How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?

What are some ways that a PR practitioner can measure the effectiveness of a campaign? Also, discuss the importance of measurement.

A Public Relations practitioner can measure the effectiveness of a campaign in various ways. One is if it is a product that they are representing, then they can look at test studies of how many people used the product, how many people enjoyed it, and how many people bought it or would by it again. Was there any complaints with the products? Any safety hazarrds or is it only selling with a select group of people? Are you aiming at your demographic successfully? All of these can be measured with test studies and the amount being sold. Another way is if the person is a public relations representative for a celebrity, actor/actress, or just someone in the public eye, they could measure their success rate if the person is up for awards, or book deals, higher television ratings, or they are staying out of the gossip monger’s radar. If you are representing someone who is falling out of bars and clubs as much as they are falling into court, then you have a problem because it’d be pretty hard to spin that into a more positive image. If the person you are representing is spread across the front of tabloids with big print screaming “SCANDAL!” you’re probably not in good shape. All one has to do is look around to see if they are succeeding or not. Get in touch with the people who are on the receiving end of all the information, scour the message boards, hear what people are saying.

The importance of measurement is to show how well you are doing at your job. As a Public Relations practitioner, you are smack-dab in the middle of the media. You need to be aware of how you are contributing to it and if you are successful or not at doing so. How are you able to do your job if you do not constantly measure to see how far you’ve come?

PR Department VS PR Firm

As a young, wide-eyed, naive individual ready to break out into the big world of public relations, I have the world at my feet. The options available to me are astounding. So which would be more beneficial? Should I begin my career in a Public Relations Firm or a Public Relations Department? Well lets examine the positive and negatives of each.

Jumping right into a PR Firm could be beneficial because of the unlimited access to various contacts. One is able to network on a greater scale while working at a firm, for they are handling multiple companies images. Resources would be made available to me and I would be able to build up a certain credibility. However, because I am dealing with multiple companies, I am unable to solely devote my time and energy to one, thus limiting the overall quality of my work.

If I were to start out in a Public Relations Department of one company, I would have the benefit of knowing the ins and outs of that one specific company. Everyone just has to learn everything about a single company and not have to dig up any new information about multiple companies which could prove detrimental to the image of the company. We would all have the same specific goal in mind and we could spend all the time needed investing in the image of that one company. My resources and networking opportunities would be severely limited while working in a Public Relations Department but I think that is something that could be overlooked.

Overall, I believe it would be more beneficial to start out working in the Public Relations Department of a company. It’s a good way to know the ropes and become familiar with various ways to handle situations while not being spread thin across multiple companies and making mistakes therein.

Public Relations Through History – Old Hollywood

If I could travel back in time and be a public relation’s rep in any era, I think I would really enjoy doing PR for the old hollywood stars. Back in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, the big names were always made out to be perfect angels, when in reality, that wasn’t always the case. For example, Joan Crawford was a huge sensation with over 100 films under her belt. The media showed a side of her that was compassionate, a philanthropist, an excellent mother, and a superb actress. While the latter is evident in her films and awards, we found out later from her daughter, Christina Crawford, that she was a terrible mother and a strong-headed woman who faked perfection for the cameras.

Joan Crawford and her four children: Christina, Christopher, Cindy and Cathy circa 1955.

I would’ve loved to be a PR rep for Joan Crawford just because I think it would be fun to be in on the secret. Here, I would be promoting this ideal woman/homemaker/mother image, when in reality she was a monster. Back in those days, it wasn’t too hard to present a person in a positive light. Tabloids and gossip mongers were not as intricate a part of a celebrity’s career as they are today.

Much like the Mommie Dearest scandal, Rock Hudson’s homosexuality was not fully discovered until well into the ’80s, when he announced that he had contracted AIDS. Again, it would be fascinating to me to be a PR rep in old hollywood, know of certain things that could cause a crisis, and make sure to cover any loose ends to make people think otherwise.

It’s probably very small-minded of me but sometimes I enjoy secrets staying hidden and making people believe false information. It brings me a little joy to know about things and to cover them up from public consumption. At the same time, however, I think the public should be aware of who they are giving their money to when the go see a show.

I think a lot of the scandals back then, were not completely dealt with, and that was just something society accepted. I would’ve liked to have been able to expand on what was going on at the time and try to reveal the truth to the public. For example, Marilyn Monroe’s death raised so many unanswered questions. So many conspiracy theories are still in question today. I definitely believe that the government was involved, especially since Marilyn’s maid was asked to leave the country shortly after her death.

Overall, I think I’d enjoy working as a public relation’s representative for an old hollywood star. I believe back then people didn’t look for the worst in people to feed off of and celebrities didn’t get their start by leaking sex tapes. They were able to show off their talent and not be hindered by what people may think was going on in their private life.

“Creation Myths Need a Devil”

500 million members. 207 countries. 25 billion dollar company. One name that connects us all. Facebook. This truly innovative and genius idea is accompanied by a heartbreaking and dramatic tale of it’s uprising. So dramatic, in fact, that various books  have been written about the creation of Facebook. Most recently, and most notarized, this account was explored in the movie The Social Network. Directed by David Fincher, written by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin, this film is one that Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine calls, “better than the movie of the year, it also brilliantly defines the decade. It’s one of those rare movies that sums up the spirit of a generation and an era.” The Social Network was an outstanding piece of work that did extremely well at the box office as well as greatly reviewed by the critics. Unfortunately there were a few people who weren’t too fond of the film, to put it delicately. Namely, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. Many believed that the film painted him in a bad light and exploited mistakes he made when he was only 19 years of age (but really, were they mistakes?). Also people believed Aaron Sorkin, 2010 Oscar winner for Best Screenplay, took a few too many liberties. I have to disagree with all of these accusations. Because The Social Network is my favorite movie, I have seen it countless times and each time I watch it, I see how each person’s actions are completely justified; especially Mark’s. Sorkin conducted multiple interviews, including Harvard grad Natalie Portman, who had experienced the beginings of the facebook phenomenon first hand, since she was living on campus at the time. He also got a hold of the various transcripts from two lawsuits, one with Eduardo Saverin and the other with the Winklevoss twins. Through countless press interviews the actors made sure to differentiate between the character Mark Zuckerberg and the actual Mark Zuckerberg.

When the movie came out, Mark Zuckerberg was careful not to publicly slam the film. I’m sure he knew that any controversy he began would just fuel the media and possibly promote the film further. Instead of hiring a crisis PR team, Zuckerberg turned to his company’s internal corporate communications group. As per adweek.com the first way they went about this was use one of Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes to speak what he felt was the truth about Mark Zuckerberg to New York Times.  Then the communications group sought out The New Yorker, a highly respected publication to provide a fuller, in depth look at Mark Zuckerberg from his own personal perspective.  When ever the press would question Zuckerberg about the film, he made sure to emphasize the fact that it is a work of fiction. I’ve listened and watch countless interview with the various cast and filmmakers of The Social Network and they always handle this situation extremely delicately. “‘I don’t want to be unfair to this young man whom I don’t know, who’s never done anything to me, who doesn’t deserve a punch in the face,” Sorkin said in one of several interviews. “I honestly believe that I have not done that.”‘ Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Mark in the film, never failed to mention how terribly uncomfortable this must be for Zuckerberg, to have the choices he made as a 19 year old permanently transcribed onto film and how gracious and sweet he’s been through all of this. Around the time of the release of the movie, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to New Jersey schools. Eisenberg pointed out in an interview that he truly believes that Zuckerberg had the best intentions when doing so but whatever the motives behind that donation, $100 million is nothing to blink at. Zuckerberg also participated in a skit with Jesse Eisenberg when he was hosting Saturday Night Live in late January of this year poking fun at the situation. I believe Mark Zuckerberg’s actions throughout this past year to be amazing, he handled himself perfectly, laughing about the awkwardness in jest and donating to charity. If I were his PR team, I probably would’ve donated $100 million when I first got wind that there was going to be a Facebook movie and not publicize the donation within the week of release. But that is the only thing I would change!

Dealing with Difficult Conversations

When ever I am forced to have a difficult conversation that might be about things I wish not to reveal or about topics that may be hurtful to the other person, it just looms over me for days before I have to have this talk. When it is a personal difficult conversation, I usually wish to write a letter or send a text message if it’s something that would make both parties involved uncomfortable. Although writing a letter or texting are decent options, they are neither the most effective nor are they the most mature way to go about professional difficult conversations. If I am forced to have a difficult conversation face to face, I tend to just blurt out what I feel instead of easing the person into the situation. This proves not to be the most responsible way of going about it, either. According to NewsU, my style of dealing with difficult conversations is accommodation.(Which didn’t necessarily surprise me.) It says I give in rather than press for what I believe is right. I don’t think that is necessarily true of me all the time. I do speak my mind often and I adhere to the idea of “let’s agree to disagree.” I respect what other people have to say but I don’t necessarily always agree or “give in” to what they are telling me. If someone is very forceful and stubborn with their beliefs, I’m not going to scream my opinions at them; I think it’s pointless. Through the NewsU course, I learned the various levels of conversations that one will deal with and what the best ways are to go about them. Such as mentioning the future when letting an employee know they did not get the promotion, or having an HR rep near by when firing someone. I also learned how to deal with the consequences of such conversations. Like what to do when they deflect or cry or personally attack me. When the conversation is over and goals have been met, I am supposed to relay what was said and what is to be expected of their job performance and also ask them to do repeat what they heard from me as well. This course taught me a lot because most of my office knowledge on dealing with employees is based off of Michael Scott from The Office and obviously he’s not the best example.

What is Public Relations?

When someone says the words, “public relations,” some may immediately picture a party atmosphere with lots of networking as well as a lot of schmoozing involved. To me, public relations is almost as important as the company itself. How the public views or receives a company can make the difference between that company succeeding and flourishing or failing and floundering.   We live in an instant gratification, soundbite society. One word of bad press, and our mind’s made up. A publicist’s has to be extremely skilled now a days in order to keep a person or a company afloat.  In order to achieve this, the publicist must have thorough knowledge of what the company’s clients want and expect from them and their immediate concerns. Not only does PR have to respond to the public itself, but they also need to cultivate a relationship with the press. They have to be able to answer the hard-hitting questions in a truthful way that will benefit the company as well as it’s consumers. There is a heavier importance put on the relationship with members of the media because the press is where everyday people go to find out the latest news. Often many people will follow or read a specific news source, so if they deem a person or a company not worthwhile, people will take notice and that will affect the business in question. But PR is not there just to dismiss a company or the person being represented. It is also there to provide feedback to the company. Public relations is like the life line that connects a person or a company to it’s consumers. If the company’s clients are unhappy with a certain aspect, public relations will be able to inform the company who will then be able to change things accordingly.