Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tips For Tackling That Dreaded Interview Question


During job and internship interviews, hiring managers may ask about your greatest weakness to determine whether you are fit for the position. This is a tough question, but luckily you can come prepared to an interview with a solution. When you think about your weaknesses, keep in mind not to indicate any qualities that make you seem incapable for the job. You want to present yourself positively and effectively when you answer the question.

1.Know your weaknesses and pick the best one.

Everyone has his or her own strengths and weaknesses; be honest with yourself! Delve into those ideas and tasks that make you feel uneasy or nervous. It is important to recognize these concerns, and acknowledge them so you can confidently say you will perform the job properly. It is important to get the point across that this weakness does not negatively impact your work.

2.Don’t say you work too hard.

Employers do not want to hear that you are a perfectionist and that you work too hard.  This is a common and generic response that is dismissed by hiring managers.
This question is an opportunity to share a professional challenge you have experienced in your previous positions, and can prove you are skilled in problem solving. People want to know what mistakes you have encountered and how you handled those situations.

3. Follow-up the weakness with how you conquered it.

After you provided the employer with the answer, you can demonstrate that you are constantly working on this weakness. A great candidate for any position is one that is always discovering new ways to learn and grow.  You can explain to the employer what initiatives you have taken to improve yourself. You can present your answer with the motivation to prove you can be the best at the job. This is how you can emphasize the positive when following-up the weakness.  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Randi Nemeth.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#FeminismFad


According to Time Magazine, Twitter data reveals that the feminism conversation has grown over 300% within the past 3 years. The question is, will it keep the pace or die out like many social movements tend to do?

I hope that this phenomenon is around to stay. Why? This movement for gender equality affects not only me as a woman, but it also affects the 60% of undergraduate degree earners of which only 14.7% will take executive office in business;  also known as, you guessed it, women.



After years of completing classes surrounding public relations at Temple, it is no secret that women make up a majority of the field with men consistently taking over higher CEO and leadership positions. A study published by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2013 reveals that as of 2011, women in PR are only paid 87 cents to every man’s dollar. This information is concerning to me as a female undergrad who has worked just as hard as her male colleagues for the past 2 and a half years.

Social advocacy campaigns for gender equality need a longer lifespan. On September 22, 2014, Emma Watson proposed the “He for She” campaign to the UN advocating for men to embrace the definitional idea behind feminism. Her speech went viral receiving over 1 million views seemingly over night. Many of you probably retweeted, favorited, or shared some of her insightful words through social media around the time of its popularity, but have you recently? Have you seen any social movements for gender equality recently?

Negative repercussions from the word “feminism” seem to turn many men and women off to campaigns for equal opportunity, which is perhaps why social movements for gender equality never quite seem to stick. Too often is “feminism” paired with “man-hating” and it is difficult to change a mentality after it has been implemented in our culture since the late 1800s.

With the new age of social media, it has become easier to voice opinions through trending hashtags and Twitter Q&As. Social movement campaigns seem to sprout from time to time, but die out before they fully blossom. Like a flower, social movements need some TLC before they reach full maturity. To prevent feminism from remaining just an occasional fad in our society, it takes a special group of people that can strategically place the right message in the right hands.

So what can we as PR people do about gender equality? Simple, do what we do best: keep the conversation going.  Questions or opinions?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Olivia Noble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Consumer Engagement According to Beyoncé


It seems the battle for winner of the internet has a new victor, and unsurprisingly, it's Beyoncé, yet again. After snippets of new tracks from her recently released Platnium Edition Box set of the self-titled album (which she surprised released last winter), Beyoncé surprised us again with her music video, 7/11.

Showcasing the star dancing around a hotel, mainly in her underwear, the video and song show off the upbeat, silly side of Beyoncé that we don't often encounter. While Queen Bey's high powered, fully loaded style and diva attitude are admired and coveted by her fans, this video stops and shows that she, just like us, sometimes just needs to stop what she's doing and dance in her underwear.

What does this new video release say about best practices for consumer engagement? Everything, in my opinion. 

The purpose of consumer engagement is to connect consumers with one another and/or with a larger brand. It encourages consumers to share the experiences they have with your product or brand. When consumer engagement tactics are executed well, the consumer is able to better relate to the larger brand. It helps strengthen brand relationships and create loyalty with consumers. The brand in this case: Beyoncé and her ever-growing empire. 

While the Queen has no problem selling out tours or albums, the average fan tuning in is unlikely to easily see themselves reflected in the multi billion dollar brand. Fantasizing about the life is one thing, but creating a true and realistic tie is another challenge.

The 7/11 video shows Beyoncé in a way we are necessarily used to seeing her: acting like one of the girls. Everything from the candid outfits to the messy room and home-video shooting style makes this an incredibly beneficial consumer engagement tool. The video helps to humanize the brand, keeps the fans pleased with another great song and video and utilizes the incredible share power Beyoncé has on social media. In just four days, the video has received over 25 million views on YoutTube. Mission, accomplished.

How will Bey wow us next?





Monday, November 24, 2014

PR Hits the Big Screen

                                                                   (source: imdb.com)

Like many others this past weekend, I went to the movie theater to see the next installment of The Hunger Games movies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One.

As someone who has read the books many times, I knew what to expect. However, what I had forgotten was how large of a role PR plays in novel.

The plot follows the citizens of an impoverished, post-apocalyptic America (known as Panem) as they start a revolution against the Capitol, a sector of Panem that controls most of the wealth in the land and forces children to fight to the death in the Hunger Games.

One of the challenges faced by the revolting citizens is recruitment of other citizens throughout the country. Desperate to recruit more individuals to fight against the oppressive Capitol, leaders of the rebellion enlist a team of “directors” to lead the campaign in recruitment by shooting propaganda videos and broadcasting them to the entirety of Panem.

As an aspiring public relations professional, I was excited to see a representation of our field in a movie that isn't set in a glamorous environment.

Unfortunately, when most people think of PR, they think of Samantha Jones from Sex in the City. The glamorous, beautiful, and successful character is rarely featured in a work crisis throughout the entire series, and most of the references to her job are through the amazing opportunities she gets through clients (special parties, play premieres, etc.).

For real PR folk, it is apparent that our lives will never be that of Samantha Jones, but with this new representation in cinema, things are looking up.

Of course, there hasn't been a revolution as large as the one in The Hunger Games series in our lifetime, however, there are smaller revolutions that take place every day in our country that need leaders to promote.

Whether this is a non-profit organization rallying for the end of smoking or a political party advocating for taxes on junk food, there is always a need for a public relations specialist to lead the fight for a new value in our country.

Have you been inspired by a movie or TV show’s representation of PR? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Misuse of Social Media Spells Trouble For PR


Although the use of social media has become a requirement in the public relations field, it can also have its downsides.  Not only does the rate at which information disseminates make a PR professional’s job even harder, but controlling public discourse has become nearly impossible. 


The recent GamerGate issue is a perfectly example of this. What started out as an attempt to expose a gaming journalist, Nathan Grayson, for supposedly giving a female game developer, Zoe Quinn, a positive review of her game simply because they were thought to be dating, snowballed into many women within the gaming industry coming out against the sexism within the industry and within the games themselves. The resulting hash tag, GamerGate, came about as a response to those women that were speaking out, sometimes harassing them via Twitter and even sending them death threats.

Among some of the people that spoke out about the gender issues in today’s games were Arthur Chu, a former Jeopardy contestant who has been published in many places online discussing the issue of sexism in games, and Ian Miles-Cheong, editor-in-chief of Gameranx, a popular gaming magazine.

A statement that Cheong made made him the target of GamerGate, however the people of the movement didn’t attack Cheong on twitter, but rather Arthur Chu, the completely wrong person.

This is where it get’s interesting for public relations professionals. How do you represent your client in a way that clears their name entirely when in order to do so you would have to find a way to address every single person that attacked your client on Twitter? That’s borderline impossible, especially when most people involved with GamerGate remain anonymous, using different usernames and e-mails to mask who they are. How can you change the audience’s view about incorrect facts when you don’t even know who your audience is?

The answer is, you can’t. Social media at its best is a way for public relations professionals to do their job, to interact with their audience and to present consistent branding. Social media at its worst means almost a total lose of control for public relations professionals.

What do public relations professionals do when the one tool they use the most turns against them? Let us know how you would handle this situation as a PR professional in the comments!  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Hannah Litchfield.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Learning How To Code Can Enhance Your PR Career


As technology becomes more ingrained into our everyday lives, do you ever stop to wonder exactly how those websites and apps are created? Learning programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, or Javascript, are additional skills that could be added to your resume and increase your marketability. 


New Ways to Help Clients
If you identify an aspect of a clients website that could be updated, having basic web development skills would immediately fix the problem.  Rather than going through loopholes to find a developer, you could easily do a minor update; thus saving your client money and forging a better relationship.

Join a Startup
Have you ever thought of doing public relations for a tech startup? Learning how to code can give you a foot in the door. Having, at most, a rudimentary understanding of programming languages allows you to communicate with everyone at the startup about the product or service. This makes you an invaluable part of the team and helps to grow the company.


Ways to Learn

  • Programs, such as GirlDevelop It, host classes specifically dedicated to teaching women how to code.

  • If you are still in school, and have a few extra credits, a minor in computer science or digital media technologies would also help.


Learning to code can be an incredibly beneficial skill, but don’t feel pressure to code just because everyone else is learning. If staring at a computer screen with a bunch of letters, numbers, and symbols is not your cup of tea, that’s completely understandable. But, I encourage you to give it a shot. Those symbols on the screen can turn into programs that make your life and career easier and profitable.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Janelle Grace.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview Moves (Like Jagger)

Winter break is quickly approaching and with it comes prime job hunting time.When it comes to the interview, we've had posts on how to land one, proper attire, and even informational interviews. However, we haven't given as much attention to the body language we use.

We know that body language speaks just as loudly as our verbal communication and we're aware of obvious movements we should not use...but what exactly should we do? A recent article on Mashable pinpointed several very useful tips to keep in the back of your mind while trying to score your dream job. The following are just a few that I personally found surprising and may help you as well.


  • Don't make direct eye contact. "Um, excuse me?" I said the same thing. Although most of us have been taught to do this, too much direct eye contact can be a bit unsettling for the interviewer. Instead, opt for what the article calls "direct face contact." Choose several different points on the face to focus on for seconds at a time for a more natural gaze.
  • Show your palms. Studies have shown that when your palms are facing up, it sends a signal to our limbic brain communicating honesty, engagement, and positivity. Patti Wood, a body language expert, says, "It’s one of the reasons we shake hands, to show the open palm. It’s so tied to survival instincts ... If we don’t see open palm gestures, it puts us on our guard."
  • Plant your feet on the ground. This tip is also grounded (no pun intended) in science. Apparently keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground makes it easier to think quickly. It allows you to move between the limbic reptilian brain (creative thought) and the neocortex brain (rational thought) to answer highly complex questions more quickly. I suppose that's where we get the phrase "Think/quick on your feet."
For the complete list and even more tips to put you a step ahead of the rest during interview season, read the rest of the original article here. Best of luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tourism PR: Cities Need PR Too

When you think about public relations, a lot of areas come to mind like agency, entertainment, and event planning. One industry that you may not think of is tourism PR. It was not until after my study abroad experience that I began to consider this as a viable field I wanted to pursue. It combined all the things I loved- Philadelphia, traveling, and public relations. The only problem was I knew little to nothing about this rarely mentioned industry. But a few information interviews later, I've come up with some “need to know” points about travel PR:


  • It’s not just about travel. This industry isn't simply about marketing to travelers so they visit your city. You’ll be working with a lot of different industries that encompass the visitor experience from arts and entertainment to local hotels and hospitality.
  • You need to know your markets. Tourism PR works to reach the domestic, international, and niche markets, so it’s important to know who your audience is. These can include either a specific city like Boston or London or a group like the LGBT community. Being aware of the culture or needs of who you’re reaching will affect your messaging.
  • Bloggers are changing the job. The increase in travel bloggers is affecting the way tourism PR professionals are doing their job. Now, travel bloggers are pitching THEM! These freelance bloggers pitch their post ideas in the hopes of getting their stories picked up and purchased.
  • Sponsorships are increasing. Not only are travel bloggers changing the industry, but so is sponsored content. The future of tourism PR will see less traditional pitching to media outlets and more sponsorships.




Tourism PR isn't simply about promoting your city in the hopes of attracting visitors. It encompasses so many elements and industries that it’s often similar to agency life. But of course the most important thing to remember about tourism PR is that it takes a passion for your city and a love for showing what is has to offer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Shopping in Your Inbox

Prepare for an inbox of coupons and promo codes this holiday season.

We've taken e-mail for granted. We use it most often for business purposes rather than personal purposes, but it remains a tactic for marketing professionals everywhere.  E-blasts, promotional codes, weekly updates, and blog content are all sent out as attention-grabbers via e-mail.

(Source: Here's The Thing)
According to Experian Marketing, over 90% of marketers are using e-mail in their marketing plan this holiday season. This puts e-mail in a more common place than social media. Chances are companies are using free media regardless, but their audience and focus are both factors of what channel receives the  most effort. Ultimately, we check our inboxes compulsively for the sake of business, so why do marketers reach out to us on the same outlet for the sake of consumerism?

The biggest holiday sales and shopping occur online, surpassing Black Fridays sales on Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving. It's a virtual world for the holiday shopper, e-commerce and digital marketing staying one step ahead of the game.

As aspiring communication professionals, we understand that everyone has something to promote. Send out my e-blast, I'll send out your e-blast. Digital marketing is a perfect opportunity to differentiate marketing from public relations, and furthermore, organic promotion from that of paid advertisements.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Every Company Needs A #AlexFromTarget


I’m sure you are all well aware of topic that was trending on twitter, #alexfromtarget.  I mean who isn’t? The internet is a strange place. The topics the internet makes popular not the topics you would think.  PR professionals are forever trying to find that “thing” that the internet is going to take and run with.  The hashtag Alex from Target was the most random hashtag but somehow everyone on the internet love it. 


The New York Times did a study trying to figure out why #alexfromtarget was so popular.  There were many speculations that this was a marketing stunt from Target.  There was also talk about this just being some random girl, posting on Twitter a Target employee.  Trying to figure out just how this happened.  Andrew Lih, a journalism professor from American University cannot find anything.   He said “the internet is more like your local high school where inexplicably the crowd picks something that is not that interesting and elevates it to popularity status.”

As future PR professionals and working with social media, staying up to date with trend topics on Twitter and Facebook.  There is always a new topic or new hashtag that people are using throughout the country and the world.  Companies all over try time and time again to find a topic that people will hashtag on Twitter.  There is no certainty about the internet and what becomes popular becomes popular for now reason at all. 

Target used Alex, their staff member, to their advantage.  They knew just how to capitalize on the hashtag.  One part of knowing how to have a trend take off is knowing your public.  By knowing your public, it is way easier to figure out what your followers are going to respond to.  The better you know your audience when creating a content plan the more activity your company’s account will receive and also the more followers a company will gain.  What do you think about the hashtag Alex from Target?  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kristen Hallahan. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Capstone: A Survival Guide


You’ve made it through almost all of college; you’re feeling experienced and ready to take on the world. There’s only one (huge) thing standing in your way: capstone.  Capstone is the culmination of every course you’ve taken in your major.  It’s basically a test to see if you’re ready for what’s beyond the comfort of the classroom.  


Although it is intimidating, if you do it right, you’ll be confident in your abilities after graduation and you’ll have an awesome piece to put in your portfolio.  Don’t fret because here are some tips to help you get through it.

Time Management:  More than anything else, this course is going to challenge your time management skills.  You know how teachers always say, “This is not a project you can do at the last minute?”  And we all know that’s usually not true, except when it comes to capstone. 

If you’re not starting to work on this project the first week of class, then you’re already behind.  Understandably, most people have work, internships and other classes going on while they are taking capstone. But if you don’t make this project your top priority, you’re setting yourself up for a panic attack mid-semester.

Teamwork:  Obviously, all college students love working with groups. And it’s no surprise that group work is going to be a major part of your career no matter what you do.  Here’s the trick, instead of looking at working with a team as a hindrance, use it to your advantage!  

In the case of capstone, doing the whole thing by yourself would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.  It’s going to be tough, some days you’ll be freaking out, other days your teammates will be freaking out.  Just remember the only way you’ll get through it is by working together.

Communication:
  Seems like a no-brainer, especially if you’re a communications student, but you’d be surprised.  By failing to effectively communicate, you’re only going to make it harder for yourself.

If you don’t understand part of the assignment, make sure you ask.  If you know you’ll be especially busy one week, let your team know.  If you need clarification from the client, reach out to them.  Make sure you are checking in with your team, your instructor and the client every step of the way to avoid miscommunication that could set you behind. 

There will be times when it feels like it’ll never be over, like you’ll die before you get through capstone.  It’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but in the end it will be worth it.  Good luck!

Do you have any survival tactics for getting through capstone?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Genevieve Greene.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Big, Over-Protective Brother

Whenever someone is the victim of suicide, family and friends often wonder if there were warning signs that could have helped them prevent such a tragedy. One of the first places people check are their social networks. Did they write an ominous status on Facebook? Have they been tweeting sad song lyrics for the past few months? Well one organization thought that something more, something preventative could be done.

U.K. suicide prevention charity Samaritans launched a mobile app in October that notified its users when someone on their timeline tweeted something that could be considered "suicidal." The Samaritans Radar app would send an email to its users whenever certain problematic key words were used such as "help me" or "hate myself." The problem is, most of the time no one even knew they were being monitored. Soon, the app was monitoring close to 2 million Twitter accounts. 

For example, if I opened an account on Samaritans Radar app, they would collect the data of all of the people I follow on Twitter without their consent, including several of my fellow PRowlers. 

Less than a week after the launch of the app, Samaritans offered an option for people to opt out of being monitored. However, this solution proved to have little impact on protesters of the app most notably Adrian Short. It didn't take long for Short to create and gather signatures on a Change.gov petition urging Twitter to shut down the app.  Today, Friday November 14th, Samaritans has deactivated all accounts, shut down the application, and issued a statement. 

For more information as this story continues to develop, follow along here: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/fd0ef598-9df8-4f88-b807-e139cb714695.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Accountability: Why It's Better to Take the Blame

Many of my topic ideas for my posts are inspired by daily interactions from class, work, or the office and this week’s post is no different. As a general business minor, I take classes that often present a different perspective or approach to communication. But every now and then, there’s applicable overlap between business and public relations. Earlier this week in my Environmental Law class, we were discussing law case studies, in many of which companies that were fined a large sum of money for failing to complete forms regarding their plant’s emissions.  All of the companies discussed used the defense that they were unaware of the law requiring them to complete these forms and therefore should not be fined.

My professor, a practicing lawyer in environmental law, noted that ignorance of a law does not mean you should not be held accountable. But accountability isn’t only important in business and law, but in workplace communication as well. Here are a few key reasons why you should practice personal accountability:
  • Displays responsibility. By recognizing that you made a mistake and taking the blame instead of pointing a finger, you show your supervisor that you are mature and dependable. Although you may be at fault, admitting so means you are dependable and responsible- a person your supervisor can rely on.
  • Shows leadership.  By taking accountability for your actions, it shows you’re willing to admit your mistakes. This is an essential characteristic for leadership that your boss will recognize.  
  • Promotes workplace success. When all employees are accountable for their actions, the organization can work more effectively and successfully.
Making excuses, such as lack of knowledge, reflects poorly on you as an employee. It is your responsibility to make sure you DO know or make sure to find out when you don’t. In situations in which you are in the wrong, it’s best to take responsibility for your mistake. At the end of the day, your superior will remember your accountability more than the error you made in the first place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Join PRowl PR For Open House!

PRowl Public Relations, Temple University's first and only student run PR firm is pleased to announce that we will be hosting our first ever Open House Event!

If you're interested in learning about what you need to do to take your next step as a public relations student, we hope to see you there! Current members will be present throughout the day to answer questions about who we are, what we do and who we work with!

The following day, we invite you to see us in action and join us for one of our weekly staff meetings! During these meetings, we discuss client activity and make important announcements about the firm --just as typical PR agencies often do. If you want to join PRowl this coming Spring semester or in the near future, we encourage you to join us Thursday as well.

If you're unable to attend these events but would still like to learn more about joining PRowl, feel free to join our mailing list! We will send updates about interview dates and any other upcoming events we will host.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4 Tips For The Final Stretch of Your Internship

It's the last day at your internship. Now what?

(Source)
1. Don't forget your portfolio pieces!
You've worked hard for the last three months, take your hard work with you! Be sure to take a few extra minutes to think back and create a list of all of the tasks you've completed over the course of the internship. What will you write on your resume? What results came from your projects? Send or save any of your personal files from the office computer to a flash-drive, so that you can keep it for your records.

2. Request an exit interview.
Getting feedback from your supervisor is the best way to end an internship. You have been learning this whole time, but an exit interview will really sum up your progress thus far. Take all criticism - positive and negative - and apply it for self-development!

3. Give much thanks.
Be grateful for this opportunity! Reach out to any staff you worked with or enjoyed talking to. It's important to let your supervisor know that you were glad to have been a part of the team, even for a short amount of time. If you found anything your supervisor did beneficial, tell them! This may encourage him or her to aid future interns in the same way, and improve the internship program.

4. Reflect. 
How do you feel? Was it beneficial? Did you learn anything? Chances are, you surely learned something, and even if you thought you didn't enjoy the program this whole time, you can most likely take something away from the office environment. Interning allows you to test out what industries, positions, and office atmosphere is best for you - consider that once you complete the program.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Catalonia Needs PR for Independence

Yesterday, on November 9, over 2 million Catalan people in Spain's Catalonia region voted on whether the region should be independent from Spain. According to the volunteer group who organized the vote, over 80% of voters said that yes, Catalonia should be independent. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and site of most of the voting. The Spanish government had previously declared the vote illegal, and currently dismisses it as propaganda. Whether or not you agree that Catalonia should be independent, it is obvious that both sides need to engage in more widespread public relations to accomplish their goals.

Having spent this last summer interning in Barcelona, I can tell you that most native Catalan people do not like the rest of Spain. I was there during the World Cup; the Spanish national team consisted of players from all parts of Spain, even Catalonia. However, people in Barcelona would refuse to watch Spain play in the World Cup, because they didn't support the country and viewed Catalan players on the team as traitors. Hearing how vehemently opposed to Spain as a whole these people were, it was obvious that something needed to be done on a national scale. After the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's, Franco took power and specifically oppressed Catalonia and its people. The Catalan language was banned, the city of Barcelona became poorer and poorer, and the people were looked down on by the rest of Spain. Since then, things have gotten better, but many Catalan people still remember this time and resent the rest of Spain for it. The problem is that outside of Spain, nobody knows any of this, so no one understands why Catalonia wants independence so badly. Looking at the news today, articles about the independence vote hardly make the headlines on news sights, but if Catalonia really were to break away from Spain, that would be a huge deal. It would impact the entire world; even in minor ways such as every map everywhere needing to be updated. There would be an entire new country in the world. 

Catalan pro-independence activists waved a cardboard ballot box at a rally in Barcelona.

The people of Catalonia need to engage in PR aimed at the rest of the world, they need to tell their story of oppression, of how they've risen above where they were to become one of Spain's major economic regions. There is a real story to be told here, which needs to be heard 'round the world. 

What do you think Catalonia needs to do, or what does Spain need to do to keep Catalonia in the fold? Comment below, we'd love to hear from you.

Read this BBC article for more information: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29982960 

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a junior at Temple University and PRowl's Director of Finance. Follow Faiz on twitter @faizmand.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Political Branding and Its Influence On Voting


Earlier this week that time came around like clockwork – the polls were once again open to the public and Election Day commenced.

The months leading to the election, every candidate had his or her face plastered on our televisions through political advertisements and commercials; each contained a message, agenda and platform. Politicians are keen on using their “brand” in order to grow a connection with citizens and prospective voters…sound familiar? There’s a lot to learn from how election brands used their strategy to elect a winner.



 Early Bird Gets the Worm
A candidate who can instill their position and brand vision early on is more likely to gain a greater influence on the voters. No one wants to hear from a candidate that’s already been blasted by his opponent months into the campaign. Candidates who create a successful campaign brand focus on getting creative content on social media by promoting themselves in the community and build a strong support system where they know it’ll pay off.

Back to the Future
Throughout political history, campaign strategies have made it a point to grow with voters through the evolving media, the influence of their audience and the impulses of the election process. When we look back at past presidential elections, before Obama’s tweets and Reagan’s bumper stickers, the 1960’s race between Kennedy and Nixon called for politicians to take notice that a candidate’s brand isn’t just their ideologies but their way to the top.

Bleeding Red, White and Blue
Although we know logos and commercials aren’t foreign to campaign branding, the fervor to keep constant communication is the key to a powerful brand that can promote itself across a range of media outlets. We’ve all seen it. The aesthetically simple, bold lettered, navy and red layout that beckon each citizen to become a voter for a day. The strategy of a branding campaign is to win an election. No matter the personal politics, it’s an experience we all can be a part of. We choose a candidate that reflects our morals, beliefs, personality, and attitude…essentially we vote for their brand.

What appeals to you when seeing campaign ads?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Sarah Diomande. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Become a Critical Consumer



Many of us are bombarded with news from all sorts of media outlets each day, whether it is through email, online newspapers, blogs or even social media. The amount of news we are exposed to has rapidly increased in the past decade, allowing for the immediacy in which we receive our news. This creates a problem for many consumers when you have to decipher which information you are receiving is true and which is not. Often, many will take what they read at face value and believe that the information provided is true. If you are like me, you probably have a friend or two that will buy into an article that is false or satirical, such as a post from The Onion.  They then repost the article, allowing other people to believe it is true as well!



The truth is, media is often biased in one way or another. We need to remain educated about what is going on in the world and determine for ourselves whether or not we trust the source of the article. Below are a few tips that will help you think more critically about the information you are exposed to.

Check the source: Look at who the author is, because perhaps their background and position may cause them to be biased on certain subjects. You should also check to see the authors past works, including the subjects that they cover as well as whether or not they are credible.

Compare with articles from other news outlets: Check to see if the information provided has been verified by other news outlets. If the story appears in a number of credible news outlets, that can be a good indication that it is true!

Be an active consumer of information: The more you read, the more knowledge you will gain just by actively seeking out your news. As you consume more information, you will feel more comfortable determining whether or not it is credible!

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet: There is a funny commercial for State Farm that pokes fun at a consumer who believes everything they read on the internet is true. The man starts out by saying, “Where’d you hear that” and a woman responds, “The internet. They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” The man responds again, “Where’d you hear that?” and the woman responds, “The internet.”

This commercial illustrates that the average media consumer tends to believe everything they read, just because it is on the internet! Also, in a humorous way, illustrates that not everything you read on the internet is true. It turns out that the supermodel the woman was going on a blind date with does not resemble a model at all.

Always, always, always, think critically about what you are reading! Don’t forget to spread the word on the importance of being a critical consumer of information, so that others don’t get caught in the trap. Do you have any other tips to add? We would love to hear them in the comments section! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kaitlyn Mashack.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's Weird That I'm Professional?

Because the public relations industry is slowly becoming synonymous with social media, we've been asked to "grow up" a little faster than our peers might have to. Our Twitter accounts have been spotless for years and Facebooks wiped clean, while our friends still post drinking pictures every weekend. I'll be the first to admit that it can be a bit frustrating having to censor myself online. You can attempt to have two profiles (one personal, one professional) but from my own experience, it became taxing and one profile always suffered more than the other. However, I try to look at it as an opportunity to write more creatively. Sure, there's probably an easier (and more profane) way to get your point across, but where's the challenge in that? At the heart of our job we're creative writers, so coming up with a bio sans #IWokeUpLikeThis shouldn't be that hard.


While you may gawk at the things your friends post online, they may equally be questioning you and your decision to not allow certain things on your profile. I'm sure you have all had the awkward or uncomfortable experience of having to ask your friend to un-tag you in a compromising photo or to refrain from using curse words in your comments. They look at you as if you had just asked them to give you their first child.

My purpose in writing about this is two-fold. First, I wanted you to know that you're not alone. Again, because of the profession we've chosen, we're required to mature a little faster in the way we present ourselves online -- and that's alright. In fact, I'm grateful for it. That brings me to my next purpose: to let you know that being a "grandma" or "grandpa" online is okay! I've realized that outside of our little public relations bubble there are still tons of students who either just started to create a LinkedIn profile or still aren't even aware of its importance. We all have friends that still think it's okay to say whatever they want because it's their profile, but luckily we know better. We don't have to learn the hard way by not snagging our dream job. We learned about the importance of online decorum the easy, by reading the PRowl blog of course!

So keep participating in your Twitter chats on personal branding, taking headshots for your LinkedIn, and blocking people on Facebook. Your friends may look at you a bit funny, but you'll also make employers take a second look.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Traditional vs. Digital: Why You Shouldn't Choose One

Digital seems to be the newest and greatest thing in communication in the last twenty years. It’s like a shiny new toy that everyone has to have and can’t think of anything else. In the industry’s great excitement over digital, they've nearly completely forgotten about traditional media and the value they hold. But PR pros don’t have to choose between either digital or traditional because the most effective communication campaign engages its audience using a mix of both.

Pros of Print
  • It’s an experience. Studies have proven that print material creates a sensory experience for readers as they thumb through pages or write out notes. They’re also more likely to remember information they read in print through this physical interaction compared to reading it on screen.
  • Print permanence. Longevity may not be your first thought when you think of print but readers tend to revisit printed material even after they’ve read it. This allows your message to get across time after time.
  • Credibility. People generally tend to believe the written word so there’s a level of credibility that comes with print. A message seems more legitimate to readers when it is presented in print as opposed to online.

Pros of Digital
  • It’s timely. Digital allows you to share your message instantly. This way, your content can stay current and up to date. Possibly the best example of the power of being timely is Oreo’s notorious Super Bowl blackout Tweet
  • Highly interactive. Digital allows for interactivity with a target audience in a way print could never achieve. Readers can comment, share and engage with others bringing the experience to a whole new level.
  • Available analytics. With digital, it’s simple to track who is reading your content, how long they’re on your page and even if they share it. Having access to this information will allow you to better target your content in the future.

You’re able to reach your target audience in a number of ways by using both media.  Creating a balance in your message with a marriage of traditional and digital media is the ideal way to create an effective public relations campaign.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Job Hunt: Understanding Office Culture

Whether you're a senior gearing up to begin the infamous job hunt or a current student seeking out the perfect internship to hone your skills, there are so many factors which must be considered. Which city would you like to work in? Are you more interested in social media or media relations? How many hours can you really bear to put in each work week? All of these questions are important, but one that is often overlooked is: what kind of culture do I want in the workplace?

Workplace culture is a huge factor in what will become your overall work experience. More than clocking hours and crunching deadlines, your job will be filled with different people who all come together to create the environment in which it all happens. Your job is more than the whole of what your company produces, but rather the sum of the individual parts which build a company culture.

The best way to learn and understand what an office's culture is like is by researching materials produced by them, and materials produced about them. This helps you gain two perspectives and create an unbiased opinion about what working there may really be like. Start on the company's website, reviewing their mission statement, any press releases or media material they've made available, and bios of employees. Take the next step, and reach out to your own personal network to see if you can get a first hand account of the office culture. Your old boss or classmate may have either worked for or with that company, and may be able to provide helpful insights.

If you're still unsure if the office culture would be a good fit for you, informational interviews give you the chance to grab information right from the source. Ask questions like:

- Do the employees here often work late into the night, or leave at the end of the regular work day?
- Does the company support employees working from home?
- How do members of the organization interact with each other during the workday?
- How do the different roles in the organization come together to support each other?
- What sets this organization apart from others in the industry?
- What keeps you committed to this company?
- What is the dress code in the office?

These questions give you insights into what happens beyond the services that the organization produces. Experiencing different office settings will help you determine which aspects of office culture you like and dislike. Would you rather work in an office where the dress is casual, or where there are strict guidelines regarding dress code? Experiencing both of these settings will help you determine an answer truly right for you and your interests.

Do you consider office culture when applying for jobs or internships? Share your own experiences below in the comments section!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fake It 'till You Make It

"Fake it till you make it" might be a phrase you've heard in many places before, not just within the realm of communications. But, especially after my experiences last night, I've come to believe in its power as a way to get things done; to cut through all the proverbial red-tape and accomplish something. Or, in my case, defuse tired and irritated people and stop them from choosing me as the target of their frustration.

Last night, President Barack Obama came to the Liacouras Center at Temple University in support of Tom Wolf's campaign for the office of governor of Pennsylvania. President Obama's visit was not widely publicized, it was more of a word-of-mouth event, but regardless, the arena was completely filled. I was asked to help at the main entrance, to direct people to their seat section depending on their ticket color. Because President Obama was going to be there, the Secret Service had been at the Liacouras Center all day, making sure it was safe. For everyone entering, the Secret Service checked their bags and electronics, and passed them through a metal detector and then did a quick scan with the wand. For every single person entering. Over 5000 people. It took over 2 hours to get everyone in and seated. As you might imagine, the Secret Service was primarily composed of men in suits and ties.

Because we do not have Liacouras Center uniforms, we were asked to dress business formal for this event, so naturally I wore a suit, and a blue tie. As it so happened, most of the Secret Service agents had blue ties as well. And 'naturally,' I was mistaken for a member of the Secret Service by more than a few people entering into the arena. I myself didn't catch on until a family walked in, I directed them to their section, and the father stopped and asked me, "Are you carrying a gun?," gesturing at actual Secret Service agents. I had no idea how to respond, so I gave a weak smile, nodded noncommittally, and thankfully he walked away. I turned to the girl I was working with, who confirmed that I could in fact pass for one of the agents walking around. Deciding that being mistaken for the Secret Service was probably a compliment, I proceeded to use this misconception to my advantage. A few minutes later, a small group of older women walked in and asked where they could sit. I let them know which section was currently open, but they didn't like my answer, and started getting nasty, talking about how long they'd had to wait and that they deserved front row seats. I thought about how a Secret Service agent might respond, and told them that if they didn't calm down I'd have them escorted out. This seemed to work, or at least got them off my case. Beyond that, it never came up again, and I was able to watch and enjoy President Obama's speech at the end of the night.

Even at the PRSSA National Conference, speakers and presenters told us to fake it until you make it. Almost always, if you convincingly act like you know what you're doing, no one will question you, thereby giving you the time to figure out what it is you're supposed to be doing. In PR, this can be essential, especially at a new job or when a crisis starts to flare up.

Do you have any thoughts on what to do when you aren't sure? Tell us in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a junior at Temple University and the Director of Finance for PRowl Public Relations. Follow him on Twitter @faizmand