Author Archives: katierose12

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. 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.

How to Avoid Shooting Yourself in the Foot

I read an article recently on how to reach your potential and avoid self-destructing “mantras” that lead us to our usual excuses on not reaching our goals. Below are the top three negative mantras that were highlighted in the article:

1. It has to be complex to be good

2. Surely, everyone has thought of that already

3. It’s someone else’s fault that I can’t do this

I guess this article hit home more than I thought it would. Not necessarily because my mind has wandered to these specific mantras on a daily basis, but more so because the last mantra, that it is someone else’s fault that I can’t do something, definitely runs through my head now and again. I’ve been very ill for quite some time now, and it has been incredibly hard to keep on track with schoolwork, internships, jobs, and my social life. I recently found myself saying things like, “I can’t do that” or “That would be too hard on my body” or “I used to do this” and even the classic “Well, maybe next time.” And then yesterday something changed. A little spark that I had kept locked deep inside of me for the past year finally broke free. I told myself that I could no longer be such a victim of my own life.

At the top of Spencer's Butte

I climbed a mountain yesterday. I left my self-destructing mantra’s at the bottom, and when I reached the top I could finally breathe again. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I no longer will be using the word “can’t.” That is my new mantra.

I dare you to change one of yours. Seize the day. And Live.

Play Hard to Get

Every woman seeks advice on fashion, love interests, hair colors, sex tips, recipes and home decor. But there is rarely ever talk about the workplace. Maybe it is because top jobs for women are sacred and highly sought out for, or maybe it is because women are too afraid to discuss their jobs for fear of failure or fear that someone better (or younger) will take their place. Regardless, Author Nicole Williams, tackles this stereotype head-on in her book Girl On Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success. I received this book as a gift several years ago, but recently picked it up again to help prepare for portfolio reviews. I came across a specific chapter that I felt pertained to public relations and how to make yourself stand out.

The chapter is called “Play Hard to Get” and delves into the idea that you should not only constantly fight for your job, but also fight for yourself and your hard-working efforts to be noticed. Williams lays down a list of four simple rules to help tackle this ongoing battle.

1. Be sure to deliver: Believe me, getting someone to fill the chair isn’t tough. There are literally thousands of people out there biding their time — coming into the office on Monday and counting down the hours until friday. Bosses and boyfriends alike are sometimes simply looking to fill the position — turning a blind eye to the fact that there’s really nothing of substance to be delivered.

2. Let your work speak for itself: You’re not going to be able to deliver if all you’re doing is talking. I’ve had this one-way conversation personally and professionally and I’m not sure there’s anything worse than some idiot telling you how valuable, smart, or indispensable he is. If you’re that great, word will be on the street and/or I’ll come to that conclusion myself. The more time and energy you put into bragging about yourself, the less demand there will be for your talent.

3. Be a “special”-ist: There are plenty of pretty, nice, smart girls out there. What makes you so special? I have a simple rule. Don’t even think about competing with the masses — you’ll get lost in the crowd.  I truly believe that if you want to set yourself apart, you need to figure out what you enjoy, which 99 percent of the time is what you’re actually good at, and then practice, practice, practice. Dedicate to being the very best at your core talent.

4. Keep it fresh: Once you identify your special talent, you need to learn how to mix it up. The key to working the supply curve is to deliver your core talent tied up in a sparkly new package. Regardless of industry, there’s always innovation and you need to be ahead of the curve, changing your story, your appearance, your delivery so it feels unique. Make a new change, learn a new trick, or reevaluate.

Six Degrees of Separation — Wait, Just Kidding!

Photo by: Jan Drasnar


According to a recent social experiment conducted by The University of Milan and Facebook the new average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world is now 4.74. This may come as a surprise to most of us who grew up in an era where the phrase “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” was thrown around as much as Nerf balls, but the findings seem to be accurate.

The original findings, dating back to 1967, state that the phrase “six degrees of separation” was coined by a psychologist named Stanley Milgram who conducted an experiment where 296 volunteers sent a postcard message through friends and friends of friends to a specific person in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.

The new research, however, was conducted on a much larger-scale with 721 million Facebook users (approximately 1/10th of the world’s population.) The experiment ran over the span of a month after researchers developed a specific algorithm that calculated the average distance between any two people by computing “sample paths” with Facebook users. And according to a New York Time’s Article , “they found that the average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another was 4.74. In the United States, where more than half of people over 13 are on Facebook, it was just 4.37.”

So what does this new number mean for the human connection? And more importantly how is it going to effect public relations? Well, personally, I believe that because people are now more connected, these numbers are going to lead to easier communication and the travel of ideas from one person to another. According to a Word of Mouth Marketing Association Infographic,word of mouth (even virtual words) accounts for 54% of the driving forces for purchase decisions. So, social media is now a tool for the human connection, a tool that can be molded in any direction we choose, and at the fingertips of public relations representatives, social media personnel, and anyone in communications.

Made to Stick

Made to Stick, a novel by Chip & Dan Heath, is a great tool for public relations professionals looking for a way to make their ideas “stickier.” After reading this book for my 400-level Public Relations Strategic Writing class, I wanted to share with you the Heath Brother’s magic secret: the six key principles of sticky ideas. With these ideas in tow I have found that you can turn even the most bland idea into something people will remember.

Principle 1: Simplicity

The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.

Principle 2: Unexpectedness

We must generate interest and curiosity. We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge, and then filling those gaps.

Principle 3: Concreteness

We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. The ideas must be full of concrete images because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

Principle 4: Credibility

How do we make people believe our ideas? Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves.

Principle 5: Emotions

How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. The hard part, is finding the right emotion to harness.

Principle 6: Stories

How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and efficiently.