Senior Spotlight: Maggie McLinden
Mentor-Mentee Backyard Cookout
Two Who and a What!?
Two Blokes and a Bus is a gourmet food “bustaurant” serving globally inspired street food- on an English double decker bus. PRrogressive Image (PRi) is proud to serve Two Blokes and a Bus as one of its clients for the 2013-2014 school year.
PRi is the student-run public relations firm of the Illinois State University (ISU) Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter. The goal is to provide students with valuable pre-professional experience working with real-world clients in Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding areas.
Bridget Anders, a junior ISU PRSSA member, decided to join the committee for the Two Blokes and a Bus account.
What kind of work will you be doing for our client?
Right now, I’m really excited to dive in and help our client by creating flyers and planning a t-shirt raffle. I will be employing different marketing techniques to help spread awareness on campus and attract more business. Two Blokes and a Bus would especially love to serve more college students, so getting the word out to more students is one of our goals.
Are there any special events coming up?
Yes! Two Blokes and a Bus will be having a Family Weekend special on Oct. 26. If you bring a flyer to the blokes, you will get $1 off your meal and be entered into the t-shirt raffle. It is a great opportunity to share the experience of eating on “Victoria” with your family.
Who is “Victoria”?
Victoria is the name of the double-decker bus. She just celebrated her first anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 10. She also has a “brother,” George, who will be making his debut in the near future.
What attracted you to this client's account?
At Parkland College, I learned in an advertising class how to do guerrilla marketing, which is a tactic that utilizes low-cost methods for maximum exposure. Examples of guerrilla marketing techniques include word-of-mouth communication, flyers, and even chalk art. I am excited to implement some of these methods for Two Blokes and a Bus. Working with this client will be a great resume builder and an experience I will never forget.
Questions composed by Lily Sherer
Illinois State PRSSA members traveled to Peoria for the PRSA-Central Illinois Chapter Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from PRSA professionals, including our professional adviser and PRSA-Central Illinois president, Lewis Pryor.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Bob Heisse, executive editor of the State Journal-Register, a Springfield, Ill. newspaper. Heisse addressed changes in the news industry as well as their effect on public relations. An open question and answer session followed his presentation.
An ISU PRSSA member asked how public relations students should prepare to succeed in this dynamic industry. Heisse suggested PR majors gain experience in broadcasting, video, and graphic design.
Attending PRSA Chapter meetings is a great way for students to stay up-to-date with the public relations industry. These meetings are just one of the ways PRSSA members may learn more about public relations. Members left with insight into the changing state of media relations and how that affects the public relations industry as a whole.
By Analita Voss
Member Monday- Lisa Crocco
Senior Spotlight: John Wons
MINTED for Success
When it comes to publicizing an organization, branding is everything. JetBlue Airways’ recent entry into the premium cabin category, Mint, is a great example of this strategy. Created by brand manager, Jessica Wolff, and brand analyst, Chan Tran, Mint is a concept that sets JetBlue Airways apart from other airlines in a major way.
It all started with the central goal of finding a way to differentiate JetBlue Airways from every other airline, while staying true to the JetBlue brand. Industry competitors seemed to be pursuing the same goal and trying hard to appear “exclusive,” but Mint creators Wolff and Tran wanted something more.
The process began by considering existing brand values of JetBlue Airways: smart, fresh and stylish, just to name a few. Mint creators were drawn to the idea of “fresh.” Fresh, they reasoned, is modern, smart, and hard to achieve – all things they wanted customers to associate with JetBlue. The real challenge proved to be creating a name to fit this concept. After much thought, they arrived at “mint,” as in the phrase, “minty freshness.”
The Mint experience is focused on high-quality service, stylish and comfortable seating and an overall refreshing feel. The word “mint” is synonymous with words like “clean,” “original” and “perfect.” When customers associate Mint and JetBlue Airways, they will be drawn in because they expect quality service and a modern experience.
The JetBlue Airways public relations team certainly knows how important a name is to branding a company. With one word, Mint creators were able to capture everything they wanted to say about JetBlue, without straying too far from the traditions of the company. This campaign is a great example of how a well-planned campaign can make a difference.
The Mint campaign has created a lot of buzz and excitement around flying with JetBlue. With the creative use of social media, the airline has been able to spark curiosity among customers about this new experience. Whether or not the new JetBlue “Mint” experience lives up to expectations is yet to be seen, but there are already customers eager to see what the “Mint” buzz is about!
By Becca Williams
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Year in school? History, hobbies, favorite food?
Well, I grew up in small town called Rantoul, just north of Champaign. Throughout my high school years I always thought I would be a nurse. I originally was a nursing major at Parkland College and then I decided it wasn't for me, but I still wanted to be able to help people. And look at me now, I am a senior public relations major at Illinois State, working to create a better world. When I am not focused on my studies or PRSSA, I enjoy working out, trying new restaurants, and watching old movies or going see new ones. I also like spending time with my family when I have a chance to go home. I’m really close with my younger brother, and I try to visit him as much as I can at University of Illinois, where he goes to school. As far as food goes, pretty much everything is my favorite, but if I had to choose, it would be pasta or pizza. I also have a huge sweet tooth!
What made you choose to be a public relations major?
While I was a nursing major I worked at Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign as a certified nurse's assistant. I realized a lot of my job would be charting on a computer, which I didn’t like. So, I decided I wanted to head in another direction with my career. Carle had a great public relations department, which is really what intrigued me about the industry. After I researched exactly what public relations entailed and all of its career opportunities, I decided it was a perfect fit! On top of all of that I would still be able to help people – or in this case, a variety of publics – better understand a company's story and mission.
Who is the one person in your life that you look up to the most?
This is an easy one, my dad. I’m super close with him, and I can tell him literally anything. He always gives me the best advice about whatever situation I'm in and knows the perfect thing to say. We are two peas in a pod. We both love food and enjoy coming up with new concoctions to eat. Recently, we thought it would be awesome idea to take chocolate covered doughnuts and put moose tracks ice cream on it, topped with Hershey's syrup of course. I guess you could say I get my sweet tooth from him. He is definitely my rock! My family in general is a huge support system for me, and I don't know what I would do without them.
What is one of your biggest accomplishments in your time at Illinois State University?
One of my biggest accomplishments while at ISU is being an undergraduate teaching assistant for COM 178 Introduction to Public Relations. I feel honored that Tom Lamonica would even think to ask me. Every day in that class is exciting and a treat of which to be a part. The best part about being a TA is having students look up to me, and I have the ability to give them guidance both in and out of academics. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so honored I was chosen for it.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could go anywhere I would probably want to go to Rome, Italy! I’m Catholic, so the importance of religion that exists there and being able to see the Vatican in person would be really special for me. Not only would that alone be an amazing experience, but the food and culture would be out of this world too. Many people don't know this, but my guilty pleasure is art history and architecture. Being able to go to Rome and see all that it holds in art history would be an indescribable experience.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
I am definitely an early bird. My roommates make fun of me because I go to the gym at 5:30 a.m., but it's the only time I can go most days. I feel so much more productive in the mornings when I wake up early and would rather spend my evenings relaxing with those whose company I enjoy.
Do you have a personal motto?
Live in the present! If you dwell on things in the past, you can’t move forward, and it’s important to give everything you have today because there might not be a tomorrow.
What is one of your pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is when people are late. Everyone on the E-Board can tell you! I live by Dr. Smudde’s motto, “Early is on time. On time is late. Late is inexcusable.”
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I don't have an exact plan yet, but after graduation I see myself in Chicago or on the East Coast, working in either sports or corporate public relations. I am really open to any option, but that is what I am thinking this far. I also hope to travel and experience different cultures abroad and even within the U.S.
Who has influenced you the most here at ISU?
I would have to say Tom Lamonica. I remember the first time I went to his office. I told him I wanted an internship and asked him what I had to do to get one. From that point on, he always made an effort to reach out to me like he does for all students. I admire that he’s loyal and tries to do right by everyone. He’s someone who truly cares about students, young professionals, and ISU in general. He has helped me to develop myself as a professional and to understand the industry and what it takes to survive in it.
If you could give younger PR students a word of advice, what would it be?
I would say don’t ever let defeat blind you from what you can do. You have to learn from those experiences, and don’t compare yourself to others. Try to be a better you, and let that drive you.
Questions composed by Calysta Will
Bateman Team Competition Begins
The challenge is on for five Illinois State University PRSSA members and one faculty adviser who are competing in the Bateman Case Study Competition this year.
According to PRSSA’s website, “the Bateman Case Study Competition is PRSSA’s national case study for public relations students. It gives them the chance to apply classroom and internship experience to create and implement a full public relations campaign for a client.” ISU students and PRSSA members Molly Coyle, Danielle Gombac, Frank Hopper, Lauren Ulrich and John Wons, with guidance from School of Communication professor Dr. Rebecca Hayes, will create, implement and evaluate a campaign for the PRSSA client this year.
The client this year is Popmoney, which is a personal payment service from Fiserv. This service is a smartphone app that allows users to send and receive money from their bank account using only a phone number and an email address.
“This is a valuable way to get experience in a competition environment, which is always more fun for the students,” said Dr. Hayes.
The team is competing against many other Bateman teams in the country for the chance to win the first place prize of $2,500 and a trophy.
Ulrich is excited to begin the competition. “After hearing about the opportunities Bateman provides, and the close mentorship we would have with Dr. Hayes, I knew right away that I couldn't pass up this opportunity. I can't wait to get the ball rolling!”
Ulrich’s team member, John Wons, shares the same feelings about having Dr. Hayes as their adviser and mentor for this competition. In addition to having the opportunity to work with Dr. Hayes, Wons said he’s extremely excited to be collaborating with other motivated PR professionals in a team setting.
Gombac chose to be a member of the Bateman team because she wanted to challenge herself in PR and put to use her classroom work plus her past and current internship experiences.
“I wanted to get a chance to be a part of a team that can strategically put together a campaign for the real world,” said Gombac. “I felt since it's my fourth year in PRSSA I wanted to put everything I learned to good use and be a leader as a member of the Bateman team.”
Dr. Hayes and the team members are excited about the group assembled, and they hope to bring honor and glory to our PRSSA Chapter.
Good luck team!
By Lisa Crocco
Member Monday- Analita Voss
Analita Voss, a junior Illinois State University PRSSA member, keeps her own blog as a way to express her thoughts and to improve her writing skills.
Why did you start your own blog?
As a public relations major, I knew writing was essential. I wanted a way to work on my writing skills, so I started my own blog. I’m a much better writer than I was before, and I attribute that to my blogging. Some posts take me a day to write, and some I work on for a couple weeks. I work on a post for however long it takes, so I can truly express what I want to say.
What do you blog about?
I don’t have a specific niche that I write about. I blog about anything I feel that needs to be blogged about. It’s a way for me to express my opinion.
Why did you choose public relations as a career path?
My freshman year I actually wanted to be an athletic trainer. A few days before my registration date, I was talking to alumni to get their opinions on college in general. One of them told me that I would probably change my major several times throughout my college career. I realized then that I needed to figure out what I want to do. I started researching different career paths and even took career assessments. That’s how I first learned about PR. I love to write, so I started to look more into the field. The more I read about it, the more I fell in love. I switched to the public relations major and have not regretted it!
What’s the next step on your professional path?
I landed an internship for the spring semester at the David Davis Mansion. My major project will be the Annual Glorious Garden Festival’s Garden Walk. I’m pretty much in charge of planning the Garden Walk, which is the mansion’s largest fundraiser.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Having worked at COUNTRY Financial, I am familiar with a corporate environment. But I am definitely open to other areas and am very open-minded. Agency PR sounds very interesting to me, so I’m hoping that through PRSSA and the agency tour opportunities I can get a better idea of the profession.
(Visit www.analitaisms.wordpress.com to check out Analita’s blog!)
Questions composed by Cassidy Obis
Senior Spotlight: Kari Lawrence
This past May, we said goodbye to our families, packed up our bags, and jetted off to Europe. Upon our arrival in Paris, we were anticipating lots of sight seeing and Parisian food. However, we were not just there to explore the city and fill our bellies with amazing chocolate beignets, we also had classes to take!
We started our course load with Paris Rhetoric, a class where we visited the famous monuments of Paris, guided by our Professor Armoogum. Part of his class consisted of exploring the wonderful city of Paris and immersing ourselves in the culture of the City of Light. From Notre Dame to the Paris Opera house, Armoogum guided us, with his unbelievable knowledge of history and seemingly photographic memory. With him as our guide, we were able to learn so much more than any history book could have taught us. As if that wasn’t good enough, he got us into all these places for free!
We then moved on to our international branding-slash-wine tasting class with our favorite professor, Henri. Henri taught us all about how international brands try to portray themselves to their publics. He even took us on a field trip to a French supermarket to do some field research. We had not taken any marketing classes here at ISU, so this was very interesting to us. Aside from the marketing aspect of the class, Henri taught us about the many different French wines and how to conduct a genuine wine tasting. Henri was our favorite professor, because he was truly invested in our learning, even sitting with us during his lunch break to talk about life.
Our other two classes, Intercultural Management and Global Marketing, taught us all about the different cultures across the world and how they do business. In Intercultural Management, we learned Hofstede’s five dimensions for each country we studied, which gave us a better understanding of what the culture was like. (Hofstede’s five dimensions are ways of measuring different personality traits a country’s citizens have overall, such as power distance and uncertainty avoidance). It was very interesting to be able to compare these countries to the U.S, especially because we were living in one of them at the time! We were able to immediately apply what we had learned, and it was neat to see the five dimensions in action. Global Marketing taught us how brands vary their marketing strategy depending on what country they are advertising in. This was also very interesting to us, as we were able to see it first hand everywhere we went in Europe.
One of the best opportunities we had while abroad was to travel to additional countries so easily. We took full advantage of the cheap fares and our long weekends, and travelled to Italy and Spain. There we were also able to apply what we’d learned in class, as well as get in some much needed rest and relaxation. When it was finally time to come home, none of us were ready to leave. Although we missed our family and friends, we had settled into our life in Paris and were finally getting over the culture shock. We miss being abroad, but the memories and what we learned will help us for the rest of our lives!
By Hailey Lanier and Ryan Smart
Member Monday- Phil Kawabata
Phil Kawabata, a senior Illinois State University PRSSA member, has found his niche using social media for local businesses.
How did you start the Twitter account for Chasers Bar in downtown Bloomington?
I started it almost two years ago to help cater to Illinois State students. We weren’t usually open during the week, and students would go to Champaign, so we expanded our hours to include Mondays and used Twitter to promote it. My boss didn’t really know anything about social media, so once he realized the number of people I was able to reach, he was very impressed and onboard with it. Everyone should go follow @_ChasersBar!
How do you use Twitter to attract new followers and customers?
When I started it, there were already two or three accounts that people had started and left, so I made sure to go and follow everyone I knew that had a Twitter. When I started out, there were two or three hundred followers. I would promote our new Monday Night Chasers hours and after our first Monday night opening, our followership increased to eight or nine hundred. We also use it for some promotions, which have helped us grow. On New Year’s we rewarded our followers with VIP treatment. A couple Fridays ago, we had DJ Flipside come, and that was a big hit. We would tweet at him and his music group, and they would retweet us. People saw that, and it drew in alumni and even people from the Chicago area. They came to Chasers because they saw DJ Flipside tweet at or retweet us. We can’t rely on just ISU for business, so Twitter has really expanded us.
What have you learned by being an admin for the Country Financial Facebook page?
I have learned the way a business benefits from public relations. The job has helped me learn ways to show my progress: the analytics of it and how tangible I am. When I started out, my boss laid out what marketing does or what advertising does, and I was kind of in the middle doing it all, plus social media.
What classes at ISU have benefited you the most for these jobs?
Definitely the visual classes. Visual Communication (COM 240) and Web Design (COM 366) have been really helpful and helped me understand how to make a post targeted at a specific audience. They showed me the design aspect you want to think about before sending something out. A photo, for example, engages more people than a sentence would. Most of my social media knowledge has also come from using it or reading blogs about it. I especially find pr.alltop.com very helpful.
What is your advice for other public relations majors at ISU?
Learn how to do EVERYTHING. PR is such a broad field that you can do anything. You can go into PR, marketing, advertising, sales or even start your own business. Learn everything- from designing websites to photography to graphic design. It helps diversify you, and when you have those skills, then employers only need to enhance them instead of teaching you.
Questions composed by Ali Seys
One of the benefits of being a PRSSA member is the chance to attend agency tours. Several times throughout the semester, Illinois State University’s PRSSA chapter has the opportunity to tour various agencies and network with professionals. Agency tours provide members with the chance to see a company up close and personal and are a great way to get a feel for different types of organizations and environments. We kicked off the school year with our first tour to Red Frog Events and Zapwater Communications.
Red Frog Events
When you walk into Red Frog Events’ office, you may think to yourself, “is this a workplace or a play place?” With its unique S’mores treat stops, foosball tables, high-five practice walls, tree houses, conference rooms with swings instead of chairs and more, you can’t help but wish you worked in a place filled with so many fun amenities. Each area inside Red Frog Events has different distinctive designs, making it easy to see that it is a company driven by creativity.
Red Frog Events is known for its events, including the Great Urban Race, Warrior Dash mud run, Firefly Music Festival, American Beer Classic and more. Each year event attendance increases, the events grow bigger and Red Frog continues to become more successful.
While on the tour, members learned about the internship opportunities offered by Red Frog Events. There are many perks of being an intern at Red Frog Events, including great work experience, competitive pay, unlimited vacation days, traveling while working and many more. If you have not gotten the chance to check out Red Frog Events, take a look at all they have to offer as a company.
Zapwater Communications is a small boutique agency located in the West Loop of Chicago. They have clients in areas such as lifestyle, fashion, hospitality and education. Upon walking into the Zapwater Communications office, it feels like a laid-back work environment. The office has a studio feel, with a few rooms providing office space for the employees. Zapwater has approximately 15- 20 employees (including interns).
Assistan Publicist Megan Breehl and Senior Publicist Stephanie Poquette presented case studies and discussed some of the work Zapwater has done for its clients. Some of the agency’s clients include Topshop, Hotel Sax Chicago and The Tie Bar. They also shared general advice and insights about agency life, how to succeed in public relations and Zapwater’s internship program.
Interns at Zapwater are assigned to several accounts within different areas. This way, interns are exposed to multiple niches and are hopefully able to find their “fit.” Employees at Zapwater have to be quick, innovative thinkers to come up with new and interesting ideas for clients. Megan and Stephanie stressed the importance of company “fit” and enjoying the culture and work environment. Passion and personality are some of the keys to success at both Zapwater and other PR agencies.
It was a great opportunity to be able to get a closer look at an agency that is smaller in size. For students looking for a small, close-knit agency, Zapwater could be a perfect fit.
By Lindsay Mikrut
Illinois State University PRSSA members volunteer their time and energy to several different philanthropies throughout the year. On Sept. 19, ISU’s PRSSA chapter had the pleasure of volunteering at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Volunteers helped the event run smoothly by greeting attendees, taking photos and assisting with the auctions.
March of Dimes impacts the Bloomington-Normal community by helping mothers have full-term births at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. They also do work on a global scale to help decrease premature births and life-threatening problems for infants. All of the money raised during the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction went towards research and helping families affected by premature births.
The night consisted of unbelievable food, great auction items and even a photo booth. Large round tables were decorated with giant floral centerpieces and mini cupcakes from Sugar Mama Bakery, a local favorite. Volunteers began the night by testing the photo booth and sampling some of the food. Some members played paparazzi for the night and photographed the guests at the entrance. When the auction began, it was PRSSA members’ job to make sure the guests enjoyed themselves while helping out behind-the-scenes.
Many ISU PRSSA members aspire to have a career in event planning. Volunteering at this event gave members a deeper understanding of what makes an event run smoothly. One lesson learned is something is bound to go wrong. However, it is not the problems, but how they are handled that matters. As volunteers, members were able to lend a helping hand wherever needed. Many nonprofit organizations like March of Dimes rely heavily on volunteers to accomplish their goals.
It was a great feeling to have been a part of a fundraising event for such an amazing organization. For anyone who is new to ISU PRSSA, volunteer opportunities like this event are a great way to get involved and meet other members!
By Ashley Bushala
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.