On Saturday, February 15th, Boston University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosted its eighth annual Regional Conference, PR Advanced: #FuelTheFuture. Below is a letter from our Chapter’s Conference Coordinator, Brynn Murphy.
On behalf of my Committee, I cannot thank everyone enough for coming out, despite the weather, to enjoy the event that we planned for more than six months. I am excited to say that 200 students and professionals from twenty universities and many companies filled Boston University’s Photonics Center to participate in a day filled with breakout sessions, speed networking, a workshop competition and career fair.
Our goal was to inspire students and young professionals to make their mark during this transformational period of change in the industry. The main focus of PR Advanced was to help students understand what skills employers are looking for in this dynamic and digital world. Attendees walked away with that and more.
Keynote speaker C.C. Chapman, Chief Marketing Officer of Your Success Now, got students excited for the day and offered insight on creating your own path to happiness. The second keynote speaker, John Edelman, Managing Director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility at Edelman, spoke about the Trust Barometer and how to navigate the transmedia landscape. Though the perspectives of both men were very different, their messages got through to students in a unique and powerful way.
Following the keynote presentations, students attended breakout sessions that concentrated on ideas like content creation, crisis management, sports marketing, political communication, non-profit communication, and innovation in technology. These sessions included representatives from GoogleGlass, the American Red Cross, and the Boston Bruins.
In the afternoon, attendees split up and competed in workshops led by CEO and Vice President of Text100, Aedhmar Hynes and Jason Ouellette and Senior Manager for Digital Marketing at Dunkin’ Brands, Kevin Vine. Competition winners received autographed copies of Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman. Because this was the first year hosting a competition in this format, it was a bit nerve-wracking. It went well and with suggestions that conference attendees made, we will keep improving in the future.
Participants used a new Android and iOS mobile app that was created for PR Advanced by an on- campus group called Global App Initiative. This new addition promoted the digital focus of the day and assisted attendees in finding speaker information and session locations. The 148 iOS users and 50 Android users who downloaded the app were also able to give great feedback by using the survey that was included in the app.
The day concluded with a career fair that hosted representatives from seventeen companies. Attendees not only learned and connected throughout the day, but also donated generously to the Greater Boston Food Bank as part of the community service initiative. Faculty Adviser Steve Quigley said, “The BUPRSSA team promised to present a blend of inspiration and information and boy did they deliver on that promise. I learned a ton and couldn’t wait to get out there and put it into practice.”
People tend to trust the government with matters of their health rather than big business. Makes sense, right? Government is driven to pursue the goals and interests of the people. Businesses are driven by profit margins, as well as investors, shareholders and a whole slew of factors that does not revolve around consumer health. The Gallup “Trust in Institutions” Poll from June 2013 has big business far down on the list, only slightly more trusted than congress, HMO’s and organized labor.
In a modern, internet-centric age, this is should no longer be the case. Big business is now-more than ever-accountable to the people in a faster, more efficient way than government.
Food Babe is an investigative food blogger who discovered that Subway was using a harmful chemical in their bread . This ingredient, Azodicarbonamide, is also commonly used in shoe rubber and yoga mats. Although approved by the FDA, Azodicarbonamide is illegal in many countries in Europe as well as Australia due to its proven health dangers.
Within 24 hours of Food Babe releasing her petition against this ingredient, 57,000 people had signed her online petition. Within three days Subway issued an announcement that they were “already in the process of removing Azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts” and that “the complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”
Meanwhile, the FDA says there is “a reasonable certainty of no harm” when an additive is used and has made no significant actions.
Subway, while maybe reacting swiftly just to save their image, is creating a beneficial change that may take Congress and years of lobbying to do. With the power of her blog, Food Babe was able to exact change with a corporation as large, and a supply chain as long as Subway’s within days. A little blog was able to take on a big corporation and win, which teaches us a lot about how communication can be effective if you use the right channels. The little guy won, because they knew exactly how to attack the problem.
As a first year PR student I, like many others, had a pretty tough time figuring out all the different types of PR jobs there are out there. Based on the fact that my goal is to do PR for an opera company, I’ve become interested in what it means to do PR for a nonprofit organization. The first step is to understand what a nonprofit organization really is. Basically, it’s a company that puts any extra revenues towards a specific goal or purpose. This doesn’t mean that their staff isn’t paid, but any money that is more than the amount needed to be self-sufficient goes toward a specific goal. Often nonprofit organizations have a really great mission, like health or education, and need a good PR team to get the public involved with their mission.
When getting a message out there, it’s important to make it very clear to the viewer why the organization deserves their attention. Since a lot of nonprofits operate on donations from the public, it’s important to keep the public included in everything that’s going on behind the scenes. This does a few things:
- It captures the public’s attention. If they see you all over social media, you’ve got their attention and are present in their thoughts. You’ll also be increasing the word of mouth about your organization when donators talk to friends and family who could become your next donators.
- It allows the public to see what the organization is actually doing with their money. No one wants to just give away their hard earned money to a organization of empty promises, so show them that they’re making a difference. They’ll really feel that they’re making a difference with the organization’s goal!
Without a great PR team showing the public how the organization is making a difference, it’s less likely that people will donate money to help the organization reach it’s goals. It’s true that when working for a nonprofit organization your income might be less than if you worked at a multimillion dollar agency, but joining the right nonprofit can allow you work with an organization that does work you really care about, and there’s a huge benefit in that.
Every year, different groups of people from across the nation look forward to the Academy Awards. Commonly referred to as The Oscars, this award show recognizes achievements in the film industry, as well as those who have contributed to nominated works. Although the purpose of the segment is to award exceptional works in cinema, the program has recently drawn viewers who are more interested in which celebrities attend, their outfits and who the host will be. As a result, promotion of the award show has taken a route that appeals more to those who are drawn in by these elements, focusing on celebrity personalities rather than nominees.
This year, comedian Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting. Known for her humor and good nature, DeGeneres has become a household name in homes across America. She previously hosted the Oscars in 2007, and it would appear that public reception was positive due to her second offer. In order to successfully promote The Oscars, the show needs to appeal to the expectations of viewers on all levels. One way to do this would be to hire a host already valued by those who plan to tune in. Although it has become almost tradition for some to watch each year, if the host falls short of capturing viewers’ attention, the segment may receive poor reviews which could affect the tone of next year’s show. Therefore, by bringing back successful hosts from years past, the likelihood of high viewership increases.
In order to successfully promote the show—focusing on DeGeneres as the host—the network must craft advertisements that highlight what makes her funny. Her dancing, singing and overall sense of humor are the centerpieces of each promotional clip, not nominees. In one of her videos she notes the “side effects” of watching the Oscars, which include laughter and “critiquing women in beautiful gowns.” In others, she talks about how it’s her second time hosting while flexing her comical vocal and dance abilities. Again none of these personal traits directly relate to the film industry, but it attracts viewers.
So I have two questions for you all—will you be watching the Oscars this year, and why?