Public relations professionals are handed many difficult tasks, yet sometimes the most difficult part of the job is explaining to people not in our field what we actually do. Our families and friends know that our career requires us to be at the office from 9-5, but what we do during those eight hours is a huge question mark to them. Here is a list of a few of the misconceptions of how we spend our time.
1. “Public relations is social media.” While it is a part of public relations, we don’t sit on Facebook and Twitter for hours on end. We may encounter it a few times during our day, but sometimes we aren’t even the ones in charge of it. While it may be a good excuse when snap chatting at the dinner table, we can’t tell mom we’re “working.”
2. “Public relations is advertising.” That billboard or commercial for our company? We didn’t have anything to do with it. Public relations is two-way communication whereas advertisements are one-way. We’re glad you saw it or thought it was cool, but we can’t take credit for it.
3. “Public relations is throwing parties.” Yes, a lot of times we have a hand in preparing for events, but it’s not our main focus, and it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. If we’re working an event, we aren’t chit chatting; we’re re-filling champagne glasses and responding to guests’ passive aggressive tweets about why it’s taking so long.
4. “Public relations is spin and manipulation.” One of the first things we learn in the Introduction to Public Relations course is the importance of transparency. Even if we did use it, with advanced technology and social media, any spin or manipulation would backfire. Try spinning Justin Bieber’s DUI or Lindsay Lohan’s various life choices in a positive way. It just wouldn’t work.
5. “Public relations is Samantha from ‘Sex and the City.’” That show is a poor representation of what public relations is, mostly because Samantha is never actually at work. While we might wish all we did was go to parties with celebrities while wearing fantastic designer outfits, this fantasy isn’t the case. Public relations encompasses much more and usually takes place in an office setting, not the hottest, new restaurant with Johnny Depp.
After explaining what public relations is not, it’s important to clarify what it actually is. According to the Public Relations Society of America, “public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This broad definition is perfect, since public relations encompasses a variety of things, but it is also hard for non-public relations folks to understand. So the next time people ask what it is you do, use this list as a guide to frame your explanation of what it is not.
By Lauren Vahldick
Since the turn of the millennium, the beauty industry has made several modifications to relate to real people, not man-made artificial creations. This “real beauty” trend is in response to the longtime standards of beauty conceptualized as unnatural, unrealistic and unhealthy for both men and women.
According to The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, only 2 percent of people worldwide describe themselves as beautiful. This statistic began a global conversation to uncover what is beautiful and why people think they are not.
The beauty industry needed public relations professionals to help recover its reputation. The work included destroying the old standard of beauty that media outlets have promoted in order to create the new image and increase self-esteem.
In the last 10 years, the global beauty industry has grown by 4.5 percent per year and continues to set historical records. From product innovation, organic industry growth and continued growth into the male population, the beauty industry continues to offer a diverse set of profitable franchising opportunities.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and Pantene’s “Sorry Not Sorry” campaign are two popular, positive self-image and self-esteem campaigns increasing global awareness. These successful works help people see themselves and others more positively, too. While Dove’s campaign is to see past the media’s standards of beauty, Pantene’s “Sorry Not Sorry” campaign teaches men and women how to feel more confident. It addresses how over-using the “S-O-R-R-Y” word can reduce credibility and can affect people psychologically by decreasing self-esteem and confidence.
The beauty industry has grown to be more than just a marketplace with new-age remedies and technology; today’s beauty industry offers insight on personal and mental education that improves men and women’s perspectives of themselves. The beauty industry is now a place that offers products and services rich in value and free of charge: knowledge and personal-confidence, the most attractive trends that will always be in-style.
By Ali Geary
Staying up-to-date on the news may seem intimidating or even an added task, especially when you are trying to take care of everything else on your plate. Staying in the know doesn’t take too much time and effort if you do it in a way compatible with your lifestyle. No one expects you to be an expert on the political climate of the Middle East, but it is expected that you have some idea of what is going on in the world in which you live.
Here are some tips to help you to stay informed:
1. Social Media
I know most of you are already on social media, so take a couple minutes and follow some news providers. For example, many news outlets have a Twitter handle. The next time you check your Twitter feed, be sure to follow some sources to get your dish of daily news.
2. The National Public Radio (NPR) phone app
The NPR phone app is a great way to stay in the know. You can use it to listen to news stories while you are getting ready in the morning, walking to class or waiting for class to start. One of my favorite ways to stay informed is by listening to the “Morning Edition” segment while I get ready in the morning.
3. Other phone apps
There are plenty of apps out there to help you stay in the know while on the go. Most of the big news apps will push updates on breaking news. The AP, CNN and USA Today apps are just some examples.
4. Two birds with one stone
Do not be afraid to multitask when it comes to the news. One of my favorite ways to do this is by watching “Anderson Cooper 360” during my evening treadmill time.
5. The Skimm
The Skimm is an email blast that goes out in the morning filled with what is going on in the world. It is designed to be easy to read and understand. The Skimm is geared toward professional women, but as a professional man I still find it useful despite the girly tone.
What are your favorite ways to stay in the know?
By Frank Hopper
Studying abroad is a dream for many students. It can also be a great way to set you apart from the competition when applying for jobs because it is essential to understand other cultures when working in public relations. CEO of Golin, Fred Cook, said in his presentation at the 2014 PRSSA National Assembly, “Expose yourself to new ideas and fresh perspectives. The more experiences you have, the more interesting your options will be in the future.”
While the value of an education abroad is evident, most students do not realize how much preparation is necessary. The following are some tips to remember before studying abroad.
1. The multi-step process of preparation ensures that students have the best possible experience physically and mentally during an overseas trip. Culture shock is inevitable, even for a short trip. Most students will go through a period of mood swings and confusion. This is normal. The best way to adjust to being abraod is to immerse yourself in the culture. Trying new things is great, so be adventurous. Trying too hard to stand out and represent your country of origin will only hinder learning experiences.
2. Pick-pocketing is the number one crime in Europe. It is more likely for travelers to be a victim of petty theft than violent crimes. This fact keeps the European crime rate relatively low. To avoid petty theft, you should always keeping personal items close to you, wear attire appropriate for the host country, plan your activities ahead, do not stand around looking at a map, and be weary of street vendors.
3. Returning home can actually be harder to adjust to than arriving to the host country. Many students experience more mood swings and confusion after coming back for the first couple weeks. This adjustment is also normal. Remember that it was a valuable experience and you will readjust after your daily routine is set.
4. Although it is not required to be a fluent speaker of the host country, it will benefit you to research the cultural customs to better communicate. Before speaking to natives, ask if they can speak English. Be polite and do not assume natives can understand and communicate with you in English.
5. Remember that little things differ between Europe and America. The electricity plug-ins are of higher voltage in Europe. Bring a converter instead of an adapter to ensure small appliances will not fry. Time can also be an issue when studying abroad. Most European countries run on military time, which is an adjustment from America. Since there is a time zone difference, jet lag can occur. To help avoid it, do not sleep on the first night until it is an appropriate hour in the host country or it will take longer to recover. It is also not custom to tip servers, because they are paid on salary. European living spaces are smaller, especially the showers. Be prepared to live in a condensed space.
6. Overall, the most important things to remember are to use common sense and do not forget to enjoy it. You will be in a new country and not everyone gets to have that experience. Do not just sit in your room all day after studying. Explore your new city. Make the most of your experience by going out and making memories. A study abroad experience gives you a new perspective and you will have unique stories to tell your future employers.
By Bridget Anders
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.