Category: Public Relations

Taking a Knee

By Emily Thole

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Image credit: Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

 

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.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

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.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

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.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

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.

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Innovative PR wins professional awards for #teamUCM Social Media Night

By Blake Hedberg

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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.

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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 ipr@ucmo.edu or 660-543-8557.

College Loyalty

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.

 

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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:

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Do you have any comments or thoughts on College Loyalty? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Newsjacking: Three Tips to Avoid A Crisis

By Morgan Anderson

Newsjacking is one of the best ways to keep your company current and popular. Used in traditional forms of advertising and social media, newsjacking is taking advantage of current events in such a way to advertise your brand.

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Image credit: www.davidmeermanscott.com

Created by David Meerman Scott (his website and book can be found here) and popularized on social media, this type of advertising is a great way to gain followers and knowledge of your brand. Newsjacking can double organic news searches for your brand. It also allows you to have an immediate impact on your followers.  Here are three general rules about newsjacking that everyone should follow.

 

 

 

  1. Make it current

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    Image credit: Twitter

Newsjacking only works if the event is current. Anything past a week could possibly be out of date, depending on the event. You want the posts to be immediate if it is a fun event or possibly something that is considered rare. Oreo was one of the first to hop on the newjacking trend when it started in 2013 when a blackout happened during the Superbowl. This tweet went out minutes after the blackout occurred, and the marketing team was on top of it. It gained almost 15,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes.

 

 

 

 

    2. Make it tasteful

In wakes of crisis, it is important to make social media content tasteful. Trying to newsjack after a crisis can  harm your brand if you are not careful. After Hurricane Sandy, Gap tweeted “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?” with a link to gap.com. After millions of people lost their home, this probably was not the best item to tweet about.

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Image credit: Twitter

 

   3. Make it relevant to your company

Making  content relevant to your company is very important. The point of newsjacking is to create a link between the current event that is happening and your brand. Muncie Animal Shelter did a great job with this during the Pokemon Go! craze  in 2016. They placed an ad on social media to have people hunt Pokemon while helping walk their dogs. They gained more than  10,000 interactions on Facebook alone with this simple post.

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Image credit: Facebook

 

Do you have thoughts or comments on newsjacking?  Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

The Influence of P.T. Barnum

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Image credit: washingtonpost.com

By Morgan Berk

The surprising success of Hugh Jackman’s performance in “The Greatest Showman” has brought the name Phineas Taylor Barnum back into the forefront of people’s minds. This seems like the perfect time to reflect on Barnum’s unique publicity methods and how they paved the way for some of the public relations methods we still use today.

America’s Greatest Showman was not a perfect man by any means, but his impact on the age of publicity and press agentry has left a lasting mark on public relations and advertising. A lot can be learned from Barnum and his illustrious career.

Today we know that many of the advertising and publicity tactics used by the self-proclaimed “Prince of Humbugs” were unethical at best. However, while still acknowledging Barnum’s role in the exploitation of marginalized people, it is also important to remember the good and useful things that are part of his legacy.

Advertising existed long before Barnum’s time, but he managed to usher in an era of publicity that took advertising to a whole new level. The following are four advertising or promotion methods we still see today that were brought into the spotlight by P.T. Barnum more than a century ago:

 

  1. The Pseudo-Event
    Pseudo-events, also known as media events, are well planned events orchestrated for the purpose of generating publicity and media attention. These events didn’t earn their name until the term was coined by Daniel Boorstin in 1961. They existed long before P.T. Barnum, but he brought them into prominence with his loud and unapologetic brand of publicity. The “freak shows” that Barnum was most known for are a prime example of pseudo-events, as they existed for no other purpose than to draw in a crowd and stir controversy on the streets and in the newspapers.Today we see a variety of pseudo-events, ranging from press conferences, to award shows and reality TV, all events that exist purely to create news.
  2. Museum Advertising
    To promote his American Museum, Barnum displayed oversized banners on the side of the building to announce new attractions in the museum. This is a tactic that we still see today at major museums such as the Smithsonian.

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    Image source: dailymotion.com

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    Image source: americaninno.com

  3. Concert Promotion
    Lesser known than his circus expertise is Barnum’s foray into the arts. In August 1850, he brought the “Swedish Nightingale” to the United States. The opera singer Jenny Lind was wildly successful in Europe, but virtually unknown in America at that time. Without even hearing her sing, Barnum invited Lind to perform on a tour across America and proceeded to generate incredible amounts of hype surrounding her arrival. Thirty thousand people were there to greet her as she arrived in New York Harbor and her tour went on to net more than a half-million dollars, impressive numbers for 1850. Much of Lind’s success should be attributed to her talent and personality, but credit for the excitement generated before her arrival can be given to Barnum, who began publicizing the tour more than six months in advance.

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    Image source: smithsonianmag.com

    Live music continues to thrive in today’s society, with fans flocking to their favorite musicians’ tours in the thousands. Tickets to see major artists, including Adele, Elton John, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, sell out in mere seconds thanks to the skill of those who promote the tours, many of whom use some of the same tactics that Barnum used to make Jenny Lind a global sensation.

  4. Vehicle Advertising
    The first actual vehicle wrap advertisement was most likely created for Pepsi Co. in 1993 to promote its Crystal Pepsi product. However, advertising on the sides of vehicles is an idea that originated in the age of P.T. Barnum. Barnum would send horse-drawn wagons through New York City that were plastered with posters and signs advertising his American Museum. Walk or drive around today, and you’re likely going to see countless buses, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles plastered with various advertisements.

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    Image source: flickr.com

 

When looking back at and discussing historical figures, it is important to remember that people are neither entirely good or bad, or entirely ethical or unethical. Both may exist in the same individual, and neither should be erased. So when the topic of P.T. Barnum next comes up, his shortcomings should indeed be addressed in full measure, but his many contributions to public relations and advertising should be remembered as well. Barnum’s life has left a lasting mark on public relations and advertising, one that is certain to endure much further into the future.

 

Do you have any thoughts on P.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman,” or his influence? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Cleaning up Social Media Profiles

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Image credit: making content.com/socialmedia

By Ashley Perry

Professionals look at social media profiles more than you think. Social media background checks are a significant part of an application process. From your “likes” to tagged photographs, employers will find it all. While social media is for personal use, you still need to think of it as an extension of your resume and self brand. What you may post on social media is a direct representation of yourself and the potential employment you are seeking. Here are some quick tips on how to clean up your social media profiles:

 

Look through all photos/tagged

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Photos posted on social media profiles are the quickest way to lose a job offer. Do not post questionable photos of yourself that can portray you in a negative light. Friends don’t let friends post pictures of each other making bad decisions. Set your profile to notify you when someone is wanting to tag you in a photo. This will save any bad light shining on you from another individual’s mistake. Here is a link to Facebook’s help center on how to change your tagging settings.

 

Clean out likes and groups

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Image credit: Facebook.com

Back when social media first became popular, liking as many interests and joining groups was the fun thing to do. Those likes and groups you have joined may still be on your profile today. When cleaning out your social media, you should look on your “about” tab and search through the extra features. Slim down the amount of liked pages and groups joined. This will help your profile look more professional. Here is a link from Facebook’s help center on how to find your likes and groups.

 

 

Watch comments made

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Image credit: coschedule.com

When friends post on their social media, you may want to share your true opinion. Keep in mind that social media leaves a direct trail to any comment that you have made. Foul language or offensive words can come back to hurt you in the long run.

 

 

Overall, keep your future in mind when posting on social media. Social media is a public profile for the world to see how you display yourself. Make your social media a positive representation of who you are, not a negative one. If used correctly, social media can positively affect your future employment.

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Image credit: joyofthetech.com

 

 

How do you maintain a professional image on social media? Have you needed to clean up your accounts recently? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Tips On Forming A PR Response To Natural Disasters

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Image credit: Washington Post

By Adriana Vivas

Since August, our part of the hemisphere was devastated with multiple class 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and closer to home in Texas and Florida. Additionally, two earthquakes have rocked southern parts of Mexico just days after the first 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City. Many people have lost everything they own in the destruction from these natural disasters. As a PR person, knowing how to respond to natural disasters and connect people in times of devastation is key. Here are some tips on how you as a PR person can help:

 

  1. Let people know of your support.

Even if your company/organization was not directly affected by the natural disaster, showing support can demonstrate to  your audience and those affected your knowledge of the situation while also adding to your public image. However, try not to overdo brand building in the event of a natural disaster.

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Image credit: twitter.com

 

  1. Try to connect your audience with ways they can help.

Posting a link your audience can access to donate toward relief efforts can make a huge difference. Either linking to your company/organization’s website or social media can create awareness your audience might otherwise not have seen. More awareness equals more donations and some donations don’t have to be monetary. Water, food and other goods are being requested by the governments and relief teams who are helping.

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Image credit: twitter.com

 

  1. Focus on the communities affected first.

If your company/organization decides to respond, make sure the focus is community first and business second. While it is not wrong to create a better public image of your brand, doing so before directing attention on the community and people affected by the natural disaster can create a negative response.

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Image credit: twitter.com

 

With these tips in mind, you and your company/organization can not only create a more positive image for your brand, but also make a REAL difference in the lives of those affected by these terrible natural disasters. And remember…

“ We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone” – Ronald Reagan

 

Do you have any tips for response in a natural disaster or crisis? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

How Disasters Have Expanded the Use of Social Media

 

Before writing this blog, the writer, Morgan Anderson, would like to extend her deepest condolences to the victims and families of those affected by this national tragedy. For the privacy of the victims, names have been omitted.

By Morgan Anderson

On October 1, at 10:08 p.m. local time shots rang out at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The current total of those injured as of Monday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. is 515 people injured and 58 deceased. CNN has said, “By the time [James] Paddock was dead, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.”

After the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, social media was flooded with information ranging from trying to find any connections to terrorist groups to videos of the tragedy taking place.  One group of videos with the hashtag #prayforlasvegas has been shared over 55,000 times on Facebook, and contains graphic video of the shooting, including victims lying down on their stomachs screaming with their necks covered.

On Twitter, tweets are going viral for those looking for loved ones at the concert. Multiple tweets have been issued out by the Las Vegas Police Department on how to find loved ones who were at the concert.

On Snapchat, their news account, “Discover,” has released the snapchat stories of individuals at the concert in a video labeled “Las Vegas Shooting.” This video also had pop-up facts about what happened during each snap. The user-submitted snapchats were edited and compiled by Snapchat, and then released.

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This is not the first time that Twitter has expanded its use to help those in need. During Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and Maria,  Twitter  was used as a way for people to contact local police and volunteers to get to safety when emergency lines were overflowing.

During times of panic and terror, people turn to social media now more than ever.  Twitter gives users the ability to contact anyone, anywhere and get a direct answer quickly.  Facebook gives us the ability to connect with family and friends from all over the world. Snapchat gives us the ability to talk to friends and have fun doing it.

These three social media accounts provide the world a new way to deal with disaster. From natural to horrific, social media has grown through the worst events in this century.

I wish I could tell you how hard it was to write this blog. I should never have to write a blog titled “How Disasters Have Expanded the Use of Social Media.” I shouldn’t have to write about how hurricanes and mass shootings have evolved social media, or how instead of calling 9-1-1 because the line is full, they move to Twitter and Facebook begging for help from others.

The truth is, 58 families lost a loved one. Over 20,000 people who attended this concert had their lives changed, and not for the better, and more people know about it because of social media.

 

Innovative PR extends our deepest condolences to the victims, their family and friends, and everyone impacted by this horrific tragedy.

 

How YouTubers Have Changed the Game for Public Relations

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Image credit: Youtube.com

By Sarah Schroll

Each day, 1.5 billion viewers watch an hour or more of videos on YouTube. Over the last five years, YouTube has increased its viewership ten-fold and the different kinds of content has expanded. Because of this, companies are contacting popular YouTubers to showcase and promote their products as social media influencer relations has increased in importance. Below are a few ways that YouTubers have changed the game for public relations.

 

  1. PR Haul Videos

A trend with more popular YouTubers is having videos where the YouTuber strictly opens products that were sent to them from companies. With many of these videos reaching a million or more views, companies are seeing the value of sending an item to a YouTuber with the channel content in mind. This gives the company the potential of not only getting screen time for their products but also gives that YouTuber the opportunity to make a future video using their product.

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Image credit: Youtube.com

 

  1. Trying products sent from companies in a video

Many companies have found it beneficial to send new products to YouTubers because it gives them visibility and credibility that advertisements and paid sponsorships do not. In the PR Haul video that is pictured above, YouTuber Tati opens a product that was sent to her by L’Oreal Cosmetics and says “I think I need to do a video on this actually, not sponsored, just sent to me.” Two weeks after the haul video was posted, Tati made a video using the product.

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Image credit: Youtube.com

 

  1. First Impressions, Favorites and Haul Videos

These are videos that have little to no sponsorship attached. This style of video gives the impression that the YouTuber is providing their honest opinion of the product. If this product is liked by the YouTuber, it can be a powerful component in the consumer’s decision to buy. This is a doubled–edged sword, however, because many YouTubers will discuss products that they didn’t care for as well.

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Image credit: Youtube.com

 

  1. Sponsorships

One of the oldest ways that companies have showcased their products on YouTube is through sponsorships. This could be showcasing products in a video and having a link to the product in the description or simply stating that the video is sponsored in the title. Sponsorships are mutually beneficial to both parties as both receive revenue from the collaboration. The content of these videos tend to have more of an advertisement feel and some people may not find it appealing.

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Image credit: Youtube.com

 

What are some ways that you have seen a product being promoted on YouTube? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Three Ways to Better Self as a Public Relations Student

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Image credit: cipr.co.uk

By Ashley Perry

Being a student and being a well-rounded student are two different things. Students do the bare minimum and settle for average. Well-rounded students try to think outside the box and explore more options than what is required. Being in the public relations field, we need things that will differentiate us from others. After doing some research on qualities public relations professionals need, I have found three key tips for you to try:

 

  1. Have an organized planner
  2. Pay attention
  3. Break out of your comfort zone

 

Have an Organized Planner

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Image credit: passionplanner.com

Organization is key to any college student or working professional. Since public relations is a deadline-driven career, you might as well start organizing a planner.

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Image credit: passion planner.com

With many places to be and many assignments due  in a day, a planner is must. Having a planner with both a monthly overview and a weekly overview is beneficial. Personally, I like to write down what is needed to complete on the monthly overview, and small details in the weekly overview. Having a check list also helps me to make sure I am completing the tasks needed to be accomplished  that day.

 

 

 

Pay Attention

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Image credit: memegenerator.com

In class it may feel like some professors are going on and on about irrelevant topics. You need to trust that your professors know what they are talking about. Professors want you to succeed in the public relations field. Showing up to class is always a must. Do not skip out because you think it will be an easy day and you would rather sleep. Every class is vital and was carefully planned out to for your benefit as a student. Really read into your public relations books. Try not to glance over the books or only read certain sections. Take advantage of what the book has to offer. It is always a good idea to keep some of the public relations books for use as future references. Good examples of books to keep would be; Associated Press Stylebook and Start With Why.

 

 

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Image credit: psychologytoday.com

Break Out of Comfort Your Zone

Start small with breaking out of your comfort zone. Stay after class to talk with professors about what you can do to improve, or ask them a question about something that was discussed in class. Not only will this allow you to have a better understanding of the course, but you will also be networking with that professor. Take advantage of any speakers that come to campus. Here at Central Missouri, we have Public Relations Pro Day.This is always a great opportunity to get your resume out there and start networking with outstanding PR Pros who could one day be a reference. Get out of your comfort zone by attending sessions with these speakers and network with them. Get involved with organizations on campus to help better brand yourself and receive a more hands-on education with real clients. Any leadership roles you can achieve will look great on a resume. You are branding yourself with everything that you do. Here is a blog written by Andrew Hudson that further explains how to break out of your comfort zone and network.

 

            I hope that after reading this blog, you are more motivated to continue growing as a well-rounded student. Keep putting in hard word toward your Public Relation classes and future. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs