The End of the Beginning

I am a graduate. The whole process was surreal, exhilarating and quite humbling as I saw hundreds of other talented journalism majors walking across the stage to receive their own diplomas. And then, just like that, we all dispersed into a mass crowd of loved ones and on into the real world which is so different, hectic, exotic and frightening. We all have taken different paths to get here; some took the roads less traveled, some didn’t dare sway off the reliable I-5 and others unluckily swerved into the ditch along the way, thus preventing them to reach this glorious destination. This destination of unshakable knowledge and brilliant hope. My path was far from ordinary, my story both eloquently sweet and catastrophic at the same time. Yet, I have come to realize, that this is only the end of the beginning. I believe in Gatsby’s green light. In the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. And just as Fitzgerald said, it eluded me then, but that’s no matter, for tomorrow I will run faster, stretch out my arms farther… And one fine morning —-

 

PR – A Great Place For Women

This past Tuesday while sifting through hundreds of papers for my current ghost-writing project, I stumbled across an old PRSA Newsletter from the National Capital Chapter (Vol. XII No. 2 – February 1973.) I found this particularly interesting since my ghost-writing piece has absolutely nothing to do with public relations, yet somehow it underlines my belief that everything is always connected. While reading through the newsletter a certain article grabbed my attention; “PR: A Great Place For Women” by Paula G. Johnson of the Robert R. Mullen & Company. Since I cannot locate it an any archives, I’ve posted the entirety of the article below, however, I wanted to specifically share my favorite part which was the “Guide for Truly Professional PR Women”:

1. When authority comes, wear it gracefully, like a best dress we don’t want to soil or spot. There’s no room in a profession dedicated to building bridges of good will for…officious females.

2. Welcome the tough and unusual job and subject areas. It’s just as important to have and offer the woman’s viewpoint on the impact of Phase III price controls, for instance, as on fragrance and packaging of household cleanser. More PR women are needed in the “esoteric” corners of business, government, and industry.

3. Guard faithfully against taking or positioning business matters personally — difficult because we are generally more subjective than objective. The trick is to balance femininity, qualities like subjectivity, and intuitiveness that distinguish us as women, with a fundamentally businesslike attitude toward every-thing we do on the job. And, for women as well as men in our field, there is absolutely no substitute for hard work, knowing what we’re about, and well-practiced communications skills when it comes to gathering information, selling an idea, or moving a program forward.

I believe this truly shows the difference between PR in 1973 and PR now-a-days, although, I do believe this was and is still good advice. As far as the rest of the article is concerned, Johnson dictates several points about public relations that really hit home for me as to why I’m in this field. I’ve bolded these statements.

Article:

As far as my choice of careers is concerned, I feel like the child at a birthday party who has been cut the biggest piece of cake. Public relations has more advantages than any other field I know, particularly for women.

In the first place, public relations practitioners deal in the most fundamental of human activities: communication. Labor disputes, racial strife, war – the full range of today’s problems stems largely from lack of understanding – or at least agreement – derived through communication of one kind or another that brings enduring solutions.

Within the field of communications, PR probably offers the greatest opportunities to engage in successful and significant problem solving. For one thing, we’re not limited to any one type of communication or communications technique. Our opportunities to be effective are bounded only by the extent of our imagination and ingenuity. 

We are, furthermore, in a position to be take seriously, and in most cases, we haven’t had to climb to the corporate or bureaucratic heights to reach this position. In today’s consumerist climate, for instance, where the social value and consequences of business and government action must be constantly taken into account, the advice of public relations counselors is being increasingly sought and heeded. In the consumer area alone, if we involve ourselves, we can make an indelible contribution to resolving crucial social and economic issues.

As someone who demands that every day be different from the one before, I would be the last to slight such advantages as the everchaging pattern of faces, places, situations, and subjects that a typical public relations position can offer. The greatest career satisfaction by far, however, lies in the opportunity for success based on the solid values of objectivity, fact-finding and dissemination, and the integrity that comes of planning and executing programs that meet genuine needs, needs that our own thorough research has shown really do exist.

Public relations is almost unique among career fields in offering its advantages impartially to men and women. While in other professions, women are still knocking at the board room door, we have had longstanding acceptance in executive PR positions. Many of the first counselors, of course, were man-and-wife teams. The women on these teams set a precedent that now, a few decades later, society’s more liberated attitude towards career women has come along and reinforced.

Today, in fact, we have a delightful situation: a demand for women professionals that is beginning to exceed the supply. As PRSA headquarters notes, it is often easier to place women PR or journalism majors right out of college than it is to find jobs for recent men grads. Salary matters I won’t go into. Inequities do exist, but they are being rectified more quickly than in other fields.

It has been said that public relations offers women a chance in their everyday work to exercise qualities they innately possess: ability to respond to “human” as opposed to pragmatic considerations, capacity for detail, rapport with people. . . Basically, I agree, although sensitivity, patience, and diplomacy certainly are traits we share with many perceptive men.

Capable as I believe many women are for success in public relations, there are ways we can improve – and enrich our contribution to the field. Understandably, I think, a certain amount skepticism about working with women does exist among bosses, clients, and staff PR people of both sexes.

The Great Gatsby

Ever since I first picked up this novel my sophomore year in college, I have been hooked. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my absolute favorite writers. His stories are fantastical, his diction superb, and his imagery lustrous. This story in itself is one of the major reasons I continued fiction & creative writing. I must say, I cannot be more ecstatic that there is a new film coming out to represent it. The cast couldn’t be more perfect for their roles, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, oh it just blows my mind. I cannot wait until December, as if it wasn’t already one of my favorite months.

I’m very interested to see how else this film gets marketed. I can just see the lavish parties being thrown in its honor. If only we all could live in East Egg.

“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” -The Great Gatsby

Bower’s Bite: PR and Advertising aren’t forms of “Journalism” | My Rebuttal

As a veteran PR Major and Communication Studies Minor in the University of Oregon: School of Journalism and Communication, who has been through “INFOHELL” (twice) and taken all old jschool curriculum pre-reqs as well as upper division: communications, ethics, magazine, web video production (for KVAL News), advertising, and public relations courses, I must say that this article by D.C.’s Journalism Graduate Student Jonathan Bowers: Advertising, public relations need to leave the school of journalism and communication is not only insulting but also incredibly inaccurate.

An old friend of mine once gave me the best advice I’ve ever received in Journalism,

“Do what your heart tells you. Be an honest journalist no holds barred. Be a light in the shining darkness, exposing evil works of darkness in high places. That is the high calling of journalism.” -Thornton Massie Tice II

And I must say, in my darkest times these words always rang true. But not necessarily in the straight-laced news formats that Bowers is voicing as journalism.

You see, journalism isn’t just words or news. Journalism isn’t just photographs and moving pictures. It isn’t simple and to the point or even remotely bland. Journalism is creative. Full of stories that can touch a place of your heart you didn’t even know existed. Journalism is full of rich color and deep moving sorrow.  Full of life and death and all the mess in between. Journalism is not just a way of communication, it is an open dialogue for every language possible. It absolutely is relations, unique and guided direction, and a light in the shining darkness that connects every human-being even when all hope seems to be lost.

So Mr. Bowers, don’t tell me that some of the most creative forms of communication: public relations and advertising, are not in fact journalism. Because both are encompassed by rich text, elaborate research, superb storytelling, critical thinking, gorgeous photographs, exceptional video, and most of all; the talented creatives that make it all possible.

Saving Trees One Kindle at a Time – My Quest to Help Save the World

Photo by Flickr User: fauxto_digit

Ever since we were little tots, we have been taught to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” In school we were asked to place all our paper scraps from collages in the blue recycle bin, to absolutely not throw our pop-cans in the trash in the cafeteria, and to bring a reusable water bottle to school everyday. But what really does all of that mean? Were we really saving rain forests and preventing penguins from getting stuck in plastic pop holders? Maybe. Maybe not. 

But what I do know is this: “what we are living with (right now) is the result of human choices. And it can be changed by making better, wiser choices.” -Robert Redford.

So this term of my senior year in college here at the University of Oregon, I am pledging to help save one particular aspect of this “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. I’m going to help save TREES. Yes, trees. Surprise, surprise there is another Eugene bred hippie on the loose.

I started off on this quest by asking for a Kindle Fire for Christmas in hopes to not only save money on books, but to save well. . . paper, and therefore save trees. And I must admit, this was a very hard concept for me as a journalist, creative-writer, book enthusiast, and flat-out notebook lover. But at some point I have to realize that all the gorgeous first edition hard copies that line my small urban apartment aren’t exactly helping save the environment any, especially the 400-page course books on environmental studies. How, ironic.

So my lovely parents or shall I say, Santa Claus, bought me the Kindle for Christmas. And I began to explore this gift that I had been given. The gift of holding hundreds of books (weighing only 14.6 ounces) at my fingertips. Available to buy I found two of my course books for my Anthropology of Human Sexuality class, and available to borrow from Amazon Prime I discovered a teaching edition of A People’s History of The United States for my Journalism course on Gender and Diversity.

But I still had a problem: where was I going to buy my other three books? And then it hit me: Chegg.

Chegg.com is an online bookstore where you can buy, rent, and sell textbooks: both used and new. With each textbook you buy or rent, Chegg plants a tree. Currently Chegg has planted over 5million trees and counting through its partnership with the American Forest Global ReLeaf Foundation.

“From the San Juan National Forest to Pondicherry, India these new trees, planted worldwide, help regenerate areas damaged by wildfire, strengthen River Bounds, and restore wildlife habitats. Every quarter we fund critical reforestation projects that are improving the environment – so thank you, and we’ll keep planting” -Chegg

So, not only did I save money (around 20 bucks total) on the rest of my books, but I also helped replace the paper I was stealing from them (trees that is.)

I must say my quest to save the world is off to a very good start by day 1 of winter term 2012.

What will you do to help?

Get Up!

Watch this, REALLY.

Surprised? Shocked? Intrigued? Well, I sure was. It is ads like this that make me smile and appreciate the value of creativity, passion, justice, and democracy. It is videos like this that take your breath away and really make you think about what values shape you.

Get Up! : Action for Australia is a non-profit independent grass-roots community advocacy organization that gives everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues.

The organization runs a blog where video campaigns for specific petitions on current political and environmental issues are posted monthly. Get Up! has aired over 25 television ads on everything from the Iraq war to Tibet, children in detention, internet censorship, climate change, mental health, and giving refugees a fair go.

I find this all incredibly interesting and I think for my next round of blogs I will be exploring how public relations functions in non-profits and how those campaigns are structured to reach success.

Celebrity Brand Endorsement

If there is any brand that does celebrity endorsements right, it is Gap. Gap’s Holiday Commercial & Viral Video Campaigns have been around for the past several years featuring stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker (who plays Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City) and artists such as Trey Songz, Flo Rida and The Dixie Chicks. Its major hit is a holiday “Merry Mix-it” campaign where gap takes these artists and has them cover classic holiday songs while in Gap apparel.

Actors such as Selma Blair and Rainn Wilson also star in the holiday Merry Mix-its which catches the eye of different audiences as well. Including The Office lovers, in which Rainn Wilson stars as Dwight Shrute.

All of these videos are what I would consider successful tactics in what would be a grand public relations campaign.

Victoria’s Marketing Secret

Victoria’s Secret is the leading speciality retailer of apparel, lingerie, and personal care products with six major leading brands: Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, White Barn Candle Co., C.O. Bigelow, La Senza, and Henry Bendel. There is no question, the brands relations with consumers and its competitors is thriving. We know Victoria’s Secret is doing something right, but really. . . what is its secret to success?

Creating a brand isn’t easy. You need something that draws consumers in and then sticks to their brains so they won’t forget you. And Victoria’s Secret does just that. And the development of the Victoria’s Secret Angels and the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show was a great start.

Victoria’s Secret has turned selling lingerie into an art form. Using all six principle of sticky ideas (as defined in my Made to Stick post earlier on) this brand takes marketing to a whole new level. The idea is simple: lingerie, the designs are unexpected, the campaigns concrete, the brand credible for years, the lustful emotions evoked, and the stories of all the cancer survivors touched by the $200,000 raised for the Pelotonia grassroots bike ride that raises money for cancer research.

Overall, Victoria’s Secret to success is the perfect marketing campaigns, brand loyalty, and corporate social responsibility.

Video Fashion

In the age of technology, the fashion world has always done its best to keep up. The Fashion Industry has taken a new online presence the past few years, clutching to digital marketing in some very creative ways. Hosting online is one of the cheapest forms of marketing, usually only costing the company for cost of production.  A mashable article on How Leading Fashion Brands Are Embracing Online Video highlights how great of an opportunity online video is for fashion brands. Statistics show “that more than 3 billion videos are viewed per day on the web’s largest video-sharing platform , youtube, whose monthly traffic hovers around 800 million unique visitors.”

Top designer brands such as Channel, Kate Spade, Dior, and Lanvin have created great online video campaigns for several of its products.

Channel created a make-up campaign video, which highlights many of its different products in a very artful and unique way.

Kate Spade has been commissioning a different artist each month of 2011 to create video campaigns around a particular color for its “Live Colorfully” campaign, such as the video seen below.

Overall, video marketing is hitting the fashion world by storm. When the videos are reach thousands, millions, and even billions of viewers each month, the brands are a lot more likely to initiate traffic to their websites.

the dip

The best news I have heard all term comes from a little book with a big message: the dip by Seth Godin.

“Here is the good news: The fact that it’s difficult and unpredictable works to your advantage. Because if it were any other way, there’d be no profit in it. The reason people bother to go windsurfing is that the challenge makes it interesting. The driving force that gets people to pay a specialist is that their disease is unpredictable or hard to diagnose. The reason we’re here is to solve hard problems.

The next time you’re tempted to vilify a particularly obnoxious customer or agency or search engine, realize that this failed interaction is the best thing that’s happened to you all day long. Without it, you’d be easily replaceable. The Dip is your very best friend.”

In the world of public relations we are always faced with problems that need to be solved. Without issues, our job wouldn’t even be that necessary. This book is perfect for public relations professionals because it encourages people to stick to the things they are great at and ditch the things they are good at. Excellence is key in success. The best people in the world are the best for a reason, they focused on their particular field of expertise and had to take some things for granted in order to get there. You have to get rid of the things that come up sub-par in your life. If you don’t, you risk not having the time and/or energy to perfect the things you will be great at.

This book taught me one of the most important lessons I have ever learned in this lifetime; that quitting is not the same thing as failing. I bought this book the first time I took (and failed) “Infohell” a 100-page research paper course as a perquisite for the journalism school. But the grade really didn’t represent my efforts. In fact, it was my choice, and my choice only, to not finish the paper that I had given countless hours to during fall term 2009 and to re-take the class in the winter and give it my absolute best. I’m one of those people who has a problem with turning in something that is sub-par, something that isn’t perfection in my eyes. So quitting that particular term, meant exceeding expectations in another. I turned that F into an A in four short months. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this book.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.