Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's A Good Thing To Be Called A "Brand Influence"

Trends in our culture are changing at rapid speed and it took me until three weeks ago to take a step back and think, “Who influences these trends?” This semester I am taking a Personal Branding course through the Advertising department in the School of Media and Communication. This course has opened my eyes to the other side of an individual’s or company’s brand; where the brand influence came from. In terms of effecting brands, an influencer is someone who thinks and expresses himself or herself differently. Jay Z to TED Talks are both examples of a “brand influence.” These influencers are who helps create and end trends, as well as assist others in creating their own.

As public relations professionals it is important to identify your personal brand and who influences you. Public relations is a field where you have to be up to date on the latest cultural trends and be confident in what makes you stand out from other practitioners. An individual’s personal brand is what can separate someone from the rest. In class, a personal brand was described as a unique promise of value. Having a stable personal brand with a core group of influencers, can not only be beneficial to one’s personal life, but can positively reflect in their career.

Embracing social media is something public relations professionals must do. Following different blog sites and social media platforms are a great way to start paying attention to brand influencers. Blogs are a way to keep up, city to city, on what the next big trend might be and how it evolved. This will expose you to new ideas and a creative world that can translate through your professional development.

Personal branding in the past has always been presented to me in strictly a professional light. I think it is important to view a brand in a deeper way and analyze how it evolved over time and who influenced it. The video below is a short film about “brand influence.” I encourage you to watch it and get a glimpse of recent influencers and their impact on society. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Gabrielle Lacherza.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How To Stay Sane In College

College is a busy time. You start with a full class load, add on a couple of student organizations, one or two part time jobs plus an internship and you're already overwhelmed. As a junior with all of the above, I soon realized this year would be more difficult than freshmen and sophomore year combined. I challenged myself with being a Resident Assistant on top of 16 academic credits, an on-campus job, an internship, three student organizations and still making time to eat, sleep and see friends. 

As a PR major, I have found almost all of my friends in the major are in a similar situation, yet we all are able to be successful and somehow keep our sanity. 

Here are the ways I have been able to cope and survive week to week:

My planner is my life. 
Every year, I get a free Temple University planner from my residence hall, and it saves my life. I like it better than putting events and reminders in my phone calendar. All of my meetings, appointments, exams and work schedules go in it right away. Whenever I get an email I pencil it in. My planner keeps me organized and prevents me from double booking myself.

Have "me" time. (Maybe change this to “Make “me” time.)
Going to the gym and just lying in bed watching Netflix is sometimes 100% my priority. I love going to one of Temple's gyms or group fitness classes;it makes me feel good and forces me to put down my phone or homework. Afterwards, I feel refreshed and more energized. The same thing happens with Netflix because sometimes at 10 pm I just cannot work on my study guide anymore or edit another assignment. I put everything away and lay in bed with my laptop to unwind after a long day.

When meetings overlap and you get asked to do 5 things at the same time, pick what is most important. It is okay to say no to people or organizations. You cannot be everywhere all the time. If you said yes to something last time, give something else a chance next time. It can be very hard, and I struggle with not making everything a priority but have gotten better at it over time.

How do you stay organized and handle all of your obligations?

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fashion Police & Guiliana Rancic: Crisis Comm 101

Recent comments from Fashion Police host Guiliana Rancic have caused the internet to buzz with commotion and cries for apology. In this recent episode of Fashion Police, a popular show on the E! network known for making snarky comments about celebrities and their attire, host Guiliana Rancic made some less than thoughtful comments about actress Zendaya and her hair style at this year's Academy Awards.

Rancic is quoted saying "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil," Rancic snipped, drawing chuckles from her co-hosts. "Or weed. Maybe weed?"

It didn't take long for 18-year-old Zendaya to respond with this message which has been shared countless times over social media:
Rancic followed up with her own apologetic tweet, which users did not respond well to. After event more controversy stirred when another Fashion Police host, Kelly Osborn, gave an ultimatum that the issue be addressed or she'd leave the show, Rancic issued this apology, which has been better received, but has still done little to reverse the damage done.

Apologies have been issued, but the dust is far from clearing in this situation. Moving forward, there will be plenty of scrutiny, criticism and careful watch over Guiliana, the Fashion Police team and the E! network as a whole. As a TV personality and a brand, Guilana will need to put her best PR foot forward in figuring out how to:

  • Reassure her fan base/audience that she's truly learned her lesson without coming off as coached.
  • Reassure those that she has offended that it will never happen again.
  • Showcase this character correction in her brand.
  • Work together with members of her E! network and host family to collectively show a change in character
How would you handle this crisis situation? Do you think E! is handling it effectively, now?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Management: Avoiding First Impressions

We've thought long and hard on how to master the first impression. Some of us still reign better than others. But while we're stressing out over our showing our future employers our best appearance, we stay blind to what it's like to be on the other side of the interview. First impressions influence the way we continue to view a person, but there are ways to push these initial thoughts aside.
(Source: Desired Haven)
  • Stay open-minded: According to best-selling management author, Dr. Stephen P. Robbins, "think of any early impression as a working hypothesis that you're constantly testing for its accuracy." Instead of immediately deciding on whether or not you feel a job candidate fits, allow yourself more time to come to a conclusion. By leaving your mind open, you will be able to assess more accurately without the bias of your first impression.
  • Do not judge a book by its cover: Appearances give us the unfortunate opportunity of judging a candidate off of their looks before hearing anything they have to say about their skills and traits. Though each candidate is preferred in business casual and presentable, their job qualifications need to have a major influence on your decision as a manager. When hiring, make sure to hear the interviewee out about their past experiences and qualifications along with their business appearance!
  • Ignore bias: Studies show that positive first impressions lead interviewers to continue the interview in an agreeable manner, and negative first impressions in a negative manner. In some cases, a manager may even find him or herself asking less-stressful questions to the candidates they immediately resonated with. By ignoring your own bias, you will be able to identify which candidates are best for the position without any outside factors interfering.
Source: The Truth About Managing People (3rd Edition), Stephen P. Robbins, Ph.D.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Unconventional Stress Relief Tips

     If you Google “stress relief”, thousands of articles will come up with suggestions you've been hearing from your mom since middle school: get a good night’s rest, eat healthy, etc.

     However, as PR majors, our lives become so hectic, oftentimes, these helpful tips are not enough to keep a crisis at bay.

     If you are looking for a new way to de-stress after a long day, week, or month, take a look at these three unconventional stress-relieving practices that have helped others in the past:

1. Read a Book: Diving into a good read that you have been anxious to start will help you de-stress, and no, a textbook does not count.  Reading transports you to another place and forces an individual to focus on the novel without thinking about other things. Also, reading gives you an opportunity to settle down in your favorite cozy spot with a snack, coffee, or hot chocolate.

2. Interact with Animals: It has been scientifically proven that animals can be a de-stressing agent for the humans they come into contact with. If you can afford to adopt a pet, that is the best option, however, if you can’t, taking some time to visit or volunteer at an animal shelter will give you a chance to play with as many animals as you want, for free! Many city shelters look for people to socialize animals they hope to adopt out, so this will be a win-win for you and the animals you visit!

3. Start a Journal: This may seem like something you would tell an elementary school student to do, however, journal-writing is a great way to release tension and stress in a way that won’t cause you consequences. Many people bottle up stress and frustration to the point where it boils over and cause problems. This is why it is important to be open about your feelings, and sometimes, a word dump is the best thing to do.

     Do you have any advice for relieving stress? If so, let us know in the comment section!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nailing The First Date

Sometimes the first date can be extremely nerve racking. You walk into a nice restaurant and there is your date patiently waiting for you to sit down. You wish you were at home binge watching Netflix, but now you’re here so you may as well make the most of it. The first date jitters are common for most, but for a PR pro, well, we are basically experts in the dating realm.

Check out these seven tips PR pros use every day when they are on their first meeting with a client.

Social Media Stalking
Don’t be afraid to stalk your client on social media to check them out to gather more information about them. Besides, you want to know who you are about to meet with anyway. You always want to know all of the positives and negatives of your potential client before…

The First Date
The first date is like the first meeting with your new client. The first date serves as the perfect opportunity to show your client all of your best qualities. It is your time to sweep them off their feet.

Dress to Impress
On every first date, and every date after that, you always want to look good! You want to be the best and trendiest thing they have ever seen, to really impress them. The way you present yourself really shows who you are as a person, so remember to always dress to impress!

Don’t Talk Too Much
On any date with any love interest, you want to avoid releasing too much information about yourself, so do the same with your client! Don’t ramble on about how awesome your PR firm is or how your hashtag was trending for two weeks, instead take the time to listen to them to find out what their interests are. You want them to feel special!

Be You
Don’t go out of your way to be someone you’re not. Show your personality, and don’t try to make someone like you because it’ll backfire on you. Be you! I’m sure they’ll love you anyway!

Have Good Etiquette
When you’re meeting someone for the first time, everything should be up to par so stay classy! Watch your language, and don’t talk with your mouth full.

Show Your Teeth
Don’t be afraid to show your teeth. Engage in the conversation with your client and don’t forget to smile. Make them feeling comfortable with your warm smile, but lead the conversation because after all, your end goal is to make them yours!

When meeting your client for the first time, make sure to keep these tips in mind. You’ll be sure to sweep any client off of their feet! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Alissa Steele.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Increase Your Shareability

Social media fuels the world we live in. We love to share content that defines ourselves, entertains us, develops relationships and gets the word out about causes and brands we support. In order for your content to stand out amongst the millions of other voices in your social media and communication channels, it is important to make your content as shareable as possible.

Create reactive content. Shareable content evokes strong emotions, such as excitement, astonishment, awe, anger and frustration.

Create useful content. People like to read posts and articles with information that makes their lives easier or benefits them in some way. Share content that enriches the lives of others. An easy way to share useful content is to create “how to” articles or lists of tips and tricks.

Share relatable content. Be genuine and share content that reflects who you are to your readers, followers and friends. People are more likely to share content that represents who they are and shows others what they care about.

Use subheads, bullets and lists. Now more than ever, people have low attention spans and like to scan, rather than read things word-for-word. It is important to make your content scannable with a clear direction for your reader. Don’t make the design or layout complicated, and choose a font that is easy to read.

Incorporate visuals. Visual content is becoming a norm in the social media, public relations and marketing worlds because visuals help tell your story in two seconds or less. Incorporate videos, photos and infographics into your content to increase your shareability.

Use nostalgia. Think about your customers and what they might miss or may have forgotten. Share content that creates nostalgia because it helps build a relationship with your customers who share the same emotional reaction. For example, you can participate in “Throwback Thursday” by using the hashtag #tbt on social media to remind your audience of a specific moment in time.

By thinking about your audience and using these tips, you will increase your shareable content for either your own personal brand or for your client. Do you want to learn more? Check out the infographic below:

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