Saturday, March 31, 2012

Severe Punishments for Bountygate: Crisis Management at its Finest

The “bounty” scandal, or bountygate as it is becoming known, of the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints has been considered by many different sports media outlets, such as ESPN, CBS, and Sports Illustrated, to be one of the worst scandals not only in NFL history, but in all of sports. The “bounty” program refers to a system set up and run by players where cash rewards were paid out to players who successfully injured or “knocked out” other players from a game. However, many consider the worst part of the program to be that Saints management and coaches knew about and encouraged the program. As a result, the league last week handed down draconian punishments that included a one year suspension for Saints head coach Sean Payton, an eight game suspension for General Manager Mickey Loomis, and an indefinite suspension for Gregg Williams, who was the coach that initially instituted the bounty program to the Saints when he was their defensive coordinator.

The significance of this scandal is that it does great damage to the NFL’s recent attempts to revamp its image and stance in regards to safety. Football, by nature, is a physical game with a high injury rate. Traditionally, the NFL has encouraged this physicality and has paid little attention to the overall and long term health of its players. However, recent research about head trauma and a class action lawsuit from retired players about the NFL’s negligence towards player safety have brought the issue to the game’s forefront. In response, the NFL has slowly introduced new tackling and equipment rules to try and protect players. In addition, new procedures have been put into place to ensure that players suffering from concussions are fully healed before they return to playing. The NFL was trying to reinvent itself to show that it cared about safety and this new prioritization was supposed to trickle down to the lower levels so that over time the game would become safer for everyone to play.
Then the bounty scandal happened.

The scandal showed that nothing had changed. The fact that it existed for so long and that coaches and players knew about it and encouraged it set an awful example for the lower levels of the game. The “bounty” system undermined the NFL’s attempts to establish itself as a safety first league.

The NFL, however, recognized the damage the scandal caused to its image and its “role model” status and this is why it punished those involved so hard. The Saints are one of the more popular franchises in the league, Payton is one of the best known and most respected coaches in the NFL, and to top it off, this year’s Super Bowl will be held in New Orleans. The last thing the NFL wanted to do was to hurt the Saints franchise, but it had to prove to all the high school and college players and their parents that the NFL is serious about safety. These harsh and severe punishments can be seen as a PR move by the NFL to respond to the image hit it took as a result of the scandal. They send the message that the NFL holds safety above all else, including the money it makes off the Saints franchise.

Bountygate shows us that when it comes to crisis management, the right decisions are rarely the easy ones. The NFL could have pretended like nothing happened and they would have continued to make heaps of money off the Saints. However, the league knew that its image as a role model for younger players was its top priority and therefore delivered a decision that will help the overall health of the league, even though it may not look that way right now.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Matt Jones.

Friday, March 30, 2012

StratComm's #LeadershipLookbook Shines from Head to Toe

Photo Courtesy of Sharla Feldscher

Last night, the Department of Strategic Communication (StratComm) hosted it's first-ever Leadership Lookbook event, an evening designed to teach students about the importance of leadership and professional dress in the workplace.

With over 30 students in attendance from the School of Communications and Theater, the event began with Dr. Tracey Weiss, a StratComm professor, and Shari DaCosta, a StratComm alumnus, who spoke to the audience about becoming a leader in your career. Students were also informed about the benefits of the department's leadership minor, which teaches students one of the most desired traits by today's employers.

Four of StratComm's very own students "hit the runway" as they modeled looks from Les Richards Menswear and Ann Taylor. Knowledgeable representatives from both retailers gave great tips and advice to audience attendees on how to assemble a professional outfit for both men and women, while further emphasizing the importance of dress and first impressions during the job search process.

To complete the leadership look, representatives from Jean Madeline Salons provided live hair and makeup demonstrations during the event to teach students that a professional look doesn't just end after the suit. Quick and easy tips were given to students on how to achieve a polished look, from smooth hair to healthy skin.
At the end of the event, various prizes were raffled off to audience members including gift cards for local restaurants, gift cards to Jean Madeline Salons and a free suit courtesy of Les Richards Menswear.

Les Richards Menwear will continue to help Temple University men get the leadership edge with an extra 10% discount throughout the month of April with the presentation of a Temple ID.

For more information about the Department of Strategic Communication, follow @StratCommTU on Twitter or visit

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do Crises Have Long-Term Effects on Companies?

It depends on the company you’re talking about.

In some cases, like the case of former energy giant Enron, a crisis can destroy a reputation in a heartbeat. However, in other cases the effects do not seem as long-lasting.

Take Chiquita, harvester of bananas, avocados and all types
of delicious fruits and vegetables. In 2007, Chiquita admitted in federal court
to funding Colombian paramilitary organizations for a period of approximately
seven years. These paramilitary organizations were labeled as terrorist
organizations by the U.S. government.

So, why was Chiquita funding these Colombian terrorist
organizations? These organizations were used to squash unions and intimidate
union leaders, keeping the price of Chiquita products down in the U.S. The groups’ preferred methods? Massacres and targeted killings.

Chiquita was accused of wide-spread human rights violations and was sued in domestic courts under the Alien Tort Statute. If there was ever a crisis, this was it.

Fast-forward to 2012. Chiquita still controls over 40% of the U.S. banana market. It is still a major fruit company and makes billions of dollars every year.

We vilify companies such as Enron and Solyndra for financial and investment crimes, yet companies who do far worse are not held to the same standard. Companies are all affected by crises; however, the extent of the effect can vary significantly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Show Me The Money!

With non-profits and charities the most important question contributors ask is, “Where does the money go?” My most recent experience with charities deals with my internship at Comcast-Spectacor Charities. Since its inception in 1977, the organization has raised over 24 million dollars for local Philadelphia charities. Their motto: “If it matters in your community, it’s important to Comcast-Spectacor.” However, I have noted a lack of tangible efforts performed by the organization and as a result, a lack of contribution from repeat donors.  

Charities and non-profits raise an exuberant amount of money but if contributors physically cannot see where the money is going, you will lose repeat contributors, as I saw happen to Comcast-Spectacor.

In an effort to accumulate repeat contributors, Comcast-Spectacor proposed a new tactic to show contributors where the money physically goes. The Flyer’s wives participated in the renovation of a home on Camac Street in Philadelphia for a sick 7-year-old boy named Kahlil. As a result of their physical efforts, a jump in donation directly followed. The success of the project created a catalyst for an entire series of renovations, “Building Hope For Kids”. The series will focus on renovating chronically ill children’s bedrooms to brighten their future.
Charities and non-profits need to physically and tangibly show where contributors money goes. As seen with Comcast-Spectacor Charities, beneficiaries will be more inclined to contribute more frequently if they can physically see your organizations efforts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Social Media Leads Social Activism: Trayvon Martin Movement

Many people weren't aware of Trayvon Martin's tragic death at the young age of 17 in Sanford, Florida earlier this month. After online petitions, tweets and Facebook posts, awareness has skyrocketed and a social movement has formed.

Martin had been shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer while he had only a bag of Skittles on him. The shooter, George Zimmerman, claimed to police that he saw a suspicious black male that had a hooded sweatshirt on with the hood up. He reported to police that he thought he was acting strangely, possibly on drugs. Against police orders, Zimmerman followed the boy and at some point shortly after, shot Martin in the chest at close range. Phone records with the police remain blurry as to what happened.

Outrage and mourning ensued after news of the murder spread, especially because Zimmerman has not been charged. A "Million Hoodie March" to protest Martin's death have been seen in major cities such as New York and Philadelphia. Protestors wear hooded sweatshirts with the hood up to symbolize what Martin was wearing when he was killed. The march was initiated after Trayvon's parents created an online petition for the criminal investigation of Trayvon's murder. After an hour of the event, 973, 065 signatures were obtained. The petition now has over 2 million signatures. Aside from the petition, there have been over 600,000 mentions on Twitter concerning the case and a "Justice for Trayvon Martin" Facebook page with 82,000 "likes".

I can only anticipate that support for the movement will grow as more details on the case are investigated. Have you been involved with the movement on social media?

Photo courtesy of the Time Newsfeed article that can be found here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Measuring Success

When you are launching a social media campaign, one of the important factors you need to keep in mind is measurement. If you don't measure your success, or failure, then you won't know how you can improve in the future. Now, measurement is an idea that is often tossed around. Is simply counting the amount of "likes" you have on Facebook enough? According
to Shonali Burke's "5 steps to a successful measurement program", it goes a little deeper than that.

Identify the business objectives for your program/campaign: Keep in mind what your concrete goals are. If you are trying to increase client traffic, then focus on tactics that will get more people in your door. Your business objective should be what all of your strategies trace back to.

Identify how you will measure the success of these objectives: Set goals for yourself. If you want to increase sales, then by how much? What percentage of your client base should be purchasing your products? Set a timeframe of when you should reach this goal. This is something that the managers at my job do. They tell everyone what each 2 hour goal is, what percentage of customers walking through the door should be purchasing, and their Average Dollar Sale. That way, we will keep this specific goal in mind when ringing customers up so that if a transaction falls a little behind ADS, we can use tactics to encourage them to buy more.

Outline your communication strategy: It's a common mistake when people frame their strategy around the concept of the bandwagon. "Everyone's on Pinterest so we should post everything there!" Keep your audience in mind, if you are targeting men ages 30-55, do you think they'll be on Pinterest? Primarily, no. Post where it makes most sense.

Keep track of your efforts: Google Analytics is great for this purpose, it tracks the number of views on your website and then compares it on several different platforms like visitors, time on page, etc. across any time frame you choose. Bitly will also track the amount of clicks on your link if you are posting on Facebook or Twitter. Watch what you are putting out and what effect it is having on your statistics. Also, keep the time frame you are measuring the same, this will give you a steady, unbiased base to compare to each time.

How are you keeping track of your success? Are you utilizing Google Analytics? Let us know!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reflections on the job seminar, “Launching Your Career 101”

I recently had the opportunity to attend “Launching Your Career 101,” a career search seminar for college seniors and recent graduates. Before attending the event, I was skeptical as to what would be discussed during the course of the program that I did not already know. Below are some takeaways I would like to share.

What are you trying to sell?

In order to land a career, you must have a unique positioning; something that differentiates you from all of the other candidates. Simply having a college diploma doesn’t cut it because so does everyone else who will be applying. You must sell yourself as bringing a distinctive offering that employers cannot overlook.

Who will be your target buyer/market?

After you have created your “brand” you must narrow down potential employers. Perform a self assessment to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, and match up your unique “brand” with a company or organization who could utilize your skills. Identifying a “priority focus” of your top companies, as well as key decision makers within those companies can be very beneficial.


LinkedIn can be extremely advantageous when searching for jobs, if used effectively. You should use this social media outlet to connect with professionals who work in the field you want to get involved in. I learned that seeking out individuals who graduated from the same university as you can help get your foot in the door of a company. If you can make a connection with someone who has been in your shoes, that person is more likely to give you a push in the right direction.
30 Second Commercial

Create a 30 second pitch for potential employers that incorporate who you are, your skills, experience, and what you want to do in the field. Practice this pitch and be ready to deliver it to employers. Being able to talk about yourself in a confident manner is important and something employers recognize.

Are you in the market for a job? What steps have you taken to insure a successful job process? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Steve Jacobs.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Social Media Meets March Madness

March Madness has arrived and unlike many years before, this year March Madness has taken over the lives of its fans and also their social media accounts.

Selection Sunday, the day where picked teams and their seeds are announced, started most of the Twitter talk about March Madness. Fans mainly started tweeting two hours leading up to the announcement of which teams would be picked for the tournament. Iona received the most tweets with almost 12,000 mentions in a two hour span of time. Iona was not the only team that was tweeted about. This year, unlike many others, March Madness and social media became much more interactive. Fans created team and player hashtags, tweeted to players and began live tweeting scores and comments during games. Players even tweeted back to fans and thanked them!

For the first time this year, there was also a March Madness social winner. A research group at communications agency Schwartz MSL created a formula to see which school had the most tuned in social media fan. The formula took the combined followers of a school’s team on Facebook and Twitter, and then divided that number by the total student body population. The Kansas Jayhawks were the winners of this bracket. Why did such a smaller school like Kansas, with a little over 20,000 undergrad students, beat out such a large school like Ohio, that has over 43,000 undergrad students? Mostly because when you have such a large school like Ohio it is hard for all students to be as interactive on social media, unlike a smaller school like Kansas.

Interested in knowing which team is being talked about most currently on social media? provides mRank. mRank calculates the amount of buzz that a particular topic has on the social web by analyzing conversations across Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Mashable has dedicated a whole selection to the buzz for March Madness teams here.

Hopefully, your top bracket choice has a lot of buzz! Are you participating in March Madness via your social media accounts? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jackie Grillo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Branding Yourself with Online Portfolios

Since Fridays are the one day I have dedicated to searching and applying for jobs, I feel its fair to make every Friday a post with advice for everyone's job search.

My latest project has been creating my online portfolio to stand out amongst the competition and make my work more accessible to potential employers. After reading several forums and articles on which platform is best to use - I have decided on Weebly, as its one of the few I can actually figure out how to use (!

Heather Huhman has quickly become one of my favorite resources for advice on anything ranging from networking tips to creating an online personal brand. While amidst the great "online portfolio platform debate," I found a great presentation from Heather about how to create and maintain one's personal brand. I have embedded the presentation below, however here are a few key highlights on online portfolios:

  • Build and design your online portfolio using a free content management system, such as WordPress, Weebly,, or VisualCV.
  • On the homepage, include a welcome message that is similar to a more generic version of your cover letter.
  • Create tabs for the following:
    • Resume page where visitors can download in PDF format (iPaper is a good app)
    • Portfolio page with an example of you work including graphic design, writing samples, class projects, case studies
    • Professional testimonials/recommendations
    • A link to your professional blog
    • A contact information page
  • For a good example of a student portfolio, click here.
  • Find ways to bring up parts of your online portfolio in face-to-face conversations by asking what their job and their day-to-day is like, while mentioning your interests and experiences at appropriate moments.

What other information do you have to share about online portfolios and they're benefits during the job search? Let us know!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is Standing Up to Senate on Transportation Bill Good PR?

The United States Senate passeda 2-year transportation bill last week. The bill passed the upper house by avote of 74 to 22 in a bi-partisan effort that President Obama and the Democratsin Congress have celebrated as another boost to the nation’s economy. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Republicans in the US House of Representatives rejected the Senate’s bill last night with a procedural vote. Now the question remains, is standingup to a bi-partisan Senate good PR in an election year?

The transportation bill would have extended federal highway trust fund spending for another two years, allowing federally financed infrastructure improvement programs to continue. It consolidates 196 federal transportation programs into about a dozen but it also keeps the projects intact and properly funded. The bill would have given stability to construction firms, which could then start purchasing equipment and hiring new workers at a crucial point when the US is recovering from a recession.

Senate Democrats and President Obama would have touted the bill as another pre-election victory, pointing to the anticipated boost in employment numbers to support their platform. This would be especially crucial for the Democrats in a presidential election year, where down-ticket races are sure to be affected by presidential choice and administration policy.

Republicans in the House could have pointed to the bill as an example of compromise and effective lawmaking, helping them to fend off challengers in primary and general elections this year. This can no longer be used to their advantage.

Now the Democrats will point to the House’s inability to pass the bill as another example of the polarized politics-as-usual approach to lawmaking that has permeated Washington for too long. This might hurt the Republicans in the upcoming election, especially if the Republican primary leads to a brokered convention. The rejection of the Senate’s transportation bill will likely backfire on Republicans as Democrats will use it as ammo to paint the right as weak on job creation. Good PR? I think not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Uwishunu Receives National Recognition For New Video Series recognized a hometown favorite blog Uwishunu, an outlet under The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp, for their new 101 video series, “Uwishunu’s Philly 101”. The campaign will feature 101 Philadelphians, including some Philly favorites such as The Roots, describing the things they wish you knew about the city of Philadelphia. The series will run every day, including weekends, for 101 days.

Other successful campaigns brought to you by The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp include Philly360, Visit Gay Philly, and With Love, Philadelphia XOXO. In February, Visit Philly ran a successful Facebook promotion in which it have away 29 dates with a grand prize of a red With Love Vespa.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lionsgate plays the Marketing Game for "The Hunger Games"

May the odds ever be in your favor...especially if you're on the marketing team for what is sure to be a movie phenomenon, the Hunger Games, which come out this Friday in theaters. Overshadowing Twilight, the Hunger Games is projected to have opening-weekend sales of about $90 million, according to the New York Times. The film coming out on Friday, will be the first of four, based on the book trilogy written by Suzanne Collins.

Lionsgate has adapted their movie promotion to younger audiences by having an extremely strong online presence. They have been maintaining a very active Facebook and Twitter page, as well as a YouTube channel, Tumblr blog, iPhone games and live streaming from the movie premiere through Yahoo.

The film's popularity is backed up by the fan base of the books, even with the somewhat graphic nature of the content. The book can be found on lower-level reading lists, but with the intensity of the marketing plan since last summer, they seem to be selling for more the books as well as hyping up the film.

Since the marketing campaign began, (The Capital is where the Hunger Games take place), the site has allowed fans to make their own ID cards as if they lived in the movie's futuristic society. More than 800,000 people have created them. The iTunes release of the movie trailer received eight million views in the first 24 hours it was available. The campaign also utilized Twitter to make digital "puzzle pieces" of the new movie poster for fans to find throughout 100 websites. Needless to say, there shouldn't be a problem getting these viewers into theaters.

As this week is the opening week, look out for ticket giveaways, updates to the Tumblr blog, "Capital Couture" and a Facebook game. To read the rest of the NYT article, click here.

Will you be seeing the Hunger Games this week? Have you participated in any of their marketing tactics?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kony 2012 Director Bends Under Pressure

Last week I blogged about the Kony 2012 viral sensation, which you can access here. I mentioned that the filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, had been instrumental in the effort to spread the word about Joseph Kony to young people.

Russell was detained on Thursday morning, after police received several calls of a man who was undressed, and running hysterically through traffic. A spokeswoman for the police told reporters, "During the evaluation we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying."

The Kony director's wife addressed the incident in a statement, blaming extreme
exhaustion and dehydration, coupled with the pressure of the video's critics, as the reason for Russell's meltdown. Described by Invisible Children as, "our grand storyteller and dreamer," Russell has received a significant amount of flack for his Kony 2012 video. Critics say that he oversimplified the situation in Uganda, or that he had ulterior motives for instigating the movement.

Upon searching Kony 2012 on Google, the first thing that now comes up is Jason Russell's incident, significantly taking away from Invisible Children's efforts. Do you think that the organization can bounce back after this setback? Or will people keep reminding themselves of what happened behind the scenes? Let us know!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On Why the Public Relations Industry Could Use Some Help with Public Relations

PRowl Public Relations wrote about the Public Relations Defined initiative several months ago (see the post here), where PRSA invited public relations practitioners to submit their definition of public relations. The submission period began in November and drew widespread interest as well as a not-so-small amount of complaints about the initiative.

What results of the initiative? A definition was selected from the three finalists and announced on Friday, March 2, 2012. The verdict? Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PRSA defines each part of their found definition:

Simple and straightforward, this definition focuses on the basic concept of public relations — as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing “mutually beneficial relationships.”

“Process” is preferable to “management function,” which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one-way communications.

“Relationships” relates to public relations’ role in helping to bring together organizations and individuals with their key stakeholders.

“Publics” is preferable to “stakeholders,” as the former relates to the very “public” nature of public relations, whereas “stakeholders” has connotations of publicly-traded companies.

As a management function, public relations also encompass the following:

• Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
• Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
• Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
• Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above. (via, PRSA’s Official Statement on Public Relations).

What do you think of this definition? Is it in line with what you know about PR? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Election 2012 as a PR Learning Tool

Whether you’re a political news junkie or someone who has never really had interest in Washington, as a PR student it is important to pay close attention to this election season. So many skills we use in PR will be put to use by candidates over the next seven months, and it is important that we are able to pick up on them. Here are a few things to look out for along the campaign trail:

The Language of Persuasion

PR rhetoric and political rhetoric have a deep rooted bond when it comes to persuasion. The goal of both is to identify and capture audiences, then eventually get those captivated audiences to act on their opinions and beliefs.

Watch the next GOP debate and focus on one candidate. Get familiar with their beliefs and policies, then watch that same candidate speak at a college or at a small town hall meeting. Notice how drastically the language changes. The key ideas are the same, but the rhetoric is totally different and tailored to the specific audience.

Crisis Communication

Let’s face it--blunders, embarrassing mistakes and misused words are inevitable and expected in presidential campaigns. Every GOP candidate has been under fire for one thing or another throughout this campaign. It’s not necessarily what happens but how it gets resolved. Most slip-ups are forgotten about a week later, however if they’re handled poorly they never go away.

The next time a candidate has something negative surface from their past, watch how they handle the crisis. Do they spin the story into a new, positive idea? Do they own up to their past and move on? Think of how you would handle the situation, and how you would advise the candidate to move forward.

Get Your News from a Variety of Sources

This is the most important aspect to keep in mind during an election for everyone, not just those in PR. The only way to fully understand an issue is to hear both sides of the story. If you’re politically conservative and only watch Fox News or politically liberal and only get your information from MSNBC, you aren’t seeing the whole picture. Listen to an opposing view-- it could allow you to see an issue in a completely different light or could ultimately strengthen your own original beliefs.

What other PR tactics have you been paying attention to this election season?

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Networking Tips for Owning the Room

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." As I have been looking for jobs, I've come to realize more and more how true it really is. On Tuesday, one of Philadelphia's biggest networking events for students is being held - PPRA Careers 101. Panelists from the event include professionals from all areas of the profession including travel and tourism, agency, corporate and sports. Additionally, several PR professionals will be there to network with students about their current job search, resume and cover letter critiques and how to become more involved with professional organizations such as PPRA and PRSA. With this highly anticipated event approaching, its important to learn how to work the room like a networking pro. An article from Forbes' Deborah Jones outlines a few great tips on being a networking all-star:
1. Go with a purpose. Remind yourself why you are there. You are using your precious time to network and to make some useful connections, so make sure you aren’t wasting energy. Set a couple of targets like: speak to three new people; or try to learn at least two new pieces of information or gossip.

2. Use inside contacts. If you know the event organizer and he or she is around during the event, ask for an introduction to key people who you ought to meet there. Having a warm overture will make the process of networking easier. It will also save you the time of trying to find people who you don’t know.

3. Be a lone ranger. If you’re attending the event with people you already know well, such as colleagues and friends, don’t fall into the trap of sticking together for the whole event. Talking to people who you already know will lessen your chances of meeting new ones. To extricate yourself, deliberately sit next to someone you don’t know during a talk or a meal that takes place during the event.

Link4. Break the ice. Don’t feel like you have to say something profound. Breaking the ice can be as simple as commenting on the venue, the program or the food; asking people where they’ve traveled from or whether they’ve been to the event or place before; or expressing an interest in why they are attending.

5. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that ask who, what, where, when and how – as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Your goal is to explore ideas and opinions and also to show your listening skills.

To read the rest of the article and Deborah's great tips, click here.

What other advice would you add to this list of networking tips? Let us know!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Goldman Sachs Chief Resigns in NYT, Controversy Ignites

Greg Smith was an executive director and the head of the Goldman
Sachs equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa until
yesterday, when he publically
resigned in the New York Times

Smith cited a shift in organizational culture from the consumers to the money primary reason for the resignation. Goldman
Sachs, from his experience, is never afraid to rip off a client to make a profit.

He meant it as a wake-up call to the company, but will it

It’s sure managed to drive a lot of media coverage and put
Goldman Sachs back on the front page, for the moment at least. Only time will
tell if this produces the intended change. If I had to guess, I’d put my money
on no.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Batter Up

When it comes to public relations writing there is no magic formula. One of the hardest and most crucial elements to master in public relations writing is the pitch. A pitch is used to inform the recipient, most recently bloggers, of a product, event, or piece of information on behalf of your client.  The response rate of a pitch is based on the how well you capture the recipients attention. By incorporating and adopting these four keys elements in your pitch, you will have a much higher success rate.

Write "Pitch" in the subject line:
As a general note, people like to know what they’re getting when they open an email. So when you write, “Pitch:," in the subject line, people are more inclined to open the email because they are immediately informed of its contents.

Do your research:
Make your pitch personal. When writing to a recipient include their blog name and a specific article. For example, "Upon reading your article “X” (title of article) I would like to present an opportunity to you and your readers at X (title of blog).
Be clear:
When you are writing to inform a blogger or journalist about an event tell them that you want them to attend. Just providing the information might be misinterpreted as soliciting. If they can't attend ask the author to extend the invitation to their readers.
Be nice:
Being polite gets you much farther with a pitch then if you just give the facts. For example if you say, "Thank you for your consideration in attending our upcoming event," at the end of your email, it can leave a great lasting impression.

Apply these four tips and score a home run with your next pitch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting Social with your Google Search

Always trying to generate the most relevant search results for users, Google is becoming a more social site. With the introduction of Google+, they have been able to incorporate your personal connections into your search results. Below I have outlined some of Google's recent updates:
  • When you are logged into Google+, Personal Results are included in your search. Personal Results are indicated by a blue person icon on the left side of the website. People and pages in your Google+ circles are likely to show up in these results. To switch to non-personalized results, select the globe icon on the right side of the screen, near your login.
  • If you are trying to get yourself, or your business page noticed, have a presence on Related People and Pages. Google recommends to show up in these results, your full profile must be filled out and post about favorite topics. These posts will help you gain credibility and show up higher in search results.
  • Again on the business/company pages, it is imperative to have relevant, high-quality content on your page, so that viewers will +1 you. When posting, use words that pertain to your industry or expertise.
What do you think of Google's social approach?

To read more about Google Social Search and marketing yourself/company click here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

KONY 2012: Digital Media Sensation or Social Revolution?

If you are in anyway connected to the digital or print world, via social media, youtube, or the news, then you have heard of the viral sensation KONY 2012. Powered by Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that aims to bring awareness to the conflict in Central Africa. The organization's main concentration has been to stop long-time rebel leader Joseph Kony. Since the 1980s, Kony been abducting children to make them into child soldiers and sex slaves.

In response, filmmaker Jason Russell alongside Invisible Children created a 30 minute viral video documenting the terror Kony has brought to the children of Uganda. Released on March 1, the video has now reached 71 million hits. In the video, Russell urges young people to spread the word by reaching out to celebrities and political figureheads, buying the $30 press kit, and spreading posters and stickers around their communities.

While the main message of the KONY 2012 campaign has been admired worldwide, there are critics of the Invisible Children campaign. Some feel that the campaign will only be a temporary fix, and that the main concentration should be in efforts to rebuild Uganda. Others are more critical of the organization Invisible Children, rather than the campaign. According to Charity Navigator, which rates charitable organizations on a variety of platforms, Invisible Children ranks 3 out of 4, scoring especially low in Accountability and Transparency, earning a 45. In comparison, the Red Cross earned a 70, while the American Heart Association earned a 59. As with any non-profit, critics are concerned with whether donations are being spent wisely by Invisible Children, or whether the organization is pocketing substantial amounts.

If you have yet to see the video, feel free to watch below. Do you think KONY 2012 has Uganda's best interests at heart? Or do you think that the digital campaign is over-simplifying and abusing its power? Let us know!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Breaking into Sports Public Relations: A “Birds Eye View”

Recently I sat down with Ryan Nissan, Football Media Services Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, to see an insiders perspective into the day-to-day operations of a public relations practitioner of America’s most popular and demanding sport: Football.

The biggest take-away I received from Ryan was that if you want to enter the sports industry you are going to have to have prior experience and be able to have a competitive resume, because there are limited jobs and everyone dreams of working for their favorite sports team. The Eagles have a total of three staff members in their Media Relations Department. Before working for the Eagles, Nissan had an internship with HBO Sports in New York City. Through that experience he was able to connect with the Eagles and he began filming press conferences for them three times a week. The Eagles made it to the Super Bowl that year in 2004 (oh how far away that seems to Eagles fans), and Nissan was asked to stay on for the remainder of the playoffs. His hard work paid off as the next year as the Eagles offered him a Graduate Assistant’s position, and finally with some luck, but even more hard work and dedication, Nissan was promoted to the position he holds today.

Nissan told me that the best advice he had for students wanting to get involved in sports PR was to reach out to your universities Sports Information Director (SID) and to become actively involved with them on campus, because the work you will do there is very similar to what your future job could be in professional sports. He also added that SID’s were the first people he reached out to in regards to filling open positions within the organization. Writing for your school newspaper was the second piece of advice Nissan dished out, saying that in his job today he is constantly updating player and coaches bios along with recaps from games. Writing is a constant and inescapable necessity in the world of sports PR. Finally Nissan added to always do your best work and give your finest effort because the NFL is somewhat like a brotherhood saying, while there might not be a job available on your hometown team, there could possibly be an open job on another team and the contacts you make along the way in this business can take you a long way, including a recommendation for an open job somewhere else in the league.

With every job comes some downsides along with some fantastic perks, and Nissan’s job is no different. He said the toughest part about his job was keeping pace with the evolution of the media, especially social media. When he started his job with the Eagles, Facebook was just beginning to come alive and Twitter was not even in the picture. Now players can instantly be accessible for all fans across the country with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. It is an around the clock job and Nissan loves the fast paced environment that is always keeping him on his toes. He said the best part about his job though were the relationships he has established with the players, coaches and media, adding that’s his main job is to have the players, coaches and media trust him. The three make up two huge distinct groups and his role is to play the middleman between the two.

“I have never dreaded coming to work,” Nissan said. “Every day I wake up and am excited and looking forward to either getting into the office or arriving at the stadium for game day.” This is a great piece of wisdom I took away from Nissan that applies to everyone, not just those interested in sports PR. You never want to put yourself in a position to detest the place where you go to work. So go out and dream big, it wouldn’t be considered a dream job if at one point in your life your dream did not seem impossible. Never set limits for yourself, in the words of many football coaches, “Always keep running, never stop until you reach that end zone for the touchdown.” And when you get there, keep dreaming.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Andy Esworthy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spotting Persuasion Tricks This Election Season

As election season looms, there are ads and debates everywhere telling us which person is better suited to run our country. Many Americans watch these ads and tune in to the debates, but they don’t really see what is right in front of them. Politicians have been stereotyped as tricksters, and it might not necessarily be untrue. Every politician uses persuasion tricks in one way or another, and it’s important to be able to pick out these instances in order to form a well-rounded opinion. Here are some typical persuasion tricks that politicians use regularly that everyone should keep an eye out for.

Intensifying and downplaying
It makes sense that politicians want to intensify their own good qualities, but they always want to intensify their opponent’s poor qualities. On the flip side, politicians want to downplay their own poor qualities, while at the same time downplaying the good qualities of other politicians.

Emotional appeals
A great example of an emotional appeal is the ASPCA commercial with Sarah Mclachlan. The sad animals in that commercial trigger an emotional response from viewers that ideally causes them to donate to the ASPCA. Politicians prey on people’s emotions in the same way. They might not use cute animals but they use things like guilt, patriotism, and fear to generate certain emotions from voters to make them agree with their political opinion.

Nonverbal persuasion
Every politician uses nonverbal persuasion in a different way. Some politicians change the way they dress depending on their audience. If they want to seem like “one of the people” they might neglect to wear a tie or roll up their sleeves so they seem like any ol’ regular person.

Every politician is an expert at forming an excellent argument. This can be seen especially during a debate. One politician might ask another question after question until their opponent is backed into a corner, unsure of what to say next. This is a perfect example of how politicians twist argumentation to their advantage.

These things might seem insignificant in every day life, but when it comes to politics, it is it is important to be knowledgeable. Every politician uses persuasion tricks, to some degree, but many politicians take it over the top. In order to make a smart choice this election season, watch out for these tricks next time an ad or debate comes on TV.

Have you noticed any of these tricks in politicians lately? What’s your opinion? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member London Faust.

Museums Receive a Social Media Makeover

I have a confession to make: I am a museum geek. Ever since I visited the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. for my third grade field trip, I've been hooked. Yesterday, I took a day trip to D.C., a museum-lover's paradise, and hit up a few of the free Smithsonian buildings. During my trip, I noticed a drastic shift in the way museums have started to embrace the use of technology and social media in their exhibits. It used to be you'd get your hand smacked for snapping a picture in a museum (sorry National Archives...I didn't realize twitpic-ing the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't allowed). Nowadays, many museums are adapting to the shift in society and embracing the technology and social media frontiers.

Yesterday I made a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. When walking through the exhibits, I noticed many visitors had their cellphones glued to their ears and I thought to myself - how rude...take your phone calls outside. It took me a few seconds to realize, nobody was talking on their phones - only listening. I walked up to a crowded artifact and on the plaque it provided a number for visitors to call and listen to a renowned astronomer give more information about the medieval telescope. It used to be one would have to pay a decent dollar to receive a private tour from an expert or a scholar, however the National Air and Space Museum has provided every visitor with a cellphone that same opportunity - for free.

The Natural History Museum has also provided guests with some fun new ways to be more interactive with the exhibits. QR-Codes were made present at a few of the exhibits, allowing guests to turn what was once stagnant and stationary into something fun, interactive and exciting. While looking at the caveman exhibit, I was able to follow a QR code to an App where a user could snap their picture and see what they would have looked like as a caveman or cavewoman. While I may not have been happy my Stone Age makeover - I thought it was a fantastic way to get guests more involved with the exhibit.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has also done a fantastic job getting their visitors more engaged and interactive with their exhibits. When touring the Cleopatra exhibit with my grandparents, several signs and plaques were placed throughout, providing guests with suggestions to snap a picture and upload it to their social media sites. Twitter handles and hashtags were also provided on the signs, making it easier for the pictures and content to be shared and searched by others. Guests were also encouraged to tweet and post about their favorite parts of the exhibit - providing the Franklin with a slew of easily shareable third-party endorsements.

I believe this shift in museums' embrace of technology and social media is beneficial for both parties involved. Visitors are now able to enjoy a much more interactive and educational experience and can share their thoughts with their followers and friends. For museums, this is great news because many guests base their decision to visit on other visitors' reviews and comments. While this may leave some room for negativity as there always is with social media, the overwhelming majority of comments and reviews are positive and can get other guests excited about visiting a new exhibit.

What are your thoughts on museums and their new embrace of social media and technology in their exhibits? Let us know!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Right To Know? Gov’s Food Stamp Asset Test May Be Hypocritical

Governor Tom Corbett (R – PA) wants to asset test food stamp beneficiaries, but should he be asset tested as well? After all, public funds do support his dining habits.

Corbett announced his plan to asset test Pennsylvania’s 1.8 million food stamp beneficiaries in January. The idea is the commonwealth could save money by eliminating food stamps for individuals and families with more than $2,000 in savings or net worth.

His plan is causing quite the PR firestorm. It has graced the Op-Ed pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local papers several times since it was announced. Even former Gov. Ed Rendell warned Corbett in an open letter that the test would be expensive and hurt Pennsylvania’s economy.

In a bit of investigative blogging, I’ve decided to file a Right To Know request on Gov. Corbett’s dining expenditures. I’m sure the former attorney general has more than $2,000 in assets. Why should public funds pay for his food?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dior Goes Digital

Christian Dior, one of the most recognizable couture fashion lines, goes digital with an online magazine.The brand recently suffered a major PR blow after former Dior director, John Galliano, gave a public anti-Semitic rant. The negative effects, including boycotting from major celebrities, resulted in an opportunity for Dior to expand to an online platform. The crisis communication band-aide was the idea that if Dior made the brand more easily accessible to fashion lovers through an online platform, the brand could possibly regain their integrity. 

Dior even took their social media platform a step further when they live streamed and tweeted its Fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection from Paris Fashion Week through an intermediate blog. In their online magazine, they recapped their 2012 Spring/Summer Haute collection giving the 1940’s a millennial twist, sweeping foreign fashion and wowing home-bound fans.

Christian Dior's Haute Spring Summer 2012 Collection 

Do you think fashion critics and celebrities are willing to forgive the nostalgic brand after making the line more accessible?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Student-Alumni Networking Event: The Elevator Pitch Essentials

Recently I got the opportunity to attend a Student-Alumni Networking Event hosted by the Career Center. A variety of Temple alumni (even some PRowl alums!) came to give the students a chance to practice networking, especially concentrating on the elevator pitch. Below are a few points I took from the workshop:
  • Keep it Short: They don't call it the 30-second pitch for nothing. Be sure to keep your pitch short when networking, as people naturally have short attention spans. At a networking event you will probably be speaking to a large volume of people, having a short, quality pitch will enable you to give your basic stats to more people.
  • Keep it Simple: You only have a short time to pitch yourself to other professionals. While you want them to get a feel of who you are, both personally and professionally, keep in mind that you're just meeting them. Using confusing jargon or bouncing back and forth from one idea to another will likely confuse the other person. This one was hard for me, because I wanted to get out everything about myself I could, eventually I learned that I don't have to get everything out in one breath, an elevator pitch doesn't always mean talking for 30 seconds straight with no breaks. Introduce yourself, give the other person the chance to introduce themselves, and go from there.
  • What Makes You Different? What can you do that sets you apart from everyone else? An elevator pitch essentially involves selling yourself as a professional. So why should the person you're networking with keep in touch with you? In my elevator pitch, I used the fact that I intend to go to medical school after I graduate in order to draw in attention. That sets me apart and will give the other person something to remember me by.
  • Sign Off with a Good Handshake: Thank them for their time, exchange business cards, encourage keeping in touch, and end with a good, firm handshake. Something that everyone I connected with at Careers 101 seemed to value was a firm handshake. It seems minute and trivial, but a good handshake exudes confidence and security, traits that employers definitely value.
Do you have an elevator pitch? What do you think are essentials? Let us know!

Persuasion and the Study of Public Relations

As a freshman and new to the study of public relations, I find myself learning new things about the industry every day. Recently, in my persuasion class, I have been learning about an aspect of the industry that is of vital importance but often overlooked: non-verbal communication.

There are a variety of different ways to communicate non-verbally each highlighting a different aspect of the message you are trying to convey. Below is a list of the tactics of non-verbal communication that are most important when working in the PR industry.

• Physical Appearance: Your physical appearance, or your overall look, is vital when presenting yourself in a professional situation. Appearing groomed and well put together will position yourself as professional and credible when you are at work. Similarly, having your client’s physical appearance match the audience that he or she is appealing to will help them to seem more credible to their audience.

• Chronemics: Chronemics, or the use of time, is also extremely important when working in the PR industry. Being on time to meetings and making deadlines is of the utmost importance when you are working as a public relations specialist. The best PR moves have been made in a timely fashion.

• Haptics: The use of haptics, or communication through touch, is another aspect that PR pros need to take in to consideration. Whether you are the specialist or the client, having a firm handshake can make a world of a difference to your presentation. A firm handshake exudes confidence and allows your audience to feel confident in your hands.

• Artifactual Communication: Similarly to physical appearance, artifactual communication, or communication through objects and ornaments, is extremely important in the professional world. The kind of clothing you wear sets the tone for how people are going to view you. If you are dressed in a professional manner, then people are more likely to treat you as a professional

Taking non-verbal communication into consideration when working in the PR industry can have a substantial effect on your success. Now that you are aware of the different types of non-verbal communication, and how they can affect your presentation, use them to your advantage. Make yourself and your client as marketable as possible!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Lexi Drexler.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is Penn State’s THON now a PR Tactic?

It has been quite the year for Penn State with Jerry Sandusky’s sex abuse charges and the death of Joe Paterno. From a human perspective, it has been a year full of tragedy but from a public relations stand point, it has been a year of crisis management. Everyone’s question: Can Penn State recover?

While the answer is still not entirely clear, it is more than possible for Penn State to come back better than ever. A perfect example of this: Penn State’s THON raised $10.6 million for childhood cancer research this year and exceeded its goal by $1.1 million. The entire Penn State community banded together to support a cause they believe in.

From a public relations perspective, THON can be seen as a PR tactic that helped Penn State restore its image in the higher education world. This year’s THON commercial uses very specific language that talks about the challenges of the past year. In the video, the phrase “Many things have changed” flashes across the screen while a photo montage plays in the background. By using this terminology, Penn State recognizes that the environment around the event has changed drastically in the last year. However, the next phrase to be shown was “But what’s important remains the same…our families.” This phrase conveys the message that Penn State’s mission remains the same regardless of what happened during this year. They are a unified force that will be overcome any obstacle in order to raise money for the children in need.

Despite scandals and difficulties with fundraising before the event, THON raised the most money in the history of the program. The event can be seen as a PR tactic that helped restore Penn State’s image in the mist of recent challenges. Additionally, the success of THON shows the resiliency of the Penn State community. While there are still many steps to take in order to change the perception of Penn State, THON’s success has played a key role in the process.

Do you see THON as a PR tactic for Penn State? Why or why not? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alex Crispino.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Skipping Cancun for Cover Letters

For Temple students, Spring Break officially starts tomorrow. While a few of my friends may be skipping the colder Philadelphia weather for bikinis and sandy beaches, I know several others who are using this next week to catch up on their job search. With many of us so bogged down by classes, internships, jobs and student organizations, Spring Break is the perfect chance to get in gear for the job hunt. Here are a few ways home-bound seniors can spend their Spring Break productively:

1. Perfect Your Resume.
Putting together a great resume takes a lot of time. Use this as a chance to read up on a few blogs about ways to spice up your resume and really make it pop. Make sure you're including links to your social profiles such as Twitter (only if you're active and professional), LinkedIn and your personal website if you have one. Also make sure you are quantifying your previous experiences. Here's an article from Come Recommended on ways to get your resume noticed.

2. Learn the Art of the Cover Letter. Often times, the cover letter is the most important document you submit for an application. It's the employer's first impression of you and you need to wow them. Cover letters also take a lot of time to put together because you should tailor each letter to each different job. Here is a great article on how to write a "knock 'em dead" cover letter from US News.

3. Link in with your LinkedIn. I know I created a LinkedIn account for myself a few years ago, and until about a week ago, it still said my profile was only 90% complete because there were missing fields I wasn't taking advantage of such as writing a summary about myself or including searchable keywords about my skills. I now have a complete profile, but there are so many components to the site all job seekers should be taking more advantage of such as joining groups and participating in forums. Corn on the Job has a great post about 5 Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile.

4. Phone a Friend. I'm told by everyone I know that when it comes to the job search, its all about who you know. Take advantage of your professional network. Call up a mentor and see if you can treat them to coffee or lunch during the week so you can get advice and see if they have any insight about potential opportunities. Mentors are incredibly important during the job search process because they've experienced everything you're going through and can offer valuable advice on how to be successful.

So yes, while a pina colada and the beaches of Cancun may sound more appealing than looking for a job, just remember sometimes you need to work hard before you can play hard.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

StratComm Scores at Basketball Night

The School of Communication and Theater’s Strategic Communication Department hosted a basketball night on Wednesday, February 29. The event began with a networking hour in the Annenberg Atrium at 5:30 p.m., which attracted about 20 professors, students and parents from the department. Following the networking event, approximately 50 attendees watched the Owls take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen at the Liacouras Center at 7 p.m. The nail-biting game went into overtime but the Temple Owls prevailed, 90-88. It was an incredible game to be a part of.

The networking hour allowed students and parents to interact with the department while enjoying light refreshments. At the basketball game, parents, student, alumni and professors occupied a designated “StratComm” section. StratComm Basketball Night attendees were able to get involved in halftime promotional activities and StratComm t-shirts were thrown to the audience. The event was promoted with the #StratCommBball hashtag as students live-tweeted during the game.

StratComm Basketball Night was a great night for parents and students to interact with the Department of Strategic Communication while supporting Temple’s outstanding Men’s Basketball Team.

For any additional information on future StratComm events, please email or visit

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kyra Mazurek.