If a crisis is considered as any situation that is threatening, could seriously interrupt business or significantly damage a reputation, then the Miami Dolphins definitely have a crisis on their fins. The Miami Dolphins organization has been trying to keep its image and reputation above water after allegations of bullying, hazing and harassment left two players on the inactive list. Jonathan Martin, a tackle for the Dolphins, abruptly left the team at the end of October, reporting emotional stress. Days later, teammate Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely for claims of detrimental behavior toward teammates dating back to the 2012 season. It is reported that Incognito had left graphic and threatening voicemails for Martin and sent explicitly worded text messages, even after his suspension began.
The Dolphins organization, as well as the National Football League’s, is now taking hits to its image and reputation. In such a tight-knit organization, it’s a little confusing how the problem could escalate to this severity and go unnoticed by teammates and the coaching staff.
In an initial press release, prior to Incognito’s suspension, Miami put the focus on Martin’s well-being and claimed all accusations were just that – accusations. A second press release stated that the allegations were being taken seriously and that the NFL would be conducting a formal investigation. The third and final press release concluded that Incognito had been involved in detrimental behavior and would be suspended, and the NFL would continue their investigation.
Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross is “appalled” by the incident but is unable to meet with Martin until the NFL’s investigators meet with him first.
The damage may be done, but the Dolphins are taking steps in the right direction to rebuild their reputation; they identified the problem, implemented a short-term solution and are formally and thoroughly investigating the situation. Miami also issued three press releases to keep the NFL community in the loop, but many questions are still unanswered. Will Martin or Incognito return to play for the Dolphins? How will the organization punish (long-term) this kind of behavior? Did the coaching staff know about the situation and are they at fault? How will the NFL change its culture to prevent another incident like this one? The wrong answer to these questions could add to the damage the Dolphins organization is facing and take even longer for it to recover.
By Ali Seys
Did you miss our first visit to St. Louis and FleishmanHillard? Here are five quick highlights from November’s tour:
1. FleishmanHillard is #25 in Advertising Age’s “Best Places to Work”
FleishmanHillard, an Omnicom-owned agency, is home to over 2,600 employees in 80 offices across 29 countries. Top-notch healthcare coverage, domestic partner benefits and a wellness program are just a few of the benefits that employees enjoy. The company also invests in its employees by providing training and development opportunities. When they are hiring, they look to their past and current interns to fill the spot. In fact, they are currently accepting applications at many offices, including St. Louis!
2. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
This agency has helped promote gemstone and diamond jeweler LJ International’s ENZO diamond. If diamonds aren’t your thing, FleishmanHillard has many other well-known clients, including EA Sports, Energizer, AT&T, Barnes & Noble and Procter & Gamble. Many memorable campaigns from some respected brands have been created at this St. Louis based agency. The Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light beer campaign, for example, was built and advertised by FleishmanHillard. They even designed the packaging for this local brew, marking a start to their transition to being more than just a public relations agency.
3. Finding your niche
FleishmanHillard serves a variety of industries, such as consumer products and services, food and agribusiness and healthcare and technology. They also focus on practice groups in brand marketing, media relations, digital, crisis management and strategic integration. The tour group had the opportunity to have a casual but informative Q-and-A with Jennifer Pruett, vice president of internal communications, and three current interns who worked on different teams: Chase, Jill and Bri. Internship seasons are available for fall, summer and winter/spring. Jen advised to apply for the fall season as it is the least competitive and you get a longer experience at the office.
4. True or false: This tour rocked. TRUE!
“TRUE“ is an online magazine that FleishmanHillard updates daily, including a quarterly themed issue. Pruett gave a great presentation about the company’s meaning of TRUE. This is just one way FleishmanHillard is bringing leaders together to create a community of executives, authors and practitioners and give insight on top issues. TRUE is the place where innovations are born, hot topics are debated and problems get solved. Members also had the chance to see how FleishmanHillard incorporates social networking into its agency. The company runs various Facebook pages for other companies such as Sleep Number and Ford.
5. Getting in touch with your inner kid
We ended the tour with a visit to the St. Louis City Museum. Home to MonstroCity, an interactive playground made of wrought iron slinkies, fire trucks, slides and a ball pit, and a Ferris wheel on its rooftop, the City Museum was a fun and memorable way to end the first St. Louis agency tour. This was a great was to bond with members and build friendships within the Chapter. With all the stress of school, this was a great way for everyone to relive what it was like to be a kid. If you didn’t have the chance to attend this agency tour, be on the watch for the next one.
Click here to see photos from our tour!
By Ali Seys & Brandy Lewis
Illinois State University alumna and former PRSSA Vice President Annie Hughes returned to campus on November 19 to share her insights into sports and corporate public relations with the Chapter.
After graduating from ISU in 2006, Hughes landed her first job at Loyola University Chicago, where she launched its social media pages. Hughes shared with us how proud she is that she was a part of something that became very successful for the university. Loyola University was not her only experience in the public relations field, as she has worked in agency, corporate and non-profit public relations as well.
Hughes is now a public relations-focused marketing consultant in Allstate’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Department. This department consists of approximately 50 people, and Hughes’ duties including working with Allstate’s sports affiliates and the NCAA. One of Allstate’s largest sports-focused programs is the Hometown Hall of Fame, which honors NFL players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and brings them back to their hometowns. Hughes is also currently working on the Allstate-sponsored Sugar Bowl, which will kickoff Jan. 2, 2014.
Members were eager to hear advice about succeeding in the public relations field, and Hughes emphasized the importance of three things: networking, experience and social media. She recommended taking advantage of the opportunities offered by PRSSA, as it is a great way to gain relevant experience. She also mentioned that she found her current position through LinkedIn, underscoring the importance of social media sites. (For our tips on using LinkedIn, check out this post!)
Finally, Hughes offered advice about how to stand out in the job interview. She recommended emphasizing your strengths, letting the interviewer know you are eager to learn, making eye contact and asking questions.
Overall, Hughes gave a great deal of information and advice to students during Chapter. Taking advantage of all opportunities, including attending guest speakers at meetings, is a great way to expand your knowledge of the public relations field.
By Analita Voss
The holiday season is upon us, which naturally means a frenzied gift hunt. The pressure is on to find the “perfect” gifts for everyone on your list.
How about a holiday gift guide for your public relations friends, colleagues or even bosses? As public relations professionals, we are all about organization and innovation. The following is a list of the top gizmos and gadgets that nearly any public relations professional would be elated to receive (if they don’t already have it).
by Brittany Martin
The November issue of PRemier is now live! Articles include:
Read it here.
Keep calm and tweet on! Twitter recently released an update which displays images and Vine videos directly onto users’ timelines. Along with this visual update, users are able to
favorite, reply or retweet a tweet right from their timeline. No swipe to open a tweet is necessary; users just tap the action they want to take.
Both of these changes are in partner with Twitter’s latest initial public offering, while the company expands to new consumers and features more multimedia elements to the social media site. Check out the five ways for what this update means for public relations professionals.
1. Visualize your storytelling – Now that images and Vine videos appear right on your Twitter timeline, brands are in higher competition with each other to attract customers to a message. It’s not only about crafting the perfect 140 character message, but also the visual that goes along with your tweet. Think about what types of images would catch your eye when scrolling through your timeline and use that to brainstorm ways to visually attract Twitter users while branding back to your organization or personal brand.
2. Engage with your audience – With Twitter users having the ability to reply so easily, conversations via tweets will increase. Instead of just telling your customers about your latest campaign, ask questions that will spark conversations among your followers.
3. Create viral content – Adding effortless ways to favorite or retweet a tweet leads to the higher possibility of a message going viral. Whether it’s through a creative message or an empowering visual, the simplicity to share the tweet gives it the opportunity to go viral.
4. Rethink your Twitter presence – As of June 2013, Twitter reported there are more than 232 million active users. This number shows the value this social media platform has and its competition against Facebook and Instagram. With the new Twitter update, it forces brands to reconsider the advantages of staying active on Twitter.
5. Avoid a Twitter crisis – While the Twitter updates mean messages can go viral and create conversation, it’s important to remember to be prepared against any crisis through social media. Know how you are going to handle a tweet gone bad and what steps you will take to make the situation better.
What other ways does the Twitter update affect public relations professionals? Tweet to @ILSTUPRSSA. Happy tweeting!
By Melissa Fortes
LinkedIn is not just meant to be an online resume. It is an opportunity to build your network, and – perhaps more importantly – connect with your network as well. However, many people make the mistake of creating a LinkedIn profile but then let it collect dust by not interacting with people.
This isn’t fair to you or the people who have carefully chosen to connect with you on LinkedIn. To connect with someone means both people can add value to the relationship and help each other. Don’t be lazy by choosing to neglect your network.
One way people sometimes hurt their reputation on LinkedIn is by not taking advantage of their opportunity to share their true value as professionals. This is the essence of LinkedIn: What do you stand for? What is at the core of your purpose as a professional?
LinkedIn is your opportunity to tell the world why it should care about what you have to contribute to your industry.
One way to do this by posting a few links to articles or videos that talk about your passion or a thought-provoking piece that encourages discussion among you and your network.
The keyword here is a few articles. Do not post ordinary articles five times a day just to appear relevant. Make sure the links you post are extraordinary examples of a topic with which you want to be associated.
Because everything you post is an extension of your personal identity: your brand. You have complete control over your professional identity, so it’s a great idea to be mindful about it.
On LinkedIn, as in “real life,” you can either deliberately develop your identity or it will happen by default. Take the opportunity to share with others what is important to you instead of making them guess.
The world of LinkedIn doesn’t have to be intimidating. It is definitely worth it to invest some time and get more involved. A revamped approach will pay off, especially because your profile is often the first impression prospective employers get of you.
To learn more about the dos and don’ts of networking on LinkedIn, check out this article: http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/20-critical-dos-and-donts-of-linkedin-networking.html.
By Lily Sherer
Illinois State University PRSSA members packed their bags on Oct. 25 and flew out to Philadelphia for this year’s PRSSA National Conference. While there, they gained knowledge and insight to bring back and share with our Chapter. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about their experience at the conference:
“It was very inspiring to be around so many other students, just like myself, who are so passionate about the public relations industry. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to go with. The trip was a great learning experience that was full of fun and laughs,” said junior, Ellie Matthews.
“It was about the four Ps: people, passion, public relations and Philadelphia! It was definitely the most inspiring weekend to become successful in my future career,” said senior and secretary, Melissa Fortes.
“I laughed more in those five days than I have all semester! Spending time with my fellow Chapter members was the best part of the trip. It was also an amazing networking and learning experience. I met so many people who are just as passionate as I am about public relations,” said junior, Cindy Kirchner.
“There wasn't one moment during the conference that wasn't exciting and inspiring, from the profound speakers and networking to the cuisine. Most students traveled to the conference with the goals to return with knowledge and larger networks, but those goals ended up being the icing on the cake for me. None of my experiences top the relationships that were built in Philadelphia. The best part of my trip was getting to know the members in the Chapter and building close friendships with them. This was an adventure I will never forget,” said senior and vice president, Marrison Worthington.
“I enjoyed learning more about public relations and being surrounded by people who are so passionate about it. Overall, the trip was a great experience, being able to learn more about the industry and spending time with some pretty awesome people from the Chapter,” said senior and director of Development, Sarah McSheffrey.
“I absolutely loved every session I attended while at the conference. Jason Mollica led my favorite session, ‘CEO of You.’ I will definitely be referring back to his message throughout my job search,” said senior Bateman Team member, Lauren Ulrich.
"It was so energizing to be surrounded by like-minded people who are just as excited about this industry – students and professionals alike. I thought I loved public relations before, but the National Conference just made me even more excited about this industry!" said senior and historian, Abby Brennan.
"I really loved getting to know everyone better and attending the sessions. The session on personal branding was especially relevant, because I want to create a strong personal brand before I graduate. Going to the haunted house at Eastern State Penitentiary was also really fun. I loved the historical part as well as being scared," said senior and president, Hailey Lanier.
“Attending the conference has been one of the best experiences of not only my college career, but also as a member of PRSSA. I gained so much knowledge during the sessions about public relations, branding and social media. The conference was a great opportunity for me to meet so many other passionate students, including many I have built social media friendships with over the past year and finally got to meet in person. I’d have to say that the best part was creating great friendships and hilarious memories with members while exploring a new city full of history. I truly don’t think I have laughed that much than in those five days. Everyone should go to a PRSSA National Conference at least once,” said junior and director of Relations, Maggie Ziemann.
For those on the fence about attending a PRSSA National Conference in the future, hearing what members have to say about their experiences can definitely help make that decision to go. Not only is the conference a wonderful learning and networking experience, but a time for Chapter bonding, as well.
By Cassidy Obis
In addition to being a member of Illinois State University’s PRSSA Chapter, senior Madeline Zenz serves as the social media manager for The Vidette, ISU’s student newspaper.
What do you do as the social media manager for The Vidette?
I oversee all of our social media sites with another social media manager. Every day, I promote our stories via social media while also sharing other relevant content. I also help oversee The Vidette’s blog. This year, we have a really great team of bloggers, and I have been impressed with their work. If you haven’t checked out the blog, you should! There’s something for everyone to read, from sex and dating to lifestyle and even entertainment. Additionally, I work closely with the marketing department to promote events and contests on our social media sites. Finally, each week I compile the content for the social media page in The ‘Bird, our weekend edition published on Thursdays. This is one of my favorite duties because I get to choose the pet of the week, tweets of the week and other favorite content sent in by our readers.
What made you interested in this position?
The current Editor-in-Chief Kristi Demonbreun announced the position opening in one of my communication classes last year. It sounded like a great opportunity to supplement my public relations degree. I talked to a few people I knew who previously held positions with The Vidette, and they told me how awesome it was to work there. I also contacted the previous social media manager to get a sense of what the job would entail before I even applied.
What is the greatest thing you will take away from working at The Vidette?
I was just telling a friend the other day that working at The Vidette was the best decision I have made in my four years here. I’m a strong believer that you get what you put into things. I think it’s really important when you see the need for something in your organization, consult your boss about it and then just do it. It shows initiative and also helps you build an awesome portfolio.
How has PRSSA helped enhance your skills as social media manager?
I actually talked about PRSSA quite a bit in my interview for this position. Not only does PRSSA help you network with a group of individuals that share common interests, but it also allows you to gain practical experience that can be applied to any job.
How would you encourage others to get involved with The Vidette?
I would encourage others to talk to people you know that work in the office. Networking is huge. If you don’t know anyone personally, I would encourage you to stop in the office. We love new faces, and everyone there is really friendly. Even if there are not open positions at the time, there are always things you can do to get involved.
How will this position prepare you for jobs post-graduation?
I have learned so much, not only about social media, but also about advertising, marketing and communication in general. This position has definitely made me more confident in applying for jobs in the field.
Questions composed by Ali Seys
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.