The 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.
“Brand” is a huge buzzword in the public relations industry, which essentially lays the foundation for the public’s perception of your company. With a rapidly changing environment, we must remember to update and enhance our brand to continue our relevance in a fast-paced, digitally-enhanced environment. What does it take to rebrand? It can be as simple as a logo change to a full brand makeover.
FleishmanHillard made a successful, total rebranding effort this past summer. The company now uses “The Power of True” as their new logo and slogan to better portray the vision and the firm’s “channel agnostic” role in the public relations world. By recognizing that the boundaries of the PR, advertising and marketing world are quickly blending, FleishamnHillard is broadening its services to position themselves as a leading brand.
In fact, this idea has worked its way into PRSSA. These past few months, members of our chapter have been working on rebranding our student-run agency, Unleashed PR.
To begin this rebranding effort, we had to reevaluate our firm’s mission. “Growth,” in our members and clients, successfully defined our motivation to create the most creative and well-executed PR plans. For this reason, Unleashed PR hosts biweekly workshops for account directors and executives. Topics ranging from PR planning to social media etiquette, members have an opportunity to learn necessary agency skills.
Like FleishmanHillard, Unleashed recognizes the importance of content creation and social media in PR campaigns. For this reason, we have added two social media coordinators (Allie Kim and Sam Rushovich) and one digital media coordinator (Joseph Martelli) to the agency’s executive board. We have also recognized the importance of rebuilding our brand on Boston University’s campus by including BU clubs as agency clients, including SMG’s new Boston University Trading Club.
Since the beginning of my high school career I have fallen in love with the local music scene. Lucky for me, coming from Connecticut and attending school in Boston has kept what I know as “local” pretty much intact. My passion for going to shows and helping bands has turned into everything I hope to do in a career. Immersing myself in this local music scene has me leaning towards pursuing music PR, which includes the promotion of new album releases, tours, and other music related news, to the media.
In the beginning of November, I attended Aerosmith’s free concert in Allston. As I stood among a crowd of Boston’s finest fans, I thought of how much I yearned to be a part of something like this. Looking back at the event now, it was an amazing PR feat, considering the goals, preparation, and actual event. It’s interesting to think how everything comes together.
The band wanted to perform in front of the apartment where they lived many years ago: 1325 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA. Their goal was to promote the release of their new album – Music From Another Dimension! – as well as encourage people to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election, both of which were the next day.
Aerosmith began planning this event about three years ago, and I am only able to imagine the extent of this planning. Their team had to close down Boston’s public transportation, arrange Boston’s signature Duck Boats to ride in on, and organize police and security with the city of Boston. Aerosmith teamed up with local radio station 100.7 WZLX to promote the event, and invited special guests including Tom Brady and Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots.
Watching the event unfold was simply amazing. With seemingly effortless PR and very little coverage, Boston showed up to support “the Bad Boys from Boston.” The event seemed to come out of nowhere, largely publicized only on Twitter and other social media platforms. The news spread like wildfire, and an estimated 100,000 attendees showed on almost nonexistent notice—a true feat for PR. I was in awe. I hope to one day successfully blend a career of music PR and special event planning and make more magical moments like that happen for others.
There’s nothing like a strong outlook and confidence to get you through that first interview with a professional. You might be wearing a pressed suit, have an extra copy of your résumé, and a positive attitude, but those are only a few of the components you need to make a good first impression on your prospective boss.
Do your research. If you’re going into a Public Relations firm, do your research on their accounts. Knowing a little client history doesn’t hurt. If you’re working in-house, the same rules apply – look at the company website, Facebook page and social media outlets, Google the company and see what articles come up. Know them, because the interviewer might ask you if you’ve even looked at their page, but knowing something, or commenting on an article you read or a publication they released, let’s them know that you’re genuinely interested in joining their team.
Dress appropriately. Establish yourself as a serious, professional Public Relations pre-professional by dressing appropriately. Gentlemen, slacks and a nicely ironed shirt, and ladies, a dress or skirt, or pants with a crisp shirt goes a long way. Present yourself as you would your work: clean, thought out, and free of anything that might be misinterpreted. Because remember from an earlier post, you are what you wear.
Have a strong handshake. This is a sign of the type of person you might be. There are seminars, and even classes, on how to perform the proper handshake, and though they are primarily business/MBA targeted classes, they apply to any sort of professional. PR is a business. Rules apply. Be firm, not harsh, and let your interviewer know you’re confident.
Make eye contact. Everything from fear to confidence is shown through your eyes. Don’t waver. Don’t stare them down either. When you’re addressing them, look them in the eyes. Accompany this with a strong voice, and you’ll have made a great first impression.
Breathe. Stopping to think before you answer a question or make a comment does not mean that you do not know what you’re talking about. If you need time to collect your thoughts before you address your interviewer, do so. Pause. You are communicating, and like every conversation, you need to breathe. Truly converse, because as formal as you believe the situation might be, at the end of the day, you’re communicating a love for PR, and most importantly, why you are the ideal candidate for the position. So relax. Be confident. But relax.
First impressions can make or break you. Your employer is aware that yes, you might be nervous, but they definitely expect you to carry yourself with your head held high. So prepare before hand, and throughout the course of the first meeting, whether it’s an interview or a conference or any other instance where you’re encountering a future employer for the first time, remember that you can do it. Be confident, and you’ll be successful.