By: Samuel Jordison
For the past year, I had the opportunity to work as a human resources intern for a manufacturing plant in Kansas City. When comparing PR and HR on the surface it looks like two completely different fields, but there is a lot they have in common. I’ve found that certain commonalities extend not just between PR and HR, but PR and almost every field in business. One of those things is that you have to know your audience.
One of the first things we learn in Intro to Public Relations is that you need to understand who your “public” is if you want to relate to them. That advice is universal across the world. If we want to communicate something to someone, first we need to make sure they are interested in what we are communicating. If we want them to respond, we need to communicate in a way that is clear to them. If we want them to have a positive reaction to what we say, then we need to say it in a way that encourages them in a positive way. All of these things hinge on knowing who your audience is and understanding what is important to them.
This is not exclusive to those in the PR world. In the workforce, managers need to know that their employees have an interest in their work to be good employees. Parents want their children to understand them, and will try and communicate in ways their children will understand. Even friendships are built with recurring positive interaction.
Knowing your audience, whether it’s employees, co-workers, friends, or family members, is important in any setting. As an HR Intern, my primary audience was the employees inside the company. I strived to gain an understanding of how they think and the best way to communicate with them. Otherwise, the programs or events we would roll out would be ineffective.
When we take time to figure out how those around us will best receive our message, we are strengthening a relationship. Whether that relationship is with consumers, employees, family or friends, it’s extremely beneficial.
by Nikki Carpenter
For public relations students like myself, there is not an experience quite like Innovative Public Relations. To be honest, I did not know what I was getting into when I joined IPR. I had no idea what projects I would be assigned to, who would be on my team, and the skills I would quickly develop. The only thing I had to compare it to was a sports internship from over the summer.
In August, my team learned that we would be collaborating with the firm’s first off-campus client. Larry Schnieders, a retired corporate executive and UCM PR alumnus, wanted to share a story connecting two Kansas City high schools that have been housed at the same location. Both of the schools and their students prospered when all odds were against them.
The focus of our campaign is to utilize a crowdfunding platform to acquire the funds necessary for the shooting and editing of the film. As specialists with marginal knowledge of this unique fundraising technique, we found ourselves spending our time researching everything possible. From tips to statistics to looking at successful pages, we quickly developed a strategic approach in order to raise the necessary funds.
In partnership with Through A Glass Productions, “Together We’re Stronger” revisits the extraordinary story of Bishop Lillis High’s unexpected Missouri basketball state title in 1961. The team consisted of transfer students and a first-year coach. The film will have interviews of the players and coach of this team, who have gone on to be successful. One player was twice-elected mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Another went on to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
The documentary will also follow Lillis’ legacy through the building’s current tenant, DeLaSalle Education Center. DeLaSalle is a charter school with alternative-style curriculum, and the only school of its kind in Missouri. DeLaSalle relies on donations and fundraisers to provide at-risk youth a personalized education to improve learning and life skills. The film is expected to bring a new audience to the school that has already reached its capacity of 300 students with a waiting list.
The crowdfunding campaign to raise $18,000 will continue until Dec. 7 on Kickstarter. Check out the page here! For up-to-date information on everything regarding this project, make sure to like “Together We’re Stronger” on Facebook and follow the film on Twitter.
Pictures via Hank Young and Kali Schnieders
by Erin Robinson
Millennials. We have all heard the term, but do we understand its meaning and importance? Before exploring the challenges of marketing to millennials and some helpful ways to overcome them, let’s take a look at who millennials are and why marketing to this generation is so vital to the success of companies and brands.
Who millennials are and why they’re important
Millennials are individuals born from 1977-1995 and they represent 25 percent of the US population, according to Barkley’s report, “American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.” There are millions of them, over 82 million to be specific. They spend money, with an annual purchasing power at $200 billion. Lastly, they are making gateway purchases, which Bulldog Reporter Editor Talia Sinkinson defines as, “choices that can influence brand allegiance for the rest of their lives.”
Overcoming millennial marketing challenges
While every company may have different challenges in its efforts to market to millennials, I am going to focus on a few of the most common from my own perspective as a millennial.
#1: Grabbing millennials’ attention
We are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day, so creating something that is going to stand out in the clutter and remain in our minds is no easy feat.
Fix: Make us feel like a part of your brand, use visuals to engage us and inspire us to take action. Do what hasn’t been done. We like new and bold.
#2: We don’t like when you try to blatantly sell us things
Millennials can sniff out an advertisement from a mile away. We are so inundated with advertisements that we begin to resent them all together and we find ways to block them out any chance we get.
Fix: Sell your story rather than your product. Find a way to relate your brand to us personally and tap into our emotions a bit. We love a good story and want to support things that make us feel good about ourselves. When companies or brands find ways to engage us without yelling “BUY ME!!!” we appreciate it.
#3: Keeping up with us isn’t easy
Our world is constantly changing, especially when it comes to technology. We are also always connected, so we are aware of what is going on around us.
Fix: The companies and brands that keep up with changes and trends in technology and adapt their marketing messages to what is going on around us will be the most successful. Pay attention to what we are talking about and find a clever way into the conversation.
Moral of the story
Marketing to millennials should be at the top of companies’ priority list and will benefit them tremendously if done the right way.
By Raysha Sally
UCM PR program professors often incorporate guest speakers into our curriculum by bringing alumni back to campus or inviting contacts to campus. Recently in Professor Tom Heapes’ PR Management and Industry Practices course, students were introduced to Eric Morgenstern, owner of Morningstar Communications in Kansas City.
Morgenstern spent his Monday afternoon chatting with students via Skype, and the information and insight he offered left a lasting impression. Morgenstern befriended Heapes at Boasberg Valentine Radford in Kansas City. They worked together for ten years before Morgenstern branched off and started Morningstar Communications on Oct 1, 1997.
Since the class Morgenstern was speaking to focuses on PR business and management, he gave insight into struggles he and his wife first faced when starting the business, but also spoke of their success. One story he told that stuck with students was that he had no job, no clients, and no income when he resigned from his position at Boasberg but the day of Morningstar’s launch was able to secure his first client. That number quickly grew from one to eight, then to 12. As Morningstar secured more clients, its number of employees increased; the Morgensterns quickly learned their family’s home could no longer act as the business’s office.
Lessons from a professional
Morgenstern’s stories regarding his personal experience, as well as his excitement helped keep students engaged in the discussion. In addition to being relatable and enthusiastic, his advice and wisdom also stuck with the students. He told students if they take one bit of information or fact from him it is to “Never (make anyone mad).” He explained the quote by saying that the industry is small and though you might “wear different jerseys and play for different teams,” it is important to value relationships because they might help you down the road. He referenced his relationship to Heapes; they once “wore the same jersey” but their careers took them to different teams yet they still communicate and utilize each other’s expertise from time to time.
Morgenstern advised students to be life-long learners and said those with a passion for learning will continue to be successful. He also encouraged students to read one business book every month. As a professional he considers life-long learners to be the best kind of people to hire. He used an analogy about the fax machine and how it revolutionized the way business was done; he explained everyone had to learn how to utilize fax machines. Now, of course, fax machines seem dated; business and technology are constantly changing and adapting and employees must be able to change and adapt as well.
One student asked Morgenstern for his definition of public relations; his response “Do good and get caught,” five simple words that put our four-year degree in perspective. He explained that as PR professionals we need to do the right thing and make it known to people that we are doing the right thing.
I challenge each and every one of you reading this to
- 1) Never make anyone mad.
- 2) Read one business a book every month.
- 3) Do good and get caught.