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.