The journey begins: Five tips for making the most of your internship

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By Blake Hedberg

You have done all the necessary research, crafted an excellent cover letter, branded yourself with an excellent resume and survived the strenuous interview process. The company you hope to work for finally gives you that long-awaited phone call – you have landed your first internship. However, this is no time to relax. Plenty of hard work and learning opportunities await.

For most students, the process of finding and securing an internship is a daunting task. The amount of research, time and effort that goes into the process can be extensive. Some students put the process off until their senior year (do not wait this long). For those who have gone the extra mile to be placed in an internship program, your journey is off to a fantastic start.

You are about to embark on the beginning of your professional career, and you’re ready to begin your first day as a professional. Before you do, here are a few tips for maximizing your internship experience.

1. Embrace hierarchy with a smile

Let’s get this out of the way from the beginning: As an intern, you might have to perform trivial tasks at one point or another. Photocopying, coffee runs and things of this nature are not uncommon for interns. Get over it.

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You are there to help the business by any means necessary – do this with the biggest of smiles. You must understand that there is a hierarchy at the company you are working for and everyone has been in your shoes sometime during their careers. Employers will remember you better if you perform any task with enthusiasm. Doing these small tasks will demonstrate your ability to listen and work effectively. This will, hopefully, lead to better assignments in the future.

2. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions

An internship is an incredible opportunity for learning, personal growth and development. You are expected to be asking questions. After all, you are there to learn, aren’t you? Don’t hesitate to pull your employer off to the side and ask them something when you are uncertain. Make sure the time is convenient for them, however, and they will likely be happy to give you some guidance. Asking questions is a necessity in getting the most from your experience. If you do not ask about it, they will assume you already know it. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gain.

3. Get to know anyone and everyone

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From the other interns, to the CEO, to the janitorial crew; get to know the people around you. You never know who might be able to help you with something down the road! Participate on company softball teams, go out for drinks with your internship team, stay after events and chat with fellow employees.

Go above and beyond the hours you are expected to work and establish relationships with co-workers. Your work will become more meaningful that way. Networking does not have to stop once you have landed an internship. In fact, it is just now beginning. Keep building that professional network. It will pay off when you are looking for your first job.

4. Be willing to learn

Having the right mindset in any workplace is extremely beneficial. Taking a positive approach with an open mind will definitely impress of your employer. Not all internships are the same and you may have unique opportunities that go beyond your job description. Be ready. Take in as much as you possibly can from whatever you are doing. You will appreciate that you did after the internship has concluded.

No one likes a know-it-all. If you walk around and act like you know everything and that the employer has nothing to teach you, this will resonate with them in a negative way. Accept when someone is offering to teach you something, no matter what that may be.

5. Sell yourself

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When it comes to internships, there is also a more competitive angle that is often forgotten. As you make friends with the other interns at the company you must not forget that, from an employer’s perspective, you are competing against one another. Whether you realize it or not, your employer is grading each intern with the possibility of hiring one or two of you at the end of the process.

You must be able to work and get along with others, but make sure you are selling yourself and reinforcing why you should be considered for employment post-internship. You need to outperform the other interns in your program. Yes, this is somewhat of a bleak realization but is in fact a representation of the real business environment. Leave no doubt in your employers mind that you are the candidate they should pursue.


Do you have any tips for young professionals as they work their way through an internship? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Pokémon (Don’t) Go: Four communication lessons to be learned from Niantic

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By Molly Olten

How does one of the biggest game releases in the history of mobile downloads become a passing fad in a matter of two months?

Pokémon Go, a free, augmented reality game, based on the ‘90s kid show, Pokémon, hit app stores in America on July 6, 2016. The release went far from unnoticed. It seemed that everyone had heard of it, from your five-year-old nephew to your 78-year-old great aunt. Even media outlets swarmed the game. To many, Pokémon Go was seen as a social and gaming revolution. Even social media giants started to sweat when the game’s active user base topped 45 million in the early stages of release.

But now that number is barely reaching 30 million.

Engagement and time spent on the game is also declining.

As the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end, but most people hoped the end wouldn’t come so soon. So why were users hanging up their trainer hats? Aside from media negativity and game play issues, the communication, or lack thereof from Niantic, the development company behind Pokémon Go, was the most detrimental mistake to Pokémon Go.

Niantic provides a perfect example of the value of proper communication. Pokémon Go may not have suffered such losses if Niantic had simply communicated decisions made and explained the situation. Niantic’s poor communication with its audiences frustrated players and, in some cases, even prevented them from liking the game.

People simply wanted to understand and enjoy the game, and it seemed as if Niantic did nothing to encourage that.

Be vocal

"Over 1,000 people showed up for the Pokémon Go Event and... Servers are down." - Reddit user kidbranz

“Over 1,000 people showed up for the Pokémon Go Event and… Servers are down.” – Reddit user kidbranz

One of the major game issues Niantic faced with Pokémon Go was server overload. So many people were trying to log into the game in the first weeks of its release, it was almost impossible to play. Instead of letting players know that they were aware of the issue, Niantic continued to expand the availability of the game in other geographic areas, adding further strain to the servers.

Another strike against the company came when it changed an integral part of the game without warning or explanation.  Not a single tweet, post or announcement was made. The only information users got in the update was “Minor Text Fixes.” When making major changes, silence is the wrong answer.

Keeping quiet on an issue and not opening up a dialogue about it is the easiest way to lose your audience’s trust.

Focus on your audience

Speaking of audience, it is also necessary to give them the attention they deserve. At one point during the start of all Niantic’s communication issues, instead of posting information about how they are fixing problems or working on an update, Niantic tweeted out at Soulja Boy.

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This was a major oversight. After virtually zero communication and an abundance of issues, Niantic chose to break the silence with a celebrity shout out instead of taking a few minutes to acknowledge players’ concerns.

Make it easy for audiences to like your brand

An enormous amount of people wanted to like Pokémon Go (and many still do). However, the magic it held for a few brief moments this summer is lost, mostly due to the fact that Niantic was unresponsive.

Niantic’s blog was updated just once during the launch in July, with the next “update” coming Aug. 4. Both posts fail to acknowledge the issues or updates made to the game. Organizations should make it easy for an engaged, enthusiastic community like Trainers to feel listened to and respected.

Invest in communicators

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The bottom line? Invest in people that will help your brand grow. The former Niantic Global Community Manager, Brian Rose, perfectly summed up Niantic’s future problem: “If you’re there with the community, they’ll be there for you when things go south. Bugs can be fixed, but regaining people’s faith is hard.” Moving forward, Niantic needs to make some major changes in its communication habits.

Maybe part of this rant is coming from a bitter Team Instinct player, but the massive losses and wilting potential of Niantic’s Pokémon Go is something gaming companies should take a note from.

How do you think Niantic has handled Pokémon Go so far? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Five tips for building your brand on Twitter

By Brittany Green

When Twitter was first launched, people were uncertain how successful it would be. Now in 2016, there are millions of users and more than 500 million tweets sent out every day. People are using Twitter to find news, share information and connect with people and businesses around the world.  It has become a very powerful tool, not only for social purposes, also to help businesses market their brands.Some of the most successful companies use Twitter because it allows them to reach a large audience, interact with them quickly and keep them updated with content information.

Image credit: @chipotletweets via Twitter

Image credit: @chipotletweets via Twitter

Chipotle is a great example of a company that efficiently uses Twitter to interact with it’s audiences. According to a 2011 Nation’s Restaurant News Study, 90 percent of the company’s activity on Twitter is responding to customers through @mentions. Chipotle currently has 743,000 followers that it can interact and share content with. That is certainly amazing, but also something that, in principle, any business can do. If you’re interested in using Twitter to build your brand, here are some tips to help you get started.

Use the search feature

One of Twitter’s most powerful tools is the search feature. It can operate as a “global human search engine” of sorts and allows people to find others on Twitter with relevant information to share. Researchers also can look to see which topics are trending to stay informed and gauge audience interests. Hashtags (#) can help people immensely when searching. Just put a “#” in front of a topic and a lists of relevant tweets will appear. This can save you a lot of trouble and makes it very easy to search.

Know your audience

It is VERY important to know your audience. This will help you communicate clearly and make information relevant to them. If the content is not interesting, they will quickly move on to the next thing that interests them. The search feature can be very useful for learning about your
target audiences. It can tell you what is trending and their opinions on what’s going on. Another option is to look at various profiles and start collecting information. What are their interests and opinions? When are they active? Who do they follow? Which demographic groups do they belong to? These details can help give you an edge when creating strategic messaging for your audiences.

Customize the profile page

Image credit: @Royals via Twitter

Image credit: @Royals via Twitter

This plays a BIG role in visitors’ decisions to either read your content or move on. If your page is boring and doesn’t attract visitors, they probably aren’t going to follow you. The profile page should grab the visitors’ attention and convey who you are and what you’re about. While customizing the profile page, perhaps the most important decision is choosing a good avatar, as it will appear next to every tweet that is sent out. Make it something recognizable and eye-catching. Brand logos often fit well here since they are usually designed with these ideas in mind. An attractive banner image is a nice touch as well, and don’t forget to include links to your other social media accounts and/or website in order to create deeper engagement.

Tweet interesting content

This one may seem obvious, but bland content is still a common mistake that plagues the social media of many businesses. The Twitter feed is built around scrolling endlessly through a series of short posts. To escape the monotony, many people just scroll until something grabs their attention. Content should be fun, interesting and useful. Common themes or ideas in your content can help to establish your brand identity and keep readers coming back. Interesting, personal content is what separates your brand from everyone else, so use it to your advantage.

Engage with other accounts

Engaging with other accounts, particularly those within your industry/field, can be highly beneficial. Building relationships can help to build your reputation, grow your brand, increase awareness, provide sources of interesting content and keep you informed. This can also keep you informed about what your competitors might be doing and the state of the market.


More and more businesses are using Twitter as a professional communication platform, and if you follow these tips, yours can be one of them. On that note, remember to follow Innovative PR on Twitter and Facebook.

Get the most out of Instagram: tips for business and personal use

By Jamie Jackson

I love Instagram. I really do. It’s fun to post pictures and to get a sneak peek into strangers’ lives (why is this not a weird statement anymore?).

Instagram is a popular social media outlet for personal use, however, it is also becoming popular among companies for branding and marketing. Here are a few tips to get the most out of Instagram for your business (or even your personal account).

Use brightly colored and well-lit photos

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

An attractive photo stream doesn’t usually involve unedited, dull pictures. Starbucks’ Instagram feed is full of colorful and attractive photos.

However – not all black and white pictures should be thrown in the trash. Leon Bridges’ photo stream has some great examples of how black and white pictures can still be great for Instagram.

Leon is an R&B artist embracing soul music. These black and white images line up perfectly with Leon’s personal brand and the subjects he sings about.

Instagram is effective when people follow you, and you gain followers by giving people what they want. On Instagram, that means aesthetically pleasing photos.

Be personal

No one wants to see another ad on Instagram. Sure, if you’re a clothing store, post pictures of new arrivals. If you have a great new product, it’s okay to feature it in a post. But Instagram shouldn’t be used as an online store. Try something like this:

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Tell stories. Show consumers the faces behind the name.

You are more than an ad agency or a boring, unoriginal company. Show the fun! Unless you really want people to think you’re a boring, unoriginal company – in which case, I’m afraid I can’t help you there.insta

If you use Instagram, actually USE it

Post consistently. Don’t post once or twice, or for a season. If you put an intern in charge of the account, make sure someone else takes over after they leave.

Consistency is key in posting and branding. If you use hashtags on Twitter or Facebook, use the same for Instagram. Use your same logo as the profile picture, link to the same website, use the same voice and use your brand. Instagram provides a unique opportunity to tell your story solely through pictures. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Steward them well.

Be hip

Image credit: McDonald's via Instagram

Image credit: McDonald’s via Instagram

By this, I don’t mean try to use modern slang just because it’s used by young people. You risk misusing or misunderstanding words and phrases, potentially losing credibility and followers. Instead, follow current trends and try to stay fun. This post from McDonald’s is a great example.

Celebrate things like hump day. Be relevant in your posts on holidays or during big world issues. This might seem like it won’t affect sales, but an online presence that seems real and personal is so valuable to a company – especially with younger people.


While Insta is more fun and exciting than a lot of other tools, it’s still very measurable and very valuable. Do it better by evaluating your efforts with Instagram analytics tools. Instagram is great for reaching younger audiences and telling your story with photos. Evaluating any social media effort is a chance to show the C-suite their money is being used well. It also gives coordinators a chance to change their efforts as needed depending on what works and what doesn’t. Evaluation helps to refine and target your audiences and determines if you are indeed reaching them. All efforts are wasteful if not evaluated frequently.


Social media is a wonderful branding tool when used properly. Millennials grew up with this stuff, so employ some of them to help you navigate new waters. It’s worth it. Speaking of social, you’ll want to follow IPR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.


Put your pies in the window! A guide to inbound marketing

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By Hank Kellerman

You’ve seen it in cartoons: A freshly baked pie is steaming hot and placed on the window sill to cool. The tantalizing aroma begins to drift around the house and finds a hungry character. With a quick flick of it’s cherry scented finger, the character slowly floats up a bit and begins to follow the wonderful smell.

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Simply put, this is a great example of inbound marketing. In recent years there has been an explosion of inbound marketing across all types of businesses, but more specifically smaller businesses. Inbound marketing is the process of developing online content that is compelling, informative and fulfills your audience’s hunger for the product or services they want or need. Inbound marketing focuses on bringing customers to you versus having customers go out looking for them. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but some of the more common methods include blogs, social media discussions, forums and SEO optimization.

Before you jump head first into the rapid currents of inbound marketing, strap on some water wings and follow these guidelines for developing an inbound marketing strategy.

Develop Buyer Personas

How do you know and write for your audience? If you just write about topics without the proper research, you could fail to reach your desired audience. One tool that can help you create some excellent audience-specific content are your buyer personas. Buyer personas provide the inside scoop about what your customers are like. They can tell you numerous demographic and psychographic details such as their age, income, hobbies, day-to-day activities and more. Developing buyer personas enables you to accurately create specialized online content to address questions and topics focused to your customers.

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SEO and Keywords

Most people know it is extremely difficult to show up on the front page of Google. Google uses digital spiders to crawl across the Internet and search for the most relevant content on that matches the needs of the search query. To get on the front page, your content must be optimized for search engines by using keywords.

There are a multitude of tools that can be used to find keywords, including the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Long Tail Pro. These tools help you search for relevant keywords with regards to your topic and also can show you things such as how often a certain word is searched every month, its keyword competitiveness and other sites that use this keyword. If you find the right keyword and include it in your content’s titles and main body paragraphs with great surrounding content, your page will be much more likely to rise from the depths and find itself on the first page of Google search results.

Content is Key

This phrase has been uttered by marketing and public relations professionals millions of times. It also has never been so true. Creating compelling content that is relevant to what your consumers are searching for is only the beginning. For a successful inbound marketing strategy, your content has to be better than great. It has to be amazing.

Anyone can write a blog post about how to rebrand a business, but it takes a talented individual to write an in-depth, informative and star-studded post. You need to create content so great that other sites want to back link (the process of other sites linking to your post or site) to it. This also aids in the chances of your site being found organically by search engines. Search engines will view your site as having more credibility with more back links and, in turn, will lead to your site appearing higher up on search engine results pages.

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How Do You Put This All Together?

Grab your mixing bowl and get ready to bake that aromatic fruit-filled pie that will have your audience flocking to your content. Do your research. Developing buyer personas, finding relevant keywords and writing amazing content all take time and effort. Spend the time to develop these three items and get ready to watch your consumers come to you. The world of marketing is changing rapidly, and the power of the Internet makes it is much easier for your consumers to find you on their own time than it is for you to reach out to them. So what are you waiting for? Start doing your research and that content-rich pie sitting in the window will be too irresistible to pass up.

What do you think? Do you have any inbound marketing strategies? Comment and share your thoughts with us. Also, don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

The Fine Brothers fiasco: Three lessons in crisis management

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By Molly Olten

Fine Brothers Entertainment, a popular YouTube channel, recently launched into crisis mode. The creators, known for popular videos such as Elders React to Dubstep and Kids React to Old Computers, announced plans to allow other video makers to “franchise” the brothers’ video formula. These plans also include trademarking the word “react.”

This is where the issues start.

The response from the YouTube community has been overwhelmingly negative. Creators feel threatened that trademarking a vague term like “react” could create numerous problems for other YouTube users and ultimately hinder creativity. Their fears were immediately confirmed as numerous videos were taken down for infringement. Ironically, several YouTubers have made their own reaction videos to the news.

So what can PR professionals learn from all of this?

The Fine Brothers are essentially dealing with a crisis. Although quick to respond, their strategy has not met the needs of the affected audience. Here are three lessons PR professionals can take away from this situation.

Listen to your audience

When their plans to trademark became public, the brothers’ substantial 13 million subscriber audience began to voice its opinions – loudly. In the early stages of the update a dialogue began between the brothers and their audience,

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however, eventually as the situation worsened, the brothers backed out. They began deleting negative posts and questions. Bad move.

This amount of backlash deserves to be properly addressed. An audience wants more than anything to be heard. By silencing negative responses, the outrage will only grow. The conversation will be taken somewhere else – somewhere a brand cannot adequately communicate.

Clarify and then clarify some more

 Part of the problem with the Fine Brothers’ announcement was their lack of clarity. They didn’t understand the fears of the YouTube community or how this would threaten their creative freedoms. Because of this misunderstanding, the Fine Brothers employed side-stepping language and vague examples. They tried masking the intentions of their initiative. This fueled speculation by concerned audiences and left the consequences up for interpretation.

Although a company may have been planning a change for months, when the announcement is made public, the information is totally new to audiences. There will be plenty of questions, and organizations need to have answers. If they do not receive adequate responses to their questions, the audience will make its own assumptions and this can add to the problem. Clarity is key.

Be sincere

After the storm of protests just a few days after the initial announcement, the brothers uploaded an update video. Despite the fast response, the creators seemed rehearsed and not genuine. It seems that the Fine Brothers still think their audience considers them to be just a couple of guys making funny videos, but this is not the case. Their channel essentially functions as a business, and the viewers know this. Many of those who responded to the update commented on its forced nature and rehearsed appearance.

Audiences know when an explanation is coming from a place of sincerity or insincerity. An obligatory, seemingly forced “sorry” will not suffice when the audience is deeply connected to the issue.

Know your audience, respect it and own up to the mistake.


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Eventually, the Fine Brothers realized the error of their ways and decided to back down from trademarks. In an effort to save their reputation, they released a statement recanting all their future plans. Despite this gesture, the brothers’ YouTube channel has suffered significant subscriber loss and serious damage to follower loyalty. Overall, this was the best and only move the brothers could make.

The bigger picture: While this crisis brings up serious questions about trademarks and fair use, PR professionals can take a few notes from the struggle. Know your audience, be clear and be genuine. This is solid advice for nearly any situation, but it’s especially important in crisis situations.


What are your thoughts about the recent Fine Brothers fiasco? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

New year, new brand

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By Jenna Chwascinski

New Year, new me, right? That seems to be a favorite phrase this time of year. For some individuals this could mean the start of a new lifestyle, or maybe letting go of an old burden. But what about businesses? Maybe it’s time for a little update. New Year, new brand?

Rebranding can be a scary task, but it can be the jumpstart a brand needs to push them to continued success. Here are a few things to keep in mind while taking on the beast that is a rebrand.

Why are you rebranding?

As with any significant changes, research needs to be done before anything happens. While rebranding can lead to huge success for companies, it’s not always necessary. It goes back to the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If your sales or brand awareness is lacking, it might be a good idea to check out a rebrand. Don’t do this, however, every time you see a dip. It will confuse your consumers and could leave a bad impression.

Consider involving your consumers and employees. Let your employees know what this will mean for the company and consider their input. After all, your employees are your best (or worst) advocates. It could also be beneficial to see what your consumers think. This could be as simple as polling them about new logo options. You may want to offer a contest to create a new tagline or slogan. Getting your customers involved will make them feel more like a part of the brand, and probably more likely to stick with you after the rebrand.

Can we save anything?

Absolutely. Rebranding doesn’t mean you start fresh, it simply means you’re giving your

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company a facelift. Some of the most successful rebrands contain consistencies from before the rebrand. Look at UPS. They still offer the same reliable services as they always have, and still sport the same signature brown color people have come to know. They’ve just changed their slogan a few times to appeal to a broader range of professions.

Keep it simple.

Don’t try to do anything too outside the box. I’m not saying don’t be creative, just keep it tasteful. If you’re sticking with your old logo, try to enhance your brand image by using the same colors and fonts. If you’re creating a new logo, keep it clean and readable. Make it something that will stand out against other similar brands so that it will be remembered.

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Coca Cola is a good example of this concept. The popular company has succeeded while continuing to use the same colors and fonts in its official graphics over the years.

Planning is everything.

Details, details, details. Since you’re switching things up, it’s only natural to expect some initial confusion. This will often come from your consumers not knowing what will change or what to expect from the new brand. Make sure employees are prepared to address questions they may encounter.

In the end, it’s important to keep the best interest of your company in mind. Not everyone will be a fan of the rebrand and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged by the negative comments, and be prepared to address problems as they pop up.

Who did it right?

Old Spice. This company kept the same logo, but changed its image to appeal to younger

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consumers. Old Spice was typically thought of as deodorant that your grandparents would wear, but now they describe their product as “scent vacations.” Plus who doesn’t want to be like Isaiah Mustafa on a horse? “Smellcome to manhood.”


What do you think? Are there any other successful rebrands that stick out in your mind? Comment and share your thoughts us. And don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

What PR pros can learn from Thanksgiving

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By Kristina Keeling

Halloween is over and the Christmas commercials have begun airing, but does anyone remember the holiday between Halloween and Christmas? Students refer to it as a break, and parents think of it as a family reunion, but the correct term is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, but hate how it often gets overshadowed and forgotten between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and, of course, eating what is hopefully delicious food.

There are many things that we can learn from the holiday season, including the sometimes forgotten holiday Thanksgiving. With that being said let’s shine a light on this important holiday and see what we, as future and current PR professionals, can learn from Thanksgiving.

Plan your meal

It is always a good idea to have a plan in mind with any task you might come across. One task that comes along with Thanksgiving is grocery shopping. It is always a good idea to make sure you have a list so you don’t forget anything important.  Communication is key when planning. Find out who is coming and what they are bringing, because you don’t want to end up having three bowls of sweet potatoes.

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Similarly, PR professionals need to have a plan for everything. You do not want to be caught off guard when a crisis occurs. Always have a plan, and always plan for the worst case scenario.

Avoid going it alone

Taking on a big family dinner like Thanksgiving is not easy, and it is nearly impossible to do it alone. Whether you have helpers in the kitchen, or you ask people to bring a dish with them, you’re going to need extra help. And, like the first lesson states, make sure everyone knows what they are doing.

In PR, you can’t implement a big project by yourself. Whether you are planning a launch party or dealing with a crisis situation, you are going to need help executing your plan.

Don’t screw up the “bread and butter”

Sometimes we get wrapped up in wanting our dinner to be like those we see on cooking shows. It is okay to be adventurous, but we also expect the staples, such as turkey, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls to be done right every year.

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Planning and working on campaigns can be fun, but we need to remember the basic day-to-day tasks. We don’t want to mess up the simple things, such as news releases, social media posts and the other “low-investment” tasks.

Don’t overindulge

It is easy to gorge yourself with delicious food during Thanksgiving, but we need to know our limits. The average person consumes 4,500 calories during a Thanksgiving meal, which is over twice as much as a person should consume in one day.

We need to know our limits and pace ourselves in PR. The easy way to get someone to un-follow you on social media is by bombarding them with posts and tweets. Determine a strategy with the right number of messages, and stick with it. Of course this will change depending on what is happening within your company. The same goes for media coverage. Do not send out multiple story pitches and press releases. You will exhaust your audience and your emails will begin to look like spam.

Don’t be afraid to have fun

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy time with family. I know my family likes to play board and card games during the holidays while watching holiday movies.

This time of year allows businesses to have a little fun with their initiatives. Get in the holiday spirit and have some fun with your social media posts, news releases and story pitches.

Relationships matter

Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for what we have, but it is also about spending quality time with friends and family.

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In the PR world, relationships are everything. It is how you gain business, acquire jobs, spread news and more. We all get a little busy during this time of year and it is easy to forget how important relationships are, so relax and spend some time with family this holiday season.


There are many other things we can learn from Thanksgiving. Are there any that you can think of? Comment and share your thoughts with us and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What Halloween can teach us about PR

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By Jenna Chwascinski

As I was growing up, Halloween was one of the most exciting times of the year. Countless hours were spent planning the perfect costume and deciding which neighborhoods would yield the best haul. You had to talk it all over with your closest friends, and costume approval was a necessity. Then convincing your parents that you had a fool-proof plan all worked out was a task in itself.

Little did we know that through all of these trials and tribulations, Halloween was teaching us some valuable lessons that would be helpful down the road. Who would have thought that Halloween could teach us about PR? As it turns out, it can, and it did.

You need to have a plan.
As I said before, it’s pivotal to devise a fool-proof plan. In the PR world, that’s nearly impossible, so we just try to do the best we can. In trick or treating, knowing the ins and outs of the plan will serve you well. Walking in circles isn’t something you want to do while trick or treating, and the same goes for a PR campaign.

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Delegating tasks is very important. No campaign can be successful if everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time. The work load needs to be shared. Your team can then come together and discuss the results. Similar to trick or treating, you split up the forces to scout out who has the best candy, which often leads to impressive results.

Referencing past experience is the key to ensuring the maximum amount of candy. Which houses give the most candy? Which ones give out the best candy? It all factors into your decision making process. The same holds true in PR. Any PR professional knows that a big part of any public relations campaign is research. You have to look and see what others have done in the past. This will show you some success stories, and more importantly, show you failures. Seeing what others did wrong will help your campaign from heading down the same unsuccessful, candy-free path.

Efficiency is key.
The reasons to create a plan are clear. You want to ensure the most success in the shortest amount of time. You knew you did it right when you and all of your friends ended up with buckets full of candy within just a few hours.

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In PR, the goal isn’t always to go big or go home. It’s not always about getting as much done at one time as possible. Efficiency in PR is bringing as much of your audience around to your way of thinking as possible. That might happen in little chunks, or it could happen all at once. It all depends on how you go about it.

Of all the tricks you learned back in the day, the biggest one was the ability to play to your audience. The more they like your costume, the more candy you get. It’s that simple. When it comes to PR, this should almost go without explanation: know your audience. Know what they want, and make sure to give it to them. This might take some outside-the-box thinking, but the ability to surprise your audience, even with something small, could go a long way.

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What do you think? Have your Halloween traditions taught you anything about the PR world? Comment below with any of your favorite Halloween traditions that dip into the PR business. And don’t forget to follow IPR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The do’s and don’ts of product placement


By Elizabeth Loethen

Product placement used to be a secret marketing art, subliminally advertising to television and movie audiences. It’s withstood the test of time because, whether it’s E.T. eating Reese’s Pieces, or Tom Cruise rocking Ray-Bans, it’s been shown to improve sales.

However, it’s important to note that not every instance of product placement is equally effective. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for successful product placement:

Do: have the character use the product to make an impression


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People like to relate to a character. Whenever that character actually uses a product, the placement often becomes more effective. After Tom Cruise wore Ray-Bans in the movie, “Risky Business,” the brand’s sunglasses sales increased by 50 percent.

Do: make the product the character

“Transformers” did an excellent job bringing this tactic to the silver screen. My favorite character was Bumblebee, portrayed by a yellow Chevy Camaro. After seeing the movie, I really wanted

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a yellow Camaro, just to say that I have my own Bumblebee. As it turned out, I happened to be one of many viewers who had the same thought. After the film’s release, Chevy realized the high demand for this fictional car and released a special edition of the Camaro with the release of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which resulted in a 10 percent increase in sales.

Don’t: show too many products

If you saw “Jurassic World,” chances are you caught at least a few product placements. A staggering 35 brands are mentioned or shown in the film, and the constant advertising has

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viewers upset. The “Washington Post” called it “a cringe-worthy fact of life for the theater-going crowd.” This is not how you want your movie (or your brand) to be remembered.

Don’t: use fake products without thought

“The Hangover: Part II” contains a good example of why it’s necessary to be cautious when using fake, knock-off or alternative brands and products. Alan, who is played by Zach Galifianakis, uses a Louis Vuitton bag throughout the

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film. In one scene, he warns another character not to touch his bag, saying “Careful, that is… that is a Louis Vuitton.” He pronounces the name incorrectly, showing comic ignorance and the fact that the bag may not be genuine. The company was not too happy about this scene and filed a complaint against the movie for trademark dilution since the bag was seemingly fake.


Product placement can be a great tool, but only if it’s used effectively. As is often the case, quality seems more important than quantity.


Have you seen any notable product placement, good or bad? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.