Category Archives: Public Relations

My Experience with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This past semester PKE Marketing & PR Solutions was fortunate to have Caroline Lennox, a Florida Gulf Coast University student, as our intern. Caroline spent three months working directly on client projects and gaining real-world experience. I asked her to write a blog entry on any topic she thought was interesting and related to the work that she’d accomplished in public relations. I hope you enjoy her blog post as much as I did.

~Phyllis

 

My Experience with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Caroline Lennox

When I learned I would be working at Susan G Komen Race for the Cure helping the media, I had no idea what to expect. I was excited, knowing that I would see how everything happens behind the scenes at a big event like this. Being an intern, I expected to be doing small things like talking with potential interviewees or finding breast cancer survivors who would be interested in being interviewed.  I never imagined I would be working right with the news stations helping with interviews and more. I was directly involved in placing people to be on air.  Setting them up with WINK News and NBC-2 was intimidating, but exciting at the same time.  It’s such an awesome feeling watching a live interview and knowing that I helped make that happen. That was a special moment for me and it made me realize I’d chosen the right career path.

Komen logo

I spent the whole day coordinating interviews, taking pictures to be posted on social media sites and also newspaper websites and helping direct people at the finish line. Being able to watch the setup before the race and also the aftermath gave me an interesting view of how the event is run.  I came to appreciate all those people who spent their time setting up all the tables, chairs, tents and other items before the race began. They had to turn right around and take things down at the end of the day.  Being behind the scenes is eye opening in a way, as I saw so much more than I would have if I’d just volunteered or ran in the 5k race. Meeting the executive director and other Komen staff members and seeing how the whole event is run from their perspective is intense. So much time and effort goes into planning the event that happens once a year, but it takes a full year to plan it out perfectly so nothing goes wrong. It was an amazing event and experience to partake in as a young college student. Hopefully, that won’t be the last Komen event that I engage in as a PR person.

Komen Race 2013

Musings on Corporate Social Responsibility

By: Kate Walter

Often when asked which area of public relations I’m most interested in, I will respond by saying, “corporate social responsibility.”  As a person who regularly volunteers within the community (Junior League of Fort Myers, Gulf Coast Humane Society’s Fast & Furriest), encourages others to give back to charitable organizations (Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Relay for Life, Shy Wolf Sanctuary) whenever possible and believes in the overall good of humanity, the idea that corporations are beginning to place philanthropy in their overall business plans brings warm fuzzies to my heart.  But, should it really?

Carroll's CSR model

Over the years many different definitions and models of CSR have developed.  Perhaps the most memorable (since it’s been a few years out of the classroom now) being Carroll’s CSR pyramid.  The pyramid acts as a building block, where companies would first need to lay a foundation of economic responsibilities before they can move onto the next tier of legal responsibilities, then ethical responsibilities and finally their philanthropic responsibilities. This model proposes that for businesses to get to a level where then can focus on giving back, they first have to take care of their economic bottom line. From a practical standpoint, the bottom line is what drives all businesses.  You can ask almost any CEO, Stakeholder, COO and especially a CFO, and they will most likely tell you that if a practice or strategic business plan does not inevitably benefit their bottom line, they are not going to move forward with it.

However, herein lies the problem with CSR, the debate between theory and practice. The fundamental ideal behind this theory is that businesses are doing good for the sake of doing good.  Not necessarily to benefit their bottom line, although studies have shown that by adopting CSR practices, companies do see an economic benefit.  But, in theory the bottom line should not be the driving force behind pursuing a CSR plan. ^ Orlitzky, Marc; Frank L. Schmidt, Sara L. Rynes (2003). “Corporate Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-analysis” (PDF). Organization Studies (London: SAGE Publications) 24 (3): 403–441. doi:10.1177/0170840603024003910. Retrieved 2008-03-07.)

And you may argue that whether the reasoning behind pursuing CSR is one of idealistic, delusions of grandeur of benefiting publics, or the corporate ideals of improving the profit margin of the business, as long as both are occurring, should it matter what the reasons are behind it?  Perhaps, not.

You might also argue, as Milton Friedman did, that a company actually benefits society more by focusing on the bottom line.  This company offers jobs, spreads wealth within the community and government, and has added time and resources to spend on CSR.  In fact, many of the companies that have notable CSR plans do tend to be large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks, that have the added finances to spend on developing CSR plans.  ^ Friedman, Milton (1970-09-13). “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-07.

Suffice it to say the debate will continue. But for me, I’m holding on to the warm fuzzies for a little while longer.

WarmFuzzies

The PR Life: One Perfect Work Day

Under the category “better late than never,” I decided to spend one whole work day following the rules I have been reading about for years.  And you know what?  This stuff really works – I had a delightfully fulfilling and creative day.  And all it took was listening to expert advice and acting accordingly!  Here’s what I did: Continue reading The PR Life: One Perfect Work Day

How’s your mental health?

We have all become used to news updates, warnings and helpful tips on physical fitness, but how often do we think about our mental fitness? Probably not too often.  But with National Depression Education and Awareness Week taking place now, this might be a good time to evaluate how you cope with stress, and to consider whether or not you are exhibiting signs of depression.

Continue reading How’s your mental health?

From the PR Perspective: 5 Highlights of the Perfect Relationship

If you are in the business of marketing and/or public relations, you understand the value of building and nurturing relationships.

For most of us, five to seven years is the average longevity of the client/PR practitioner engagement — businesses change and grow, people move on and circumstances change. It’s always a little sad, but new opportunities come along and we begin anew.  For my practice, the best example is a client whom I have worked with for more than 11 years…a PR “love story” of sorts that started before the company’s birth and ends now more than a decade later as the company finalizes its sale to a larger corporate entity.

Continue reading From the PR Perspective: 5 Highlights of the Perfect Relationship

Launching PKEBlue, a “colorful” initiative

By: Kate Walter

As marketing and public relations professionals, we keep our ears to the ground and our fingers on the pulse of changing trends and technology.  This benefits our diverse clients, plus since we’re avid proponents of lifetime learning, we love doing it.  One such example in recent years is the interest in “going green.”

According to the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, more than two million companies were producing goods or services that benefited the environment or conserved natural resources.  The data isn’t collected yet for 2012, but we can extrapolate that this number has grown proportionately to the amount of buzz surrounding sustainability.

As we observe the sustainability industry expand, we have noticed the lack of marketing and PR services specifically for earth-friendly organizations.  And since educating the public is the foremost priority in the world of “green,” we are stepping up to provide those services.  We have attended multiple workshops and seminars, read many books and journal articles and researched sustainability to ready ourselves for this new adventure.  And we have already successfully implemented our “green” services to three of our eco-friendly clients.

In keeping with the growth of this industry, PKE Marketing & PR Solutions is proud to announce a new division of our firm, PKE Blue. Of course we will continue to serve our new and existing clients from all different areas of expertise – the added division allows us to provide specialty services customized for those involved in sustainability.

PKEBlue provides and implements communication strategies to businesses and individuals in the industries of sustainability, green building and eco-friendly products.  It is our belief that, although the term “green” may be overused, the ideals behind it are not a passing trend.  We hope to bring awareness to businesses that are addressing environmental and energy issues by communicating their accomplishments, developing strategic marketing plans, creating collateral materials, writing traditional and online news releases, arranging speaking engagements, managing social media and writing award submissions.

We are very excited to take this new step, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this “colorful” initiative!

 

 

 

Father’s Day from a PR Perspective: Four Things I Learned from my Dad

Although my earliest career goals included teacher, veterinarian and newspaper reporter (like Lois Lane), looking back on it now, I was surely in training to be a Public Relations professional.  Some of that training included learning how to speak like an adult from the time I was very small, introducing people to each other when I thought it would be mutually beneficial, and finding the positive side of almost every situation.  With Father’s Day approaching,  I have to thank my Dad for teaching me four very important things that have remained essential to my professional life – I hope these nuggets will help you in yours!

 


 


1. Read, read, read!  I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of the bedtime story from day one.  That led to early reading and a never-ending reading list provided by both my parents .  They had an excellent repertoire that included the classics, great literature, history, current events and popular culture.  I followed their  lead, and still do, reading anything I can get my eyes on.  Of course, this has helped in my career- not only reading public relations-related books and journals, but extending to novels and poetry that inspire creativity. You never know what you will pick up while you are reading.

 2. Write it down! My Dad is one of the greatest unknown writers of all time.  No, he hasn’t published the Great American Novel or even the Great American short story, but he has written consistently and well his entire life.  Letters to the editor, letters to his children and grandchildren, articles in his community newspaper — all evoking deep emotions, strong opinions or family stories he prefers to write about rather than share out loud.  Yes, he’s a quiet person – but you can learn a lot from his writings.  So whether it’s a hereditary trait or something learned, writing well has always been a priority in my world.  Even though texting and tweeting are part of our everyday lives, remember to keep writing in full sentences as well.

 

3. Listen! Most of us in the field of public relations love to talk…a lot.  There’s always so much going on, so much to share, it’s hard to contain ourselves.  My Dad has always been very quiet, but a really good listener – I know that because he can repeat conversations we had 30 years ago.  I have learned from him that it’s good to let the other person talk sometimes and to really hear what they are saying.  This is especially important with our clients because we must listen intently to grasp the true meaning of their vision  – and we have to understand that vision in order to communicate it to others.  So this one is really important.

 

 

4. Embrace a strong work ethic! In my Dad’s day he came out of the army and worked for the same company for 45 years, retiring with the gold watch and everything that goes with it.  I have had three positions over the span of my career and I have read that many people can expect to change jobs an estimated seven times. No matter what your tenure is, I have learned from my Dad to perform beyond expectations, to respect deadlines and to follow up and follow through.

 

As you reflect on Father’s Day, I hope you have learned as much from your Dad as I have from mine.  Please write in and let us know what you’ve learned. Happy Father’s Day!

 

PR Reflections: Learn with ardor

Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Even more than 200 years later, her words resonate – especially in today’s world where messages and impressions continuously surge around us but  may never be absorbed nor applied.  From a public relations point of view, real learning takes place when we internalize and process information and then use it to enhance organizations’ relationships and reputations among their publics. There are five specific actions we can easily incorporate into our daily PR lives to ensure that we “learn with ardor”:

Read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That means as much as you can of every genre. For me, the single most important way to learn is to read: newspapers, blogs, lifestyle magazines,  industry journals and novels.  Yes, novels!  (See Anne Kreamer’s Jan. 2012 blog post). You never know where the next creative idea will come from – often a single word or powerful image can open the door to a new way of thinking (if you let it!)

Listen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever watch the TV show, “House”?  Just when it seems that all is lost and there will be no diagnosis for the mystery illness, Dr. House grasps on to a nugget of conversation that lights up his synapses and solves the problem — lives are saved! While your results might not be as extraordinary, you can still learn a tremendous amount by truly listening to others around you.  This is your opportunity to garner knowledge from other people’s experiences and expertise, and use it to help yourself and others.

Observe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step away from your desk and look at the world around you.  I just read a NYT article about the lost art of conversation — sad but true.  So often our heads are down, our eyes focused on our little screens, that we can miss both the simplicity of a friendly conversation and the huge, amazing things happening right in front of us. Look around and take it all in – you’ll get more out of life and have more to talk about!

Ask!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even if you’ve taken the time to listen, and lifted your head to observe, there may be still more to learn. Develop your sense of curiosity, that urge to know more, and take it to a higher level.  Ask the questions that come to mind, or look for further details online, or even walk through the doors of a library.  Take ancestry.com, for example – you can learn a great deal about your family history by visiting the website.  Even better is when the featured celebrity on “Who Do You Think You Are”  actually visit a library. That’s when they dig deeper into real documentation, perusing the archived records that bring their pasts alive and make them meaningful.

Connect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Abigail Adams quote, connecting is the key to attending to your learning with diligence.  All those precious morsels you’ve gathered by reading, listening and observing will just float freely through your imagination if you don’t find a way to corral them and use them purposefully.  The best way we can use our information in the field of public relations is to apply our new knowledge to help someone else.  Have you read about a technology advancement that you can pass on to one of your clients to make their business run more smoothly?  Or did you hear someone discussing an upcoming seminar that would help a business associate further his/her career? Perhaps you’ve just met the perfect collaborator for your next venture — and your next learning opportunity.

What have you learned  lately that you would like to share?  We would love to hear about it here!

Looking forward to your comments.

 

Happy learning!

Phyllis

 

 

 

 

News Releases: the artist formerly known as press releases

By: Kate Walter

News Releases.  Such a simple task can seem daunting when faced with so many pieces to make the puzzle come together.  I was always the “A” student in English class. The one who read every required reading book and would rather have written a ten-page paper than take a multiple-choice exam. However, even I have to admit there is a learning curve for writing in the field of public relations. You are faced with AP stylebooks, word limits and writing for various media like print, online and social networking sites. Many times you are writing about an industry or a product that you weren’t familiar with 20 minutes ago. And in the end the information has to be accurate, newsworthy, unique or informative (or both), and ideally further the branding of your client. So where to start?

I recently read an article in Tactics, the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) monthly newsletter that discussed common mistakes in writing news releases and how to fix them. I liked the article so much, that I not only saved it, but I’m going to share the advice.

  • Think in terms of audience benefits- Essentially, why should readers/consumers/publics care about your bit of news. Your news release should be answering the question, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Focus on the news- Don’t let your news release sound like a commercial for your product, event or accomplishment.
  • Cover the basics- Include the who, what, why, where and how. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to include this in the lead.
  • Keep your message clear and readable- Try not to use abbreviations, corporate buzzwords, industry jargon or too many technical details. Remember you are writing a news release to be submitted to the general public.
  • Don’t use lame quotes- Instead of making the quote client-centric, make it customer-oriented, punchy and interesting. Use the quote to add perspective, meaning and color to the news release.
  • Use keywords- Keywords are crucial when it comes to search engine optimization so make sure that you include them throughout the news release.

We have committed to blogging more frequently with relevant, timely glimpses into the PR life.  So stay tuned in for more anecdotes, strategies, words of wisdom and all things PKE!

New Year, New Day, New Ideas

Starting a New Year opens the door to a fresh start, but in the world of public relations, we are always on the cusp of something new, no matter what the calendar says.  To remain valuable to our clients, we must always be among the first to gather, process and present new information – seeking out what is relevant, helpful and informative should be second nature.  And that’s what I love about this profession… Continue reading New Year, New Day, New Ideas