By Emily Thole
*Warning. This post may contain spoilers about the hit TV show, “This is Us.” Proceed with caution.*
“This is Us” is the television show everyone is telling you to watch. It is full of happiness, anger, sadness, joy and every emotion in between, however, there is one monumental episode that you can’t forget. If you’re anything like me, this blog post will bring up a flood of emotions, so get your tissues ready.
As avid viewers of the show, we all know where we were when Jack died. Yes, I’m bringing up that heartbreaking moment. I was sitting with my roommates on our red leather couch in the living room, staring at the small screen with tears rolling down our faces, full of disbelief. This man fearlessly saved his entire family from a house fire, and then went back into the blazing building to rescue his daughter’s dog and a few personal items, only to wind up valiantly perishing. He was a hero, and then he was gone. Not because of burns, or an injury that was visible, but for having too much smoke in his lungs. This is the drama that keeps viewers coming back.
What does this tragic scene have to do with public relations? Well, after the episode, fans were boycotting one particular brand, and because of that, they had a crisis on their hands.
One thing I didn’t mention was how the fire started in the Pearson household. It was a Crock-Pot. The faulty slow cooker is accidentally left on and it starts a fire in the family’s kitchen, which leads to the entire house burning down, and later, Jack’s demise. Fans of the show immediately took to the Internet to share their heartbreak and frustration over the episode and the Crock-Pot brand. Their name was disgraced, and their stock plummeted, but Crock-Pot’s response to the crisis is one PR professionals can learn from.
First, Crock-Pot responded quickly. They released a statement less than 24-hours after the show aired. And shortly after they sent out a news release stating facts about their products to ease consumers’ minds that can be read fully here. Not only that, but they created a Twitter page called “CrockPotCares” to respond to viewers who were concerned about product safety, and throwing away their Crock-Pots.
Crock-Pot did a great job of listening to consumers’ complaints. They understood that people were upset, and they did their best to respond with understanding to build back their image. They even created the hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent to use in their responses to defend their brand.
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
Help from Star Power
Although this was a crisis they didn’t see coming, Crock-Pot wasn’t afraid to ask for help when getting their image back. They used the actor who portrays Jack, Milo Ventimiglia, in a commercial promoting the Super Bowl, joking about the Crock-Pot controversy. “The Late Show” host, Stephen Colbert, mentioned the issue on his show, stirring up conversation. Ellen DeGeneres even partnered with the company to hand out Crock-Pots as one of the giveaways on her show. Each of these people helped Crock-Pot restore their image.
A crisis can pop up at any time. Companies must be prepared in case a television show uses your product to kill off a beloved character. In a time of crisis, PR professionals can use Crock-Pot as an example. Although the situation presented on screen was fictional, Crock-Pot responded successfully and recovered quickly because of the crisis plan they had in place.
Crockpot even got Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to make a video joking about the crisis as a whole (https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/959789384785715200)
Their own hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent
Stephen cobert https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/958022381741764609
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
By Kylee Julian
Getting an internship always looks so easy in the movies. You just choose a business, go inside and apply, then poof you get it. The next day you are getting coffee and bagels, then a month later you’re the CEO. Sounds easy. Right? Well, I learned very quickly that if I wanted to secure an internship, I would have to hit the ground running and apply, apply, and apply again.
Finally, Staley Farms Golf Club accepted me as part of the team as the summer public relations intern. I worked with a few different departments in the overhead company to ensure that everyone was on the same page and that things run smoothly. I worked with the head of marketing, Abby Crowley. Abby and I developed flyers, social media flyers, videos, and other marketing efforts to advertise upcoming events and changes being made to the club. I also worked with the head of events and food and beverages, Kayla Adams. We worked together in preparation and tear down for events, walkthroughs to show the space, working with other companies to get needed items for events and managing events as they take place.
One thing that movies were right about is that interns can work long hours. Working 10-12 hour per days doesn’t sound too bad until you are doing it multiple times a week. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I got to meet some amazing people and learn a lot from different parts of the job.
There really wasn’t a typical day on the job. Over the internship, there were multiple events each week, all dealing with different items. Whether it was setting up a tournament or working with a bride, each event required a lot of coordination and each taught me different lessons, which will benefit me in my professional career. Sometimes you have to work with athletes or colleges hosting tournaments at Staley. The internship came with many fun-filled days, and new experiences. There were days where I got to make centerpieces for large events. Then there were other days where I got to meet and greet pro football players and help run their tournaments. It was always something new and different.
After spending some time reflecting on my education, it is clear that several classes helped to prepare me for this internship. My design and writing classes helped with the marketing side of the Golf Club. My PR law class gave me knowledge about how to look up city ordinances to help make certain the Club was operating in accordance with local regulations.Courses on strategic planning and strategic communication helped me in the day-to-day work, giving me the tools to be able to successfully brainstorm in a large group. Also, during staff meetings, I was able to successfully present and give visuals in order to make a point and better communicate the projects in which I was involved.
An internship gives you the opportunity to learn more about working in a particular environment. I learned a lot about myself and my work ethic. I learned how to multitask in a whole new way, and work with new people every day. I enjoyed the fast-paced atmosphere and getting to work with different departments.
I hope everyone gets the chance to learn as I did in a real-life setting and to make the connections with the kinds of people I experienced during my internship. Internships are a constant reminder that the expert in anything was once a beginner, and if you learn and apply yourself, you can accomplish anything.
By Jasmine Scott
How a company handles a crisis is more important than the crisis itself. Crisis management builds a reputation and showcases company values. Social media plays a vital role in crisis management as well as the general perception of the brand. It’s a constantly updated instantaneous way to receive information and give an opinion. While your consumers are using social media to share their opinion, why not use it to share yours?
A common mistake that companies make is labeling social media as a form of promotion and then setting it off to the side. The reality, however, is that social media is THE way to communicate in 2018. Consider, for example, the role social media played during the 2017 United Airlines crisis when David Dao was extracted off a plane. United Airlines needed to remove four passengers from an overbooked flight. Airline staff kindly asked Dao, but he refused because he had to work at a hospital the next day. Airport security was called, and Dao was forcefully taken out of his seat and dragged down the aisle, only to result in a bloody mess on his face.
Passengers recorded the entire event with their cell phones, and within minutes, the incident involving United Airlines went viral. It happens that quick, and the effect is long-lasting. Despite a year passing since this incident, United Airlines is still working to rebuild the poor customer service reputation they have created.
Fortunately, not all companies are suffering from a bad viral video. Coca-Cola has a social media strategy and they show it off. The company has an entire section of their website dedicated solely to their social media strategy. The most endearing part is the five social media commitments as an organization: transparency, safety, respect, responsibility, and monitoring. All of this content is in plain view and easy to find, a true example of transparency.
How do you use social media to your advantage? Be prepared. It sounds obvious, but it should be obvious. Create a strategic plan that prepares, prevents, and protects your company from a case of bad social media engagement. Let your customers know that you hear their complaints and that you’re working to fix it. Embrace the mass two-way communication. Apologize, tell your story, be humble, and reinforce your values. Interact with your customers with their questions and face it head-on. There’s no hiding from any situation when social media is this relevant in business.
By Emily Jarboe
Have you ever thought about what social media will look like in the next 10 years? Social media and its strategies are constantly changing. Consider just how much social media has evolved in the last five years. Companies need to keep up with change in trends and progression of technology in order to stay current and connect with their audience.
While it can be difficult to predict the future of social media marketing, there are at least three trends that experts say can be anticipated:
Consumption of visual content will change
As a public relations professional or a social media marketer, you should know how important it is to include visual content into your social media marketing plan. If you have not shifted your attention to visual content, then you are in need of a new marketing strategy because this particular trend should not be ignored.
Here are some statistics I found that justify the statements above:
- “When people read information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a video presents that same information, people retained 70% of the information three days later.”
- “Video content currently represents more than 70% of all internet traffic.”
- “Facebook users watch 8 billion videos per day.”
- “4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.”
The Rise of Dark Social
According to Techopedia, Dark Social refers to “the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by web analytics programs.” Dark Social can be a challenge for companies that are trying to track and monitor social media activity and website referrals. Dark Social mostly occurs when a link is sent through email or instant messaging, instead of shared on a social media platform where results can be easily measured.
The Death of Organic Reach and Facebook
Facebook is making it very hard to reach your audience organically. Facebook originated with the initial idea to help people connect with each other. Due to users complaining that posts from the media, businesses, and brands have “crowded out their personal moments,” Facebook decided to be very cautious and selective about what they place on their users’ feeds. Looking towards the future, brands may want to shift their Facebook strategy entirely to a paid approach since the luxury of a free online presence is declining.
While the future of social media marketing can’t always be easily forecasted, we can almost guarantee that the trends are likely to change as technology progresses. Our social media strategies and how we approach them are constantly evolving, and it’s especially important to keep up with those changes in order to successfully connect with our audience and stay relevant.
By Nickey Buzek
Internships are designed to be the segway between the school realm and the professional world. They help students take what they learned in the classroom and project it onto a position they worked hard to gain. If a company does it just right, the student will walk away with experiences they weren’t even looking for. I know I wasn’t looking for the opportunities that fell into my lap when I stumble onto an internship with a company called P1 Learning.
I had just given a speech at a networking event called PR Connect when a gentleman introduced himself to me as Speed Marriott. “Can I have a minute of your time,” he asked politely. I realized I must have stepped into a different dimension for someone to ask me for my time rather than the other way around.
Marriott told me that he was attending the networking event because he was a University of Central Missouri alumnus, and one of our professors asked him to make an appearance. He said he was the CEO of a Kansas-based eLearning company called P1 Learning. The brief description he gave was something to the effect of, “We create training videos for on-the-go professionals in the broadcast industry.” I had never heard of such a service.
He must have known what I was thinking, because he followed up with, “Do you have a resume on you? I can have our VP of Marketing and Sales tell you more and talk to you about an internship.” I didn’t just give the man my resume; I gave him my business card and the biggest “please hire me” smile too.
I came into the internship expecting there to be a set way of doing things as companies often have in place. But at P1 Learning, it’s often said, “It’s easier to be a smaller company with the ability to adjust quickly, rather than a larger company set in their ways.” This mentality was the driving force behind P1 Learning’s willingness to try new approaches and welcome new ideas. Both of these seemed to be two necessary components in a culture that invited successful public relations initiatives.
Other inviting factors could be seen in my department specifically. The VP of Marketing and Sales and the marketing representative were enthusiastic about each new task I worked on and were quick to praise exceptional work.
With a mentality that adjustments are always possible and teamwork makes everything easier, my 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. workdays were far from routine. One day, I would engage in scriptwriting. Another day, I would be filming. Some days, I would sit in on meeting after meeting, and other days I would stay in my office with Slack attached to my fingertips for communication. The variety and autonomy P1 Learning gave me eased the transition from college life to the professional world, but it was the unique times that made the professional world the best.
My “atypical” days were much different. They included out-of-office trips, broadcast station tours, and even hula hooping in the middle of the lunch area. Occasionally, I would have to remind myself that I really didn’t step into another world and that I got to work with people who embraced my love of variety and autonomy. All of these experiences came within a three-month time period and put me on the fast track to having a direction for my career.
Life after graduation can seem like a different dimension to college students. Transitioning from on-campus organizations to contributing to work that goes out on behalf of a company can be daunting. But internships, such as the one I experienced at P1 Learning, make students like myself better prepared for the diverse experiences that come with the professional world. They help us become more confident in taking that step into the different dimension we call the workforce.
By Meredith Trapper
As a student, I often find myself relating activities or hobbies to the things I am learning in class. However, this year I was able to do the opposite and take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it to my executive position in Delta Zeta sorority.
This past year I served as the vice president of membership for Delta Zeta. In this role, my main purpose was to prepare our current members for fall recruitment. Training for recruitment can begin as early as January and include a number of workshops.
Being a young PR professional, I started to ask myself some questions. Why am I doing this? Why do I need to train my members? Why do we do recruitment? In doing this, I was reminded of the book we read in Orientation to PR, ‘Start with Why.’ In this book, we looked at the importance of knowing your “why” in all aspects of life. I took this very simple lesson and applied it to our first training session. I found a TED talk about the book and a poem that got our members to reflect on the questions I had been asking myself. By doing this, members were able to find the purpose of our activities and stay motivated for all recruitment workshops.
The next training session, I applied yet another classroom lesson. We completed a SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of our sorority. We also discussed who our target audience would be during recruitment. We looked at ourselves internally and then discussed the types of women we wanted in the future. This helped us strategize on how to engage this type of women we were searching for.
Spring semester is also a good time to look at our “brand” and what we want that to look like to those outside of the organization. We pride ourselves in being a group of intelligent, diverse women who empower one another, but how do we show that? We took to social media to try to reflect this. We took an old idea of a hashtag and ran with it. #TakeoverTuesday was used in the weeks leading up to recruitment to show ways that our women had empowered one another.
View this post on Instagram
#TakeoverTuesday “Brenna was the friend I never saw coming. She pushed me to strive for things I never would have pictured myself. She’s encouraged me through every step of the way and I would not have been where I am today without her love and guidance. She is truly a model of what sisterhood is all about” – Meredith
If you want to empower your brand, “start with your why” and build from your answer. You might be shocked what you learned about yourself and your organization.
By Emily Thole
In the restless and brutal sea of social media, taking a risk could leave a company struggling for air. You may have noticed from recent events, Nike decided to jump into the water head first by tackling a highly controversial topic in the U.S. With immediate response, the internet both attacked and commended Nike for taking a knee on a political subject that many brands and organizations avoid.
Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback who inspired player protest throughout the NFL, tweeted a photo marking him as the newest face of Nike.
The photo shared stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Since Kaepernick’s first protest in 2016, where he kneeled during the national anthem against police brutality, he has received backlash from the NFL and people around the country. His actions ultimately left him without a spot on any team, but Nike decided to endorse him anyway. In the early stages of the “Just Do It” campaign’s 30th anniversary, they made a statement.
As a result of the partnership, Nike made headlines. Celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis, Serena Williams, Russell Crowe and COMMON were praising the brand on Twitter alongside Americans throughout the nation.
But with the good also comes the bad, and even ugly. Multiple individuals took to social media posting images and videos of themselves burning their Nike products, and cutting the swoosh logo from their socks and apparel, voicing that they will never shop with the brand again.
Nike isn’t the first brand to tackle a controversial issue. Many other companies have taken a stance on social issues as well. Dick’s Sporting Goods protested gun violence after the Parkland, Fla. massacre by saying they would no longer sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and also prohibit the sale of guns to customers under the age of 21. Airbnb shot back at President Trump when he closed the borders to refugees in a campaign called, “We Accept,” by voicing their company’s acceptance of other races and nationalities in a time when the biggest figurehead of the nation was saying the opposite. When the U.S. pulled out the Paris Agreement, Ben and Jerry’s started a campaign called, “Save Our Swirled,” focusing on the topic of climate change. Each of these brands were criticized for becoming politically involved, just like Nike.
For a brand with popularity around the world, what form of success can come from this controversial partnership? Through all the back and forth of praise and hate, will either party prosper?
It depends on how you measure success, and from my research, numbers don’t lie. According to the Washington Post, after an initial drop when Kaepernick shared the photo, Nike online sales went up 31 percent. The incident got people to talk about the organization, and, whether positive or negative, the Nike brand was pushed to the forefront of their minds. According to Bloomberg, the company received over $43million in media exposure in the first 24 hours, and that continues to grow.
Risking your brand’s reputation is scary, but if it is something you believe in, take a knee and show the world what you stand for.
By Kylee Julian
I have been a club volleyball coach for five years, and I have had the privilege to coach the same girls since they were in eighth grade. My players are from all over, but the club is based out of the Lee’s Summit/Independence area.
I decided to become a coach because I love the game. I have played volleyball my whole life and dreamt of the day when I would become a coach. Being a coach has allowed me to see life through a different parallel. I am constantly connecting volleyball to life, work and school.
In this blog post, I will discuss some of the important lessons that the game and coaching taught me, as well as how those lessons carry over into my life and my future career.
|| Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all. ||
This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, not only as an athlete, but as a public relations professional as well. My players had this experience during our past season. In the game of volleyball, the referee holds the majority of the power. What they say goes, and you have to learn at an early age to respect that.
It is the same in a place of work. Your boss holds the power, what they say goes even if you don’t like it or agree.
|| “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” -Mia Hamm ||
In the game of volleyball, you have to find something to play for. I often tell my players that if they can’t succeed in playing for themselves, then to play for their teammates.
Regularly, I think people get lost in doing something with passion because there isn’t that underlying drive. However, when you do something for someone else, give it everything you’ve got because you’re playing for them and you find that you will push yourself to new limits.
You have to find a drive, a purpose, and someone for whom you wish to work. Look at the client and their end goals, and think about why they hired you. When you have success they have success, and the organization has success– everyone wins.
|| We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other. ||
I am always one to have a respectful team with good sportsmanship. We like to tell our girls to think about how they would want to be treated if they were the officiating team. I tell my players that the time-honored saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated” will always stand true.
This is the same for any public relations professional, or really any professional. If you treat your co-workers, fellow students, boss and anyone with whom you interact with kindness and respect, often you will receive the same. In the UCM PR department here at UCM we often work in a team dynamic, whether it is group work, editing each other’s work, or just sitting and brainstorming in class. As a class, we have to respect others views, perspectives and ideas in order to receive the same.
|| “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you will be successful.” -Eric Thomas ||
Sometimes you just lose. It happens. What my players learned throughout the season is to never lose their pride, self-respect, and integrity. My team members didn’t complain when things weren’t going their way. They acted like respectful young women and just played their game.
Sometimes you will fail in public relations, it’s inevitable. As one of our professors said, “Public Relations is a pass or fail kind of business.” However, the way that you fail in this business isn’t true failure. It has been said that you only fail when you don’t try and that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it. You have to take your failures and learn from them, and take your successes and use them.
|| “If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.” -Henry Kravis ||
Whether it is winning a volleyball tournament or accomplishing a business goal, if you do it with integrity you can’t lose.
By Blake Hedberg
WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Aug. 27, 2018) — The University of Central Missouri’s student-led public relations firm, Innovative PR, received two professional awards this summer for its 2017 event #teamUCM Social Media Night. The agency competed against many for-profit businesses in the Greater Kansas City Area.
The Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awarded #teamUCM Social Media Night a KC Quill award, the second time in the firm’s history to receive this honor. However, the winning wasn’t over for Innovative PR for the summer. In July, the firm received a Silver AMPS award from the Social Media Club of Kansas City at the organization’s annual banquet.
“We are incredibly honored to be distinguished for our work. Many hours went into making this event a reality and it is a great feeling to see the work of our students pay off,” said Agency Manager Blake Hedberg. “The 2017 event pushed our agency to new heights and created many opportunities, while providing visibility to our firm. I had a great team behind me.”
For six consecutive years, Innovative PR has been the driving force behind UCM’s popular #teamUCM Social Media Night event. Launched in 2013, the event takes place during a UCM Mules and Jennies basketball game and has engaged, entertained, and rewarded participants with a night of prizes, trivia, and contests.
The spring 2017 Innovative PR team raised more than $2,000 in donations and their comprehensive social media plan ushered in more than 1.2 million media impressions. IPR and UCM Athletics social media impressions more than tripled, while mentions increased more than 40 percent and profile visits nearly tripled over 2016 event numbers.
“Innovative PR’s work on behalf of its many clients is excellent. Winning the 2018 awards is an illustration of that excellence,” said program supervisor Dr. Tricia Hansen Horn. “We are proud to have the agency’s work represented and recognized by the Kansas City IABC and the Social Media Club of Kansas City.”
For more than nine years, students in the UCM Public Relations Program that are accepted into the UCM Innovative PR agency have the opportunity to gain real-life experience, while working with several client projects. In its time, more than 100 students have dedicated more than 22,000 hours of service to the greater UCM community.
# # #
Innovative Public Relations (Innovative PR) is University of Central Missouri’s student public relations firm, managed and operated by UCM public relations students. Under the direction of UCM’s Integrated Marketing and Communications office and the academic public relations program, the firm was founded in January 2010. It is comprised of several public relations students who are dedicated to professional development and public relations initiatives. Innovative PR is committed to serving the UCM community by executing timely, accurate and ethical strategies and tactics, with a goal of serving clients outside of the UCM community in the future. For more information, visit ucminnovativepr.com or contact Innovative PR at firstname.lastname@example.org or 660-543-8557.
By: Ashley Perry
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh the Place You Will Go.
College is a four year experience you can never get back. One value I have always tried to live my college years by was college loyalty. The word loyal is defined as “faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.” So, in my opinion, being faithful to college means committing toward collegiate goals. Graduating is the ultimate goal of college, however, there is so much more that goes into college loyalty.
You get what you put in to college. Campus involvement, connections, and opportunities are some of the few ways to make your college experience worthwhile. You have to find something to allow yourself to stand out from the other colleagues who will graduate with you. Focusing on yourself and what you enjoy professionally will help you to advance once you graduate. Try to think of these three words when completing your collegiate years:
Be involved within your major. Don’t just take a class and turn in your homework. Go out of your way to join a club geared toward your major. Go to your professors office hours and ask them ways you can get involved. I guarantee they would love to see a student in their office for once, and that will allow you to stand out. Even if you do not join a club geared for your major, find one that can benefit you as a leader. Find an organization that you can hold a position within and expand your knowledge of team building. Here is a link for the student organizations on campus at the University of Central Missouri. Check it out and find what club would suit you.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “don’t burn any bridges” because you never know when you might need to take that bridge. Unfortunately, that is true. It starts in the classroom. You never know who in your class could potentially be in a position to hire you one day, or who could think of you 10 years after graduation and tell their boss you might be a good fit. Get out of your comfort zone and make connections with your classmates. It does not stop with classmates, it applies to professors and fellow employees. Be friendly and always offer a helping hand. You can never get enough endorsements on LinkedIn. Basically, do not burn bridges with people, keep them as acquaintances. If you do not believe me on the importance of connections, check out this article.
Do not let an opportunity slip away from you. If you hear about a chance to network or get together with some classmates, take it. You do not know where it will lead. Do not tell yourself you will do it next time, do it now. Take that hard class that will benefit you, take that internship or job that scares you. It is okay to fail at something, but it is not okay to fail at never taking an opportunity.
What I have received from college on a professional level, took me four years to figure out. I have passed up many opportunities and connections. Fortunately, I finally found the true meaning to college loyalty before my time was complete. I hope this blog will help you do some soul searching to find what college loyalty means to you.