Saturday, September 22, 2012

Comments on PR-related blogs

 comment due September 24th
As a Public Relations student, this list is a great guide of standards to live up to, no matter where this journey takes me.  It’s also a good guide for business leaders to be able to measure expectations.   Comparatively to others, public relations is a rather young specialty, so business leaders might not be aware of the return on investment they can realistically expect.  Whether employed by a PR firm or directly within an organization, the goals and strategies should be the same.  It comes down to values.  As the title of this blog refers to, are you a “pro”?  If you take pride in a job well done, you’ll be looking out for your client or company no matter what.  Like in any field, if you can’t deliver, you’ll eventually be shown the door.  That’s not to say that a dedicated individual won’t make mistakes.  It’s their willingness and ability to learn from their mistakes and rectify any missteps as much as possible that will solidify their trustworthiness and worth.

comment due October 21st
When I read the ongoing saga of the Lance Armstrong situation, I get a really uneasy sensation.  I think ExcuseMe hit the nail right on the head by posting, “people just don't know how to feel or what they feel regarding Lance. Did he or didn't he, is he or was he?” I don’t follow cycling but I do own a few articles of Livestrong apparel.  Until this all unraveled, I considered Livestrong to be a noble and high quality brand that was fighting for a worthy cause that touches so many.  Though the worthiness of the cause hasn’t diminished in any way, the gleam that the Livestrong name evoked has lost its luster.  Though Mr. Armstrong has stepped down as chairman of the foundation, he will always remain an intrinsic part in my mind.  For Livestrong, rebranding may be the best way to move on and focus on its mission.

comment due November 4th
Though formal education can provide the basics, much of PR is learnt by doing and by watching what others are doing, whether they’re doing it right or wrong.  The companies that tried to capitalize on hurricane Sandy through promotions such as hurricane sales have truly seen their efforts backfire. If these businesses couldn’t keep silent during this natural disaster, they would have been better off to put out a simple heartfelt message to the victims.  In the analysis of their activities and subsequent results, these companies should see the lesson quite clearly.  The lesson should be quite clear to those watching as well.  How long lasting the effects of these missteps will be remains to be seen.  Social media allows companies to react to current situations quite instantaneously.  The backlash can be just as swift however so social media strategies need to be as well thought out as traditional PR campaigns. 

comment due November 19th
What’s next?  Opening on Christmas Day?  Although there will always be employees that are willing to work on statutory holidays, I venture to guess that the vast majority would rather be spending time with family.  I think this will hurt the bottom line rather than help.  Consumers only have an X number of dollars to spend.  Whether they do that at 8PM on Thanksgiving or 7AM on Black Friday, it doesn’t change their spending threshold. The added expense lies with the store than has to concern itself with staffing for the holiday. In the end, we all pay for that.

When employees feel valued, they are less likely to seek work elsewhere.  Retailers may find themselves realizing too late that their eagerness to jump the gun on sales will increase employee turnover which is costly in itself.  Good employers breed good employees.  This leads to happy customers which translates into repeat sales. 

PR...Figuring It Out

I am halfway through the Public Relations program but am just now taking the first class of the series due to scheduling.  It’s crazy now that I think of it but I don’t think I ever stopped to analyze what I thought PR was.  I just blindly embarked on this multiple year journey.  It started as a recommendation from my manager.  When I was first hired, she mentioned that a couple of PR classes might be beneficial to my work.  Career wise, I thought it would be more beneficial to do the whole diploma rather than a couple of isolated courses.  At some point in my life, someone ingrained in me that you should always finish what you start.  If by the time my boss retired I had my sights set on her job, I figured this diploma would make me more marketable. 

 To date I’ve completed all the elective courses as well as written and oral communication.  This is truly my first taste of what PR is about.  I like what I hear!  The PR diploma is no longer my attempt at doing my employer’s succession planning but a serious career contemplation.  The reality of the Winnipeg market being that public relations is generally a portion of the job description isn’t a deterrent;  it’s a value add.  As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life.”  I am an organizer and I enjoy a fast paced environment. Though organization skills are beneficial in my current position, the last thing I would call my job is fast paced which has impacted my satisfaction.  PR could be a good fit. 

My aim is to use this class and the PR#2 course as a period of self-reflection.   I would love to hear more about the career possibilities as well as any volunteer opportunities that would make a new grad a little more attractive to a potential employer.