Celebrating, Remembering, and Fighting Back With Infographics

This past year, I worked as sponsorship chair for the University of Oregon Relay for Life. I am passionate about Relay’s mission to fight cancer, so when I was assigned to create an infographic for one of my public relations classes, the subject was an easy choice.

In such an information-heavy society, it can be hard to break through the clutter and present information in a way that sticks. Infographics are a great way to do just that. Infographics break down complex data in a way that is easy to comprehend. The visual nature of infographics is also useful for holding an audience’s attention.

Brian Compton from LEWIS PR emphasizes this point in a blog post, writing, “…when it comes down to execution, PR professionals need to retrain their brains to think like designers and understand how a design motif will help carry a message.”

After creating my infographic in Piktochart, I picked up a few tips:

  • Know your audience
  • Don’t try to do too much at once
  • Maintain a uniform color scheme
  • Refrain from using too many type faces
  • Break numbers down in a way that relates to the audience

You can check out my Relay for Life infographic below:

Relay Infographic

Maximizing Social Media

1Recently, a friend of mine explained to me why he doesn’t use Twitter. “I don’t need to hear what people are doing every minute of the day,” he said.

As public relations professionals, we shake our heads because we know that anyone who is using Twitter as a diary is using it incorrectly.

Still, many people (and companies) are skeptical of the usefulness of social media, although it can be a powerful branding, marketing and connecting tool for businesses. This term in J452, we explored a great way to combat that theory and analyze the effectiveness of social media: measurement.

In groups, we selected a company and then used various measurement tools to determine the effectiveness of that company’s social media platforms. My group chose Sock It to Me, a local Portland company. Sock It to Me uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to interact with fans and share quirky content.

We used MyTopTweet, Simply Measured, Social Mention, Statigram, and TweetLevel to quantify the data, which were displayed in graph format. Visually representing the information in this way not only made it easier to comprehend but also gave it credibility.

We not only analyzed Sock It to Me’s social media usage but also that of three competitors: Happy Socks, K.Bell, and Gumball Poodle. Social media measurement is valuable, but it is even more valuable when placed in the context of competition.

One of the biggest takeaways from this assignment was the importance of sharing information that directly relates to the customer. For example, Sock It to Me hosted a “Sock Exchange” in which customers could swap out their current sock for a brand new pair of Sock It to Me’s. The customers then modeled the socks for a photo on Instagram. Fan engagement for this event was high and overwhelmingly positive as people tagged themselves and commented about the event. However, posts that were too abstract or did not directly affect the customer received little interaction.

Fifteen Minutes With Bread and Butter PR’s Samantha Luthra

ImageRecently, I had the opportunity to speak with Samantha Luthra from Bread and Butter PR, a boutique hospitality firm in Los Angeles. Samantha, who graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, began working at the firm only a week after graduation. She let me in on a few industry secrets and tips for breaking into the fast-paced world of hospitality PR. Check out these three highlights from our chat.

1. Bigger isn’t always better.

Originally, Samantha had hopes to work in a larger PR agency. However, when she received a job at Bread and Butter, which employs six people out of its Los Angeles office, she realized the benefits of a small firm. Although she often collaborates with coworkers, Samantha makes many decisions on her own and does not deal with the bureaucracy that can come with working at a big agency. While this leaves more room for error, it also allows for greater personal success.

“I have friends who are working at big agencies, and they’re doing work that I would have my interns do,” she explained. “I get to secure press hits and take credit for them, which is nice.”

2. Be interested and have a digital footprint that proves it.

When breaking into any area of public relations, Samantha advises that aspiring professionals establish an online presence. Employers want to hire candidates who care about the work they do, and a digital footprint that demonstrates interest can help job seekers get a foot in the door. If you’re interested in food, for example, you should be tweeting about it. Otherwise, your application seems inauthentic.

At the same time, don’t only focus on the industry you want to break into – showcase your personality as well. “I have to hang out with our interns all day,” says Samantha. “I don’t want to hire someone unless they seem like a genuine person.”

3. When in doubt, network.

Samantha doesn’t spend as much time at her desk as one might think. Instead of pitching clients through email, she often takes them out to lunch or happy hour to establish a personal connection. She finds that working with media and clients face-to-face is fun for both parties involved and creates an effective partnership.

It isn’t hard to see that Samantha Luthra enjoys what she does. Hospitality PR has allowed her to take creative initiative and work with exciting clients. “It’s not like tech PR,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do with a microchip, but the clients I work with leave me a lot of room to have fun.”

Spring Cleaning: A Fresh Focus

photoHello again to those of you who have been following my blog, and welcome to those who are new readers.

In the past, I have enjoyed blogging about a variety of my interests including fashion, leadership and business; however, now it’s time for a clear focus. While writing about a wide range of topics has helped me to grow as a person and develop a sense of identity, I will now  concentrate on an area that I hope to enter after graduation: public relations. I am interested in both hospitality and technology public relations and will be exploring those niches.

Public relations is an evolving industry, and I hope to use this blog to contribute my voice to the conversation. I am excited to begin this journey with you!

Why I Relay

Mary Lou Bradley spent her days balancing her two son’s baseball, soccer, and basketball schedules. The only thing she knew about leukemia was that her nephew had passed away from it in 1988. So when her son Chris, 9, complained that his legs hurt, cancer was the last thing on her mind.

Mary Lou initially thought that Chris was experiencing growing pains. As it turns out, this was not the case.

Chris was diagnosed with leukemia in April 1994 after his doctor noticed that his spleen was slightly enlarged. Mary Lou’s world turned upside down as she watched her youngest son begin the fight of his life.

Mary Lou’s mother Jeanne Armstrong was at the doctor’s office at the time of diagnosis. She vividly remembers how Mary Lou responded to the bad news.

“She fell into my arms, sobbing. We went into a room and we cried together for a few minutes. Then, she pulled herself together, came out and greeted Chris…she was very strong,” says Jeanne.

Mary Lou says that the diagnosis was the hardest part. Chris was pulled out of school that April and did not return until October of the following year. Chris went through chemotherapy for three years, losing his hair and becoming so weak that he had to be put in a wheelchair.

“He wanted to be a professional baseball player. I mean, he was 9 years old, so that was his dream. And I noticed that the sicker he got, and weaker and stuff, his goals changed. He decided that instead of being a professional baseball player, he was going to be a computer programmer or something because he could be at his desk,” says Mary Lou, with a tinge of pain in her pale blue eyes.

Chris’ brother Matt was 12 at the time of diagnosis. Mary Lou tried to evenly divide attention between her two sons, but it was never easy to do. Matt would often complain that he was left out of the family because of the focus on Chris.

“There were a couple times when he (Matt) said ‘You don’t even say goodnight to me anymore.’ It was awful. It broke my heart.”

When Candlelighters, a local support group for families who have children with cancer, reached out to Mary Lou, it was just the support she needed. They invited her to their annual Christmas party and shortly afterwards invited her to become co-chair for the group.

With Candlelighters, Mary Lou advocates for families with cancer and organizes fun activities such as horseback riding and snowmobile trips at no cost to the families.

“It’s super expensive to have a child with cancer and we have quite a few families who really can’t afford to do these things on their own,” says Mary Lou.

Mary Lou advises that families going through childhood cancer seek some sort of support rather than going through it alone, because it is can be overwhelming at the very beginning. It is important to have people to really talk to and cry to.

Today, Mary Lou’s son Chris is thriving, and he came through treatment without having to go through radiation. Mary Lou continues her fight to end childhood cancer and is on her fifteenth year working at Candlelighters.

“You don’t want to say you’re lucky when you have a child with cancer, but we had a lot of things that we were really lucky with,” says Mary Lou, “It made me stronger. Once you’re thrown into it, you have to do what you have to do…so it makes you very strong.””

 

 

 

Sign up now for the University of Oregon Relay for Life event on May 11th, 2013.

Good Customer Service and Past Restaurant Experience will Serve You Well in PR and Advertising

publicrelationinsights

Sometimes I look back at those days of servant-hood – yes, the days I spent being a server at a restaurant.

That job could get stressful.  You’d have people breathing down your back and treating you like their own personal servant; hence, my reference to servant-hood.   Furthermore, you’d work hard to offer your customers the best possible service, and sometimes you’d still only find pennies left at the table for you.  Other times, you’d serve a table that really put you to work.  You’d bring their drinks and food to the table, and then they’d ask you to bring ketchup.  Once you delivered them their ketchup, they’d ask for toothpicks.  After you’d bring them toothpicks, they’d demand refills, napkins, and more ketchup.  You get the point.  If you’ve ever served at a restaurant, you can definitely relate.  The work is difficult and stressful.

And though the work was rough, I’m actually not complaining one…

View original post 244 more words

the LBD: perfect for any AND every occassion

Absolute favorite quote.

Rookie Mistakes

When all else fails — wear a little black dress. There is literally a little black dress for every occasion. You can dress them up or dress them down.  You can go from work to play. My wardrobe is filled with LBD’s and each one is not like the other.

When Friday night rolls around and I have nothing to wear, I pull out my black cut out dress with a cute pair of heels. Then Monday morning creeps up on me and I choose a black sheath dress with ballet flats. And the LBD saves the day!

Check out these sites for any and every occasion!

XO- J

Girl on a budget: Forever 21 

Professional: Banana Republic 

Splurge: Nordstroms

Just Admire: Shop Bop 

View original post