My CCPR Experience

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Coming into this program, I had no idea what to expect. I left Brock University after only three years because I was craving to do some more with my life. I needed something more challenging and exciting.  Brock couldn’t offer me what I wanted and that’s when I stumbled upon Centennial College. After exploring the various programs, I knew corporate communications and public relations was the one for me. I took a leap of faith and declared to Brock I was graduating despite my parent’s concerns. Leaving a school I had invested three years of my life into was terrifying, but after one semester here, I am confident that it was the smartest decision I have ever made.

I remember my first day at Centennial being so overwhelming. I was intimidated by how much older everyone was compared to me. This program has been intense but very beneficial. I have learned more here than during my entire three years at Brock. All these new terms and what seemed like an entire new language was flooding my mind. It wasn’t until the agency presentation day that I knew what I wanted to do.

Hearing the presentations from Apex and Kaiser Lachance really spoke to me. The reason why I get so bored is because I am never challenged enough. In all my part-time jobs, and a Brock, I was bored. Hearing descriptions of the agency life turned a light bulb on in my brain. Some people might think I’m crazy for saying this, but I like a little chaos every now and again. I want to be challenged and have something new in front of me every day. I know I’m young but that is what is so wonderful. My mind is still so fresh and open to training. I might not have years and years of experience, but I do have the drive and the willingness it takes to work in an agency environment.

This program hasn’t just taught me things, it has shaped me. All my friends at Brock are still in their partying and careless phase. I want something more. Looking at their Facebook pages and Twitter pages shocks me now. I realize how detrimental these portals can be to securing a job or a field placement. What you say over the internet is permanent. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Leaning more about the social media platforms I thought I was a genius at has been very beneficial.

As a communicator, I’ve learned that I need to be more vocal with my ideas and thoughts. David Kaiser made me realize this when he said “there is no such thing as a stupid idea”. I know I’m young and I feel like that sometimes stop me from contributing ideas in fear that they will sound immature or silly.  This has been my biggest challenge. I’m not scared compete with other people, but I am terrified to compete with myself. I often shut down my own ideas before anyone else even gets a chance to hear them. I need to stop this and have more faith in myself. The program and all of the teachers have helped me realize this.

I have always been good working in groups but this course has really taught me how to deal with clashing personalities. Doug’s “yes and” strategy has come in handy more times than I thought possible. I’ve learned to try and mirror how my group members are feeling so we are all on the same page. At times, this has been challenging but I just tell myself to chalk it up to experience. Learning how to deal with different personalities can be challenging but in public relations it is very important.

This course has truly changed my outlook on things. When I read the news now, I’m not just reading it from an audience’s perspective. I am questioning what I read and challenging the methods they chose. I am constantly criticizing headlines and choice of words. I often find myself wondering how the company handled this issue or what went on behind the scenes. I am not just a naive reader anymore.

I know this sounds corny, but this program has helped me grow up. I’m slowly gaining more confidence in myself and am finding what I have a passion for. At Brock, I was simply just getting through my assignments. At Centennial, I am learning from them and appreciating them. I’m not just completing and essay for the sake of getting a good mark. I am learning real life lessons as I go. I have never felt so anxious and excited about school in my life. I know I am on the right path and I have only positive thoughts when I think about my future. I have found something I enjoy and not many people can say that at the ripe age of 21.

 

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Lululemon, the “butt” of every joke

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Last week, the popular retailer Lululemon had to recall a bunch of their popular yoga pants because they were too sheer. When people bent over in them, the materials stretched and let’s just say there was nothing left to the imagination.  

As amusing as this miss-hap seems, it took a huge toll on the company. The company could see around $50 million in revenue erased this year because of these sheer pants.

Lululemon has handled this horrible miss-hap by recalling all the pants and allowing customers to return the ones that they have purchased. Sounds like they’re slowly recovering right?….

 WRONG 

As if this PR crisis wasn’t bad enough for Lululemon, they decided that add another problem to their table. In order for customers to return their yoga pants, the employees had to determine if they were from the faulty batch so they asked customers to bend-over in them.

Can you say bend and snap!

Executive Officer Christine Day explained the reasoning for this awkward return policy.

“The truth of the matter is the only way you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over. Just putting the pants on themselves doesn’t solve the problem. It passed all of the basic metric tests and the hand-feel is relatively the same, so it was very difficult for the factories to isolate the issue, and it wasn’t until we got it in the store and started putting it on people that we could actually see the issue.”

So, if you find yourself in a Lululemon store and the employee is asking you to bend over, don’t be alarmed. It’s protocol right?………

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Should PR professionals have online accounts?

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We live in a world where online interaction has become more common than face-to-face interaction. Almost everyone we know has a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile. Communicating your thoughts to the public has never been easier. Sounds amazing right?

As great as being able to instantly post your opinions and thoughts is, it can also get you into trouble. Those drunk Facebook pictures you got tagged in on the day you called in “sick” to work or that angry tweet you posted about your psychology teacher can all be hazardous to your career. Today I will be focusing on the famous “wrong account” tweet. These happen more often that you would think and can lead to bad brand reputation or even getting fired.

The American Red Cross and KitchenAid are two prime reasons of how social media can hinder you and not help.

Around six weeks ago, the American Red Cross got into trouble with their corporate Twitter account when one of their employees sent out this tweet:

Clearly one of their employees tweeted from the Red Cross account thinking it was their personal account. This was their response:

Because the “wrong pipe” mistake is always that reaction and mitigation should be rational and reasonable. The American Red Cross handled it beautifully with humor.

The next twitter fail is KitchenAid. In a complete corporate Twitter fail, KitchenAid tweeted a joke about President Barack Oama’s dead grandmother during the presidential debate. Here is the tweet.

KitchenAid responded quickly with an immediate apology but the damage was already done. People responded very negatively to this tweet. Consumers Tweeted back saying they were throwing out their KitchenAid products and never shopping there again.

This is why people have to be extremely careful when using social media. It can be a great tool to communicate with different public, however, it can also destroy a brands reputation or stop you from getting a job if used incorrectly.

Drake’s “started from the bottom” set in Shoppers Drug Mart

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Shoppers Drug Mart was the set of the well-known Drake’s “started from the bottom” video. The video has multiple clips of Drake and is employees dancing and goofing off in the aisles of a Shoppers Drug Mart

In the video, Drake is hired as night manager in a series that is supposed to portray his journey to the top. Drake is in charge of two other employees who are more concerned with a customer’s boobs and butts than trying to be a good sales person.

Then, in the middle of their shift, the employees break out into some kind of choreographed dance in the dental care aisle. Clearly, hard-working employees…

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“Started from the bottom” took place last month at a store in Binbrook, Ont., on the southeast end of Hamilton. Hundreds of fans showed up at the location to show their support for Drake.

This “started form the bottom” video raised lots of questions about Shoppers. Tammy Smitham, the vice-president of communications at Shoppers, wrote back in response to the questions about whether the depiction of the store came as a surprise:

“Drake’s production team requested to film a portion of his newest music video in a Shoppers Drug Mart store as they wanted to depict something that was uniquely Canadian. We agreed to allow the filming to show our support of Drake as a Canadian artist.

“The scenes depicted in the video are fictional and we had no control over the content contained within. The story and concept were developed by Drake and the production team.

My question to Tammy is, “is this positive or negative PR for Shoppers”?

I understand that it’s exposure for the brand but the employees in the video are always slacking off and goofing around. Will it encourage people to shop there because Drake used to work there or will it turn people off because of the silly employees? What do you think?

Three amazing social PR campaigns

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As social media evolves PR must evolve with it. Most successful PR campaigns now have some form of social media in it. Here are three social campaigns that utilized social media in a successful way.

1) Healthy Choice: Pairing a Social Coupon with Blogger Outreach

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 Just like many brands, Healthy Choice wanted to increase their Facebook fan base.They wanted to have more engagement with their consumers and reinforce the brand’s mission, vision and values. They knew that Healthy Choice consumers were using social media and had an interest in coupons so they decided to combine the two. The brand introduced a progressive coupon on theirFacebook page. The coupon began at a low value ($0.75 off) and increased as people “liked” the page and signed up for the coupon, ultimately reaching a “buy-one-get-one-free” deal.

In as little as two weeks, their Facebook page grew from 6,800 to nearly 60,000 fans. and The progressive coupon campaign also generated significant trade coverage, including an article in Brandweek.

This was an extremely clever way to engage with their consumers and in return the consumers got something out of it. It’s a win-win situation.

2) The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel: Using Social to Share an Experience

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The Balsams grand resort hotel didn’t want to portray an image, they wanted to portray an experience to their customers. They came up with a clever idea to use social media as a way to convey this experience to people.

Balsams challenged vacationing fans to use social media to share their experience with the online world. This included pictures, tweets, videos, anything they wanted to put up. They got thousands of entries from all over the world. After narrowing it down to a few finalists, they let the online world vote to decide the winner.

The first “resorter” they had was a 23-year-old man named Martin Early. Early blogged and posted daily social media updates, photos and videos about the resort. The campaign was a hit, and the hotel saw a 20% increase in bookings in August.

This campaign was excellent. Not only did they encourage “resorters” to share their experience but they put trust in the online world by allowing them to pick the final winner of the contest. This creates a bond with your customers and they feel important. People also tend to trust the opinions of others more than someone who is working for the company. This could have been risky but worked perfectly for them.

3.KFC: The Power of a Single Tweet

KFC wanted to find a new way to use social media to their advantage to create buzz around the brand’s 75-scholarship, Colonel’s Scholars Program. They decided that this year they would give away their $20,000 scholarship based on a single tweet. This was difficult because students had to get their point across in only 140 character and the hastag #KFCScholar had to be included.

This scholarship campaign generated more than 1,000 media placements and millions of media impression. In total, more than 2,800 applicants tweeted in hopes of winning the scholarship. Within two weeks, the KFC Twitter handle jumped 20% in followers.

Here is the winning Tweet.

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 In the online world, it is important to remember that you cannot control everything. It might be risky to ask consumers to tweet about their experience but with big risks comes even bigger rewards. These three campaigns all used social media to their advantage and found creative ways to engage their audience.

Never be afraid to talk with your consumers and get them involved. As seen in these examples, it can help improve business.

How to be your own brand

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In the world of public relations, many people don’t realize the importance of becoming a brand. I don’t mean this in the sense of embodying your company’s goals and visions. I mean it in the sense that you as an individual are a unique brand.

How will you stand out in a crowd? How will you make yourself memorable?

How will you stand out in a crowd? How will you make yourself memorable?

As many of us eager students dream about graduation day and finding our dream job, there is one thing we often forget. How are we going to sell ourselves? The job search can be extremely competitive and we need to find that edge that sets us apart from other people. We need to be unique and memorable.

Today, I want to give you guys that secret edge. You need to BRAND yourself. All those unique quirks and funny habits you have USE THEM!

Employers will remember if you walk into that room and look like a brand. Create a business card, a portfolio, a brochure and be well put together. Follow the same colour schemes and stick with a similar flow. And please, please, PLEASE, dress appropriately. If I see one more girl walk into an interview in a club dress or a guy in a badly tailored suit I’m going to cry.

Try and think of a job interview or meeting a client as speed dating. The person sitting on the other side of the table is probably going to judge you within the first five minutes and then it’s GONG next person please. That first impression is crucial. Don’t be afraid to try new things and bend the rules a bit. People will remember you and find you exciting.

Well behaved women rarely make history” Marilyn Monroe

I don’t believe that luck or fate plays a role in where you go in life. I believe where you go is a direct reflection of how hard you work and what image you put forth. I’m not telling you this to sound superficial. I’m telling you this so that you can succeed.

Just like a product, every person is unique. You all have something different to offer to your employer you just need to showcase it. If you brand yourself in a way that is unforgettable, I guarantee you, you will land that dream job.

To learn more helpful tips on how to brand yourself click here

colours workshop

Throughout the “colours” workshop I learned a lot about myself. My parents, as I’m sure many of yours did too, raised me to believe I can do no wrong. In their eyes I am perfect. It was always “they’re just jealous of you” or “it’s their fault not yours” excuses. This workshop made me realized that I do have many weaknesses but also many strengths. I realized that I am the type of person who likes to go with the flow and I hate when people give me instructions. It was brought to my attention that I could benefit from a lot more structure and developing an organized system that will keep me on track. Sometimes, I try to keep everything in my head and this is when simple things can be overlooked or forgotten. I am very good at coming up with quick solutions and thinking on my feet but I realized that having a plan b is always important.

I was surprised that half the people in the workforce are “golds”. This was an eye opener for me because I realized that my potential employers need to see things written down and need to see things charted out step by step. This is where I can apply the critical paths and gantt charts I have learned in class. Preparation and list making, although very mundane and boring to me is one of the most important parts of a project. The more I practice them, the more confident I feel about my work and the ideas I bring to the table.

So far all of my group dynamics have been very positive and I believe it is because of the balance of colours we have. In my main groups, I have had me an orange and my teammates have been a blend of golds, oranges, and blues. With this combination, we are able to stay organized, come up with creative and fun ideas, and be able to take into consideration each other’s feelings. All of these aspects are important when working in a group environment.

I think it is healthy to have a group that embodies all the colours. You can’t place all oranges together because they will most likely get off topic and not finish the project. Nor can you have a group full of golds who always want to be in control and plan everything. You need a healthy balance. Someone to be the leader, someone to be the mediator and so on and so forth. To me I see it as science- opposites attract.

Ultimately, if an entire group embodied the same colour it would be very chaotic. Every colour functions in a different manor and it would be impossible to have a group with all orange skies or all blue oceans. Orange skies wouldn’t be able to sit in a boring room for too long and get work done and blue oceans would constantly be adapting to one another without making a definitive decision. In the end, all colours feed off of one another and this is what makes a project truly successful.

I like how Doug gave real life examples that were attached to each colour. He made every colour important and didn’t make anyone feel stupid. He communicated to us that in the work force we are going to run into multiple personalities and we need to know how to work with all of them to finish a project. You can’t control who you get as a partner but you can control how you communicate to them. And that is makes all the difference.

If this workshop was a movie I would rate it five out of five. It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school, college, or in the workforce, knowing these four colours can help you in any scenario. I think “colours” is beneficial for everyone to learn because it improves the way people communicate.

This workshop has not only taught me about myself, but about my peers as well. The yes and concept has been very helpful to me in group assignments. It allows for constructive criticism to build on someone else’s ideas without shutting them down completely.

Also, knowing which colours my classmates are makes a difference in the way I talk to them or approach them with ideas

Overall, this has taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t realize before. I am thankful for this because I know what I need to improve on and what my strengths are. I can feel more confident in the workforce knowing what I have to offer and what I personally need from other people to succeed.