Author Archives: Christina Serrano

Bridging the Gap: Reaching for the Stars

This post is part of our PRSSA 2012 National Conference series, where members of our Executive Board will be sharing tips from various breakout sessions.

If there is one public relations strategy that is almost always effective, it is getting a celebrity involved in the campaign. In a presentation entitled Reaching for the Stars: Recruiting Celebrities for PR Campaigns & Special Events, we learned, however, that securing and working with celebrities is not always the easiest task.  Rita Tateel, President of the Celebrity Source, shared some insight into working with Hollywood.

  • Your audience defines who is a celebrity. The age, gender, and lifestyle of your intended audience defines who is a celebrity.  Young children are not going to appreciate Clint Eastwood, just as an adult crowd is not going to be impressed with Willow whipping her hair back and forth. Knowing your audience will determine which kind of celebrity you are looking for: sports figure, movie star, recording artist, etc.
  • Celebrities are demanding. According to Tateel, celebrities are demanding because they are insecure. Having worked in the industry for over a decade, Tateel knows that celebrities live in a world where everyone always wants something from them. Their way of trying to take charge over their life is to be demanding.
  • Time is their most important commodity. Celebrities are pulled in a million different directions. They are often forced to juggle work and family, and still need to have time for themselves. When hiring a celebrity for an event, photo shoot, product endorsement, etc., don’t bring them in for any longer than you need them. The less time you need from them, the more likely they are to say yes.
  • Make sure there is something in it for them. How do you get a celebrity to say yes? You have to ask yourself as the PR liaison, what’s in it for them?  Tateel recounted a project she worked on where the celebrity initally said no when offered money, but when offered an afternoon of golfing while his wife and kids enjoyed VIP treatment at a nearby theme park, he decided to say yes. Celebrities are not in it for the money, they generally have plenty of that.

Ultimately, celebrities attract large visibility and media attention to any campaign, however there are many ramifications when working with them. One of the biggest things Tateel said to remember was to always have a back-up plan. Celebrities are human. Life happens. Be prepared for it.

Bridging the Gap: The Secrets of Personal Branding

This post is part of our PRSSA 2012 National Conference series, where members of our Executive Board will be sharing tips from various breakout sessions.

“Live everyday like you are on a first date.” This is just one of many great pieces of advice from Matt Prince, Social Media Manager at Disneyland Resort, on discovering, establishing, and maintaining your personal brand. As a PR practitioner the biggest and most important client you will ever have is yourself. Because if your personal brand isn’t strong, why would a client trust you to create their brand?

Here are a few tips on branding yourself from Prince’s presentation, because your brand is not what you do, it’s what people think you do.

  • Find yourself. Asses your online platforms, conduct a SWOT analysis, create a road map. Whatever you would do for a client, do it for yourself.
  • Make an impression. your face and name carry your personal brand, but so does your online presence. “Mirror your version of success – be the image of what you want to be.”
  • Do social right. Social media is not a brand strategy, it is a tool. Contrary to popular belief, it only accounts for 1/5th of your personal brand.
  • Abide by the “iffy iffy” rule. When deciding whether to post on one of your online platforms, ask yourself if it is one of the following: interesting, funny, educational, flattering, embarrassing, or impressive. If it isn’t, don’t post it.
  • Be a content creator. By controlling the content you post, you control your message, and by controlling your message, you control your brand. Remember, “No one really remembers the mailman, they remember who sent them the message.”

Those are just a few tips to remember when shaping your own online brand. Looking for a quick fix? Clean up your online brand quickly by hiding bad photos of yourself on Facebook and removing any controversial content – if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, you probably don’t want your potential boss to find it either. It’s also important to be narrow-minded, create a plan, be a storyteller, know your audience, and to take it offline. Repetition of reputation is key to success.

Overcome Your Writing Slump

It’s about that time of year again: the semester is underway and you are handed the topic for your first essay.  After four months of summer, you sit down to write and find nothing but a blank Microsoft Word document staring back at you. The thoughts just aren’t flowing.  Students and professionals alike often find themselves in this situation. But how do you find your way out of the slump? Some point to going outside, exercising, and/or eating, but I have found the following to be most effective:

Read. Reading is one of the best ways to get back into the groove of writing.  Find some of your old essays or blog posts and read through them.  Reading through your own work will help your brain remember your own writing style, and will help to get your mind back into the groove of concocting that killer thesis you know you are capable of.

Research. Whether it is the topic for your assignment, or just a topic that interests you, explore it.  Though seemingly counterproductive, researching your interests will open up your mind to absorb different facts and writing styles. Researching information will also help your mind to think about things and form opinions, a key component to writing a killer piece.

Talk it out.  If the words just don’t look right on paper, don’t write them down.  Find a friend, roommate or neighbor and talk to them about your thoughts on the assignment. Bouncing ideas off another person, and engaging in their responses, will stimulate your brain into creating stronger opinions.  This just might help bring your mind back around to the academic way of thinking.

Whether you are a student or a PR professional, writing is an important part of your career, so it is imperative that you rise above.  But every writer knows that your thoughts on assignments can become stale.  So the best advice is, if you can, walk away.  Take a break from the assignment and focus on something else for a while.  Once you walk back to that Microsoft Word document, you will be able to get right back into that comfortable groove you can’t believe you ever fell out of.

Three Reasons Why PRSSA is Helpful to Students in Any Major

One might think that the Public Relations Student Society of America is only for those pursuing a career in public relations. However, this is incorrect – PRSSA can be a valuable resource to any student for any field. Much of our efforts as undergraduates is focused on creating an awesome resume that makes you stand out from your peers.  Stepping outside of one’s intended major and familiarizing oneself with another field, can only aid you in getting that one step ahead of the curve.  If meeting driven students and adding PRSSA to your résumé doesn’t assuage your apprehension, here are three other reasons why joining Boston University’s Chapter of PRSSA is helpful to students in any major:

1. Professional networking
Are all of your friends in the same major as you? No, and neither are top executives and CEOs. Networking with any professional is valuable. Just because the person you meet does not hold the job you are interested in doesn’t mean they don’t have resources to connect you with your dream opportunities. Beyond that, speaking with those ahead of you on any career path can lead you to discover new interests.

2. Social media
Employers are beginning to expect applicants be well-versed in social media platforms. While we’re sure you already have the know-how to check in on FourSquare, hashtag on Twitter, and upload quality iPhone pictures to Facebook, there’s a lot more to social media than socializing. PRSSA gives students a hands-on opportunity to understand social media platforms in a business setting; members are given the opportunity to learn how to post professional tweets and statuses, analyze data, and write weekly blog posts for our website.

3. Learn tips and tricks from the industry’s top professionals
Whether you have chosen a major or not, and whether it is Public Relations or not, listening to and learning from those who have blazed the career trail before you is one of the most valuable learning experiences you will have.  By attending our weekly panels and asking our speakers what they like and/or dislike, and how they got to where they are in their careers, you can help shape your own professional path.

The connections and valuable skills you will learn from young professionals in Boston University’s Chapter of PRSSA offer a great opportunity for you to stand out on a résumé, and give you valuable hands-on experience. As a pre-professional organization, PRSSA offers many valuable opportunities worth taking advantage of by any student in any major. The tech world is continuing to evolve, and PRSSA will teach you the skills needed to keep up with the latest technological trends. It doesn’t hurt to learn about something that isn’t your focus.  In fact, it will put you ahead of the curve.

Employer of the Week: Allied Integrated Marketing

This post is part of our Employer of the Week series, where we will be highlighting a different company in PR/Communications every Monday.

Allied Integrated Marketing is a full-service agency specializing in local, regional, and national entertainment and consumer brands. The team at Allied consists of specialists, who are knowledgeable in the film, TV, gaming, and consumer brand industries. With areas in promotions, publicity, digital, events, advertising, experiential, creative, and market research, Allied prides themselves on being strategic, creative, integrated, local, and national. They customize campaigns to achieve client goals, generate great ideas that get attention and interest, provide seamless execution of cross-platform campaigns, and maintain deep relationships to make things happen quickly.

With more than 20 offices across the United States, 300+ employees, and 600 markets, Allied prides themselves on creating strategies that help you reach your audience.

Allied also keeps great company with some very reputable and well-known clients. Past and present clients include:

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Paramount
  • Comcast
  • GM & Chrysler
  • AMC Entertainment
  • Fox
  • HBO
  • Discovery Channel
  • Broadway shows, such as Wicked
  • and many others…

Allied hires unpaid college interns for every semester to work in different departments in all of their offices nationwide. The first step in applying for an internship with Allied is to visit their website, and click on Contact. From there you e-mail the office in the city of your choosing, and you’re off and running!
Allied can be found not just on their website (http://www.alliedim.com), but also Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/alliedim), Twitter (@alliedim) and on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/allied-integrated-marketing).

PR Advanced: How to Prepare for Speed Networking

One of the many amazing aspects of the PR Advanced conference is the ability to network with top industry executives.  Ironically enough, speed networking is not all that different from speed dating–you show up, look your best, and attempt to impress a myriad of people in under five minutes, hoping to make a connection with one of them. During speed networking, it is extremely imperative that you be prepared in order to present yourself in the best possible manner.

Here’s a few tips to prepare:

Rehearse your elevator speech

  • Since you are essentially pitching yourself to these executives,     you want to sound well-rehearsed, but not stiff.

Spruce up your resume

  • Make sure you update your resume and highlight your most recent experiences.

Make business cards

  • Have business cards printed up with your name, contact information, and blog or twitter handle if they prove relevant.  This will make exchanging information quicker and easier, and also help for the person across the table to put a name with a face.

Research whomever you can to have better questions

  • Its always a good idea to research who you are going to be conversing with and what companies they represent. This can help you to ask pertinent questions and actually have a much smoother networking experience.

These are just a few of the things to think about when speed networking. It is also important to be professional and act as if every person you meet is like a mini job interview. Just be yourself, present your best assets, and good luck!