Growing up during the evolution of the Internet is definitely an interesting experience. At the beginning, the Internet seemed to be used solely for education purposes, and now it can be one of the biggest distractions with programs such as Netflix, Pinterest and other social media. Companies all over the world have turned to Twitter and Facebook to help better their brands and connect on a more personal level with their consumers.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards, singer Pharrell Williams showed up on the red carpet wearing a rather familiar looking hat, which was an oversized, somewhat derby-style, brown hat. Arby’s took to Twitter to crack a joke that seemed to impress everybody. After getting 48,000 favorites and 83,000 retweets and counting, the tweet went viral and everyone seemed to find it hilarious. Even if they were not following Arby’s on Twitter, many people went to check out the tweet, which brought a lot of good attention to the company.
Being able to use Twitter to not only advertise your brand, but to connect with consumers and bring attention to your page is becoming more and more important. A company can improve its following with a great 140-character tweet in just one day. It is also extremely effective when a company can engage its followers by tweeting during real time events, such as Arby’s tweeting during the Grammy’s or Oreo tweeting during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout. Being personable and connecting with your target audience will help your company grow and now there are so many more and easier ways to achieve that goal.
By Trish Bradle, PRSSA General Member
Best-selling author, journalist and public relations specialist Morgan Murphy spoke to journalism students at the University of Alabama Jan. 24 and shared insight into his life and career and advice on how to land a dream job.
Murphy reminisced on his grandmother’s cooking. Murphy said his grandmother did not live up to the southern grandmother stereotype of being an excellent cook and burnt most of her dishes. He told the audience how storytelling is a powerful tool because it helps people relate to you faster and leaves a more prominent imprint on the mind.
Murphy then went into detail about his variety of jobs in communications. He began his career in publications as an intern for Vanity Fair. While he mostly made coffee and ran errands, Murphy said at the time this was his dream job. He said that he obtained this job by stepping out of his comfort zone and using his elevator pitch to win over an executive.
Murphy is best known for his career as a food critic for Southern Living magazine. In his time there, he has written two books: “Off the Eaten Path” and “Second Helpings.”
To research these books, Murphy traveled more than 15,000 miles to find the best restaurants in the South and unlock the secrets of their best recipes. He said one of the secrets to the books’ success was writing about more than just the food itself. The three things that Murphy looks for in a restaurant are the food, atmosphere and the service. Murphy said that these three things combined are what made these restaurants worthy of being highlighted. He also said that he never writes negative reviews, because he believes that they are a waste of space.
To those of you who are public relations majors, this may not seem relevant to your future because most of Murphy’s background is in journalism. However, the insight he gave into landing the ultimate job to jump-start a career is universal. One of the most profound words of advice was to be observant during the interview. He said attention to surroundings helps a job candidate stand out from the rest and move past the small talk.
After going to this presentation, I have a little less anxiety about the future ahead for me in the PR world. Murphy’s story proves that with the right amount of motivation and willingness to take risks, anyone can get that dream job.
--by Michelle Manning, PRSSA General Member
“Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”
These words, spoken by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman after arguably the biggest play of his season, caused a media uproar, inspiring everyone from your typical tweeter to respected news outlets to call Sherman a “thug” and other derogatory and racial slurs. Although the interview focused on Sherman bashing San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the real bashing of Sherman after the interview video went viral reflected poorly not just many social media users, but on the media as a whole.
As a man who completely beat his circumstances in life to become successful, Sherman should be characterized by the media for what he really is: an inspiration. Not many can boast about getting into Stanford University, and even fewer can boast about graduating with a 3.9 GPA from Stanford. Sherman is one of those people. Not only is he an incredibly well-spoken and intelligent man, but he gives back to the community. Sherman helps children who are in low-income neighborhoods by giving them the tools to do well in school. The “Blanket Coverage” charity founded by Sherman provides children with school supplies and clothes that are crucial to being successful in the classroom. The charity also hosts events such as dinners and charity softball games for fundraising. But according to the media, Sherman is a low-class thug who does not deserve America’s respect or admiration.
In a society where who you are is established by what you do, it is strange that everything good about Sherman is being trumped by a single interview. Fox Sports has tried to remedy the situation through numerous discussions, all of which basically come down to Sherman’s interview showing his intensity as a player and his passion for the game. But the damage has been done, and people are more willing to believe the story of another thug football player than that of a man who is truly passionate about not just his profession, but about helping kids growing up in situations like his have a chance at success.
--by Jordan Hendricks, PRSSA General Member
When you think about the definition of image, what comes to mind? When a business or person wants a certain image conveyed, they try to find an image that draws their consumers in. How do they execute this? It’s all in public relations. Public relations is the medium between the public and an image that is to be perceived. Whether it’s to clear up bad publicity or to help gain numbers, image is very important.
A strong communication plan can provide the vision and credit needed to put you on the radar of the right people. Choosing the right source to get your business out there is the most important factor. Depending on the size of your business, you might need an agency. At an agency, PR pros can not only find information for you, but get you to the right places at the right times. Agencies are fairy godmothers to businesses, and from rebranding to researching, they have all your answers. Need to get your name out to the public? They can manage your social media. Better yet, they market you to different news media. Agencies think of it all and then some to improve their clients’ brands and images.
To improve its image in community-oriented ways, a company can:
·Give back to the community. Everyone loves a good Robin Hood (just exclude the stealing from the rich thing).
·Volunteer its services. For example, if you owned a limo service, you could offer your services to a charity auction or better yet team up with a well-known charity.
·Become a sponsor of an organization. For example, Johnson & Johnson is an official sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Any time the Olympics are mentioned, so is Johnson & Johnson.
·Send out emails and special promotions. These are great ways to gain interest as well. People love when they think that you care enough to find out personal things they care for and highlight them.
·Send thank-yous. Unexpected customer appreciation is the icing on the branding cake. There's nothing more surprising than receiving an envelope in the mail that says, “Thank you for being a valuable customer.” It brings loyalty and good credibility to your company. Next thing you know you are getting new customers by word of mouth. You want to stay on the tip of consumers’ tongues and always at the back of your customer's mind.
Today, people like to receive their messages digitally. Instead of an ad in a magazine, why not just post something to Facebook or tweet it? Not only is it faster, but it lets your consumers know you are growing. The Internet has become the premier information source for the customer. With the rise of online searches, trending news and online shopping, why should you pay an arm and leg when you're trying to reach your public? The rise of online searches and ranking affects the visibility of a company's name and image. By evaluating your activities and introducing new ones, your public image might grow larger than you think.
--by Aramis Harmon, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.