-on-One Meetings
Scheduling meetings with individuals in the organization allows you to form personal connections from the very beginning. You’ll be able to understand exactly what someone’s role is, which will allow you to better understand the organization as a whole. The office won’t be full of nameless faces, but rather people with whom you can connect and share stories. These relationships will prove to be invaluable, especially after your internship ends.

This is some advice that has gotten me through four different internships, and as I embark on my fifth I still believe it’s useful. As summer internships approach, I hope you also find it beneficial. If anything, always remember to show interest and enthusiasm. Asking questions and finding ways to make the lives of your coworkers easier are the best ways to make a lasting impression.  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Janelle Grace.