The Public Relations Papers

Because sometimes you just don't have a choice.

09 November, 2006

KC PRSSA Day


Last Friday, just like several other of my classmates, I attended the Kansas City PRSSA day at the Downtown Public Library in Kansas City, Mo. Throughout the course of the day, I saw many interesting things (including an alcohol-riddled homeless man who wandered up to our floor as lunch was being served), and experienced many interesting things (such as the importance of getting your parking ticket validated.) But more importantly, I gathered several very valuable tips related to public relations from some of Kansas City’s most respected PR practitioners and members of the media.

One of the most important things I took away from the event was the importance of being a creative, effective and well-rounded writer. Actually, that theme was pounded into my brain so hard that the overflow was dripping from my ears by the end of the day. It seems that lately whenever I hear people talking about public relations, they tend to like everything BUT the writing aspect of it. Many people seem to like the idea of what public relations practitioners do, but turn a blind eye to many of its realities. These people love the idea of putting together a party, but cringe at the thought of picking up a pen.

Bob Inderman, this year’s GKC PRSA Professional of the Year, talked at length about how different types of writing may be required at times. For example, Inderman shared a story about how he was once asked to write a poem for a client. In another instance, he had to put together a corporate book in only a matter of weeks. These tasks require much more than just the ability to call caterers for an event. Effective and creative writing is the soul of public relations, and without it, your communications career may be short-lived. Dull, flawed and unpersuasive writing is a sure-fire way to put a halt to your climb up the career ladder.

Other notable things I learned at the conference:
-Dealing with newspaper editors and reporters
-Not hesitating to accept assignments
-Conducting background research

Other than the awkward encounter with the homeless man at the sandwich table, the event was very informative, entertaining and inspiring. It has since driven me to pursue more creative writing and English courses, as I hope to further expand my abilities more diverse areas of writing.

02 November, 2006

Corporate Logos


A recent article from Brandweek described how corporate logos are no longer set in stone, and are beginning to be modified more and more these days. I find it amazing how what used to be image taboo is now an industry trend. But apparently, consumers don’t really seem to mind the subtle changes.

Several examples of logo changers include GAP, Snickers and Perrier bottled water. GAP, which is well known for its traditional blue and white logo, is currently opting for red, in response to Bono’s Africa charity work. Snickers and Perrier are going for only slight modifications in certain ads, using certain words in their respective, unique fonts.

So what is the appeal of these updated and revised logos? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. But there is no evidence as of yet that says that consumers are opposed to them. Maybe these companies feel the need to change with the times, and to stay updated in a world that is changing at a faster pace than ever.

But in GAP’s case, they have adopted a modified logo in the name of charity. And Bono. I feel that the charitable, extrinsic motivation for the change will resonate well with the GAP consumers, and it will ultimately pay off for them. As for Snickers and Perrier, how knows. I don’t really see this as anything Earth shattering, but it’s something to think about. We may start to see logos change more and more often.

27 October, 2006

E-Newslettering

This post may seem like a ramble, so I'll spout off on E-Newsletters for a minute. Sadly, time constraints keep me from going too in depth this week.

E-Newsletters are everywhere. Literally. They flood inboxes across the world. Each one hoping to garner publicity and educate an audience. But how are they most affective? One word: Wait, Two: Persistence and HTML.

If an organization, company or group constantly sends its audience updated, useful information, that message and the company's message is pounded into its audience's heads. Weekly newsletters do this best, by keeping people informed, but at the same time not being too intrusive or annoying.

After viewing several E-Newsletters this week, I have come to the conclusion that HTML is really the only way to go. They look the most professional, and are the most appealing. For our assignment, we're working with text-only newsletters. They work out well for those who don't have access to HTML, but I believe that HTML should almost always be used otherwise. That's it for now, I'll try to add more later on.

18 October, 2006

Disney Dieting?



Effective immediately, Winnie the Pooh will no longer be allowed to have his paw buried in his bottomless pot of honey. Unless, of course, that honey is sweetened with Splenda, and its calories and saturated fat are limited.

In an effort to trim down its sugary image, Disney is no longer allowing its characters to promote unhealthy or fatty foods. This includes the food that Disney sells at its resorts and theme parks. An article from the Media Daily News describes how many media outlets are taking heat for letting children’s characters advertise unhealthy food. The article goes on to say that, "Disney will be providing healthier options for families that seek them, whether at our parks or through our broad array of licensed foods," said Disney President-CEO Robert Iger. "The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want, and parents will feel good about giving them."

So what effect will this ban have on Disney? My guess is not a whole lot. When I think of foods that Disney characters promote, nothing strikes me as being absurdly unhealthy or dangerous to public health. Honestly, I can’t even think of specific foods that Disney characters promote. If Disney turns a larger profit because of this move, it won’t be because they are putting their characters on heads of lettuce and carrot sticks. It will be because the public sees them as taking a proactive stance on fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, etc.

As for Disney theme park’s cutback on unhealthy foods: come on. People visit those parks to have a good time and enjoy food with their families. Not to labor through vigorous workouts while chugging protein shakes and eating stale granola bars. Is this a good idea? Of course, and it will probably turn out all right in the end. But sooner or later, people will start asking, “how far is too far?”