The Final Pitch

On the first day of class, we were all asked what we thought public relations was and why we were in the class. To be honest, when we were asked those questions I didn’t even know what class I was in. Just that I was supposed to be in that room at that time… When I discovered that it was a public relations (PR) class I was a bit curious as to what the class had entailed. I was a little excited and a little confused but I went with the flow. Then we were told that this class was a full-time job and that we would need twitter, Instagram, manage a blog, and create a planbook; which I didn’t even know what a planbook was.

None the less the semester continued on. The first few weeks I felt so lost in the class. I had no idea what we were supposed to do and I was just hoping that I wouldn’t fail the class. As the weeks went by things started to make more sense. After the first blog, blogs were easier to write, assignments were easier to understand, and things were good. Although at times, we were swamped with a boat load of assignments from other classes and the last thing I wanted to do or had time for was to write a blog post about some random topic, I managed. Sometimes I felt like I neglected that class a bit while other students in the class spent every waking minute breathing PR, but I knew I would catch up.

The planbook was a whole other surprise in itself. Never did I think I would write something that was near  fifty pages long. The best part about it was that I actually had fun doing it! Although I do wish we could have had perhaps a less dry client (sorry history department…) and had more time to focus on just the planbook, rather than trying to juggle it with my other classes. I’m not a PR major and I don’t think that really want I want to be, but I did enjoy the campaign and I wouldn’t mind doing it again!

To address the real question and purpose of this blog, do I understand PR better now than I did the first day? The answer is yes and no. If you asked me to define PR I probably still couldn’t give you a correct definition, sorry Adrienne. However, if you asked me to help you with something using PR, I got you covered! I think what I learned most this semester is how to implement PR, which is what I wish more classes did. No one really cares about the definition of your job. What good is knowing the definition of PR if you can’t actually use it as a skill?

Adrienne Wallace may leave a bitter-sweet taste in your mouth. She’s sometimes half-crazy and you questioned who even allowed her to stand in front of the class and the other times you think, this crazy lady might actually know what she’s talking about. She’s a great professor for CAP 220 and you should definitely take her if you can.
Our assignments and timeline of due dates were very helpful. Although at times the blogs may have seemed pointless and like busy work, it taught me how to write a reliable and somewhat interesting post. Which they say can be useful in PR, so they say. Having an actual client come in and pitch their problem and to be able to create a full planbook to help them was a great tool in learning how to utilize PR. The timelines we were given for due dates were great because they gave us enough time to get them done yet push us to keep us on track. I liked how they had due dates but weren’t actually due. The timeline was for our own benefit and was for peer review. That way I knew if I was on track but if for some reason I just couldn’t quite make the deadline it wasn’t a huge deal. However, I could see how for some people that could be difficult for them to self-manage and stay on track; but hey we’re all adults, right?

Overall we completed a successful planbook for the history department. I learned how to use PR through various mediums. I had a great semester, probably the best semester I’ve had thus far in my four years at Grand Valley. I have a better understanding of PR and now onto finals week, and new adventures.

Gotcha! Starbucks Cups, Secure Your Privacy, and Win That Cruise.

The power of media, particularly social media, is outstanding. People see things on Facebook or Twitter and take it for factual truth. Social media is also a great medium in PR for advertising and marketing. News of a new idea or product spreads like wildfire but that can also be harmful. As quickly as it can spread the good news, it can also spread the bad news at the same speed, if not faster. But is it possible for bad news to bring good publicity? The answer is yes, it can! Companies do it all the time as a market strategy. They post things that they know people will point out and spread the “gossip” but in turn that brings them more traffic. There are a few in recent years that may have appeared on your news feed once or twice. Were your friends and family members outraged but the red Starbucks cup? Did you win that free cruise? What’s a day on social media without political outrage? What about your privacy, did you share or copy and paste that status post to make sure Facebook doesn’t give out all your information? What do all these shares and posts have to do with marketing, though?

Last year Starbucks launched a holiday cup that was simply red. There were rumors that Starbucks wanted to stay with the festive holiday colors but wanted to avoid using certain symbols and icons that would be biased towards a certain belief or religion. Rumors spread like wildfire across social media. People outraged that Starbucks would emit symbolism of the popular Christian holiday. Others applauding Starbucks for being neutral and appealing to their wide array of customers. While a people quickly jumped to pick a side of the argument, either agreeing with the statement of being offended, or Christians who didn’t understand why people were offended, people who supported Starbucks, and people who were confused as to why this was even a topic of news. Well, in the end, it all ended up being a big hoax! The Daily Dot stated that “One Starbucks customer and devout Christian Joshua Feuerstein from Arizona reacted to the plain cups by taking to Facebook to express his disgust in a video rant titled “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”” The statement made such a big splash that even celebrities weighed in on the matter (Kabas, 2015). Daily Dot stated that after exclusive analysis it was decided that the outrage was more less about the outrage than the cups themselves. Spreadfast, a social media management system was unable to find “any evidence” of people who were genuinely upset about the red cup (Kabas, 2015). After the fire settled, people were drinking more red cups than ever. Everyone wanted their own red cup, people posted pictures on social media of their plain red cup or their red cup that the decorated themselves with festive Christmas symbols. It was all free publicity for Starbucks, and the kicker is it worked so well they’re doing it again this year, but this time it’s green!

All the things we share on social media, our name, our loved ones, photos from that embarrassing night, address, contact info, to deep personal thoughts and opinions that we hope someone reads and agrees with. You can change your privacy settings but is it really safe? Everyone has seen it and maybe fell victim to it but those long drawn out statuses you must share or tomorrow Facebook has the right to release all your info to whomever. Some even say you have to pay for Facebook after a certain date to protect your privacy or simply have access. It’s all a hoax according to Time (Luckinska, 2015). Although the root of this hoax is not quite understood and we are unsure of who is to gain from it. One thing is for sure and is that it spreads and spreads, and even though people know it’s all a hoax, people still continue to post and share it, “just in case”. Stunts like these are very effective in social media marketing, the only thing that is stronger than spreading gossip, is the fear of gossip spreading.

Lastly, the scheming minds that feed on the souls of the working class who just hopelessly want to enjoy a nice vacation, preferably for free. Who wouldn’t love a free cruise? You see them on your news feed, click here and enter to win a free cruise, or free tickets to, free anything really… Click ads like this are used by many third party companies that most people would not look twice at. They use these ads to collect customer information and to gather more customers. According to Hoax-Slayer, it works like this. You see a picture of a cruise ship on your news feed. It says click here, like, share, comment, and be entered to win a free cruise! You click on the ad which then asks you to tag and share your unsuspecting friends and family. The false page then takes you to third-party offers that you are subjected to and asks you click on three of the following and sign up for A, B, and C. In the process you have given your contact information to these companies and now your friends a family are subject to fall to it as well. It is a giant pyramid scheme for companies to gain customer information without having to do much leg work at all. Always check and make sure that the people offering a prize, is the page of the actual company the prize is from. Just remember if it’s too good to be true it probably is.

References

Christensen, B. M. (2015, August 24). Royal Caribbean Facebook Survey Scam. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://www.hoax-slayer.com/royal-caribbean-facebook-survey-scam.shtml
Jakobsson, M., & SpringerLink (Online service). (2016). Understanding social engineering based scams. New York, NY: Springer New York.
Kabas, M. (2015, November 16). People actually are not that angry about the Starbucks holiday cups. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://www.dailydot.com/irl/starbucks-holiday-cups-fake-controversy/

Luckinska, J. (2015, September 28). Old Facebook Privacy Hoax Resurfaces. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://time.com/4053311/facebook-status-privacy-hoax/

The American Swing Vote of 2016

Even though the election was only a day ago, at this point in time everyone is about sick of hearing the politics; but if anything says PR it’s an election. Regardless of who won, this election is going down in the history books. From the beginning of the campaign both candidates had a lot of public ground to cover. The PR reps of this campaign definitely worked hard around the clock to clean up a dirty remark or a deleted email. In the final hours both candidates knew it would be a close call. One of the major swing states that could make or break the election was none other than Michigan. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump came to Michigan to rally the day before the election, the final hour. However the PR doesn’t stop there, it never really does in politics. The day following the results there is PR everywhere to announce the news. Even though [spolier alert]: Clinton did not win her PR reps made it in her best interest to not play the sore loser and she issued a public statement congratulating Trump. PR will continue throughout the presidency and the PR in other countries will change as well as a high number of Americans are seeking to leave the country.

During the campaign, public relations is all about the issues and dealing with scandals. Donald Trump faced criticism from the LGBT community, women, Muslims, the African-American community, even fellow white republicans. Donald Trump also faced accusations of raping children. Hillary Clinton dealt with gaining supports by default from Bernie Sanders. As well as allegations of mishandling classified information. Trump was seen as a woman hating, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, racist candidate, amongst other things. Clinton was seen as a dishonest, crazy woman who allegedly had blood on her hands. Trump faces allegations of being degrading to women amongst other things (Krieg, 2016). While Clinton faces one of the biggest scandals in history, Benghazi, stating that nearly 30 deleted emails were found (Westwood, 2016).

In the final hours before election day both candidates came to Michigan to rally for those final votes. Both parties knowing that Michigans electoral votes could make it or break it. Trump ended up winning Michigans electoral votes by a mere 20,000 or so popular votes. In theory, if everyone who voted for Gary Johnson had voted for Hillary she would have won the electoral votes of a few key states. Hillary Clinton made an appearance at Grand Valley State University the day before the election and Donal Trump made an appearance at Devos Place just a town over. Both candidates wanted to deliver their final arguments to the high electoral states that happen to also be swing states. In a few key states such as Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania the polls were back and forth between the candidates. All three states were amongst many close calls that would decide the election. Trump decided to spend the final hour in Michigan to gather last minute votes, here’s the coverage (Trump, 2016). Clinton as well decided to spend the day before the election in Michigan, coverage can be seen at (Republicans, 2016). It was essential to both candidates to reach out to the public one last time before the voting began. However, there were negative impacts to the local community. The cities hosting the candidate rallies are facing budget issues due to the large amount of funds needed to pay police officers and emergency personnel overtime. Maintaining the safety of the candidates and of the citizens came at a price, that some towns may not be able to pay ().

The following day after a long night of agonizing wait the winner was announced. Mr. President Donald Trump. Although the campaign may have ended the press continues. In efforts to maintain public image representatives of Hillary Clinton pressed that she should make a public statement congratulating Donald Trump on his victory (Halper, 2016). After all nobody likes a sore loser. Donald Trump then made his humble thanks to his supporters. As well as a statement from President Obama also made a public statement.

While the PR is alive and well in the United States, other countries are handling their media as well. News of Trump winning the election has soared through the streets of every able country and town. Many people criticizing America with their poor decisions. Other countries supporting the U.S. Vladamir Putin announced that due to Trump’s election he is willing to put full effort into restoring relations between the United States and Russia (Hjelmgaard, 2016). While other countries don’t understand how Trump won, some sympathize with Hillary supporters. Immigration to other countries seems to be growing, with Canada’s immigration website crashing recently (McKirdy, 2016).

If you’re looking for public relations then look no further you’ve come to the right place, the 2016 presidential election. It doesn’t get any more controversial than this. There was a campaign, the candidates narrowed down, there was a final vote, there was a post-vote speech, and there was a flock of emigrants. All in all this election seems like a crazy evil dishonest woman who won over the hearts of the many v.s. an a**hole guy who ran as a joke, tried to insult as many people as possible before he got kicked out but for some reason people loved it and he won. Welcome to the close of the 2016 election, I hope you enjoyed the preview of “Make America Great Again”.

References:

Halper, D. (2016, November 09). Trump says Clinton called to congratulate him on his win. Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://nypost.com/2016/11/09/trump-says-clinton-called-to-congratulate-him-on-his-win/
Hjelmgaard, K., Dorell, O., & Arutunyan, A. (2016, November 09). After Trump’s victory, Putin wants better relations. Retrieved November 09, 2016, from https://matometrix.com/news/After-Trump’s-victory,-Putin-wants-better-relations

Krieg, G. (2016, September 28). Donald Trump’s trouble with women — an incomplete list. Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/27/politics/donald-trump-women-problems/index.html

McKirdy, E. (2016, November 09). Planning to flee to Canada? Try accessing the immigration website first. Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/politics/canada-immigration-website-down-trump-trnd/index.html

Republican Candidates. (2016, November 06). Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://president2016.report/archives/361532

Trump will wrap up last rally in Michigan instead of NH – AR15.COM. (2016, November 07). Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1928362_.html
Westwood, S. (2016, August 30). State finds 30 deleted Clinton emails on Benghazi. Retrieved November 09, 2016, from http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/state-finds-30-deleted-clinton-emails-on-benghazi/article/2600533

The Epic EpiPen Crisis #Epigate

 

For those of you who do not know, the EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector. It tightens blood vessels to increase blood pressure, relaxes muscles and helps to reduce hives and swelling from possible allergic reactions. For some people carrying an EpiPen is their life line, which could make the difference between life and death. The EpiPen was made by a man named Shel Kaplan between 1965 to 1978. Currently a company called Mylan owns the rights to produce EpiPen.

Mylan introduced a recent price hike that not only outraged many, but made the crucial drug not available to some patients. NBC News stated the new price of the EpiPen was hiked up 400%, two EpiPens costing up to $600 (Popken, B., 2016).

According to CBS News there was recently a deal made between Pfizer and King pharmaceuticals. Pfizer bought rights from King to produce their own line of EpiPens and if you know anything about Pfizer they create many generic products; which would mean big competition for Mylan. Mylan blames their large price hike due to over a billion dollars invested into refining their product. Now not only are Mylans prices increased by 400% but their competitors are selling generic pens for less than a fraction of the price, less then $10 for two pens (Edwards, J., 2016).

In public relations there are phases to deal with crisis and crisis control. The four phases are proactive, strategic, reactive, and recovery (Wilcox, D., 2013). In times of crisis its important to be strategic. Being proactive and preventing crisis is definitely preferable, however if its too late then get a good strategy, be reactive, and then recover. When being proactive you have to asses the situation and identify the issue. In the strategic phase its about communication and management. Being reactive means, more communication to achieve resolution, and in recovery you finally achieve restoration of image and reputation.

Milan company, in effort to be proactive increased their prices by 400%, a decision which turned out to be poor on their behalf. The news of Pfizer buying rights to the auto-injector displayed immense competition for them and this resulted in the Mylan EpiPen crisis. They received critical responses from customers, lawmakers, and even celebrities. Mylan realizing that this could be bad for business had to strategize. They came upon a resolution and said they would make an effort to increase availability for customers and provide benefits programs, making it more affordable for customers. However the new benefits would not effect the new prices employers and insurance companies have to pay. A new “discount” a coupon released that would give up to $300 off to consumers. They also have adjusted their income level brackets so that a family who makes under a higher amount still qualify for price deductions and wont have to pay as much out of pocket.

Mylan’s EpiPens are still hundreds of dollars more than their generic competitors. Their efforts to console the situation, while a valid attempt, fell short of a true solution. Their solution reflects that typical of a large corporation. Their tactics seems to be based on shifting attention, either by placing blame on health care or focusing the attention on their competitors and drawing it away from price increase. The Wall Street Journal  reviews Mylans tactics to handle the situation stating “Mylan could improve its handling of the crisis by addressing the initial price increase directly and by shifting the focus from bland corporate language to more genuine-sounding personal statements by Chief Executive Heather Bresch. Another lesson is the background in executive photos can impact perceptions. Several outlets have illustrated articles about the price increase using a stock photo; Ms. Bresch seated on a chair, that might have been borrowed from the Palace of Versailles. A more conventional office chair might actually be more expensive but looks more appropriate.”(DiPietro, B 2016, p.3). This crisis stirred up so much dirt that they received their own hashtag.

Overall, the prices of Mylans Epipens remain sky high, their competitors released a more affordable generic version, and the situation is in a sense considered handled. However it could have been handled better on Mylans part. Crises like these occur throughout all industries and they will continue to happen, but its how they are handled that decide who the victors are at the end of the day, Mylan may be safe for now, but maybe not for long.

References

Bomey, N. (2016). EpiPen maker to offer discounts after price hike firestorm. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/08/25/epipen-maker-offer-discounts-after-firestorm/89329122/

DiPietro, B. (2016). Crisis of the Week: Mylan Battles EpiPen Price Hike Criticism. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2016/09/06/crisis-of-the-week-mylan-battles-epipen-price-hike-criticism/

Edwards, J. (n.d.). In $3.6B King Deal, Pfizer Gets a Small but Important EpiPen Monopoly. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/in-36b-king-deal-pfizer-gets-a-small-but-important-epipen-monopoly/

Popken, B. (2016, September 30). Upgraded EpiPens torn apart. Tech firm: “It’s the same core device” Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/mylan-says-it-upgraded-epipen-2009-so-experts-looked-inside-n652651

Seipel, T. (2016). EpiPen outrage: Silicon Valley engineers figure real cost to make lifesaving auto-injector two-pack — about $8. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/01/epipen-outrage-silicon-valley-engineers-figure-true-cost-to-make-lifesaving-auto-injector-about-10/

Wilcox, D. l., Cameron, G. t., Reber, B. H., & Shin, J. (2013). Think Public Relations (2013th ed., pp. 171-173). N.p.: Pearson.

The Misery of Research. Why is it necessary?

Research can be dreadful, especially when you’re not sure what you’re looking for. However, in the field of PR where building awareness comes hand in hand with credibility; we have to ensure that our information is accurate and credible. Even if the information put out is not always accurate, you should know the difference between fact and bluff (not that I’m encouraging you to bluff), but you should know the difference. For example, in People magazine you see rumors published daily about celebrities. Even though these stories aren’t necessarily true, I can almost guarantee that the people who made these claims knew that they weren’t. These stories gain our attention and bring in customers. Sanchez says that “…secondary data can help substantiate a claim made…” data makes our claims a lot more credible. So before you go crying wolf to gain attention, maybe do your research about what a wolf sounds like so that when people come back to you you aren’t “moo-ing”.

Research doesn’t always have to be boring. Doing the research to learn about a situation, how something came about, who’s involved, the goals, etc; provides the essential building blocks to developing an interesting, accurate, and relatable campaign. Learn the ins and outs, the pros and cons, to persuade someone or a group of people you need to know the argument from both sides and the best way to do that is do your research. Getting the first word in starting with a strong argument is very important. However whats even more important is the rebuttal, the offense is no good without a good defense behind it. Know your market, your client and choose your media PRFriend.

On the other side, you need to know not only your target market and audience, but you need to know your client! Don’t assume all the information your client gives you is accurate. Take their information with a grain of salt because it might be a bit biased. Doing your research to see what your client is about, to see how the public views them, and to develop your own personal opinion of them can help you build a connection between your client and the target market.

If it isn’t already clear research is critical to PR. At least if you want to be effective. Anyone can make a poster stand on the side of the street yelling at cars that drive by. However, if your client sells high end furniture, a guy in a costume spinning signs on the corner is probably not going to capture the attention of the correct target market. Strategy, how are you going to reach the correct target market? How are you going to back up your claims and make them credible? How can you make educated and informed decisions? The answer to all those questions is RESEARCH! Just a little bit of research can make a world of difference, especially in the world of PR.

According to Michael Turney you shouldn’t RACE, do your tasks/research with GRACE, and be an ACE. Each of these acronyms and a few more explain the process to successful research and campaign. In many of them the first step is some form of research, followed by action, communication, and evaluation. There are about a dozen acronyms but they generally come down to the same things. They all are step by step processes that help develop positive relationships and effective campaigns.

To be successful in PR, you have to walk that extra mile. Taking that extra hour to do a little more research rather than just skimming the first thing you see can that that campaign from being 20% effective to 60% effective. In todays society information is so easily available and our generation absorbs information so readily. We need to ensure that our information will be efficient, effective, and accurate. We have one chance to get our ideas and thoughts out there, sure you could publish a correction or a secondary campaign but at that point you somewhat lose your effectiveness. You have once chance to launch, big, strong, bold, and right. In other words, do your research, do right by yourself, by your client, and hopefully you’ll realize that those extra minutes of “misery” will in the long run cause you less strife and lead to greater success.

Works Cited:

The importance of research in public relations – PR Friend. (2016). Retrieved September 14, 2016, from http://www.prfriend.com/research-in-public-relations/

Sanchez, C. (2013). 3 Reasons Why Research Is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. Weber Shandwick. Retrieved from http://www.webershandwickseattle.com/2013/09/3-reasons-why-research-is-crucial-to-effective-public-relations/

Turney, M., (2011), Acronyms for the Public Relations Process, Online Readings in Public Relations by Michael Turney, Retrieved from http://www.nku.edu/~turney/prclass/readings/process_acronyms.html

Who is it? What is it? Public Relations

Public Relations:

What is public relations? Public relations can be described as a sector of business that assists people in “selling” themselves, their ideas, products, etc. Public relations utilize resources to convey something to the another party. My opinion of what public relations (PR) does is that people who work in PR will conduct research, utilize trends, technology, and current events to appeal to the general public. I guess in a way I’m not sure how to explain PR through a finite definition rather than a series of explanations and examples. My attempt to describe and define PR seems to come out as a tongue twister as my brain and mouth argue as to what word to use and all I can say is “YES”. Thankfully I’m not the only person who can define PR!

According to the Huffington Post, PRSA says  “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Huffington agrees with the definition but argues that the definition was lacking of common words. The Huffington Post sums PR up into a few but common words: media, client, public, reputation. Looking at Bulldog Reporter you find similar definitions, in fact some definitions are word for word the same. Hmm, interesting… seems like there are some common ideas of PR throughout the internet. These words and terminology seem very broad but to describe something like PR you need very strong yet broad words to truly encompass all of what PR really is.

Taking another look at some more expertise insight from Progressive Business Media. People who work in PR say that its their job to “raise awareness” for their clients. The more scholarly definition is: “Public relations is the management of communication between an organization and its public (your audience or target market). It is the deliberate, planned, and sustained effort to establish and maintain communication and mutual understanding between an organization and its public.” What they really want you to know is the PR is not advertising, PR is not marketing, and PR is not guaranteed.

PR can be very useful. PR helps people, connect and communicate with other people. PR makes things interesting, appealing, known. PR raises awareness and helps people to understand and relate to topics that they typically cannot relate to. Without PR social media, commercials, advertisements, entertainment, and more; would not be what they are today. The people of PR are always lurking in the background, you may not know exactly what they do, but without them we would see the world through different and probably more boring eyes.

Trying to avoid beating around the bush with my vague and redundant descriptions of what PR is. Hopefully as this page develops and more info comes to light, the definition of PR will become more fine tune for not only you but I as well. All in all, I don’t know how to make a dry post about what the definition of PR is, interesting. However, PR in itself is very interesting, it’s kind of the whole point, PR makes things interesting! It’s actually really ironic in a way. Take it all with a grain of salt and enjoy some food for thought.

 

References:

Coplick, C. (2006, January). What is public relations? Business people know they need it, but they don’t know where to start. Retrieved September 7, 2016, from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&u=lom_gvalleysu&id=GALE|A141448162&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon&userGroup=lom_gvalleysu&authCount=1
Fischgrund, E. (2016, January 3). What Is Public Relations? Retrieved September 07, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-fischgrund/what-is-public-relations_b_8963950.html
Fischgrund, E. (2016, January 13). What is Public Relations These Days? Is It Time to Revisit PRSA’s Official Definition? Retrieved September 07, 2016, from https://www.bulldogreporter.com/what-is-public-relations-these-days-is-it-time-to-revisit-prsas-official-definition/