Should You Do a Woke Campaign or Not?

Social media has an undeniable power to communicate, connect and inspire. For brands, social media is also a way to engage with, listen to and understand your audience for more effective campaigns.

Take Nike. One of the most recognizable brands in the world and no stranger to controversial campaigns, now called woke campaigns, that provoke social debates. In 2018, the brand decided to align a major campaign with Colin Kaepernick’s protest on social justice.

While most would find socially- or politically-charged campaigns to be a risky move, Nike had the upper hand – audience insight. Knowing that its target audience tends to be more liberal and socially conscientious, Nike found this campaign to be a risk worth taking.

Even within this very polarized social environment, if you know your target audience, and if you know your message is going to jibe well with your target audience, there is a greater chance that your PR campaign can really help your business.

I have researched Nike’s recent campaign, specifically focusing on how Nike’s target audience behaved on Twitter compared to the general U.S. public based on the six days of big Twitter data when most social conversations took place. While the campaign was not without negative pushback, the overall sentiment from the target audience was more positive than that of their target publics, and successfully positioned their brand at the center of social discussion. In sum, my study suggests that Nike had successfully energized its target audience, and later Nike reported on their increased sales in the initially troubled North America market.

Public relations practitioners should, however, weigh the risks and benefits before launching campaigns, especially those built around social issues.

As long as your target audience is getting the message and they are excited about your campaign, then it could eventually help your business and help your reputation and image.

Source: What does Corporate Social Advocacy (CSA) do for a brand? Twitter Analysis of Nike’s Kaepernick Campaign Case. Lee & Rim (2018).
5555555[1]YoungAh Lee is the director of the public relations graduate program with a diverse educational and professional background. Her research focuses on investigating the impact of strategic communication with an emphasis on reputation management and social media. Her approach to public relations emphasizes the role of reputation, believing that businesses best succeed when they align their communication and business goals. Recently, she has turned her focus to social network analysis to have a more theory-driven understanding of rich social media data while developing media analytics curriculum.

 

 

Ball State University was founded in 1918 and is located in Muncie, Indiana, 55 miles northeast of Indianapolis. At more than 22,500 students, enrollment for the 2017–18 academic year is Ball State’s largest ever. Students come from all Indiana counties, all 50 states and 68 countries. Ball State’s seven academic colleges offer 190 undergraduate majors, 130 undergraduate minors 140 graduate programs and 200 study abroad programs. Ball State students, faculty and staff are empowered in a culture that believes in them and demands they believe in themselves. Three of every four Ball State graduates choose to live, work and play in Indiana. Alumni hold leadership positions in businesses and communities across the state and the nation. Ball State has been named one of the best universities in the Midwest by The Princeton Review for more than a decade.

Three Ways to Get Involved With Your Local PRSA Chapter

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Graduation is around the corner and the job search is on! But what happens after you secure your first gig? It is important to stay involved in professional organizations like PRSA even after graduation for continued professional development and networking. Here are three ways that you can get involved in your local PRSA chapter:

  1. ALL ABOARD!

A great way to get involved with your local chapter is to join the board. This allows you to plan the best year yet for the local chapter. Whether you want to be the historian or happy hour coordinator (like me), you are in a space where you can contribute ideas on programming and network closely with like-minded individuals.

  1. Be Hands On

If you’re not ready to be a board member yet, volunteering is a great way to start getting involved. There are fundraising events, award ceremonies and networking mixers that need planning and support. Contact your local chapter to see how you can play a part.

  1. Show Up!

Beth Lamb, Chief Marketing Officer at Ronald McDonald House Fort Worth (TX) said “it can be very easy to get involved with your local chapter, and the easiest way is to simply attend chapter programming. Get to know your fellow members and leadership board through the various events. If you are ready to serve the chapter, ask. Boards always love to know who is ready and willing to fill committee chairs. If your schedule does not allow you to do more than attend programs, offer your ideas on luncheon topics or event programming.”

PRSA is a great way to enrich your professional life through networking and career development. “Plus, your involvement, no matter the level, is important to your growth and the growth of your local chapter,” said Lamb. Find your local chapter today at PRSA

By – Jade Fails

Jade Fails is a Baylor University public relations graduate. She is currently the Marketing Administrator at The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth, TX. 

New Year, New Pros

Each year, the turning of the calendar marks a time of transition for the New Professionals Section. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, the incoming and outgoing committee chairs begin the transition with a flurry of calls, messages and documents exchanged. And then we set off to plan.

When I started digging in to planning back in September, I found there was a lot I didn’t know. Despite being a member of the Section for four years and on the Exec Committee for three, I had a hard time articulating what our goals were. As a committee, we had always done a pretty good job of executing on our individual goals, but we didn’t have a strategic plan or overall goals guiding our work.

As I began the process of meeting with current committee members to select the 2019 Executive Committee, I heard a lot of the same struggles – members weren’t sure what we were working towards or didn’t feel like we had a clear mission or goals to guide us – and decided that we needed a strategic plan. With guidance from other sections and groups, as well as other more experienced professionals, I began to craft a strategic plan for our New Professionals Section with three clear goals that our committee would work toward in 2019.

They are:

  1. Provide valuable tools and resources for professional development to our members;
  2. Position our Section and our members as thought leaders; and
  3. Clearly demonstrate the value of being a PRSA and New Pros member.

Why these three goals? Well, there are a few reasons. First, they are inline with PRSA’s Strategic Plan. Second, they address feedback we’ve heard from members over the past couple of years and are speak to our mission and vision for the Section – to serve members by helping them grow professionally. That is, after all, why we join professional organizations, right?

When it comes to professional development, the needs of new professionals vary a bit from those of mid-level and experienced practitioners. While leadership training is great, and can often be useful, many of us are working towards the next promotion or the next job, and trying to figure out what skills and knowledge we need to have to get there. Maybe we don’t see ourselves as leaders yet because we’re not sure we know the things we need to know or are asking the right questions.

There are two things new pros seem to need to develop professionally – access to opportunities that provide actionable resources they can use pretty much immediately and guidance. This year, we’re going to tackle both.

Through a partnership with PRSA’s College of Fellows, we will make mentoring more accessible to new professionals. Mentors are crucial to professional development and the mentor/mentee relationship is unique. Experienced professionals often have a wealth of knowledge they’re more than happy to share with aspiring and new professionals and their guidance on navigating through career obstacles is invaluable. Mentoring is a two-way relationship, though, and nurturing and maintaining that relationship may not always come naturally. As we partner with the College of Fellows, we’ll explore not only the benefits of having and being a mentor, but what really goes into the relationship, what to expect and how it changes over the course of your career.

Since January is National Mentoring Month, we decided to dive right in and begin the conversation with a joint webinar on Jan. 31 at 3 p.m. ET. This webinar,Supercharge your career: How finding or being a mentor can transform your professional development,” is only available to members of the New Professionals Section and the College of Fellows and will feature two mentor-mentee pairs who will share the ins and outs for fostering a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship. We hope you’ll join us for this discussion.

Actionable resources, like checklists, templates and guides, are something we’ll be working on bringing to our professional development opportunities this year, starting with our Summits.

Last year, we hosted our first in-person networking and learning summit, “Careers in Progress” in New York City. The event was a success, bringing together new professionals from across the country and industry professionals to talk about practical tactics and insights. This year, we’re expanding our summits to three different locations over the course of the year – Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. In addition to sessions on tactics and trends, we’ll be adding an afternoon workshop to help attendees master a skill. We’re still working on planning each of these events, so keep an eye out for an announcement on dates and programs for each.

“Thought leader” may not be the first word you’d use to describe yourself as a new professional, but our members are skilled in many areas and we want to help showcase these talents. Our blog, The Edge, is an excellent platform for sharing information, tips and ideas. We encourage all members to flex your skills by writing for The Edge and use published posts to build your portfolio.

Professional development and being a thought leader aren’t just limited to talking about skills and successes, though. We all struggle sometimes and struggle a bit through our career. No one will be better able to relate to and understand the obstacles new pros face than your peers. The Edge is also a good place to talk about those issues and topics that are important to you as you make your way through your early career.

We hope that you’ll see the value in being a PRSA member – and a Section member – as a new professional through the opportunities that are made available to you, but we’re also going to do a better job at showcasing some of the benefits to being a New Pros member and the value that we find in it. One way we’ll do this is by better sharing some of the more behind-the-scenes projects that we’re working on to improve our Section. We want you to be just as excited about being a new pro as we are.

We look forward to what’s ahead this year and to better getting to know you. We want to hear from you, so whether you’ve got a question that needs an answer, a success you’d like to share or an idea for something we can do better, please reach out to us on our social media channels, through our MyPRSA discussion forum, or directly to me by email.

Happy 2019, new pros!

– Robyn
  2019 PRSA New Professionals Section Chair

New Professional Spotlight: Shannon Nicholson

 

Name: Shannon Nicholson
Job Role: Program Director, West Virginia University Office of Graduate Admissions
Education: B.S. Journalism, ’14, M.S. Data Marketing Communications, ’17 – WVU Reed College of Media
Social Media: @shannonicholson (Twitter) and @shannonpauline (Instagram)

How and when did you first become interested in PR and communications?

My first job in the industry was at a small, B2B advertising agency in Morgantown, WV. I was exposed to all facets of marketing: content development, direct email, digital advertising, media relations, social media, traditional media, and website design (to name a few). What I did not know before I started my Junior Account Manager position was the importance of tying campaigns to business goals, breaking down department silos, and utilizing collected data to be relevant and timely. Enter the Data Marketing Communications, fully-online, graduate program. This program allowed me to bridge my interest in the business-side of marketing and my growing expertise in the field.

How did you find internships/jobs?

As a WVU student and alumni, I have an amazing resource at my disposal- MountaineerTrak powered by the Career Services Center. MountaineerTrak was my first line of defense. During my years as an undergrad, the Reed College of Media hired a Director of Student Careers and Opportunities, Eric Minor. Eric’s weekly “opportunity” email quickly became my go-to resource. Eric is the perfect liaison between current students looking for experience and alumni looking to provide that experience as a way to give back to their alma mater.

What was the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced in your career? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I have faced in my young career has been introducing new procedures, and strategies from the ground up. In my current role, I assumed that after six months and I’ll be like a well-oiled machine and have already implemented new strategies. I soon realized that implementation would take closer to one year. The next year will be spent analyzing, and the following year will be about growth and optimization. It is hard not to get ahead of myself and want to be at year three, today! Really, the biggest challenge is not trying something new, it is pacing myself to check one step off the list at a time. Devoting 110% to each step without getting ahead of myself and potentially losing sight of details that could later derail all that the team has worked towards. Slow and steady wins the race.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?

Differing experiences, bring perspective. In my Data Marketing Communications cohort, students had varying backgrounds in data, graphic design, marketing, sales, etc. Listening to each other’s viewpoints helped the entire cohort approach problems with an open mind.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?

You won’t know unless you try.

Do you have any advice for future PR pros?

There are a lot of different ways to apply your marketing/PR knowledge. Don’t limit yourself to certain industries or titles. Today, there are more opportunities than ever to be creative with your knowledge.

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?

I think the biggest benefit of the New Pros section is the opportunity for engagement and networking. PRSA boasts amazing partners, and communities for growth and learning. I was particularly drawn to the #NPPRSA Twitter chats. Twitter chats have been a great outlet to informally discuss specific topics with others in the industry. I have found that those who participate want to engage and share. Even simply reading through threads has helped open my eyes to areas outside of my expertise.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting your career?

You will never stop learning. When you think you know enough, there is always more. It is important to be vigilant about the changes within your field.

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself.

I have a Bengal Cat that is about 20 lbs, who acts more like a small dog than a cat.

This New Professionals spotlight is sponsored by West Virginia University. If you are a member of PRSA New Pros and interested in being featured, or interested in nominating someone to be featured as a part of our #MemberSpotlight, please complete the following form.

 

Four Ways Your PRSA Membership Can Help You Get Connected

In the first five years of your career, there is a lot of information and experiences thrown at you. You’re trying to figure out your first few jobs, learn about various industries and communications functions, and make a mark for yourself. PRSA’s New Professionals section can help you get there through programming, networking and mentorship.

As PRSA National wrote, “A well-developed professional network can be a source of friendships, mentors and referrals. Your network can also provide objective insights for evaluating opportunities and problems. PRSA’s 21,000+ members are excellent resources for cultivating relationships with colleagues who can help advance your career. A solid network of valuable contacts is always valuable, now more than ever.”

Whether you’re a PRSA member that transitioned from PRSSA, a new member finding your way, or a prospective member, here are three key ways PRSA can help you get more in contact with your peers:

  1. Connect with PR pros in your industry sector (via PRSA Sections)
    Not all communication and public relations professionals face the same challenges. PRSA has 14 professional interest groups, known as Sections. Most Sections focus on a specific industry while a few of the Sections are geared toward career levels (such as New Pros!). Each Section focuses on common issues related to an area of practice or special interest and is dedicated to bringing its members important, relevant information regarding their area of interest. Beyond involvement in New Pros, it can be helpful to join the section relevant to your industry – such as nonprofit, financial, health, technology, travel, and more – for tailored professional development.
  1. Build a strong network of local peers (via PRSA Chapters and Districts)
    A strong network is diverse and includes clients, peers, senior professionals, business leaders and vendors. PRSA Chapters give members the opportunity to strengthen their networks, grow as professionals and provide better solutions to the organizations they serve. Many Chapters provide New Pros programming at the local level, live. California Capital, Chicago, and more have active New Pros committees.
  1. Demonstrate thought leadership (via MyPRSA)
    Do you have something to say about a topic in which you’re well versed? If so, you could become an influential thought leader on PRSA’s members-only online community, MyPRSA. A great way to meet other PR and communications professionals is by answering questions, writing thought-provoking posts and blogs, and sharing experiences. There’s a New Pros-specific community to engage with professionals in a similar point in their career as you. You can also write for PRSA New Pros’ blog The Edge.
  1. Set yourself up for your next career success
    Plus, PRSA offers lifelong learning to help you improve your job skills, stay competitive and advance your career. There are on-demand trainings, MBA prep and APR support sessions.

Porterfield,Hanna_headshot2017This content originally appeared in PRSA’s membership email and was repurposed for use on PRSA New Pros The Edge by Hanna Porterfield, 2018 Chair of PRSA’s New Professionals Section. Based in Chicago, but frequently on an airplane, she is an account manager at NYC-headquartered Development Counsellors International. Hanna is a graduate of Michigan State University. Connect with her on Twitter @citygirlhanna.