Thoughts on Black Friday Events

I heard on the news this morning that a woman actually pepper sprayed other customers during a Black Friday sale at Walmart in LA. Authorities said the woman was trying to keep others away from the merchandise she wanted to purchase. She left 20 shoppers with minor injuries from the spray. It’s nice the stores want customers to get good deals but at what costs? Missing Thanksgiving dinner and family time because they were camping out to be the first inside the door?

This was the first year that many stores, including ones in the local malls, opened their doors at 12:00 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving. This would mean that employees working that shift, would have to be there before Thanksgiving Day was even officially over. I used to work in the retail world and if I was that associate that had to come in at that time I would be pretty upset. With that shift starting at midnight I wonder what time employees had to get to sleep that afternoon in order to be prepared for the madness of the event? Wouldn’t retailers consider that this could cut into their employees family time, which that is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about, isn’t it?

After thinking of this, I got to thinking of all the college students that work in their college town area but are originally from hours away. How did they have to spend their Thanksgiving break? Did they even get to go home in all the madness over Black Friday? if not then I hope employers at least gave some extra incentives to work those hours or with those out of control shoppers like raises or some kind of benefits.

On a brighter note, I was happy to see the Target Black Friday commercials were back. The crazy Christmas “champ” that was in it to “win” has 12 new spots this year. I think these commercials are honest and hilarious. They do the job of allowing customers to know about the 2 day sale but also to warn them of the crazy customers, like the woman in the commercials, that might be around when they do go Black Friday shopping. You should check out the videos on youtube. com or adage.com!

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Chapter 19: Success Measurement

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 19 discusses the importance of measuring success. There are many reasons why you should measure success and it’s importance listed in the book. Some of the reasons the reading lists are to document if PR efforts actually achieved objectives, apply lessons learned to future PR efforts, to demonstrate the practitioners are actually doing their jobs, and show the impact PR had on the organization.

The book goes on to discuss how important it is to first have the management and PR professionals agree on criteria that is used to evaluate. This can make a big difference on how you structure your campaign. It also makes readers aware that they shouldnt wait until the last minute or the end of the campaign to determine how successs will be evaluated. Another good thing  to remember when thinking about measuring success is to ensure your objectives are not vague.

There are many ways to evaluate and measure success of a campaign. One of the ways is to focus on the measurement of production and distribution. This method focuses on the number of news releases, feature stories, photos, etc. that were produced for the campaign. This is not a great method always because it lacks meaning. Instead of focusing on quality of materials produced, this method focuses on quantity.

The most common way to evaluate PR programs is to measure the message exposure. This is a compilation of print stories, broadcast mentions, and number of visitors to websites. Many use the media mentions to evaluate success but today it is becoming more relevant to know who is being reached by the message and what they are doing once they are reached.

The book lists many ways to play “the numbers game” when measuring success of campaigns such as media impressions and advertising value equivalency. These are important but now there are more systematic content analysis that can be done thanks to computer and various software programs known as systematic tracking systems.

Measuring audience awareness is important when evaluating PR success. This can be done using surveys asking audience what they remembered about the message. Measuring audience attitudes is extremely vital because it will decided if audience actually changed its attitudes and opinions. One way to do this is to conduct benchmark studies, which means to sample the opinions of the target audience before and after the campaign.

Measurement of action is also discussed in the book. While it is hard to accomplish this it is easy to measure. By using sales figures, market share, or voting results one can see the results of measurement of action.

Once a campaign is over and you have finished with the evaluation stage, you need to report the results to the client. When you are reporting to your client you need to refer to the original plan and state what you accomplished under the categories of situation, audience, objectives, strategy, tactics, timing, and costs.

While chapter 18 and 19 in the book were important , I think the tactics are the most important part of any public relations campaign. These are the tangible materials that you decide to produce because it was the medium you decided best for the objectives. It is always good to go back and look at what other publications or materials might have accomplished your objectives differently. It is also good to remember what you could have done differently or better so you can make those changes for future campaigns. Since we spent a lot of the semester discussing types of tactics and how to produce materials, I think everyone would agree that is a huge part of all PR campaigns that everyone should take tactics seriously.

 

Stress Over GPA

This afternoon I was having a difficult time when dealing with stress of finals and final papers coming up. I was freaking out about what my final grades would be because I have worked hard all semester to achieve A’s and want to keep them but seem to be having a bit of trouble in one of my classes. I decided to take a research break and check out what was going on at PRdaily.com and I am glad I did because it turned out to be just what I needed at the moment.

I got onto the website and an article popped up titled, “Students the 9 things that matter more than GPA.” Wow, it was exactly what I was looking for. The article explains that while GPA is important and you should take your classes seriously, it will not be as useful as some people think without other important skills.

The article goes on to suggest there are other things that will be important and will matter when trying to find a job. Some of the things the article listed is knowing how you learn, applying theory to real life situations, time management, relevant personal experience, portfolios, the ability to give and receive feedback, presentation skills, writing skills, and your network.

I think all of these things are true and should be remembered by students when they are stressing over school and grades. I know this from experience because since I have started my internship I have learned so many things a classroom never taught me. With the hands on experience I have gained in my internship such as putting together a canned food drive and working with contests for promotions as well as sending out press releases via email, I have become familar with all the steps necessary that I wouldn’t have completely understood until being able to do them myself.

In my mass communication courses I have learned to handle constructive criticism and peer reviews of my work as well as give professional input of my own on classmates work. I have also learned this through working with my boss at my internship and realized that the first product usually has to undergo a lot of changes and edits before producing the perfect final one.

As I said before this was a great read and I suggest for other students who are feeling the stress of finals to read it as well.

 

Chapter 18: Program and Campaign Planning

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 18 is about planning and organizing campaigns. Throughout previous chapters the book discusses tactical aspects of public relations, this chapter focuses more on the campaign management and programming. An important thing to know before beginning the planning process is when making plans for a campaign it is important to make a written plan because it improves effectiveness overall. The campaign has a greater impact as well if utilizing a written plan.

In the stages of development the book suggests consulting with the client or management first. This gets them involved and gives you the basic information you will need to make your plan. The next thing one should do when planning a campaign is research. There is never enough information you can know about your subject. When researching there are various sources to utilize. One source the book mentions is surveys. These will make you more in tune with the target audiences attitudes and perceptions. Another good source to utilize is the organization itself. The organization can provide you with marketing research that has been conducted, it can also help you to understand why certain things have happened or how they have been done. Other resources the book lists are references, questions, analysis of communications, focus group interviews, media databases and demographics.

The book goes on to discuss the elements of the plan. In every PR plan there should be eight elements. These eight elements include situation, objectives, audience, strategy, tactics, timing, and budget. First the situation part of the plan. The situation refers to summarizing the organization’s relationships with it’s publics. This is where the PR professional should get an idea of why the program is needed and may be the most important aspect of the planning process since it is your job to ensure the campaign is necessary and a good thing to spend money on.

Objectives are the next part of the planning process. The book explains that the campaign may have many objectives if it is large enough or it may just have one. There are two basic kinds of objectives. Informational objectives increase awareness of an issue, event, or product. This can be harder to measure than the other kind of objectives which are motivational objectives. Motivational objectives are meant to change attitudes and opinions with the idea of modifying behavior. These are more bottom line oriented.

The next part of the plan is the audience. It is vital to know the audiences and that there are primary and secondary audiences to consider. The book then goes on to explain the strategy part of the campaign. This relates to what the campaign will be based on and keyed directly to the objective. Strategy should reflect audience key interests and key selling proposition.

The fifth element in the plan is tactics. This is the actual execution of and materials produced in the campaign. Timing is the sixth element and all campaigns should be done in a timely manner relative to what is going on surrounding the campaign. Another important element of planning a campaign is the budget. There are staff expenses to be familiar with as well as out of pocket. The eighth and final element of the PR planning process is evaluation. Did you meet your objectives? A good way to find this out when using informational objectives is to conduct before and after surveys. For motivational objectives a way to figure out if you met your goals is to see if there is an increase in sales since the campaign began.

Chapter 18 was really important because it taught students and those who read it that there are more than just tactical aspects to the PR career. There must always be a plan first and reasoning behind the types of tactics you are using. Planning takes a lot of time and I now know how important a well written and though out plan is in advance before tactics. Now I know when I am in my profession the written plan is extremely important to utilize and should always be thought of when conducting campaigns.

 

 

 

 

Penn State Scandal

Since the unraveling of the Penn State scandal many brands have been scared off just like they were after the Tiger Woods incident and other controversial incidents. Penn State’s former defensive coordinator, who left the team in 1999, is facing charges that he abused eight boys as young as 10 years old in his own home and at the teams locker room showers. The abuse dates back as far as 1996 and the defensive coordinator has been under investigation since 2008. He allegedly recruited victims through a charity organization he founded known as “Second Mile.”  Once the charity found out he was under investigation in 2008 they cut off all contact between him and the children.

As if this wasn’t bad enough for the university, two other coaches are accused of covering up the incidents for years. They apparently were aware of what was going on and said nothing to officials to try to stop it.

Liberty Mutual pulled its banner ads supporting the sponsorship for coach of the year awards from the website and other team fan sites. Cars.com also steered clear from their ads being associated with the team when they decided to pull ads from ESPN’s coverage of their game against Nebraska.

According to ABC News, in contrast, Nike, Chevy, John Deere, and American Red Cross have said they are not going to be ending partnership with the universities athletics.

It will be interesting to follow the story to see if more details unfold and more brands pull away from the team. In crisis situations it is important for companies and businesses to stay as far away from the negative publicity as possible. I think if I was a brand supporting the team I would be considering pulling away from the negative attention as well. Although your brand is not guilty of the crimes or scandal, it could hurt your reputation by being affiliated with the “bad guys,” and that is something that should always be remembered and considered.

penn state scandal has supporting brands scared

Penn State scandal

Chapter 17: Meetings and Events

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 17 is all about organizing, planning, and executing meetings and events. In the public relations profession it is often part of your job to plan events to help promote the business you work for or your client. Meetings and events, if done the right way, can do a lot for your clients reputation and image.

The book discusses staff meetings, group meetings, banquets, receptions, cocktail parties, open houses, plant tours, conventions, trade shows, and promotional events. I think banquets are very important to discuss because they are usually held to celebrate an event like a companies anniversary or to honor an individual within the company. They can also be utilized to raise money for charitable organizations.

When planning a banquet, budget costs are an important key consideration to remember. While special speakers at the banquet may help increase ticket sales it will also increase price of the event. Throughout entire process of planning a banquet you should always be considering your budget and what it allows for. Other important aspects besides speaker costs when considering budgets for banquets are menu types. Fixed menus are usually used for banquets to help maintain costs. As far as drinks go for the event, sometimes it is best to go through the location of the banquet but sometimes it is best to provide liquor yourselves or through other services. It all depends on the costs and if there will be a corkage fee for alcohol brought in by another party.

The book discusses short cocktail parties as well. Usually these are used to celebrate a milestone or a recent success. They can also be used to introduce new key employees or just for alumni gatherings. The important thing to remember about all cocktail parties is that they are mainly focused on interaction and not speeches. If there is some kind of speech given it should last a maximum of 5-10 minutes. While it is easy to begin a cocktail party, they aren’t always the easiest thing to end. The best way to conclude the cocktail party is to notify guests the bar will be closing in ten minutes and close the party once the bar is closed.

Open houses and plant tours are important when wishing to gain favorable public opinion about the organization. Open houses are usually one day affairs unless there is a large number of people planning to attend then it could be stretched out for two days. Plant tours on the other hand are usually offered regularly. An example I thought of when reading about plant tours are the tours given at Anheuser Busch brewery. Those are offered quite often and attract a large crowd to the facility. While a lot of people go on the tours at the brewery there are only so many allowed in the groups that they take at one time. This was mentioned in the book as a difference between plant tours and open houses. Open houses have a large amount of guests at one time and plant tours have less people in groups at one time. The main key considerations to remember when planning an open house are: day and hour, guests, and publicity and invitations.

I think all of the events are important to discuss in the book and it was a great chapter to read for students because events require a long and detailed planning process. I don’t think I realized how much work planning an event or meeting entailed until I had to help plan some events at my internship. The events I have helped to plan include company movie nights, in-house contests, and right now I am in the middle of putting on a canned food drive event. For the canned food drive event we have teamed up with Operation Food Search from November- December to help out the less fortunate. We have prepared flyers, sent out emails to employees, kept in touch with the Operation Food Search people, and included a company wide contest where winners will receive a gift card to Target for their contributions to the food drive. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of planning to conduct these things and I don’t think people are always aware of the time that goes into such events. This chapter definitely helps to explain the long process of organizing and hosting events.

 

Kardashian and Humphries call it quits after 72 days of marriage

As a loyal fan of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” someone who watched “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event” more than once I was shocked to hear the news of the divorce. After 72 days of marriage Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian have called it quits. Kardashian was seen filing for a divorce on Monday October 31, 2011. It is said their divorce is filed under grounds of  irreconcilable differences.

The extravagant wedding aired on television in early October and included more than 500 guests. Kris Jenner, mother of Kim Kardashian, has talked about the split on “The View” and NBC’s “Today” saying the wedding was not a sham for the cameras and neither was  the relationship.

Kardashian posted a blog telling her fans that her marriage was not a sham and that she feels terrible. She also said in the blog that she will be donating money from the gifts she received at the wedding to the Dream Foundation. She also acknowledged that she got caught up in everything and when she should have ended the relationship before the wedding she did not know how to. Kardashian’s sisters and family are sticking by her side through  this tough time and heartache.

Kardashian wishes to keep her divorce drama off tv and she does not plan to be on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” until 2012.

Kris Humphries has released a statement in shock of the news. He says he loves his wife and would do anything to make it work. A source has said that Humphries found out via internet about his divorce. He apparently knew they were going through a tough time but thought they could work it out.

Kardashian really wanted a family and babies. I feel really bad that her marriage ended up like this and I think that she deserves to find true love and happiness one day. I also don’t know what to believe if Humphries really had to find out online or if he is just saying that to look like a victim. To read more on the divorce here are some links I found interesting!

Kim blogs about the split

Kris Jenner Talks of Daughters Divorce

Kardashian divorce