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I stumbled across photos of a man doing extraordinary sidewalk chalk art… the perception was remarkable and the dimensions trick the eyes of even the most skilled of artists…  Someone could spend hours studying the lines and beauty of this unconventional art form, and I was well on my way before I asked myself…. Why the heck aren’t PR and and advertising professionals doing more stuff like this?!

We are in an era in which mass communication has become progressive to the extreme.  Online marketing strategies, SEO, social media, the blogosphere, motion graphics… the list could go on forever.  Communication is at its peak with the countless opportunities available for research and reaching out.  With professionals examining ways to maximize a campaign or company’s potential, the unlimited resources that the digital world offers in terms of strategic planning seemingly swallow the more tangible marketing methods that sometimes tend to go overlooked.

Any professional, PR or not, knows that digital media is, more often than not, the root medium of promotional success.  Skills and mastery in the digital realm are no doubt a necessity for communicators, but more could be said for methodology that centers less on web-oriented aspects in advertising and PR.  The lesson is not just to utilize out-of-the-box methods like this http://www.thegreenhead.com/2005/06/amazing-sidewalk-art-by-julian-beever.php  But, although the artwork is fantastic, which is why I felt compelled to write it into today’s piece, the pictures reveal a story and message that communicators know all to well.

New perception of things you can touch in life opens the floodgates to new dimensions of thought.

It never becomes less amazing that the simple manipulation of every day objects, circumstances and small details often taken for granted can become a wonderland of creativity and imagination. People want things to surround them, rather than just reading or seeing, and people want to interact with their surroundings. It’s the same question of why people go to Disney World to be surrounded by the things they’ve seen in movies and on TV rather than just watching the movie or wearing the merchandise.  It moves you because it’s reality, because it’s all around you.  I observe advertising and media professionals spend time trying to make the digital media space more interactive, which is incredible and exceedingly beneficial, but perhaps we are sometimes forgetting that life doesn’t primarily occur online.  Shouldn’t the ratio of what people experience online to what they experience in their surroundings be relative to the ratio of advertising and media that is experienced online versus in surroundings? Non-web PR methodology may sound eccentric and unconventional, but consider this:  Have we comfortably adopted the digital media space as our primary source of communication, leaving other sources predominantly in the dust?  Are we overly bundling advertising with the tools the digital age offers?  PR practitioners are normally the “dive in” types, being in one of the most quickly evolving career fields there is, but keep in mind there are many lakes.  

Job searching is really a lot more than just getting yourself noticed.  It’s a lot more than connections or just wanting a job really bad.  It’s about trial and error, innovation, experience and many times, luck.  I have been on the job hunt for almost two months now, and I have read so many articles about the best way to go about your job search, proper applicant etiquette, the best and worst things to do and say to recruiters… The truth is, there are general guidelines and obvious answers to questions about your job search, but there is no how-to book on the perfect way to get a job.

Recruiters often are looking and asking for completely different things so you have to be cautious and re-read requirements, review your submissions and really get a feel for what they are expecting of you.  You can apply to two different companies for the same general job, but one may think it’s a turn-off to call for a follow-up, and another may not even consider you unless you call for a follow-up… You must cater to each inidividual company’s needs.  You have to fill out their forms, apply in their ways.  Think of it as the first task of your new job, and then you will be on the right track to applying the right way.  We all wish that there was just one form you had to fill out that could apply to all jobs, but it’s not the case, and for good reason.  Don’t get weeded out of becoming a true candidate because of your frustration.  Online applications are tedious, but don’t give up!

Most advisors will tell you that job applications are all online now.  You don’t need to go into places to market yourself and drop off your resume, and all the seemingly old-fashioned ways of getting jobs.  But, is that really true?  I see that, with the numerous applications that recruiters receive online, often they will never ever get to yours.  They may even fill the position before they even look at yours.  Could it be true that sometimes you have to shove your foot in the door, literally?  I think that the job process will favor going back to face-to-face.  Recruiters assume that you have web skills now, but do you have the people skills? Are you approachable?  So much more can be told from handing in a resume than what the extensive online applications have to offer, not to mention, your face, demeanor, confidence, etc. will more likely be etched in someone’s memory.  Think about it.  “Mary Jo was here today, she came to follow-up on her online application and submit a hard copy of her resume and portfolio pieces…” Doesn’t that sound better than, “This person that applied on Zoom apps seems to have a good resume, her name is Mary Jo, want to consider her?”  Tell me what you think.

In the public relations profession, social media sites are used to market clients, products and organizations, and revolutionary platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have served as a successful tool in two-way communication.  Clients and organizations can receive instant feedback on themselves and their products, which really is the perfect method for understanding your audience in modern society.  But, how do they feel about social media? With users tripling and quadrupling exponentially, it seems as if users are very interested in social media as well.  Social media perhaps brings people a sense of relaxation and gives them an escape from reality.  But, does it really? I’m not convinced.  Social media, although addicting, is crafted in such a way that people are bound to get their feelings hurt or feel deeply dissatisfied with their own lives or their social status. The perfectly photoshopped photos and friends’ posts about only the best things that are happening in their lives in addition to the unrestricted exposure to people’s opinions about your own posts, which are often times postive, could sometimes provide for a  negative experience.

I recently read an article about the effects of social media on self esteem, and it turns out my theory may not be so far off.

In the article, a woman describes her daily life with how much time she devotes to social media sites.  She described her fascination with observing her friends’ statuses and the statuses of people who are loosely considered friends.  She discussed the types of things she looked at such as the newlywed with a house in the Hamptons, her friends’ extravagant vacations, products she can’t afford, and she compared these things to what she was doing, which was painting her toenails. She found herself out of touch with her own life and reality.  She vowed to cease social media use and learned that social media indeed made her feel like crap.

How in the world can PR professionals counter or take an advantage from this?

It is important to know how the tools we use for success play a role in our consumers’ lives.  With knowledge of the function of social media and social networking, we can better serve our consumers by developing new ways to listen and reach out to our markets.  Reforming campaigns to encompass reality, and encouragement to “DO” instead of just look-at possibly could be a win-win… What are your suggestions?

Article referenced: (http://www.nourishing-the-soul.com/2010/09/social-networking-self-esteem/)

Social media sites are revolutionary in the world of PR and so beneficial for understanding public perception.  Everyone can express their thoughts and views, compiled on just a few sites that are easily accessible to anyone.  It is social freedom. With several privacy options and proper security, social networking is safe, effective for sending or gaging messages, and endless in the opportunities it provides for realtime multi-way communication. But, all good things come with flaws.  The better the thing, the bigger the flaw many times.  The worst thing that could happen is to have something associated with social media that contradicts the values of its users and its purpose.  That is exactly what happened to Facebook.

Facebook, priding itself in being one of the first and few safe and secure social networking sites, must have been surprised when a wave of pornographic material hit users’ newsfeeds worldwide.  The spam stayed online, available for viewing to millions of users including children, for 24 hours before it was controlled.  It was a social media nightmare.  With the network live and open to people of all ages around the world, fixing the problem quickly as well as addressing in a perfect way is completely necessary to fight an attack like that.  Facebook did a great job in fixing the technical problem and addressing the media, especially with the emphasis that it didn’t pose the nature of the usual attacks, but the corporate giant hasn’t done much in the way of reinforcing the public’s sense of security.

Because they addressed the media more than their own users, it sure seems like they care much more about their image than they do their customers.  This is something to be careful of, especially from a PR standpoint.  Perhaps, it would benefit Facebook to address their users in a personal manner, apologizing and explaining in plain terms what happened, how they fixed, and what they have done and what their users can do to prevent it from happening again.

To see more news on this subject, visit http://www.scmagazineus.com/facebook-identifies-porn-spam-perpetrators/article/217132/

 

Most sources say that Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries took the perfect opportunity for their not-enough-time-to-be-anticipated publicity stunt when they got married on August 20, but did the nationally televised, multi-million dollar, royal caliber union followed by a sudden and predictable split really enhance the public’s perception of Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries or the rest of the Kardashian family?

It definitely sparked public interest, but I don’t think it was what the Kardashians had in mind in furthering their family empire. With a little more than $10 million spent on the wedding and divorce combined and an income of $17.9 million from the rights to the ceremony footage, the couple earned a total profit of $7.9 million.

Does this amount of money make up for the national criticism and embarrassment? Who knows, but with all the buzz about “defiling the sanctity of marriage” as reported by several sources including NBC’s article: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Gay-Marriage-Advocates-Slam-Kardashian-Sanctity-Of-Marriage-133114028.html and CNN’s article: http://www.10news.com/entertainment/29678491/detail.html, Kim Kardashian can be sure that her reputation along with the rest of the family are more than in jeopardy.

The Kardashian family, in their show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” convey a set of more or less established moral and ethical values that resonate with the young, modern American public. Family members are shown dealing with day-to-day issues, working hard and actively learning life lessons in the public eye. Although the show has earned its success, the respected values the family has worked hard to maintain are severed with the rise and uncloaking of national issues such as gay marriage upon Kim Kardashian’s highly publicized divorce. As usual Kris Jenner is at work doing crisis management, but one mother who has earned her family’s money through feeding off their tv viewers and followers can’t do much against the LGBT community and the modern national issues revived. The LGBT community is very passionate and widely followed, growing in number every day. Once something is out there, the damage is done, and if anyone should be doing crisis management, it should be Kim. Perhaps the best thing to do is to take a break from the public eye until the issue is forgotten.

Yes, it’s an oxymoron, but it’s TRUE! Public relations practitioners are aware that they are largely responsible for how the public perceives societal fault lines such as class, race and poverty, but they aren’t always sensitive to the subtle ways that lead people to think of specific divisions of these groups are certain way, and group them together.  For instance, African Americans are not the only racial group that are poor, but if you follow the media, you wouldn’t gather that there are sometimes more Caucasian poor in a city than any other race.  Same goes for crime and class.  People make assumptions very easily especially when it comes to communication because it’s provided for you and you don’t have to think about it… it’s right there in front of you with pictures and all! Media presentation of the poor affects the public’s perception and causes racialization when the accurate statistics are misrepresented in news photos.

How can we fix this problem? Public relations professionals makes their career out of creating brochures, newsletters, pitches, news stories, press releases, media kits, videos, speeches, campaigns, and more we haven’t even touched! With all of this knowledge and training of how to make media products, we can use our skills to be more culturally sensitive and be even more accurate.  Seeing previous brochures and newsletters that misrepresent the poor allow us to understand how to be more culturally sensitive.  We can demonstrate socially relevant knowledge by giving accurate depictions of poverty in our media product photos to help avoid racialization. These things may be really obvious, but there’s a fine line between accuracy and inaccuracy-making it an even finer line when it comes to how the public perceives things.

There are many factors that influence the way someone perceives something.  The success of your organization could be at risk due to factors ranging from the way you pitch your organization to the way you spell. Here, I want to focus on the psychological effects that spelling and word meaning can have on someone.

In grammar usage when writing in the public relations field, you have to be aware of spelling consistency.  First of all, you CANNOT have errors, and just as importantly, when using words that have more than one spelling, you should choose carefully which spelling to use according to your target public, and stick to that spelling for anything you write for your organization.  You also have to be aware of what meanings your words carry.  There are two different types of meaning: cognitive and emotive.  Cognitive meanings are typically safe when used correctly because they are information-based and only hold a factual meaning.  Emotive meanings, however, can result in positive or negative feedback and give off mixed meanings.  We shouldn’t avoid them, but just be careful and sensitive to how they can affect you or your organization.  Even the use of the word “freedom” could be interpreted differently and send a false message.  You don’t want someone to claim you have false advertising, or in some cases get sued just because you didn’t use the most accurate word.  Additionally, not all words mean the same thing to everyone.  Maintaining cultural sensitivity, which I believe all public relations practitioners should research before entering a job or project, is imperative for all types of communication.  You do NOT want to send the wrong message, especially with your job at stake and even greater, the future of your organization at stake.