Author Archives: Jen Probst

Is All Publicity Good Publicity for the NFL?

nflThe NFL may be one of the largest non-profit organizations, but will it be able to survive the negative press that it receives? With recent understanding of the intensity of concussions that players suffer from, the NFL has received a large amount of backlash for its inability to inform the players and the public. While most viewers are likely to continue watching their favorite teams, people are still taking notice of the NFL’s significant blunders. Let’s take a look at some ways the NFL and other sports organizations can handle negative press:

1.    Accept the blame.

In order for the NFL to appear reliable once more, it is important that the it stop ignoring the elephant in the room and acknowledge the issues that are developing each day. Paying attention to concussions, drug abuse and other legal infractions can help restore faith in viewers.

2.    Be transparent.

Open communication is a key element of any successful organization, but in times of crisis it is essential. Creating a clear and honest statement will help emphasize the fundamentals of the affected entity and hopefully prevent future crises. If employees are trained in crisis communication and issues management, then the attitudes of and statements made by officials will benefit the NFL to a greater degree.

3.    Set an example.

In order to become a thought-leader in the industry, the NFL must implement new regulations to help prevent concussions as well as negative behavior from players. This will show the public that a change is occurring. The organization must go beyond making claims. The NFL must take action.

Until the NFL develops a game plan for handling of its current issues, the league will continue to suffer in terms of its reputation and following. By implementing these and other ideas, the organization is likely to recover and regain the trust of both players and fans.

Understanding Behaviors and Social Media Essential to Product Launches

Joan Schneider, founder of Schneider Associates, recently spoke at Harvard about the impact that Launch PR can have on a product and its consumers. Launch PR specifically focuses on helping establish products, services, organizations, companies, technologies, and communities over a period of time.  Research is key to developing a strong product launch targeted towards the brands consumers, and an analysis of the campaign is essential to determine success and impact.

Schneider was also joined by Aaron Reid, Ph.D., Chief Behavioral Scientist at Sentient Decision Science, Inc., and Don Martelli, VP and Director of Digital Integration at Schneider Associates, who discussed what drives consumers to try, and to buy, products.

  • Reid analyzed the subconscious and emotional drivers of behavior, claiming that emotional connections, targeted campaigns, and prediction of behavioral actions are key factors in consumer buying habits.
  • Martelli addressed the impact that social media has on a product launch.  He claimed that with behavioral science, the issue was understanding what consumers do not express; but with social media, it is utilizing the information that consumers do share. Martelli points to urgency of a launch, engagement with the audience, and the presence of up-to-date media and information

The combination of behavioral analytics and social media allows for a winning campaign for new launches. The understanding of both aspects of new product launches can make or break a new product.

Top 5 Must Reads for Anyone in PR

As anyone in the PR field knows, it’s all about staying current with events, news, and industry updates. But how do you know just what to read without being completely overwhelmed? Besides the usual Twitter, Facebook, and world news sites, such as, New York Times, there are many other outlets to get strong information. Here are some of the not so obvious reads you should keep up-to-date with:

1. Peter Shankman’s Blog: Shankman

Shankman, a former BU graduate is an American entrepreneur, who also focuses on marketing. He is also the founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which allows PR professionals to connect with journalists. His blog provides readers with tips on becoming great influencers as well as his overall view of the media industry.  

2. I Want Media

This is a great site to subscribe to, which will send you daily updates about the media and tech industries, in addition to changes within each industry. The daily newsletter provides a short summary of the article, highlighting the main points. This is a perfect option for a quick update! 

3. Jim Romenesko’s Blog

This blog focuses on writer, Romenesko’s views about media and other factors of the industry.He emphasizes important parts of the industry with short and to the point articles. He also provides daily reports of what he considers the top news for the day. 

4. The Holmes Report

The Holmes Report provides the reader with insight about not only the PR industry, but also global news and its effects on the PR world. The site also shares industry news, research, and interviews with senior personnel in the industry, which are  helpful for understanding the ins-and-outs of the business. 

5. PR Daily

This is a daily news site that is constantly updating itself to provide useful and interesting content to PR professionals and students. The site combines PR, marketing, social media, and world news to maintain a well-rounded understanding of the industry. PR Daily also incorporates pop culture, which provides readers with new views on topics.

As much as PR emphasizes becoming a “news junkie”, it can be overpowering at times. Focus on staying current with news and honing in on specific skills to become an expert in. Reading is a key to PR to broaden your overall understanding of the world and the industry.

A Summer with Brynn Capella


This past summer, I spent my days with leather samples, die-cuts and handbags. I had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in fashion PR while working with Brynn Capella, a Chicago-based handbag designer who sells products online and through various boutiques. As the only intern in the public relations department, I quickly learned the ins-and-outs of the jobs and tasks related to the field.

A large part of my job as an intern revolved around handling social media and product promotion. Brynn is an independent designer who produces all of her products in the United States to ensure high quality and customer service. Another important part of my duties were to get the brand more involved in philanthropic groups around Chicago. We were able to partner with a local animal rights group, PAWS, for black tie events on Lake Michigan.

Working with Brynn, I was also able to learn about the fashion business, aside from the PR side, as well. I was able to gain first hand experience for what goes into preparing and executing a fall photo shoot as well as understanding HTML coding. When coding with HTML, I helped reformat the company’s blog and website, outfitting it with modern updates. These were both areas that I had no experience with prior to starting the internship, but with Brynn’s help I was able to quickly learn how to effectively plan for a photo shoot and learn the language of HTML.

Another large part of my summer experience was focused in working on upcoming events. It was extremely important to promote events and trunk shows to let customers know where they could purchase Brynn Capella handbags around the Chicagoland area. The largest event we participated in was Chicago’s Annual Sidewalk Sale, which featured various local designers who came together to share their designs with the city. During the event, a fashion show was also presented to showcase featured designers. Prior to the event, we made sure to promote the Sidewalk Sale to our friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Even during the event we tweeted and shared photos on Instagram, which helped remind our customers to stop by.

By the end of the summer, I had learned so much about the fashion industry as well as the challenges that an individual business owner faces each day. Expanding beyond PR, I also gained experience with marketing, sales and design. Overall, the internship encompassed a variety of fields that helped me to get a better grasp of the industry as well as my role in the brand. The skills I learned were invaluable and have even helped me succeed in my current internship.

Feel free to tweet me at @jenprobst23 if you have any questions about the challenges or experiences with fashion PR.