Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guerrilla Marketing Sensations

Everyone loves guerrilla marketing tactics. They're outrageous, unexpected, creative and ridiculously successful at generating a buzz for your product. They cost little money and are a thousand times more effective at capturing the attention of consumers over standard advertising. I have had the opportunity to help generate stunts for student organizations that I'm involved in on campus and can attest first hand at how effective they are at generating interest (and have helped grow the membership base of my theatre organization immensely).

While coming up with creative ideas for our next big stunt for an upcoming event, I came across a great post from Mashable with 11 great guerilla marketing videos. Some of the videos included were Nike, Ikea, Absolut, UNICEF and Volkswagon. All of the videos were great, however my personal favorites were Ikea and UNICEF (who wouldn't love to relax at a posh bus stop?) The most important part about any stunt is that its memorable and is consistent with the branding of the product or mission. It has to be purpose driven and it needs to provide results. Guerrilla marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool when used appropriately.

Be sure to check out all of the great videos here.

What was your favorite video? What are your thoughts on the use of guerrilla marketing to promote your client?

Let us know!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Resume Mistakes to Avoid

I received an email from the Wall Street Journal with the subject line "The Ten Worst Things to Put on Your Resume." The email linked to an article with this title, which explained that 28% of executives say the resume is where most job seekers make mistakes. Here is a list of the ten mistakes the article advises job seekers to avoid:

1. Unnecessary Details About Your Life: The only personal details that should be included in your resume are your full name and contact information, including email, phone number and address.

2. Your Work Responsibilities as a Lifeguard When You Were 16: Work history should be limited to professional experiences you have had in the past 10 to 15 years.

3. A Headshot: Unless you are a model or an actor, your resume should not include a picture. Employers cannot discriminate based on appearance, so including a picture could put them in an awkward position.

4. Salary Expectations: These should be kept out of the application process unless an employer specifically asks. If an employer does ask, you should give them a range.

5. Lies: Always represent yourself as accurately as possible, including an accurate timeline of your work history.

6. Things That Were Once Labeled "Confidential": Don't use inside information from previous jobs to pad your resume. The prospective employer will know that you can't be trusted with sensitive information and your current or former employer may find out, which could result in dismissal or a lawsuit.

7. If You Were Fired From a Job -- and What You Were Fired For: Your resume should present you in a positive light, so you should not include this information. However, if a prospective employer asks your reasons for leaving a job you should be straightforward.

8. Overly Verbose Statements: Your resume should sell you, but not overstate the importance of your job responsibilities.

9. "References Available Upon Request" and Your Objective: You don't need to state that your references are available upon request, but you should have them lined up for when an employer asks for them. The objective statement is not necessary unless you are a recent graduate or changing careers.

10. TMI: Including too much information on your resume will burden the resume reader and may result in your resume not being read.

To read more about these common mistakes, click here.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on companies that are not forthcoming about paying for their endorsements. In 2009, the FTC adopted guidelines "making clear that many of the rules that apply to advertising and testimonials in the print world are still going to carry weight in the sometimes confusing and chaotic world of blogs and other new media," Joe Mullin explains in an article for

Recently, Legacy Learning Systems was fined $250,000 for commissioning positive reviews of its educational DVD designed to teach audiences how to play the guitar. The company and its affiliate marketers failed, however, to disclose that the company had sponsored the praise for its product.

This situation raises an important point for PR practitioners: we are in a unique position--and have a personal responsibility--to make sure our companies and clients are disclosing information properly.

Says PRSA board member Marisa Vallbona in an article on

"'Tell--don't ask--the blogger to disclose the fact [that the review is sponsored] in his or her review. Otherwise you're asking the review to be considered fake and putting your and your client's reputation at stake.'"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Japan’s Nuclear Power Plant Heroes Don’t Need Robots

The Tokyo Electric Power Company workers continue to put their lives in jeopardy in an effort to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. There’s no question these selfless workers are heroes. But what is questionable, is why a country that is so technologically advanced would not have their power plants equipped with robots that exist to handle such crises.

The answer lies in part within the Japanese worker culture itself. The Japanese culture values selflessness, modesty and doing what is best for the whole of the group. In addition, despite being such a profound leader in technology, Japan still chooses to rely on humans for tasks that many other parts of the world have reduced human intervention to a minimum, such as operating elevators and warning motorists of road construction.

Other factors believed to be keeping robots out of many plants in Japan and around the world are budget constraints and denial that such serious situations are perhaps beyond human control.

The decision so far to not utilize robots and other automated technologies could create an image problem for TEPCO and Japan itself, especially if people do not properly understand the culture of the Japanese and their work ethic. It is imperative to understand cultural contexts and implications, especially when evaluating strategies and making decisions.

Do you think Japan should be using robots and other automated technologies as part of their solution when the hazards their workers are subjected to could prove fatal – even if this would undermine their cultural beliefs?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Trish Wyatt.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Communication in Japan

In the wake of the catastrophe in Japan, we look at how important communication is to survival. People are looking to Japan’s government to make quick decisions about how to save lives, but the government’s delayed response has its civilians in anxiety.

When we look at who is involved in this communication process, we see three main entities: the Japanese government, the citizens of Japan, and nuclear power plant officials. TEPCO, the corporation in charge of Fukushima’s nuclear power plant, lacked information for answering basic questions. This lack of certainty has affected the communication between Japan’s government and the public.

Japan’s government, while trying to gauge the magnitude of the situation, is faced with not only informing its own citizens, but the world. With limited information being given by TEPCO and other nuclear power plants, the Japanese government is insistent on getting all the facts before releasing the information. However, in a situation that requires immediacy, the tiniest piece of information might save thousands of lives, or at the least ease tensions and anxiety.

The Japanese government is also faced with the problem of informing its constituents without causing chaos and perpetuating fear throughout the community. In a crisis situation like this, is it better to get all the facts before releasing information or to inform citizens as soon as new information is discovered?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Samantha Wanner.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Don't Forget: TU Relay For Life Tonight!

Tonight almost 800 students will crowd the Pavillion at Temple University to walk for a cure and support the fight against cancer. As PRSSA guest blogger Alison Curran mentioned in her post "PRSSA and PRowl Walk for a Cure" earlier this week, Temple University's Relay For Life unites individual students and student organizations to walk laps with peers, cancer survivors and their supporters.

Here are a few important details to know about tonight:
  • Online registration (click here) closes at NOON today, but you can register at the door between 6 and 8 p.m.
  • The Opening Ceremonies start at 8 p.m.
  • Doors close at 11 p.m. and no one else can enter the building (you of course will be allowed to exit without re-entrance though)
  • Activities throughout the include 3v3 basketball tournaments, water pong, magic tricks, live bands, "Mr. Relay" and more!
  • Closing Ceremonies start at 5 a.m. and the event will end soon after

Join PRSSA and PRowl tonight to support the fight against cancer at Temple and warm up for Relay For Life of South Philadelphia (a PRowl client) on Saturday, June 10!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To Follow Up or To Not Follow Up

As a last semester senior it is job search time! As I mail, email and submit resumes and cover letters left and right, I have been wondering if it is appropriate to follow up after sending a resume. So I took to the Internet to conduct some research on whether or not I should follow up with employers after I submit a resume.

The answer? It depends. For example, if a job posting or a contact says do not follow up, well then you can guess what not to do. If a company is receiving hundreds of cover letters, it may be a good way to stand out from other candidates showing your desire for the job.

Once you determine whether or not it is appropriate, how do you follow up? My research found employers or hiring managers thought an email or handwritten note was the best option. Calling was thought to be too pushy or intrusive.

What do you write in a follow up note?
  • If you have a specific contact you submitted a resume to, then write your note to this person. If not, do not address your letter to anyone.
  • Tell the person you submitted the resume and remind your contact when you submitted it and what position you are applying for.
  • Express your interest in working at the company or organization. Briefly explain why you are interested and what skills would make you an ideal candidate.
  • Ask if he or she needs any additional materials for your consideration and remind him or her how you can be contacted.
  • Thank the contact for his or her consideration and remind the person how you can be contacted.
There are other things you can write in a follow up letter. So start researching some options before you send a letter! A great site to use is:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PRSSA and PRowl Walk for a Cure

Temple University’s Public Relations Student Society of America and PRowl Public Relations will be participating in Temple University’s Relay For Life this Friday. The event will be held at the Student Pavilion, located at 1901 N. 15th Street across from the Turf Complex.

PRSSA and PRowl team members will walk around an indoor track for 12 hours to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. The PRSSA and PRowl team currently consists of 8 members and has already raised $90. Help us reach our goal by making a donation or signing up to walk!

Temple University’s Relay For Life has already raised over $22,500 and has more than 770 participants signed up to walk. The overall fundraising goal for the relay is $60,000. All money raised will go toward funding cancer research and prevention initiatives. Several events will take place throughout the walk, beginning with the Survivor Lap, during which participants who beat cancer will be invited to walk a lap while being cheered on by their fellow walkers. During the Luminaria Ceremony, participants will have the opportunity to light candles and walk a lap in silence to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer. The relay will end with the Fight Back Ceremony, which encourages all walkers to take a stand and pledge to continue the fight against cancer.

The cost to participate in this event is $20 and you can register here.

This guest blog was written by PRSSA member Alison Curran.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Newspapers Take a Hint from Groupon

Who doesn't love a good deal? Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial enable users to find savings on everyday needs and luxury items alike. According to author Matthew Ingram of GigaOm, some newspapers will begin providing discounts for their readers by introducing sections modeled after Groupon and LivingSocial.

New York Times is planning to introduce TimesLimited, a section of their newspaper featuring special discounts and offers on travel and lifestyle items. However, with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial already establishing brand recognition and successful campaigns, is it too late for the traditional media to jump on the bandwagon?

Ingram comments, “As more than one Groupon observer has noted, the service isn’t exactly rocket science. It involves sending people email offers and discounts from companies and service providers, then charging a fee for connecting them with customers.” Furthermore, the
New York Times isn't the first to copy this idea.

Ingram states that Cox Media Group came up with a similar service called DealSwarm.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has “Steals” and Canada adopted the WagJag service for the Toronto Star.

So is it too late?

Although this maneuver may help save the declining readership of newspapers, it won't be an overnight fix. Ingram says, "The problem now is that Groupon and LivingSocial have become such behemoths in the email-marketing business that they can offer a size and scale newspapers can’t hope to compete with."

Ingram has a valid point. However, the newspaper sections will likely attract a different audience than the online sites, so it's important for the traditional media to market to their readership. If newspapers develop their niche market and personal brand, they should be able to find success in their coupon campaigns.

To read more about this topic or to see the full article, please click

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Michele Reilley.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Think critically!

As a student of public relations, I have learned a lot about crafting messages that will be received by both internal and external audiences. My coursework has also stressed the importance of being an active and critical consumer of the media.

I recently received an email from my credit card company encouraging me to donate to Japan relief using my credit card. Once I opened the message, I was given the option to donate either using my credit card, or by donating my reward points.

One one hand, I saw the campaign as a brilliant way to raise awareness about the huge need for relief in Japan. I also thought it was a smart way for the company to attach itself to a good cause.

However, as I thought about it more, I began to question the ethics of such a message. Particularly if people donate using their credit card, the company stands a chance of profiting from interest fees on the donations.

A closer look into the campaign revealed that the company itself had donated $5 million to relief efforts. This reaffirmed my original belief that the campaign was in good conscience, but I still couldn't help feeling a bit skeptical.

What do you think, is it ethical for the company to attach itself to a relief effort from which it could also benefit monetarily? Or is this a good example of corporate social responsibility? Either way, the campaign is a good example of the need to think critically when interpreting messages.

If you would like to donate to American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan, you can do so by clicking here. The site also provides a list of cash donation sites and the names of many organizations working to provide relief to the victims in Japan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is Facebook’s Popularity Decreasing?

Facebook is one of the most widely used social media sites today. It connects people around the world with old friends, new friends, classmates and relatives. MySpace served somewhat of the same purpose a few years ago but its popularity eventually died out, especially when Facebook gained popularity. So are we just waiting for the next big thing before we delete our Facebook accounts?

Facebook started as something that was seen as extremely “cool” to have. Seniors in high school couldn’t wait to graduate so they could launch their Facebook pages using their college email accounts. Facebook used to be exclusive to college students, which was part of the excitement and draw to it. Now, anyone can sign up for an account using an email address. Many think this is one of the reasons Facebook’s popularity will decline.

This leads into a recent topic of discussion—should businesses still use Facebook for marketing and PR tactics? When Facebook first started, it was one of the only social media sites around that businesses could use to their advantage. Now there are many more, such as Twitter or Tumblr. Because of the amount of new sites available, businesses are starting to expand their options.

Although Facebook’s popularity may be on the decline, it is still one of the most important and effective marketing sites there are today. Facebook can lead to a huge fan base and allows businesses to communicate efficiently with their audiences. By adjusting to new layouts and actively updating a page, businesses can still yield positive results from Facebook.

What do you think about the fate of Facebook? Should the possibility of a decline affect how businesses are using it today?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kaitlin Tully.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New York Times Digital Subscription

I received an email earlier this week from The New York Times sent to all readers. Thursday marked the day The New York Times introduced digital subscriptions. Readers and media professionals alike have been awaiting the day a major newspaper would introduce subscriptions for readers to access its online content.

The email says, "It's an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world on any platform."

There are two steps to the introduction of digital subscriptions. The Times launched its new model in Canada this past Thursday in order to "fine-tune" the experience. Digital subscriptions will be offered to the United States on March 28. Home delivery subscribers will continue to have free and complete access to online content. Typical readers will only have use of limited content.

In a move of great customer service, the email breaks down what this new model means for readers. It defines the terms of the subscription service, regarding how many articles can be read free of charge, as well as the function of digital subscriptions on smart phones and tablets.

The day has arrived that could potentially put a spark back into the newspaper industry. Are you a fan of major newspapers offering digital subscriptions? Do you think these print publications will lose readers? Share your thoughts with our readers.

The Changing World of the Unemployed PR Professional

The recent recession negatively affected many companies and the communications field was no exception to this disaster. The crisis forced many professionals to become unemployed.

Fortunately, it appears as though things are changing, specifically for public relations. Large communications companies such as Interpublic Group, Havas, and MDC have reported significant organic growth over the recent year. The quick economic turnover has forced PR agencies to become more creative with their hiring techniques.

One agency, Devries PR, created a competition in order to hire new employees. The month-long contest, known as Career Reboot, was meant to hire staff with backgrounds outside of PR. The company offered to give the winner a complete career makeover. Interested candidates submitted their resume, a writing sample, and their social media profile. Devries used their Facebook page to promote the competition.

Edelman made a similar attempt to hire new employees. Offices in San Francisco and Chicago held Tweetups using the Twitter handle, @Edelman_Careers. The events brought many interested candidates and resulted in a few of them landing jobs.

What does this information mean for the unemployed PR professional?

If you know a company you want to work for, connect with them through social media. The market does not rely entirely on resume submissions. Try to take advantage of any open house or meet-up opportunities the company offers. You don’t know where a social media relationship can lead you.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Nick Stackhouse.

Friday, March 18, 2011

@APStylebook says e-mail is now email!

If you don't follow @APStylebook on Twitter yet, you should. The handle is the official Twitter of the AP Stylebook, aka - the PR and journalism bible.

I was devastated about a year ago when AP style changed "Web site" to "website." It was one of those words that I had always thought was strange, but after two years of taking public relations classes "Web site" had finally felt comfortable.

Almost one year later, that painful feeling of having to relearn the spelling of vocabulary has returned. @APStylebook announced that as of today (Friday, March 18) "e-mail" is now "email" with no hyphen.

I have already written about ten e-mails (sorry, "emails") in the last few hours with "e-mail" referenced somewhere in the body, and edited a colleague's document at work to correct his use of "email." Looks like it's me that needs to be corrected now!

Although changes like this can be frustrating to keep up with, we are trained as PR people to constantly adapt to new situations and keep going. Even though it will take some time to get used to, there really was no modern reason for website to be two words or email to have a hyphen. People who don't follow AP style have already been using "website" and "email" for years, now we have to catch up!

What are your thoughts about the change?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Temple PRSSA Alumni Panel

Yesterday during Temple PRSSA's general meeting, members were given the opportunity to ask questions to former chapter members who have found great success in their post-graduate careers. The panel featured former PRSSA presidents Lindsay Bues (Public Relations Coordinator at Philabundance) and Jessica Lawlor (Internal Communication Coordinator at Cancer Treatment Centers of America) as well as former PRowl Account Executive Brianna Fisher (Account Coordinator at Vault Communications) and former PRowl Assistant Firm Director Melissa Marsili (Partnership Marketing Associate at The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce).

Sitting in the same seats that these graduates were sitting in only a year or so ago, the panel provided students with invaluable information about what to expect after college life and how to prepare for our future careers. Topics discussed included social media, job searching advice and important tips after securing your first job. Although everything discussed was valuable, I will provide some of the key concepts I took away from the panel:

Social Media (and its many uses):
- Although we are taught in class how quickly social media is evolving, it is still important to understand that not everyone is evolving with it. Future clients may be apprehensive about establishing themselves on these networks and it is important to not only understand how to use social media but to be able to explain the importance and investment social media will have on their business.

- It is important to look at your own social media sites as a form of personal branding. Professionals are looking into potential prospects via Facebook and Twitter, therefore make updates and posts that will make yourself look more valuable to professionals. A great way to do this is participating in Twitter chats where you are able to establish yourself as a voice of knowledge and authority while connecting with voices of influence in the field.

Job Searching Advice:
-Always stay in touch with previous internship contacts and professors in order to build your networking base. Whether it is sending an occasional email or meeting up for coffee, building your relationship with these professionals will not only allow you to continue expanding your knowledge of the field but it will also help to have a strong network when looking for employment.

-In your resume, avoid listing assignments that you were responsible for. All professionals in the field of public relations write press releases, pitch stories, compile media lists and manage social media channels. Instead of listing responsibilities, highlight achievements and provide specific quantifiable data that will show your potential employer your success with various assignments.

-Even if a job listing states that it requires 2-3 years of experience, submit your resume and cover letter anyway, explaining and highlighting in detail through your internship and work experiences why you are still qualified for the position.

Tips for Your First Job:
-Deadlines are crucial in the field of public relations and often times it is easy to become overwhelmed with the large amount of work that needs to be accomplished in a short amount of time. Make organized to-do lists that prioritize what tasks needs to be accomplished first, ensuring that you are managing your time most effectively.

-Always follow-up with supervisors about tasks and assignments that have longer-term deadlines. Send an email at the beginning of each week to inform your boss about what projects you are currently working on, what projects you will be beginning in the near future and asking any questions to clarify assignments that you may not have fully understood.

-Become familiar with reporters and the stories that they cover. This will make it easier to pitch a story when you are aware of the writer's interests. Additionally, work to develop symbiotic relationships with these reporters for future pitches and stories.

Thank you again to all of the wonderful alumni that attended yesterday's panel for sharing great insight and advice!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tips for Your PR Job Search

For many colleges, Spring Break has already come and gone or will soon come and go. To me, the end of Spring Break means the end of the semester is in sight. For those of us graduating in May, that could be a nerve wracking thought. With this on my mind, I found an article on PR Daily titled "Stop messing around: 4 tips to take your PR job search to the next level."

Here is a summary of the tips provided in the article:

1. Start a hard-target search. Develop a list of the organizations or agencies you would like to work for and start your search by focusing on those targets.

Master your elevator speech. Polish and practice your elevator speech so you have it ready for networking events and opportunities.

3. Brush up on the basics. Doing your research before meeting with people or going to interviews shows your effort and will pay off.

4. Solid follow-up is critical. After a networking event, follow up with contacts by e-mail to thank them for their time. Make yourself stand out by mentioning something you spoke with them about.

To read more from this article, click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pitching? Consider pop culture

I was reading through my PRSA Issues & Trends e-mail the other day, and a featured story caught my eye: "How Dwight Schrute Helped Me Place a Story in TIME." As an avid fan of "The Office" and a person who finds Dwight's character to be hilarious, I clicked on the link and read the story on PRSA's ComPRehension blog.

So how did Dwight Schrute help Michael Smart land some great placements, including a spot in TIME? The same way his headline enticed me to read his post. Smart had been working with a professor who was researching the pros and cons of working with people she called "'socially distinct newcomers.'" "That's a perfect, precise description of what she studied...[b]ut it's obviously not very familiar language that would be useful in a pitch e-mail subject line or in the lead of a news release," Smart explained.

His solution was to come up with a way of expressing the concept concisely. He made the connection between Dwight Schrute and "socially distinct newcomers," and used it in his e-mail subject line and to help explain the study. His creativity landed him great coverage, including the placement in TIME he mentioned in his headline.

Smart identified two key takeaways from this successful media relations effort:
  1. "Ruthlessly trim your pitches to make them as short as possible," he said.
  2. "Consider an image or concept made familiar through pop culture to make your pitch stand out," he advised.
This case study definitely left a lasting impression on me!

You can read Smart's press release by clicking here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PR Buzzwords to Avoid

As a Freshman PR major, I sometimes find it hard to keep up with all the do’s and don’ts of PR. There are so many different perspectives that it can be difficult to decide which ones to follow, but sometimes it’s good to pull pointers from different directions and synthesize. One resource I found helpful was an article by Paul Gillin that lists buzzwords to avoid in B2B (Business to Business) public relations.

Here is a list of the banned clichés:

Superlatives (“best,” “finest,” “most,” “greatest,” etc.) –Without an actual title dubbing your organization as such, these words have no merit or purpose.
“Solution” –Often overused, it is slightly arrogant because the use of it assumes that you have the answer to the customer’s problem, without knowledge of the issue, or actual proof.
• “Customer-focused”- This should always be the case in companies, the customer comes first.
• “Intuitive,” “User-friendly,” “Easy-to-use,” etc. – May not be easy to use for everyone. Empty word without any evidence backing it.
• “Leading”- This is up to personal opinion and whether the spectrum in which one is leading in is wide or narrow. “Best in Class” is more appropriate and carries more weight.
• “Performance” – Has many meanings to different people, but is meaningless without numbers to support it.
• “Standard”- Vague, in a world with many standards, it unclear which one the business belongs to. Must be 100% compliant with the standard or else it is useless to include.
• “Free”-When speaking to buyers, do not use. Nothing is free in the business world.
• “Innovative”- Again, research and support is a must. List awards and distinctions. Otherwise the word is tired and unnecessary.
• “First” –“First” is often synonymous with fail. Many companies that were the first to do something failed at it, until other companies came around and adopted it. Other words like “revolutionary” are more effective.

This list will help me to avoid overusing buzzwords in my writing. Are there any other words you think should be added to the list?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Marianna Morris.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New and "Old" Communication Tools Used for Disaster Warning

In the early hours of the morning today (March 11), an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck and triggered a devastating tsunami in Japan. Japan was not the only country affected though; warnings sounded throughout the Pacific and countries called for evacuations near coast lines. Even in the United States, Orange County beaches in California were closed as a precaution and sailing vessels were knocked loose in Santa Cruz, CA due to the rough waves.

Although it is now being reported that the U.S. and Hawaii were spared from major damage, Hawaii mobilized people on the ground to warn their residents during the night (their time) about the potential threat. Sirens whistled across the islands and trucks with loud speakers drove through neighborhoods. A blogger from the Huffington Post (via a PRDaily article) wrote "A truck is circling our neighborhood, with a man giving an emergency management message over a loudspeaker: ‘Extremely dangerous waves are expected at 3 a.m. Occupants of high-rise buildings are advised to go to the third floor or above without delay.'"

The warning system is being referred to as low-tech, but I can't help but wonder if it is the most efficient. Sure, social media sites were also on high-alert with constant updates being fed through Twitter, but we cannot rely on all in danger to be plugged into the Internet or watching the television. What happens to those who are reading a book in bed? Although social media is a powerful tool, nothing beats person-to-person communication to get an important message heard, especially in the case of a natural disaster warning.

Social media is a good way to complement other alert methods and an important information distribution channel that cannot be ignored, but I am impressed that Hawaii was able to mobilize their manpower so quickly to warn their fellow residents to get prepared.

It cannot be argued that the Internet is a powerful tool post-crisis though. In addition to Twitter feeds and live blogging from various sites (here is CNN's), Google reacted with their Person Finder tool that helps you find a person or provide information on missing persons. Additionally, the Google Crisis Center is updated in realtime with a map of the earthquake, the latest related news and lists linking to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, train and blackout information, and more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies Get a Mobile Makeover

It's the time of the year again when everyone's cabinets are full of their favorites- Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs, and while our waistlines may be unforgiving, the Girl Scouts have grown into the 21st century with new mobile strategies that are making our favorite cookies more accessible than ever. The Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland and the Girl Scouts San Diego Imperial Council have embraced technology and have reaped the benefits because of it.

An article on by Matt Wilson outlines some of the exciting new ways that these old-school cookies have embraced new-school media tactics to increase their sales and audience outreach:

Card Readers:
Troops in Ohio were provided with phones that had credit/debit card readers attached to them so that customers were provided the option to pay conveniently with card rather than cash or check. Although the price of the cookies has increased from $3 to $3.50, rather than a decline in sales, numbers have remained parallel to last year's because of new strategies such as this one.

Smart phone Apps:
The applications, Little Brownie Bakers and Cookie Locator, allows customers to locate the closest cookie-selling spots with just a few taps. These applications have become incredibly popular, rising as high as the #17 free app on iTunes.

Social Media:
This is the first time that Ohio's Heartland Council is using social media to sell cookies, connecting with sellers through Facebook pages. In San Diego, the Facebook Page is used to congratulate top sellers and talk about sales, while Youtube is used to advertise their top selling pitches.

As a former Girl Scout and an avid fan of America's favorite cookies, I am excited to see such a traditional and long-standing organization embracing new and innovative ways to connect with their audiences. There are several opportunities for further growth with additional channels and platforms, such as Twitter and Foursquare. The key to their success is making the cookie-buying process as easy and convenient as possible, and from the looks of their new mobile marketing strategies, it looks like the Girl Scouts are well on their way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. International Women's Day has been observed since 1911, so this year marks the 100th anniversary! International Women's Day is a national holiday in many countries and is celebrated in some countries similarly to how Mother's Day is celebrated in the United States.

International Women's Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. This celebration is certainly relevant to the field of public relations, with estimates that about
70% of PR professionals are women.

In honor of International Women's Day, watch the video below for an inspirational message from Michelle Bachelet, Former Chile President and Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trying to rest? Give your eyes a break

It seems as though there are never enough hours in a day. Chances are, your waking activities and daytime responsibilities have a tendency to bleed into your sleep time. At this point in the semester, mine certainly are!

Do you check your e-mail or play around on your smart phone or tablet before bed? Are you up late working at the computer? A new study by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) sheds new light on why this can be a bad thing.

Besides cutting into your sleep time, the use of these devices before bed time can actually "increase alertness and suppress the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin," according to the NSF as reported on The disruption is caused by exposure to the bright artificial light of the screen before bed, the NSF said.

Moral of the story? Giving yourself a break in between using the computer, TV or your smart phone and going to bed can have a positive impact on your quality of sleep. If you're like me, you need all the sleep you can get!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Facebook ‘Likes’ are Worth a Thousand Words, Literally

Have you ever ‘liked’ something on Facebook? Whether its a picture, status, product or service, ‘liking’ is a simple way to show an interest in something. As a generation saturated in social networking, we may take a lot of small things like Facebook’s ‘like’ application for granted, not thinking of its true potential, especially in creating awareness. Recently, Porsche became the quickest automaker to reach 1,000,000 fans on Facebook. How did they celebrate this social media achievement? Porsche printed the names of 27,000 fans who ‘liked’ their Facebook corporate fan page onto the body of their new hybrid 911 GT3 R racecar as a thank you to their million fans who made their social network success possible. The names were chosen at random from their fans and set to a Facebook-themed design with navy blue and white accents.

I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a better way to show fan appreciation than adorning their names on a car worth well over $250,000. From a public relations standpoint, Porsche’s use of social networking to gain publicity is a great initiative for them and other companies to start adopting. Porsche even created a separate “thank you” campaign and website for their fans to see the process of the car’s creation and search for their name on the car. Not only does this campaign portray the luxury automaker as a friendly and fan-loyal company, it brings awareness to the auto industry’s current eco-friendly car trend. By combining their fan loyalty with the popularity of hybrid vehicles, Porsche gets publicity, awareness, record setting and novelty points for releasing news in an unorthodox manner. For a company like Porsche, social responsibility to the environment and social interaction with their consumers and fans are connected. Porsche’s use of Facebook is an example of how the use of social networks can create more than just a digital and perceived connection between corporations and consumers but also a literal one.

What do you think about Porsche’s social network idea? Do you know any other companies that have used social media to connect with their fans in a creative way?

Become a fan of Porsche at and check out their “A Million Thanks” campaign at:

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jessica Lopez.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The PR Strategy Behind Penn State’s THON

Have you heard more about Penn State’s THON this year compared to years past? This is most likely due to the fact that over $9.5 million was raised in support of the fight against pediatric cancer, which is truly inspirational. Another reason you may have been more aware of the event is due to the outstanding public relations strategies that were carried out by students to attract attention and awareness about the event and the cause.

As the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, THON already has a great reputation for its fundraising efforts. The event, which is a two-day, non-stop dance marathon, is planned and carried out solely by Penn State students. Committees and captains are set in place to oversee every aspect- from donor/alumni relations, to entertainment, and specifically public relations.

In a blog post written by Colleen Hanrahan, a student at Penn State, the different divisions of the public relations committee are explained:

Media Relations:
By contacting local, state, and national media through press releases, the media relations captains are able to keep the public up to date about THON and are able to inform people how they can get involved.

Street Teams:
This group uses guerilla marketing techniques when it comes to spreading the word about THON. Members promote events to the campus and surrounding communities through excitement and word of mouth.

Publication Management:
This group creates the “Diamond Guide,” a publication that explains all things THON. This is distributed to attendees, visitors, and participants to provide facts, pictures, and basic information about THON.

Alternative Media:
This group maintains THON’s social media, which includes Twitter, Facebook, and a newly created blog.

An organized PR effort is clearly needed to make THON a success. Raising $9.5 million for pediatric cancer and gaining a ton of national attention? I’d say they did a pretty good job.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Mackenzie Krott.

Friday, March 4, 2011

TUTV Student Organization Filming Recap

Yesterday (March 3), PRowl Public Relations assisted client TUTV (Temple University Television) with an event to promote the March 16 launch of, the channel's interactive online platform. One of our largest audiences for the launch campaign is current students on Philadelphia's main campus and abroad. When doing our research in the planning portion of the campaign, we found that Temple University has more than 300 registered student organizations on campus, with a total membership reach of 15,330 students.

In order to engage these students and get them excited for the website launch, PRowl planned a four-hour event where student organizations were invited to film a clip welcoming all visitors to and introducing their organization to Temple's global community. On the upcoming March 16 launch day, these student organization "welcome" messages will rotate on the homepage. Every time a visitor enters the site, a new student organization will be there to greet them.

After a lot of e-mails and attending meetings to talk to student organizations, we got a great turnout of 58 organizations throughout the day. Students were invited to either share a message about what their organization does, or demonstrate their mission through a creative act. There was even more creativity than we expected! Singing, dancing, guitars, keyboards, flags, acting scripts, and other props appeared in the room throughout the day, and we were happy to have them!

Thank you to all Temple student organizations that stopped by. We look forward to sharing the messages we got yesterday with visitors who enter the site around the world on March 16!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do Not Track

You may be aware of the legislation surrounding the “do not call” policy that applies to telemarketers. Now there is new legislation regarding a “Do Not Track” law, which was introduced to Congress on Friday, February 11 by a California Democrat. The “Do Not Call” policy allows people to sign up for a list to prevent them from receiving telemarketers’ phone calls. The previous bill is similar in nature to the new “Do Not Track” legislation introduced by Representative Jackie Speier. The new policy allows Internet users to block those who track their information online. Speier unveiled the companion bill formally titled the Financial Information Privacy Act.

Consumers frequently became aggravated with phone calls from telemarketers. These sales marketing professionals were not limited to calling people during a certain time of day; hence the stereotype telemarketers always call during dinner. The recipients of telemarketers’ calls were often left wondering how they were placed on a list for companies selling printing services and credit card programs. Are online advertisers bugging Internet users in a similar way, though? Advertisements are going to be on sites whether companies have your personal information or not. Users may, however, be receiving spam emails marketing programs or services from companies who obtained personal information. Online users may consider these emails and other messages just as aggravating as telemarketers’ phone calls.

Due to the perception of these messages, the new Financial Information Privacy Act comes as a relief to many Internet users. People surfing the web can feel safe knowing their personal information is protected from corporations and businesses seeking to obtain personal details. However, this will create a dilemma for companies that utilize consumers’ personal information to create targeted advertisements. Without users information on what they spend their money on, the recent trend in targeted advertisements may decline.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome to Twitter Charlie Sheen!

As everyone knows, you can't go a day without hearing someone reference one of the latest "Sheen-isms." Charlie Sheen, the controversial and reckless star of the popular and recently canceled series, Two and a Half Men, has been making his rounds on the television and radio talk show circuit, blurting out statements that have increased his "popularity" ten-fold over night. After making such a buzz on television and radio waves, Sheen has now turned his time and attention to the Twitterverse, creating his own verified account last night.

His Twitter handle, @charliesheen had over 300,000 followers within the first few hours. His first post: "Winning..! Choose your Vice... #winning #chooseyourvice boasting a picture of himself with his girlfriend, endorsing his beverage of choice: chocolate milk. The star, who's bio describes him as an "unemployed winner," will be tweeting regularly to stay more connected with his fans. However, it is yet to be seen how his entrance into the world of social media will affect his reputation with the public? So far... it doesn't look too promising.

Charlie Sheen has been in desperate need of good publicity for awhile now due to his problems with drugs, sex scandals and acts of violence. Stan Rosenfield, Sheen's publicist for several years, finally threw in the towel and respectfully resigned after one too many blunders during his most recent round of interviews.

However, Team Sheen seems to be doing just fine in terms of generating publicity and Sheen has managed to make himself the next "Chuck Norris" of American pop culture. With fan sites popping up all over the internet and companies such as producing Charlie Sheen gag gifts, Sheen has become one of the biggest pop culture sensations.

We have all heard the cliche saying: "All publicity is good publicity"- however I am not so sure in the case of Charlie Sheen. The four-time Emmy Award winning actor was once respected for his talent - not his drug habits and has recently become the newest joke in Hollywood. His fan base may be increasing and although he is still raking in large amounts of money from sites that are partnering with him to sell products, his reputation is abysmal and without a publicist to guide him, I am sure it will only grow worse. Although Twitter could be used to improve his reputation and standing with the public, it appears as though Sheen will only be using it as another platform to continue boasting of his blunders and famous zingers.

What are your thoughts on all of the Charlie Sheen gossip? Does the saying still stand true that all publicity is good publicity with Sheen's growing popularity in pop culture or does this increased fan base only indicate how far Sheen has fallen off the wagon?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Update on Taco Bell's Crisis Control

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about Taco Bell's response to a lawsuit claiming the restaurant chain uses more meat fillers than real ground beef. The response was quick and direct: a web campaign and a print campaign attempting to silence the rumors with an explanation of the ingredients in Taco Bell's ground beef.

I questioned whether people would be reassured by Taco Bell's response, considering it wasn't the first time the chain had come under fire about its ingredients. An article on Ragan's PR Daily provides an answer to my question. According to the article, Taco Bell offered all new and existing Facebook fans a free taco coupon on February 8. Within a week, Taco Bell gained 250,000 more "likes."

Taco Bell turned its lawsuit into a web and print campaign to sway the skeptics and a social media campaign to gain more Facebook fans. Sounds like a good example of turning a negative situation into something positive.