Advocating Acronyms – Internship Insider

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Internship Insider

Internship Insider

Last semester, I felt the pressure set in. Completing finals and going home meant starting my internship. My site coordinator, Marjorie Young, CEO of Carriage Trade PR, Inc. in Savannah, gave me the opportunity to take on my responsibilities right away.

I find it strange how no one ever talks about what actually happens in their internship. During the months leading up to my start date, I had many questions and it seemed like no one had any answers for me. What made some people’s experience so wonderful and other people’s experience mediocre? What should I expect when I start working at my internship site? What do I wear the first day? How do I make the best first impression? How do I “WOW” my boss enough to pull me on full time? I’m sure some of you have similar uncertainties about what will happen in your internships. Since I clearly have no crystal ball, I have no idea what will happen in yours, but I can share some information about what is happening in mine.

For my first edition of Internship Insider, I want to share two acronyms with you. ‘OHIO’ and ‘KISS’. ‘OHIO’ is critical for Public Relations professionals, but I’m sure it would be helpful in any job. ‘OHIO’ stands for Only Handle It Once. For the last two months, I have lived by this philosophy. To break it down, ‘OHIO’ means that when you are facing something that needs to be done, do it right then. Don’t procrastinate, just knock it out. Getting in the ‘OHIO’ habit will save you from major headaches later.

I learned ‘KISS’ from a producer at one of the local news stations in Savannah. ‘KISS’ spells out Keep It Super Simple. He told me this in reference to preparing clients for interviews on camera. To put out a powerful message, the speaker needs three to four clear talking points to hit. The viewers don’t want an overload of information. Remember to KISS on TV and OHIO everywhere else.

First Week Wrap Up

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My life was changed dramatically this week as I entered into the business world and started my internship at Carriage Trade PR agency in Savannah, Ga. Although I have been training at Georgia Southern University for almost five years, I still felt a high level of anxiety as I walked through the doors of the Desoto Hilton Hotel. To introduce me to the business professionals of Savannah, Marjorie Young, my employer, took me as a guest to the Savannah Rotary Club. My great grandfather, Frank Johnston, had been the president of this club in the 1920s, and my family had made it a point to reiterate the fact that I needed to make a good first impression. So the pressure was on. Before I walked into the luncheon, I had already met two media contacts from local news stations.

Once Ms. Young and I had sat down at our table, I started to relax a little. There was a presentation over the Savannah tourism market which was very interesting. Apparently, Savannah is an international travel destination because of the historical background of this port city, and Jet Blue is adding Savannah to their flight plans for Chicago. After the presentation, all of the Rotary members were asked to join the president outside for the unveiling of a historical marker in honor of the club’s 100th anniversary. All three of the news stations had reporters and film crews documenting the event.

While I was there, I decided to use my photojournalism skills.

Rotary Club Historical Marker

Rotary Club Historical Marker

 

The next day of my internship was spent coordinating a fashion show for the grand opening celebration of Goodwill in Pooler.  Ms. Young introduced me to Ashley Borders, professional wardrobe stylist, designer and owner of her own clothing line “Bedouin”, and Jan Bass, Marketing Director for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire.  Together, we mapped out the itinerary of the grand opening and the layout of the show.  Yesterday, the four of us met with Paige Striebig, a graduate from SCAD with a major in fibers and a minor in fashion, and the owner of Wild Fibre, a yarn shop.  Striebig and Borders designed over twenty pieces for show.  Ms. Young and I volunteered as well to be models.

Ashley Borders, Paige Striebig, and Paula Fogarty- Goodwill Fashion Show Fitting

Ashley Borders, Paige Striebig, and Paula Fogarty- Goodwill Fashion Show Fitting

 

While we were there, Ms. Young was able to get a local news station, WTOC to come interview with a Goodwill representative about the number of jobs created by the organization.

WTOC interviews Goodwill representative

WTOC interviews Goodwill representative

 

It’s only the first week and I’m already involved with such exciting projects.  I know I have said it before, but I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a well-known and respected Public Relations professional.  Marjorie Young has already taught me so much in the first week of working with her, I can only imagine what the next months will bring.  Don’t worry readers, I will keep you posted on my progress.

 

Wish me luck for tomorrow!

 

December Starts the Season to Remember

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As the semester draws to a close, I feel a nagging sense of loss.  This is my last semester of taking class at Georgia Southern University.  I decided to knock out my final credit hours before I start my internship.  That winded up being six upper division courses, including: International PR, PR Campaign Strategies, PR Publications, Social Media PR, Rhetoric of Social Movements and Communication Theory.  Needless to say, these classes kept me preoccupied this fall.  I never had a chance to think about how much I am going to miss this place.  The reality of everything is finally setting in now.  The drive to the library doesn’t seem to take as long now.  It’s as if I can’t stop looking around campus feeling nostalgic from my younger years.  How quickly the years go by.

This semester seemed to fly.  I guess I blinked and almost missed it.  The highlight was learning I was accepted as an intern at Carriage Trade PR, Inc.  I will be working with Marjorie Young, a highly recognized PR professional in Savannah, Ga.  I was supposed to start in January, but I volunteered to start right after the semester ends.  The most challenging part of the semester was trying to time manage everything.  Every week I was on a strict schedule.  It was fast paced, but I loved it.  In fact, if I could do anything over, I would take this many classes the entire time I was in college.  I would have been done in half time. But I can’t really complain; I enjoyed every minute of my undergraduate experience.  I’ve learned so much, and I feel like I have finally grown into myself.  As I finish finals off and head onward to Savannah, I will remember the lessons learned these last five years.  I will remember the amazing people I met.  And I will remember who I grew to become.

Photo provided by: savannahnow.com

Photo provided by: savannahnow.com

Featuring Feedback

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It is always important to pass along other ideas and opinions from my peers.  Check out these interesting blog posts written by fellow Georgia Southern PR professionals:

Blog: http://ashleylaurenprice.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/171/

My Comment: “If Macy’s doesn’t have a campaign that targets young mothers with tactics using social media, they need to. A lot of moms are in charge of the clothes shopping for the entire family. If Macy’s knows that their target is going to be on Facebook, that is where they should focus their marketing efforts.”

Blog: http://whatjodijothinks.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/moms-and-social-media/

My Comment: “What a great idea! Mother’s day is already dedicated to honoring those strong women in our lives; it would be a perfect time to really highlight all they do. The campaign could have emotional appeal that relates to all women. I know a lot of kids who love donuts, so it makes sense for Dunkin to target moms along with the professionals. They might be cutting their reach by not including this public in their marketing strategies.”

Marketing towards Media Moms

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According to new data from Experian Marketing Services, women who have children under the age of five are more active on social media sites than any other demographic.  This research also suggested that these mothers will check Facebook three or more times a day.  This information is not very shocking to me.  Facebook has recently been criticized for making people narcissistic.  Individuals post idealized images for their ‘friends’ to get this idea that they have a perfect life.  Of course, new mothers would feel the appeal to broadcast their ‘perfect family’ to the world.  I mean, what new mother doesn’t want to post cute baby pictures all over the internet? It’s almost a subconscious effort to make your ‘friends’ jealous of your life.

As self-serving as this habit has become, companies can use this information to reach this key public.  For those corporations who specifically target women with children, such as Pampers, Gerber, or Fisher Price, why not use this media platform to push a new marketing strategy?  Also, it is understood that women are primarily the shoppers for groceries and clothing purchases in the household.  If a company knows where their key public is going to be at certain times of the day, they can push messages directly to them.  This is the plan of any marketing mix, but who would have thought that Facebook would be the new, hot mom hangout…  It seems to me, social media is around to stay and should be included in integrated marketing strategies.

Photo provided by: blog.thepitagroup.com

Photo provided by: blog.thepitagroup.com

Round and Round We Go

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Photo by: everythinggirlslove.com

Photo by: everythinggirlslove.com

When the weather chills and the harvest has begun, communities across the nation set up county fairs for locals to enjoy.  It is an American tradition.  Friends and families gather together to enjoy the festivities and escape the stresses of day to day life.  Setting up shop on a patch of dirt, “carnies” bring around 15-30 rides.  Every ride is covered with small bulbs that flash and flicker.  These lights give that normally dark field a faint glow that can be seen for miles.  Sweet smells of funnel cakes linger in the air.  And the screams coming from the Fireball ride can be heard even outside the gates.  Just describing the magic created by this tradition makes me nostalgic.

For you see, the fair symbolizes so much more than a night out on the town.  It represents our childhood, our parents, our kids, and our first loves.  We can track our entire life by the series of fair adventures we have had and who we have shared them with each year.  I can remember going to the Savannah fair with my dad and my brother.  When I turned 15, I was finally allowed to go with a group of friends (very exciting at the time).  Then the next year, I had my first boyfriend take me, just the two of us.  It was so romantic in a childhood innocence way.  I remember he won me a teddy bear and I just knew he was “the one”.  Later, I came to college and went to the Statesboro fair.  It was a completely new experience, even though it had the same rides.  What made it special was the group of friends I went with.

As I have gotten older, I have skipped out on the annual event.  Instead of seeing the beauty of the fair, I convinced myself that that place was not for me.  I focused on the things like that creepy guy who smiles at you with no teeth from the control panel, or the mud that covers your feet and pants no matter how carefully you step, or the puking girl standing beside the twirling tower of terror.  I must have lost the magic.

While watching the Notebook last night, I was reminded of how long fairs have been around.  Every American has experienced at least one fair.  It is something that unites us together in some weird way.  Our shared experiences of the chaos are what create the magic.  One day, when I have more years under my belt, I can’t wait to take my kids.  I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on the wonders of the night.

Crafty Campaigns: Winning the Game

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COSI LOGO

Photo Provided by: http://www.reuters.com

The restaurant chain Cosi has started a new “Fall into Cosi” campaign that will run until October 31st.  The ultimate goal of this campaign is to increase foot traffic into the restaurants.  One strategy was to use technology to reach potential customers.  For this particular campaign, Cosi wanted to think outside of the box.  So many companies use social media tactics that now it seems customers are becoming immune to their effects.  Their campaigns are becoming part of the norm, and not very unique.  Cosi’s public relations team wanted to figure out a way to break the mold and start something that was original.

According to a report presented at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo this week, mobile applications used in marketing strategies are becoming a business trend.  (For more information on new trends in business and technology, visit http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/gartner-identifies-top-10-strategic-tech-trends-for-2014).  It seems that Cosi is ahead of the game.  For the “Fall into Cosi” campaign, the company decided to engage customers in a mobile sweepstakes.  Customers receive “game pieces” through either the mobile site or the webpage (depending on their preference) and then redeem these pieces at the local restaurant.  Prizes include gift cards or deals for dining, and a grand prize of a trip to Paris for two.  These incentives entice customers to eat at Cosi, and as a result, the restaurant’s new menu receives publicity. (To learn more about the “Fall into Cosi” campaign, read more at http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/cosi-drives-in-store-traffic-with-mobile-sweepstakes).

This type of promotion is going to be the new rage.  (Well, at least until a better idea comes out.)  This tactic creates a bridge between the online world and the in-store atmosphere.  Engaging customers this way makes it appealing to come back to the business repeatedly.  I mean, who doesn’t like to win free stuff?  As long as the mobile app is creative, this tactic could be beneficial to creating awareness or engaging consumers.

Featuring Feedback- Week 7

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It is always important to pass along other ideas and opinions from my peers.  Check out these interesting blog posts written by fellow Georgia Southern PR professionals:

http://rhianaelyssa.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/a-few-of-my-pet-peeves/comment-page-1/#comment-53 – “Grammar has been most of our classmates’ pet peeves.  It makes sense that we would pay attention to spelling and technical errors, because as PR professionals it is our job to pay attention to such matters.  So professionally, your pet peeve might pay off.”

http://shannonwanco.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/text-lingo-is-driving-me-nuts/comment-page-1/#comment-72 – “Girl, I hear that! My cousins are world famous for mixing up their letters. What’s really scary is that this behavior will become a habit for people if they don’t watch out…”

 

Picking People Apart

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Everyone has little ticks.  Little things that are so small they shouldn’t matter, but for some reason these little things can become big problems.  My friend, these are called ‘pet peeves’ and everyone has them.  For instance, I happen to get seriously annoyed when someone tells me to turn, right as I’m passing the drive way.  Seriously, why didn’t you give me a warning like my GPS? “In .2 miles, turn left” would have prepared me.  If I’m nice enough to give you a ride, don’t make me waste my gas with U-turns. I would much rather arrive at the destination on time, than to hear about your childhood or what you had for lunch today.

Another big one for me is whenever anyone says “know what I’m saying?”  Well since you haven’t actually said anything, no… I don’t know what you’re saying. Instead of wasting your breath on this stupid question, why don’t you actually SAY what you’re trying to say? Since I can’t read your mind, it would make it a lot easier for me to understand what you are trying to communicate.

 

GetAnnoyed.com has a huge list of pet peeves; here’s a couple that hit home for me:

When you open the DVD case and it is empty or a different movie is in it.

People who don’t cover their mouth while sneezing or coughing.

When something I’ve been into for a long time becomes popular. (i.e. the Black Keys…)

People who start playing with their phones halfway through your story.  Was I boring you?

Ice cream with freezer burn.

Flakes! People that cancel plans constantly.

Everyone I know can relate to one or two of the items on the list.  It seems part of the human condition is to be annoyed with fellow humans and their habits.  And although we recognize that people’s behavior is not intentionally done to irritate us, we need to acknowledge that sometimes we irritate others too.  It took me reading this whole list to realize some of my habits were major pet peeves for my family and friends.  I’ll have to add these on the list of things I need to improve upon in my life before I start to get annoyed with people’s behaviors.

Controlling Crisis on Campus

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By the time you are a senior, it’s almost impossible to do anything in public without being conscious of how organizations interact with people.  ‘Target audiences’ and ‘key publics’ have been drilled into our heads; so even when we are off the clock and out of the classrooms, it has become natural to observe our surroundings.  When I witnessed students sitting on the floor of the Physics Building, my Public Relations’ senses were tingling.

The Planetarium at Georgia Southern University premiered The Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Rock Show, a laser light performance that took the audience through time and space while listening to the entire Dark Side of the Moon album.  Fliers were posted in every building.  The event even landed a story on the front page of Georgia Southern’s student newspaper, The George Ann.  The Physics department had planned to hold four laser light showings.  I knew from all the publicity, the free event was going to be packed.  So I went an hour and a half early, just to find a line out of the door and people turning others away.

Apparently by 5:30 p.m., the department had given out of tickets for the 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. shows.  When I arrived at 7:45 p.m., the 8:00 p.m. show was filling in and tickets had been handed out for the 9:00 p.m. and an extra 10:00 p.m. showing that was added.  Still, there were at least 20 people waiting patiently in the hallway, trying not to give up hope on their evening.  I kept quiet for a while, watching two George Ann reporters smoothly talk their way into sitting on the floor.  But that wasn’t fair for the rest of us.

Surprisingly, the astronomy lab coordinator, Becky Lowder, invited everyone to come back two hours later for a final showing.  My frustration turned into admiration in an instant.  I can only imagine that must have been how the entire hallway felt as several cheers erupted from our small victory.

After the show, I had a chance to speak with Ms. Lowder, and asked her what made her decide to do the 6th showing, volunteering her time to stay on campus until Midnight.

Ms. Lowder said, “We didn’t want to disappoint anyone.  I’m just thrilled that there were this many students that like Pink Floyd – This is wonderful.”

I suggested handing out tickets a day or two in advance to avoid this problem at future shows, but no actions have been decided.  It was just refreshing to see our University’s Physics department face the crisis, and brilliantly rise to the challenge of keeping people happy.

Pink Floyd

Photo Provided by: iammichellepham.wordpress.com